Adah, Jephthah's Daughter
Ruth, The Gleaner
Esther, The Noble Queen
Martha, The Sister
Electa, The Elect Lady
The pictures above are the beautiful paintings of our Star Points painted on the ceiling of the State Room at the International Temple in Washington, DC by local artist Eric Adkins (1996).
Each Star Point is painted on one of the major panels in the ceiling. The several emblems and flowers represented by our heroines are painted on smaller panels. Members are invited to visit the Temple at 1618 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC
The Stories of our Heroines
Adah, Jephthah's Daughter: The scene of the first Star Point is laid beyond the Jordan River in Mizpah, the home of Jephthah, and the surrounding country, some ninety miles northeast from Jerusalem and thirty miles southeast of the sea of Galilee. The countries east of the Jordan, beginning with the Land of Moab, toward the north are Ammon and Gilead.
At the very beginning we may say that nowhere in the Bible do we find the name of Jephthah's daughter. She is mentioned by the phrase "Jephthah's daughter." Modern usage, however, attaches the name of Adah, and as such she is known to the members of the Order of the Eastern Star.
The vow that Jephthah made unto the Lord is considered by some writers as an extremely unfortunate one, and the great blunder of his life. He doubtless wanted to have every assurance of success and thus vowed a vow unto the Lord, which cost him the life of his daughter. Viewed from the human point of view he may have been incomprehensibly rash in making such a convenant or vow, yet when once made and success had crowned his efforts, he could not well turn back, notwithstanding the efforts that were made by the elders of Gilead to save him from making so great a human sacrifice. His daughter was perfectly willing that her life should be sacrificed and thus fulfill her father's obligation unto Jehovah. And after all, if Jephthah's vow was to be fulfilled by a human sacrifice, whom other than his own daughter would you suggest for its fulfillment? In conclusion may we say in the dying words of President McKinley; "It is God's way. His will be done."
Ruth, The Gleaner: The scene is laid in Bethlehem of Judea, which is situated some six miles south of Jerusalem, and also in Moab beyond the Jordan, bordering on and east of the Dead Sea. During the reign of the Judges a grievous famine spread throughout the land of Judah. Elimelich, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Maholon and Chilton, determined to immigrate into the country of Moab beyond the Jordan River. There seems to have been no absolute necessity for this sojourn. Others continued to remain in Judea and tided over the period of distress.
While it would seem that upon their arrival in Moab they were well received by Eglon, the King of Moab, yet they did not prosper. The two sons married daughters of Moab. Mahlon, the eldest son, married Ruth (some writers say that Ruth was the young daughter of King Eglon), and Chilton married Orphah. Both women appear to have been model wives. Within ten years, however, Elimelech and his two sons died childless, and were buried in the land of Moab. Noami was left in destitute circumstances. Her heart and her spirit were broken. She felt that God had deserted her -- the last link which bound her to earth was torn away. "The heart knows it sown bitterness." Thus, apparently, she is alone. What does the human heart dread more than to be utterly alone! Loneliness, how can we define it? One must experience it to know its real depth. "Kings and priest, warrior and maiden, philosopher and child -- all must walk those might galleries alone." Naomi yearned for her old home and the home friends and resolved to return to Bethlehem again.
This story is the classic example of true and tried friendship between two women. It is often compared with David and Jonathan, and Damon and Pythias. It is the passionate love of a girl for her mother-in-law
Esther, The Noble Queen: The scene is laid in Shushan (Susa), some 250 miles east of the city of Babylon and 75 miles east of the Tigris River, and 130 miles north of the Persian Gulf. King Ahasuerus (Xerxes, B.C. 485-465), was king of Persia and reigned at this time over one hundred and twenty seven provinces, extending from India to Ethiopia. It will be recalled that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, and carried away from Jerusalem, Jeconiah (Jehoiakin), the King of Judah, together with a number of Jewish captives, which at this time would seem to have been widely scattered throughout the domain of the Persian empire. The time was about four centuries B.C. The heroine of the story is Esther, one of the Jewish exiles, who rises from the most humble walks of life to become a queen, and thereby ultimately rescuing her people from wholesale destruction, planned by Haman, the favorite courtier of the king. One must take into account the circumstances of her life and the conditions of her time.
