Never underestimate the power of women. In the ancient world, worship of the Mother Goddess was almost universal. In the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance period, manuscripts and books were produced to warn men in places of power of the wiles and power of women.
Consider Jahel (Yah'el in Hebrew), Heber's wife, who drove a tent peg through the skull of their enemy. In the Book of Judges we read, "So Jahel Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and taking also a hammer: and going in softly, and with silence, she put the nail upon the temples of his head, and striking it With the hammer, drove it through his brain fast into the ground: and so passing from deep sleep to death, he fainted away and died." (Judges 4:21)
Who was this poor fool? Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army of King Jabin of Hazor, who sough to "raise his stars above the stars of God."
And, consider Judith, who in the Deuterocanonical text bearing that name, beguiled the enemy for the purpose of severing his head from his body.
In Judith we read, "And when it was grown late, his servants made haste to their lodgings, and Vagao shut the chamber doors, and went his way. And they were all overcharged with wine. And Judith was alone in the chamber.
4 But Holofernes lay on his bed, fast asleep, being exceedingly drunk. And Judith spoke to her maid to stand without before the chamber, and to watch: And Judith stood before the bed praying with tears, and the motion of her lips in silence, Saying: Strengthen me, O Lord God of Israel, and in this hour look on the works of my hands, that as thou hast promised, thou mayst raise up Jerusalem thy city: and that I may bring to pass that which I have purposed, having a belief that it might be done by thee. And when she had said this, she went to the pillar that was at his bed's head, and loosed his sword that hung tied upon it. And when she had drawn it out, she took him by the hair of his head, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord God, at this hour. And she struck twice upon his neck, and cut off his head, and took off his canopy from the pillars, and rolled away his headless body." (Judith 13:1-10)
Who was this poor fool? Holofernes, the general of Nebuchadnezzar, who thought he could get some action on the side while invading Judea for plunder. Like the Canaanites in the Book of Judges, he though he could raise his "stars above the stars of God."
Finally, consider the flip side to these heroines from the great tales of the Bible. Consider Salome, the daughter Herod II and Herodias. She was the offspring of intermarriage between Edomites and the sell out Levites, who had embraced Hellenism (today we would call it multiculturalism and progressive liberalism). John the Baptist had been imprisoned for challenging her mother's honor through his accusations that Herod should not be sleeping with his brother's wife. Enamored by her beauty no doubt, Herod promised her anything if she would but dance. Let me entertain you, she did. Her feminine charms come down to use as the Dance of the Seven Veils. In exchange for what must have been a breathtaking performance, she demanded the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter.
In the gospel account according to the apostle Matthew we read, "For Herod had apprehended John and bound him, and put him into prison, because of Herodias, his brother's wife. For John said to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her. And having a mind to put him to death, he feared the people: because they esteemed him as a prophet. But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother." (Matthew 14:3-11)
The poor fool was Herod, who had been played, because he regretted what he had promised to do.
Love them. Fear them. Revere them. God knows what women are capable of in order to protect those they love. The lessons from the Bible are clear: Men, be careful, be mindful, and be ever respectful, because you could lose your head.
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