But when we leaf through the Bible, we find examples of civilians who conquered military figures and by doing so saved the whole nation. Two such examples are found in David and Jael.
David was a young man when he defeated the Philistine Goliath with a sling (1 Sam 17).
Jael used stealth to kill Sisera, the Canaanite warlord, with a tent peg in her own tent (Judges 4).
Both were praised for their heroic actions that saved the entire nation. Just hear the words of the song of victory, sung by Deborah and Barak:
"Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
most blessed of tent-dwelling women.
He asked for water, and she gave him milk;
in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk.
Her hand reached for the tent peg,
her right hand for the workman's hammer.
She struck Sisera, she crushed his head,
she shattered and pierced his temple.
At her feet he sank,
he fell; there he lay.
At her feet he sank, he fell;
where he sank, there he fell-dead.
(Judges 5:24-27, NIV)
A woman who kills the enemy is most blessed?
This reminds me of another woman who was also considered most blessed:
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!... And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name ( Luke 1:41-42, 46-49, NIV).
At first glance we might say, of course she was blessed, she was about to become a mother, the proper "role" for all women. But when we spend just a moment longer, we realize that Mary was considered blessed because her child was the Messiah, who would save the people.
Women have always stood with God against evil, and they haven't shunned doing whatever it took to protect others, whether their actions conformed with convention or not. Just consider: a married woman who acted alone, and an engaged woman who got pregnant out of wedlock. They weren't exactly prime examples of proper behavior. But then again, God has never cared what sinful humans think is proper, for propriety is too often used as a guise for evil; that which is improper in our eyes aligns often with that which is good. Hence our categories, formed as they are through culture, stand often against God and his plan of salvation. Lucky us, not everyone follows convention.