One of the most common mental images of a Biblical woman is that of Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 describes a woman who takes care of her husband and family while also earning a living in the marketplace.
In today’s Bible reading* we see another picture of a Biblical woman. Deborah and Jael are mentioned in Judges 4. The fact that they’re mentioned and what is said about them is an inconvenient truth for those who have a small view of women in the Bible.
We’re told that Deborah was a prophetess and judge. (Judges 4:4) This speaks volumes to those who would say that women should have lower positions in the home and in the community of faith. First of all, Deborah was a prophetess. In other words, she spoke on behalf of God. Second, Deborah was a judge. In other words, she was a leader in the community of faith.
We’re told that Jael deceptively lured Sisera (the commander of King Jaban) into her tent under the pretense of her providing a safe place. When he had fallen asleep, she drove a tent peg through his skull. (Judges 4:21) In doing so, she served as a brave warrior for the people of God.
Clearly, these two Biblical women were forces to be reckoned with!
A portrait of a Biblical woman is much larger than the stereotype. When we think of a Biblical woman, a Biblical man, or any other image, we need to be open to altering our mental image to include what we actually see in the Bible. Let the Bible speak for itself.
Limiting ourselves to a mental image is why God gave His people the Second Commandment. (Exodus 20:4) He didn’t want His people limiting Him to an image of their liking. God is much bigger than we think. And though mankind was created in His image, He is unlike us in so many ways.
There’s a reason God included the stories of Deborah and Jael in the Bible. God has a variety of models of women that women today can learn from. Men, too! And God gives gifts and personality mixes according to His purposes.
Don’t put limits on God and what you think God can only do certain things. God can do whatever He wants however He wants. And He will always remain true to His revealed Word.
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: