Zilpah is Anah’s grandmother and the mother of Miriam. Although she is ancient, she sees much: Anah’s pain of childlessness, Miriam’s worry for her sons, Huldah’s loyalty, and even Veronica’s fear of her husband.
As Holy Saturday dawns amid despair and grief, it is Zilpah who remembers God’s faithfulness through all the long years of her life. Now—when it seems that there is no hope left—it is she who reminds her family to pray and to wait, that the story of Jesus is not over . . . in fact, it may just be beginning.
Zilpah encounters Jesus on Holy Saturday:
The first time she had seen the child, Jesus, was at least twenty years ago.
Mary had been young then, and her husband had been alive.
Zilpah had heard at the well that Mary of Nazareth of was frantically searching Jerusalem for her missing child, a boy named Jesus. Zilpah had dropped her water jar and gone to find Mary, bringing her to the Temple, where she’d seen Jesus speaking with the rabbis like a man twice his age.
Pain pierced Zilpah’s heart like an arrow. Even then, Jesus had been extraordinary. She had listened, astonished at Jesus’ words to his worried mother, “Did you not know I would be in my Father’s house?” It was then she had realized Jesus was unlike other men; he was the one they had been awaiting.
Since then, Zilpah had waited and prayed. She waited for him to reveal himself. She prayed she would be ready—that they all would be ready. Now, the Messiah—Jesus, the boy she knew years ago—was dead.
Zilpah’s heart filled with the hope that had been absent since the darkness descended the day before. “We wait and we pray.” Zilpah closed her eyes and began to sing in her quivering voice. Anah joined in, and then Miriam and Huldah.
My spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old,
I meditate on all that thou hast done;
I muse on what thy hands have wrought.
Have you ever prayed in despair and been given consolation? Share your story below in the comments.
Encounter Jesus more fully this Lent and follow Huldah’s story in Walk In Her Sandals, Experiencing Christ’s Passion Through The Eyes of Women. To participate in the Lenten Book Club, including a beautiful reflection on Chapter 4 of Walk In Her Sandals, go to