Perhaps the most well-known example of female warriors is that of the Amazons.
The Amazons are part of Greek mythology. They supposedly lived in modern-day Turkey but in ancient times Scythia. The Amazons are the stuff of legend. They did not allow men in their society although they procreated with the men of neighboring tribes. If a male was born he was either killed or given to the tribe of the father. Another story that has come down to through ages says the Amazons removed their right breast so they better could draw the bow.
It’s the only story I know of that features a race of all female warriors although throughout history females have taken up arms along their menfolk.
For example, the Romans encountered some female warriors in Briton, most famously Queen Boudicca immortalized for leading an almost successful revolt against the Roman invaders.
The Romans also made mention of the various German tribes and female warriors.
It is doubtful however that were ever many genuine warriors within those tribes. The recent movies King Arthur and Centurion both feature fearsome female warriors but it is far more likely the vast majority of women who took up arms did so on spur of the moment or because things were quite desperate.
In modern times women have become part of the military in most if not all western nations. During WW2 for example the Russians employed all women units in limited combat roles as they “manned” anti-aircraft units, sniper units (famously I might add) and even fighter airplane squadrons.
Russia seemed to be the exception to the rule however and women’s roles in the military were limited to non-combat functions thus, in my opinion reflecting a Christian view of women’s roles.
A number of years ago I read an article by a Reformed pastor. He was commenting on the trend and pressure to open up the combat arms (infantry, armor, artillery) of the Army to women. He said something like this:
A nation that uses its women in the combat arms (intentionally) is a nation not worth defending.
Well, the fellow had a biblical worldview-the view that most western nations that claimed a Christian heritage also had. There was a time when the men of a nation would have thought it shameful for the women to be risked in combat rather than protected by the men. This is why you never hear of female knight in the middle ages. The combat arms were reserved for men and the idea was to preserve and protect not only the nation or state but also the women and children.
So much for chivalry and the idea that men ought to protect women because now my country has determined to allow women in the combat arms. There are plenty of good arguments of why this is a stupid idea but I’m going to stick to the biblical principles fully realizing that many who read this might think the Bible irrelevant compared to the politically correct fantasy of making everyone “the same.”
“Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head. From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company. (Numbers 1:2-3 ESV)
Enlist the men to go to war.
“And I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘The LORD your God has given you this land to possess. All your men of valor shall cross over armed before your brothers, the people of Israel. Only your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall remain in the cities that I have given you,
(Deuteronomy 3:18-19 ESV)
The men of valor cross over to go to war, the women and children stay behind (where it is safe). Also Joshua 1:14
Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, lest you become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.” (1 Samuel 4:9 ESV)
This is interesting verse because it deals with Philistine warriors and directly says, be men and fight.
The fact is both cultures, Hebrew and Philistine were shame based. This meant among other things it would have been dishonorable for women to fight if there were able-bodied men able to do so.
These cultures utilized a kind of male militia drawn from the tribes that made up Philistia (five larger cities) or Israel (12 tribes). As time went on small standing units of men became more of the professional kind of warrior. King David’s 300 mighty men of valor would be an example.
Some countries went all out and increased the number of standing units. Assyria is probably the best well-known. All the cultures in the mid-east were shame based and in case of war that meant men fight wars, women do not for it would be dishonorable for a man to allow a woman to fight for him. It would disgrace his family name and that of his clan and his tribe.
It’s not until recent times that shame in this context belongs to that by gone age. Now there is little shame for anything much less allowing women do the man’s fighting.
Feminism and egalitarianism have taken their toll all in the name of what-the right to give our daughters, wives, grand-daughters the “right” to be splattered in a war just like the men.
Personally, I have great admiration for women in the military (my mother-in-law was a WAC during WW2) and when they get into the combat arms I will still respect them. I have no doubt they will give their lives for the country just as well as any man. I’m just ashamed of my country for letting them do so.
- Given Deborah, Jael, and Judith, Why Shouldn’t Women Serve in Combat? (christianitytoday.com)