Tag Archives: women in the Bible

Women’s History in Courage

If an alien visited Earth and read the Bible, and words represented people, the aliens could believe that the human population from 4000 BC–100 AD, consisted of 1 female per every million males.

I get that figure from a count, made in year 2013, by the Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, an Episcopal priest. She conducted a count and learned that out of the 1.1 million words in the Bible, only 1.1 per cent came from women.

We know there is a better balance between the sexes. And yes, humanity today, takes measures to correct that void of understanding by revisiting the reality of equality.

It was a hundred years in the making, but in 1987, the United States Congress instituted Women’s History Month to flesh out contributions made by women. We’re trying to write women back into history but this is the trick. We can’t just “tell” or “repeat” what they did or how men treated them as sex slaves or they were barren or had fifty-two children.

We must absorb the participations of women. What were they thinking, and how did it affect mass consciousness? We need to assess the viewpoints of women, their perceptions, the depth of their views.

So here goes, with a story from the Bible.

From the book of Judges, chapter 4, “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor.

“Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.

“Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?”

 “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.”

Here’s a translation: The tribe of Israel is living their lives. They got distracted by worldliness, materialism, blaming others or themselves, whatever, and when they argued, they went to the Judge.

At the time, the one and only woman judge was Deborah, a prophetess. She strives to direct and redirect the Israelites to a God of love and a truth of self-control. “Come on people, get your act together.”

When we neglect our spirituality, we feel as though we’re losing control and Deborah was correcting that by fighting for the control of spirituality upon humanity.

Problem was, next door, King Jabin of Canaan, seeing their vulnerability, wanted to control the Israelites.

Deborah doesn’t ignore King Jabin but takes on the challenge. She calls on Barak, a man she could trust, and told him to gather 10,000 men, for an army, to defeat King Jabin’s army, which was led by Sisera.

Barak said, “I’ll only do this, if you come with me.” Deborah rolls her eyes and agrees to come and fight.

A huge rainstorm commences, and the fighting begins. Deborah and Barak’s men defeat the army, the whole army is dead except Sisera the leader, who escapes, and runs to the tent of Heber, one of his buddies, who, from a different nation or tribe, appeared neutral on the whole fighting between Canaan and Israel.

So we have the sight of bloody, weary, self-seeking Sisera, coming to Heber’s tent but its Heber’s wife, Jael, who courageously invites Sisera inside the tent, hides him under a blanket, gives him milk to drink, and waits until the army commander is snoring. Then she acts. Jael drives a tent peg through the man’s head. Defeating the last vestige of the army who attacked Israel.

What was Jael thinking?

Empathy for the Israelites?

Or distrust of those who oppress others?

Jael must not have thought there was a reason why King Jabin should bully the Israelites. She didn’t believe it possible to be neutral.

Jael probably knew that we either add to, or take from, ideas. And the idea of hurting others for a show of power, was not the side Jael stood on.

One question I ask? After Sisera’s army was destroyed, why worry about the lone leader?

But I look at the mind of Jael, through the lens of a wise, quick-acting, all-knowing, powerful divine Mind.

Yes, human beings get distracted away from the God of Love and feel vulnerable, stifled. We bicker. We get frustrated. And most of us try to do better. But every single thought must stand on the side of trying to do better, on the side of rationality, innocence, inner strength, respect, and wellbeing.

We have no idea if Jael knew Deborah or if this was a case of one woman standing up for another, but I doubt it. I think both women stood on the side of a God who created and maintains a sense of completeness. While life goes on, each success in our recognition of a meaningful life, is complete.

Deborah entertained and acted on thoughts of bravery, helping others, and justice. Jael inspired and acted on thoughts of purity, wholeness and the completeness of a job well done.

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