One of the creepiest movie lines ever, comes from the 1979 cult classic film, The Warriors. Unarmed, small, lacking any skills, a group of young men and women make it home through 30 miles of very hostile urban territory. The movie remains a favorite despite many flaws because we wonder: How will they stay alive with no fighting skills? The answer is cunning and persistence.
Someone tweeted there are no women warriors in the Bible, for he has a narrow definition of warrior. Following his definition, there are also few male warriors in the Bible. Most of the people in scripture are farmers, ranchers, nomads, fishermen, carpenters, seamstresses, and cloth dyers, with no fighting skills. They focus on staying alive and following Yahweh. These people are warriors. Some of these people are women warriors.
The time of Judges is between the time of Joshua leading the people into the Promised land and the rise of King Saul. After Joshua died, time passed, and the people began to abandon the Lord (2.11) “Then the Lord raised up judges… the Lord was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies…” Deborah was a judge and a prophet in Israel’s pre-monarchic history. The earliest form of her story is Judges 4 and 5. Hers is thought to be Israel’s earliest poem, 12th century BC.
In that time, Deborah, a prophetess and wife was judging Israel. She rendered judgements for all who came with grievances. Deborah called Barak to lead an army against their encroaching enemy. Barak would not take the field without Deborah “If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”
Deborah warned Barak that this would diminish his own glory, people would say, “the Lord will sell (enemy) into the hand of a woman.” Barak insisted for he wanted to guarantee salvation of the people. The enemy was totally defeated on the field and their general Sisera fled for safety. He came to the encampment of a neutral family, Kenite Heber. Heber’s wife, Jael, was alone at the camp when Sisera arrived. Jael convinced him to “turn aside” and rest. Sisera ate, drank and fell asleep. While he slept Jael took a tent peg and hammer and drove the peg into his head, “Until it went down into the ground.” Barak seeking Sisera comes to the camp and Jael shows him the dead general. “So, on that day God subdued … Canaan before the Israelites.” This is the work of men and women in obedience to God. This is the work of warriors.