What do Jael, Judith, and Mary Have in Common?

MaryCrushingtheSerpent

In today’s post I want to take a quick look at three great heroines of the Bible and see what they have in common.

Blessed Among Women

In the Scriptures we see that there are three women who are called blessed among women: Judith, Ja’el, and Mary. In order we read:

And Uzziah said to her, “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth (Judith 13:18).

“Most blessed of women be Ja’el (Judges 5:24).

“and [Elizabeth] exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (Luke 1:42).

Wouldn’t it be interesting if these three women had something else in common. Well, as it turns out, they do!

Each crushed the head of the enemy king.

Ja’el

The commander of the Canaanite army, Sisera, was killed by Jae’l’s tent peg.

“But Ja’el the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, till it went down into the ground, as he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died” (Judges 4:21).

I love that the author felt it necessary to write “till it went down into the ground.” As if “so he died” weren’t descriptive enough.

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Judith

Holofernes, an invading general of Nebuchadnezzar, was killed by Judith’s sword.

She came close to his bed and took hold of the hair of his head, and said, “Give me strength this day, O Lord God of Israel!” And she struck his neck twice with all her might, and severed it from his body. Then she tumbled his body off the bed and pulled down the canopy from the posts; after a moment she went out, and gave Holofernes’ head to her maid, who placed it in her food bag (Judith 13:7-10).

Judith

Mary

Satan was crushed by Mary’s son.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

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Someone might say, “it was Christ, not Mary, who crushed the head of Satan.” I’ve even heard one person suggest that it’s blasphemous to think that anyone other than Christ could crush Satan. This, I think, is an unnecessary distinction. Of course it is God’s doing, but he uses us and our submission to his will to bring it about.

St. Paul, in his letter to the church of Rome writes that “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” If we can say this of Christians in general, then, I would argue, we can say it of Mary in particular, and to the greatest degree!

It is precisely because of her unique role in salvation history that we can say of her, in a way that we can’t of others, that the God of peace crushed Satan under her feet.

What are your thoughts?

3 thoughts on “What do Jael, Judith, and Mary Have in Common?

  1. Excellent post, Matt. Another great example of women having priority and prominence in Scripture, much to the chagrin of so many of our “modern” brothers and sisters.

    1. I was saying the Rosary when it dawned on me to search the Internet to find out if other women were also called blessed in Scripture. I was a bit disappointed to read in your article that not only one other but two other women were! Ja’el was even called ‘most blessed’. Now it occurs to me that while Ja’el and Judith overcame physical enemies, Mother Mary was part of overcoming a spiritual enemy – the greatest of enemies. In this I believe lies her uniqueness

  2. Keep in mind that the order of these statements matter. If you call someone the most blessed woman, and then 500 years later say: ‘you are the most blessed woman’, to someone else. This at the very least means you are the most blessed of all women, and would suggest an ‘abrogation’, almost, of the former. That is, it would seem that to say someone is the most blessed woman, after just calling someone else the same, common sense would dictate that you are updating that unique status, and applying it to the latter.

    Also, by virtue of her role and the graces she has enjoyed, still enjoys and contains, she is even above the angels in authority and power. Who else in heaven should be above the Ark that held God the Son in her very person? No angel has been thus privileged — or worthy.

    God bless.

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