Anytime one talks about the concept of female warriors in the Bible, there are inevitably people in certain Christian circles who start feeling a bit itchy. But if we believe God’s Word to be authoritative and inerrant and His ways to be perfect, then we can safely trust in His good, pleasing, and perfect design for His children. And, yes, that design includes the mighty female warriors we see in the Bible.
What makes a female warrior?
Interestingly, being likened to a warrior is something that is actually inherent in God’s design of women from the very beginning of time. Women are, by definition, female warriors. Whether we live into that design and walk in light of it is a choice we must make, but it is in our very nature.
Many are familiar with Genesis 2:18, where we read, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” But what many are not familiar with is that the Hebrew word translated “helper” is the word “ezer”. This word, “ezer”, is used 21 times in Scripture, twice to refer to womankind, once to refer to someone who was not helpful, and the remaining 18 times to refer to God Himself when He comes to the aid, help, protection, and defense of Israel when they are in need of rescuing and strength.
What does this tell us?
It tells us that God expressly designed women to aid, help, rescue, protect, and defend those in need. Which means that He designed all of us as women to be female warriors! There are not just a handful of women uniquely called to this kind of mission.
No, if you are a woman, this is in your very God-given nature. This is your calling.
What is a female warrior called?
Not only are we called “ezers” in Genesis 2, proving that we are called to be female warriors, but interestingly enough, the root word of “ezer” is the word “azer”. The Hebrew word “azer” is the very Hebrew word to describe the “mighty men of valor” who fought in Israel’s army. Again, we can see God’s clear design here.
Furthermore, interestingly enough, the Hebrew word translated as “virtuous” in Proverbs 31:10 (“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”) is actually the Hebrew word “hayil”, which is elsewhere translated in Scripture as army (56x), man of valour (37x), host (29x), forces (14x), valiant (13x), strength (12x), riches (11x), wealth (10x), power (9x), substance (8x), might (6x), and strong (5x). The literal definition of the word is “strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army, force, ability”.
As you can see, when we as women are referred to as “helpers” and “virtuous”, what God is actually calling us is strong, powerful, and valiant – literally, female warriors.
Who was a strong female in the Bible?
When I think of strong females in the Bible, I think of Deborah, the famous prophetess and judge in Israel in Judges 4-5. Amid a dark and depressing time in Israel’s history when the Israelites were under harsh oppression as a result of their sin, God rose up a woman to lead and rescue His people. And lead and rescue them, she did!
Judges 5:6-7 tells us, “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, and the travelers walked along the byways. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel.” Deborah’s story ends with these words in Judges 5: “‘Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength.’ So the land had rest for forty years.”
Thanks to Deborah’s willingness to lead Israel into battle against a wicked, oppressive king, Israel had rest for forty years. What a blessing strong female warriors are!
Which woman was a prayer warrior in the Bible?
Being a female warrior doesn’t just mean that you must lead an army into battle or be as tough as nails. Sometimes the best way you can be a warrior and come to the rescue of people in need is by living as a faithful prayer warrior.
We see this prayer warrior mentality in Hannah, whom we read about in 1 Samuel 1. Here was a woman who desperately wanted a child of her own. Did she pray once or twice for a child, not see that prayer come to pass, and then give up? By no means! She kept on faithfully in prayer, begging God to give her a son, and promising to dedicate him to the work of the Lord all the days of his life when He did so. God answered her prayer in the affirmative, she was blessed with the long-awaited dream of her own child, and she committed him to the Lord all the days of his life – thereby blessing Israel with the prophet Samuel!
What an example of diligent, faithful, intentional prayer! Prayer warriors truly are used by God to move mountains! Never underestimate the truth of what James says when he tells us that the prayers of the righteous avail much!
What are the names of female warriors in the Bible?
Deborah is, arguably, the most well-known female warrior in the Bible. She was a prophetess and judge in ancient Israel. She played a significant role in leading the Israelites to victory against the Canaanites in the Book of Judges. Deborah’s characteristics place her uniquely as a strong female warrior of the Bible.
