Today, we continue with the second part of Mary in the Old Testament. In the month of November, we will return to this theme again. Last week, in Part One, we discussed how Mary is foreshadowed and fulfills the Old Testament women of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Miriam. For this week, we will focus on: Deborah, Judith, Esther, and the heroic mother of the Maccabees.
As last week, you will need your Bible for this blog post, so make sure you have it handy.
1. Deborah, Prophetess and Judge: Read Judges 4
Deborah, a prophetess and one of the twelve Judges of Israel, leads the General Barak into battle. Deborah helps Barak by attacking Sisera. Another woman, Jael, finally kills him by driving a spike through his head.
Mary is the woman in complete enmity with Satan. She participates with Jesus by crushing the head of Satan (read Gn 3:15). Genesis 3:15 is known as the Protoevangelium (First Gospel). It’s the first time we read about Mary and Jesus in the Scriptures. This is why you often see statues and pictures of the Blessed Mother crushing the head of the serpent. Mary plays an integral role in the action of destroying the Devil.
2. Judith, National Jewish Hero and wife of Manasseh: Read Judith 8-15
Judith fights to save her people and cuts off the head of the Holofernes, a general in the Army of Nebuchadnezzar. The head represents man’s exclusivity. Like Deborah, Judith is a national hero, who rises up among the Israelites to defeat the enemies of Israel.
Judith, who was called “blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth” (Jdt 13:18) is fulfilled by Mary in Luke 1:42 – “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Like Judith and Deborah, who crush the ahead of their oppressors, Mary crushes the head of Satan and is incomplete opposition of the evils works caused by Satan.
3. Esther, Queen Mother: Read Esther 4:16; 7:1-10
Esther is the Queen Mother, who risks her life and enters the chamber of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) to save the Jewish people from an unjust law that would kill them. She is very brave and knows that she could be killed for her actions, but carries on with her mission. Like Judith, she trusts in the God’s absolute providence. God’s plans may not always be clear and concise, but in the end he will be the victor.
Mary, the Queen Mother and Mother of Jesus Christ the King, participates in the mission of redemption with her Son, which saves all of humanity from everlasting death and loss. In the Old Testament, the queen was often the king’s mother, since he had many wives. For an explanation of this subject, read the blog post – “Mondays with Mary” – The Queenship of Mary.
4. Mother of the Maccabees: Read 2 Maccabees 7:1-41
The heroic mother of the Maccabees watches and supports as her seven sons face martyrdom for not breaking the Covenant (dietary laws). She in the end is also martyred.
Like the mother of the Maccabees, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, watches and cooperates in the death of her Son while He is on the cross, to bring salvation to the world. This foreshadows the seven Sorrows of Our Lady that she bears in her Immaculate Heart (read Lk 2:35; Jn 19:26-27).
Reflections for this week:
– When was the last time you defended the Catholic faith from someone who attacked it? If you find that you must do it this weekend, don’t back down and explain it.
– If you are a mother, how do you embrace your mission on a daily basis? Could your mission as mother improve for your children?
My Class Notes from Mary in the Modern World Course at Franciscan University of Steubenville
Miravalle, M. (2006). Introduction to Mary. Goleta, CA : Queen Publishing.