Lilith’s alter-ego, the Canaanite goddess Anat, is a ferocious warmonger who revels in bloodthirsty violence and mayhem. The men of Israel revered her mother Asherah and her brother Baal Hadad, but they feared Anat.
In fact their fear of Anat was much greater than their fear of God. They lacked sufficient trust in Him to believe He could defend them against her wildness and anarchy.
Now by ‘men of Israel’ I don’t just mean the ordinary fieldworkers, shepherds and labourers. I also mean the leaders. I mean famous figures like Joseph, Elijah, Elisha, Jonah and Barak.
And by ‘men of Israel’ I really am singling out the males—because the greatest opponent of Anat in Scripture, Jesus of Nazareth excepted of course, the only person of valour willing to stand up to Anat and contest her claims to supremacy, was the prophetess Deborah.
In fact, Anat and Deborah counterpoint one another.
Anat is deemed a mother of gods, Deborah a mother in Israel.
Anat is considered a judge of gods and men, Deborah is the only female judge in the history of Israel.
Anat is seen as the torch of the gods, Deborah is thought to be a ‘torch-wife’, rather than merely the wife of Lappidoth, whose name means torch.
Anat is mentioned in Deborah’s song of victory. Her role in manipulating ‘appointed time’ may be referenced when Deborah claims that the stars in their courses fought against Sisera and his forces. This may be an astrological allusion to the kind of divination that seeks a suitably favourable time—a moment appointed by the powers of heaven—to go into battle.
Yet, as Deborah makes clear, such moments are in the hands of the Lord.
After twenty years of oppression by the Canaanites of Upper Galilee, Deborah summons Barak and instructs him to assemble an army on Mount Tabor. He’s decidedly reluctant to do so until she agrees to come with him. His name means lightning and it’s clear he’s a foil to Baal Hadad—Anat’s favourite lightning-wielding brother. But Barak is afraid to face the Canaanite armies despite Deborah’s assurance of his favour with God. He’d feel better about the whole expedition if a fearless, faith-filled woman is at his side. A woman who can make mincemeat of Anat’s appointed time for victory by prophesying the day of Yahweh.
Because women tend to fear Anat so much less than men, they are natural targets for dispossession. Just so Anat can put them back in their place. In today’s world, the rights and privileges that have been understood as belonging to women for millennia—the right to special, inviolate spaces, to safe areas, to protection from predators, to their own identity as women, is being stripped from them.
Anat the dispossessor wants them to be afraid and for those who might protect them to have the timidity of Barak, not the bravery of Deborah. Because then defeat is so easy.
This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May you know Jesus of Nazareth as your defender.
Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.
Understanding false refuges is the single most important step towards dealing with the obstacles barring you from coming into your calling. Hidden in the Cleft explains false refuges in more detail and is available as a paperback or an ebook.
The steps involved in working through false refuges, cancelling covenants with Death and replacing your cornerstone are to be found in the appendices of God’s Pottery.