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Sisterhood of the Serpent-Crushers
-or- The Shadow of the Seed of the Woman

A thread on women who crushed the heads of evil men and the great host of women in Psalm 68.

Image: "Virgin Mary consoles Eve" by Sr. Grace Remington OCSO, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
For the last few months, I have been studying Psalm 68 on and off. It's a magnificent song of David about the ultimate triumph of God over his enemies.
While powerful enough with a surface-level reading, (🔥Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation, v. 5🔥), the cross-references and allusions to the stories of women in the Bible add considerable depth and color to the Psalm.
Psalm 68 opens with battle lines drawn: “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; and let those who hate Him flee before Him" and it closes with a majestic description of the kingdoms of the earth worshiping: “Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord.”
An ultimately eschatological scene, the psalm is a prophetic description of “Day of the LORD” events: the judgment of the wicked, the joy of the righteous, the righting of systemic evil
(father of the fatherless, protector of widows, settler of the solitary, freer of the prisoners, restorer of inheritances) that ends in a command for the nations of the earth to praise the God of Israel, who has chosen Mount Zion as his holy habitation.
The turning point in the Psalm from open defiance to total international submission is verse 11: “The Lord gives the command; the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host: Kings of armies flee, they flee” As a result, God “scattered the peoples who delight in war.”
It was this “great host of women” that first caught my attention. Who are they? What part do they play in the victory of God? Why do they divide the spoil, but the men lie in sheepfolds? I don't have all the answers, but I thought I would share some of what I have stumbled across
Reference 1: An Enemy is Made
Genesis 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel
The fall narrative of Genesis 3 is the context for the first gospel declaration, that though mankind had sinned and rejected God’s leadership, God had a redemptive plan to reverse the curse of their disobedience in the form of a seed.
The enmity between the woman and the serpent comes to a head (no pun intended) when the offspring of the woman crushes the skull of the serpent, setting up a type that will be echoed throughout subsequent history.
This prophecy of the promised seed is referenced in Psalm 68:21. However, instead of a seed, it is God who is striking the head of his enemies. Could the seed and YHWH perhaps be one and the same?
Reference 2: Tent Peg of Justice, Men in Sheepfolds
Judges 4:21
But Jael...took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died.
After the rout of Sisera at the hands of Barak under the judgeship of Deborah, Jael seals the victory with some cold-blooded skull-crushing.
This fulfilled the prophetic word of Deborah, who told Barak that God would give Sisera over to a woman, lessening the glory of his battle victory. Deborah and Barak sing a victory song in chapter 5, which is echoed in several places in Psalm 68.
The earth and the mountains quaked at the marching of the LORD (Jdgs 5:5, Ps 68:8), it talks of the shame of the men who avoided battle, contrary to the summons of the LORD, but instead stayed in sheepfolds (Jdgs 5:16, Ps 68:13),
and women discuss the division of spoils (Jdgs 5:30, Ps 68:12)
Reference 3: Mt. Zalmon, Scorched Earth, and Millstones
Judges 9:53
And a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull.
In Psalm 68:14, David sings, “When the Almighty scattered the kings there, it was snowing in Zalmon.” Where is Zalmon, and what happened there? In Judges 9, Abimelech, the son of Gideon through one of his concubines, made Zalmon infamous.
This evil character conspired with the inhabitants of Shechem—his hometown—against his deceased father’s 70 legitimate sons and killed them in order to rule (see Jdgs 8:32—9:6). Eventually a dispute arose between him and the people of Shechem.
Abimelech besieged it, defeated its army, and murdered most of its inhabitants (see Jdgs 9:43-45). However, a thousand men and women fled to a fortified tower. At that moment Abimelech climbed Mount Zalmon to show his army how to cut branches from the trees.
Once they had enough firewood they transported it to the lower chamber of the tower. They set it on fire and burnt alive one thousand men and women (see Jdgs 9:49). This was a cruel and vile act.
Next, Abimelech went to Thebez, a nearby town, and captured it, but some of the people also took refuge in another tower. He decided to burn them alive, just as he had done to the people in Shechem.
However, as Abimelech approached the tower, a woman threw a millstone that landed on his head, “crushing his skull” (Jdgs 9:53). As he lay moribund, he was more distressed by the fact that a woman had brought him down than he was concerned about his impending death.
Consequently he commanded his armor-bearer to “draw your sword and kill me, lest it be said of me: ‘A woman slew him’ ” (Jdgs. 9:54).
It is inspiring, as a woman living in the Middle East, to read of a great host of women in the Middle East who will proclaim the victory of God as our ancient enemy is crushed underneath our feet (Romans 16:20) through the power of the promised seed of the woman.
Not only is this type and shadow echoed through the scriptures through the witness and story of our mother Eve, Jael, Deborah, and that certain woman who heaved the deadly millstone,
but now and especially in the future day of the LORD, we will be partners with the Lord as we sing about his glorious victory in real-time and join with the nations in proclaiming:
“Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.”

Across generations and nations, we are the sisterhood of the serpent-crushers.
May we see the scattering of God’s enemies speedily and in our days.
Amen! Maranatha.
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