Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom
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Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom    -     By: Kelley Nikondeha

Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2020 / Paperback

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There would be no Moses, no crossing of the Red Sea, no story of breaking the chains of slavery if it weren’t for the women in the Exodus narrative. Women on both sides of the Nile exhibited a subversive strength resisting Pharaoh and leading an entire people to freedom. Defiant explores how the Exodus women summoned their courage, harnessed their intelligence, and gathered their resources to enact justice in many small ways and overturned an empire. Women find themselves in similar circumstances today. The Women’s March stirred the conscience of a nation and prompted women to organize with and for their neighbors, it is worth reflecting on the resistance literature of Exodus and what it has to offer women. 

Defiant is about the deep work women do to create conditions for liberation in their church, community, and country. The women of Exodus defied Pharaoh, raised Moses, and plundered Egypt. We are invited to consider what the midwives, mothers of Moses, Miriam, Zipporah, and her sisters demonstrate under the oppressive regime of Pharaoh and what it might unlock for us as we imagine our mandate under modern systems of injustice. 

Kelley Nikondeha presents a fresh paradigm for women, highlighting a biblical mandate to join the liberation work in our world. Women’s work involves more than tending to our own family and home. According to Exodus, it moves us beyond the domestic territory and into relationship with women across the river, confronting injustice and working to liberate our neighborhoods so all mothers and children are free. Nikondeha calls women to continue to be active agents in heralding liberation as we organize and march together for one another’s freedom.

Product Information

Title: Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom
By: Kelley Nikondeha
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2020
Dimensions: 8.5 X 5.5 (inches)
Weight: 10 ounces
ISBN: 0802864295
ISBN-13: 9780802864291
Stock No: WW864291

Author Bio

Kelley Nikondeha is the co-director and chief storyteller for Communities of Hope, a community development enterprise in Burundi. She is the co-founder of Amahoro Africa, a conversation between theologians and practitioners within the African context. She is the author of Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World and Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom. For more, visit

Editorial Reviews

"In Defiant, Kelley lays out a feast for us of the truth about biblical womanhood: the resis¬tance, the strength, the civil disobedience, the collaboration, the truth-telling, the drumming, the wit, the holy liberated power of women who know their God."
— Sarah Bessey
from the foreword

"In Defiant, the mixture of personal, political, and devotional blend to create a work that transforms our imaginations to see the possibility of shalom everywhere we look. Kelley Nikondeha shows herself to be a prominent voice of liberation theology, illuminating the twelve women of Exodus who have lingered in the shadow of patriarchy for too long. Her work transcends the usual genre of women’s ministry to invite all of us into the story of partnering with God to liberate the world. It is intoxicating, refreshing, devastating, and ultimately challenging. You, like myself, will walk away from this book understanding there is a long line of women to partner with as we seek to liberate ourselves and others from a world desperate to baptize inequality and injustice as the norm. Together, we will march towards liberation in an age of fear."
— D. L. Mayfield
author of Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith

"Kelley Nikondeha fiercely embodies the work of loving solidarity, and this book is proof of that reality. So many of the women mentioned in this book have been forgotten, our own eyes tainted by patriarchy. Kelley invites us to look deeper, and her words give me renewed hope in what has been covered up again and again by empire—the enduring power of defiant, feminine resistance. Buy this book, and be renewed by the power of story and the fire of fierce love."
— Kaitlin Curtice
author of Glory Happening

"Defiant is a profoundly hopeful and deeply inspirational exploration of the extraordinary women in Exodus as well as the brave, imaginative, justice-seeking, coalition-building, truth-speaking women and girls of today. Nikondeha has given us a great gift to help us through these troubled times."
— Debbie Blue
author of Consider the Women: A Provocative Guide to Three Matriarchs of the Bible

"Grounded in liberation theology, Nikondeha delivers an empowering message of hope, utilizing the twelve women of Exodus and her lived experience in Burundi. Pushing past the patriarchal reading of Scripture, Nikondeha shatters female stereotypes by offering her readers a solid perspective on the labor of women and the role they played as matriarchs in their communities."
— Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros
poet, writer, speaker

"Subversive. Collaborative. Glorious. Kelley Nikondeha offers a theological lens for the liberation work women have been part of since ancient times. Now wherever there’s an oppressive pharaoh with dehumanizing decrees, let’s look for the Nile Network of women collaborating for freedom and justice. Better yet—let’s be them."
— Idelette McVicker
founder of SheLoves Magazine

"The story of the exodus is rich but only half-told. Kelley Nikondeha tells the rest of the story through the experiences of the women. Read this and let the exodus come alive in a new way! You will be enriched and the story will develop a power you never expected."
— Dottie Escobedo-Frank
Catalina United Methodist Church

"I dare you to read Defiant and not be moved to daring. For any woman who has fallen asleep in her own life, Kelley Nikondeha's fierce words, fleshy stories, and fecund imagination will wake her up to the Pharaoh-defying power that is her story, our sisters’ story, both ancient and now."
— Erin S. Lane
author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe

"Defiant is exactly how I felt after reading Kelley Nikondeha’s book about the subversive women of Exodus. This eye-opening work disrupts the all-too-common habit of skimming over biblical female narratives to get to ’the real action’ involving men. Finally, the female side of this story gets its due, not as a matter of fairness, but because we need these courageous female role models to embolden women and girls today. Defiant combines solid scholarship, creative imagination, current events, a global perspective, and Kelley’s own remarkable multicultural story to salvage examples of strong women whose holy defiance, I pray, spreads to God’s daughters in today’s world, where oppression, abuse, and injustice seem hopelessly entrenched. Let the reader beware: defiance is contagious!"
— Carolyn Custis James
author of Finding God in the Margins and Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women

"The best storytellers know how to locate the characters that are hidden in plain sight and bring them to center stage. Kelley Nikondeha is such a person. She locates the ’hidden figures’ in the book of Exodus—the defiant women—and gives space for their narratives. She masterfully weaves the witness of Exodus women with women of our present era. In the weaving of these stories, Kelley invites us to see what we have failed to see and to listen to the ones whose voices are often overlooked. Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom is a generative book. It ignites the prophetic imagination and calls us to participate in God’s mission of healing and liberating broken creation."
— Cheryl Bridges Johns
Pentecostal Theological Seminary

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