Martha, The Sister: Bethany is a small village situated on the southeast side of the Mount of Olives, less than two miles from Jerusalem on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. No mention is made of this village in the canonical books or in the Apocrypha of the Old Testament. Bethany makes its appearance for the first time, as does the fourth Star Point, in the New Testament. The more recent writer's of biblical history speak of it as a miserable, untidy and tumble-down village. Actual or impending decay would seem to be written upon its dwellings. Yet, we are filled with reverential awe as we recall the immortal memories of what occurred within and around this little village.
There is very little authentic information about the early history of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. It would seem that they were an orphan family. Their home is said to have been a very beautiful and wealthy home, with even luxuries. Martha was the housekeeper. She looked after the food, comforts of the family, and the guests. The central figure of the whole story, however, is Jesus, with Martha and Mary standing in the foreground of the life of Jesus. Time and time again we find the Master, amidst the tumults, storm, applause's and successes of public life, taking refuge in some secluded or quiet spot, literally yearning for the privacy and the atmosphere of domestic life and home love. It is not known when Jesus began to make their home, his home when in Bethany. Christ on leaving his earthly father's home in Nazareth became a wanderer. He never had a home of his own on earth. One of the most striking and pathetic utterances He ever made regarding himself was in reference to his having no home, "the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." His loneliness is manifest by his frequent communion with the Father.
The home at Bethany was to Him a home of quiet and rest, where a most cordial and loving welcome was extended with sincere affection. What a beautiful friendship sprang up between Jesus and every member of the Bethany family! The home was one of friendly peace that was not tainted with interested ambition.
Martha is the patron saint of all good housewives, careful mothers, and skilful and efficient nurses of the present generation. Her character makes a strong appeal to energetic women and especially to comfort-loving men.
Electa, The Elect Lady: The scene of the fifth Star Point is laid in Asia Minor, a peninsula lying between the Black Sea on the north and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. On the west coast of the peninsula in Lydian, near the mouth of the Cayster river, situated on high ground of a fertile plain, is Ephesus, the residence of Saint John from about 67 A.D. to the end of his life. Except for occasional visits to established churches in Asia Minor, St. John most probably rarely went out from Ephesus. Asia Minor is a region of extraordinary fertility and beauty, but has been ruined by centuries of waste and misgovernment. The exact date of the writing of the Epistle is not known, but is placed between 85 - 95 A.D.
Our information concerning Electa is based, for the most part on Maonic tradition. She was born and brought up in Asia Minor and, naturally, reared under the principles of paganism. She seems to have been well advanced in years when the edict of the Roman Government was issued against the followers of Christ. It is quite apparent that she was converted to the Christian faith under the preaching of St. Paul. Furthermore, she appears to have been a very influential woman in her community. She apparently spent her income in relieving the poor; devoted much time to the care of the and kept open house for the indigent and hungry travelers. Benevolence seems to have been the great passion of her life -- she sought out those who were lost and ministered to them.
The Christian religion, as we have endeavored to make clear, had become quite obnoxious to the people, and pressure was brought upon the Roman government for some action. Electa's mansion was said to have been the most splendid in the province. The edict of the Roman Government was issued against everyone who professed the religion of Christ. All Christians were bound to renounce it under penalty of death. Soldiers were enjoined to execute the law without mercy. All those suspected of holding the Christian faith were commanded to trample upon the cross that was handed to them as a testimony of their renunciation. Electa absolutely refused to comply with the edict. She spurned the test and said that she would never renounce her religion. She and her family were forthwith cast into a dungeon for twelve months, at the end of which time the judge appeared and offered her another opportunity to recant from Christianity, and again she refused. Thereupon she was dragged forth and savagely scourged nigh to death. They were then taken in oxcarts to the nearest hill where she and her family, one by one, were nailed to the cross. She was the last of the family to be crucified, and thus witnessed the tragic death of her husband and children. She may well have uttered with her expiring breath, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
She professed her faith to the whole world, although she knew what reproaches, persecutions even unto death, that she must undergo for the stand that she took. It meant the loss of good name, wealth, of means of doing good, of liberty, of husband and children, and of life itself. Yet she was willing to undergo all these things for the love of Christ and for the Christian religion in which she showed the most implicit faith. What a rich heritage is hers! "For we know that if our earthly house of the tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."