Original Research

The Friend at Midnight: A ‘realistic’ reading as a feminist tool

Charel D. du Toit
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 43, No 1 | a2633 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v43i1.2633 | © 2022 Charel D. du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2022 | Published: 15 September 2022

About the author(s)

Charel D. du Toit, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


The voices of women have historically been muted in biblical texts from their ancient to more modern interpretations. This article will attempt to ‘unhide’ the voices of women in the Parable of the Friend at Midnight by using a combination of social-scientific criticism and a ‘realistic’ reading as a methodology to inform an understanding of how 1st-century Mediterranean audiences would have understood women to be present in the parable where modern audiences might not. In the 1st-century Mediterranean world, women were key figures in facilitating group hospitality values, the baking and supply of bread, and caring for children. These women, however, are not directly mentioned in the parable and often excluded in modern commentaries. This contribution aims to pave a way forward for modern New Testament commentaries to not only include but also focus on the roles and importance of women in the parable of the Friend at Midnight.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The interdisciplinary nature of this article contributes to the debate on the roles and importance of women in the church by investigating the value that women had in the parables of Jesus. By reading women as present in the text, emphasis is given to the voices of women in the Bible and the importance of their representation today.


historical Jesus; 1st-century Mediterranean; feminism; social-scientific criticism; equality; realistic reading; women’s history; parables; Friend at Midnight; women


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