Some are the standard errors of those who teach those same old stories over and over without reading it from the Bible as if it were brand new to them. When I read her say of Rachel, "It was love at first sight for Jacob, and it remained love beautiful unto the end," I thought, here we go again. Anyone who has studied that story without the blinders of what they have always heard, knows that was not the case. See Growth of the Seed by Nathan Ward, and my own Born of a Woman study and see what I mean. The fact that Jacob asked to be buried with Leah in the family burial cave, but left Rachel buried where she fell ought to tell us something.
The inconsistencies are almost maddening. The author will discuss the names Leah gave her children and how that shows her character, but totally miss the significance of, "Give me another one," coming out of Rachel's mouth when she names Joseph, and the fact that prayer for a child was her last resort. The same woman who researches enough to find out the history of Jezebel's father will then say that Naboth would not sell his vineyard to Ahab "because he didn't care to." What Naboth actually said was, "The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers." It was a little more than simply, "I don't want to." In one place she says that Ishmael was 13 when Isaac was born, yet in another she says 14 (which is correct), the same place she talks about weaning Isaac, even though she has previously said that the weaning would have been at least three years after Isaac's birth, if not more, making Ishmael no less than 17 at that point.
And while she may have more knowledge about these women than most, her lack of a thorough Biblical knowledge shows itself in the oddest places and in the oddest ways. She says of Isaac and Rebekah, "Together the assembled believers of God felt the planned providence of the great I AM in arranging this marriage." Yet in Exodus 6:3, Moses records that the patriarchs only knew God as "God Almighty." They had not been given that special name that Moses received. Then this same woman will, with clear and sound logic, get the events of Jephthah's daughter correct when most miss it entirely. Yet she leaves out Leviticus 27, directions for vowing a person, which would have helped her case immensely.
While she recognizes some of the cultural elements, she often shows a lack of understanding the details. "One might ask why a woman as discreet and as intelligent as Abigail married such an ill-tempered miser as Nabal." I doubt Abigail had a choice in a culture of often arranged marriages, which a historical/biographical author ought to know.
Mrs. Culwell also engages in a little more supposition and imagination than might be called for, including lavish descriptions of décor and clothing as if she had seen the setting herself. I have the most trouble with her assigning motives. While it is always good to imagine how someone might have felt in a given situation, putting ourselves in her place and making the events and its pressures come alive, all such suppositions should be labeled as such clearly. "This might have been her motivation," or "This might be what she was thinking." And she really blows it when she says of the search for a new queen in Esther, "There has been much said about [Mordecai] who would plan a marriage of one of Abraham's daughters to a heathen king." Plan it? Mordecai had no say in the sweep that carried Esther as an eligible virgin to the king's palace.
There are still things to be admired in this work, despite all these shortcomings. The attempt was brave and time consuming. I just wish a better result had come of it.
This book is probably out of print, but copies are still available in used bookstores and online sources. Yet as I said, I really cannot recommend it It was published by DeHoff.