But lest we skip past another example of powerful feminine strength by God’s grace, we must be sure to go back to Judges 4 and 5 and point out another woman whom, along with Deborah, God used to come to the defense of His people, Israel, when they were under oppression.
Jael was a woman who killed the Canaanite commander Sisera in Judges 4:17-24. After Sisera fled from battle, he sought refuge in Jael’s tent. She gave him milk to drink and covered him with a blanket, but while he was sleeping, she drove a tent peg through his temple.
Talk about a female warrior! Jael was certainly that!
A certain wise woman in 2 Samuel 20
In 2 Samuel 20, a wise woman from the town of Abel Beth Maakah plays a significant role in bringing an end to a rebellion against King David. While the identity of the wise woman is not given, her quick thinking and bravery in the face of danger helped to save her city from destruction.
Her story highlights the importance of wisdom and strategic thinking in times of crisis and demonstrates that women could play a significant role in political and military affairs in ancient Israel.
Huldah’s role as a prophetess indicates that she had a close relationship with God and was entrusted with delivering His messages to His people. She is one of several women in the Bible who are recognized as having prophetic gifts, including Deborah and Miriam. While Huldah was not a warrior in the technical sense, her role as a prophetess was a significant one in the religious and political life of Judah during the time of King Josiah.
Judith was a Jewish widow who saved her city, Bethulia, from an invading army led by the Assyrian general Holofernes. She did so by seducing Holofernes, getting him drunk, and then beheading him. The story of Judith can be found in the deuterocanonical Book of Judith.
Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. She played a significant role in the Exodus from Egypt, leading the Israelite women in singing and dancing after the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus 15:20-21.
Athaliah was not a warrior in the traditional sense of the word, but she was a powerful and influential queen who seized the throne of Judah and ruled for six years. While Athaliah did not engage in battle like Deborah or Jael, she demonstrated her strength and determination by seizing and holding onto power, even resorting to violence to maintain her position.
2 Kings 11 and 2 Chronicles 22-23 describe how Athaliah seized the throne of Judah and how her grandson Joash was eventually crowned king.
Queen Esther is not traditionally viewed as a warrior in the Bible. But she demonstrated great courage, strength, and strategic thinking in her efforts to save the Jewish people from a plot to exterminate them.
While Esther did not engage in physical combat like Deborah or Jael, she demonstrated bravery and leadership in a different way. She used her intelligence and cunning to outsmart her enemies and save her people.
Powerful women warrior Bible verses
If you want to camp out in Scripture and spend some time pouring over the Scripture passages that make clear God’s design for women as powerful female warriors, look no further than Genesis 1-2, Judges 4-5, and Proverbs 31. Begin there, and you will be blown away by God’s design and inspired to live it out in your own everyday life to the glory of God and the wellbeing of others.
Prayer to become a female warrior in the faith
Lord God, You have shown us in Your Word the amazing design you thought up for women. You created us to be female warriors, strong women who walk in Your strength alone to defend the oppressed, help the needy, and strengthen the weak. This is an amazing mission You have given to us, and we are humbled, blessed, and honored to be able to live it out.
We pray that You would guard us against the lies and temptations of the enemy who wants us to sit down, shut up, and stew in our own supposed weakness. Help us instead to serve the Kingdom well by walking in the strength You generously give to us and want us to walk in every day.
May You help us, guide us, strengthen us, and use us so that we might come to the defense and help of others to Your glory and their good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Guest Author: Rebekah Hargraves
Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, homeschooling mama of two, blogger, podcaster, speaker, and author. Her passion is to edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood, particularly with an emphasis on the gospel and its implications for everyday life.
Rebekah’s books: “Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)” (2017), and the “Lies Moms Believe” Companion Bible Study” (2018).
You can connect with Rebekah via her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, Instagram, or on iTunes via The Home and Hearth podcast.