Deborah, Barak, Yael, and Sisera
In Chapter 1, I argue that gender was a central concern of Adam and Eve’s story, which establishes the Bible’s conventional gender norms in which men and women have distinct social roles, and women are subject to men’s sexual and social authority. Eve and Adam’s story justifies the imposition of conventional gender norms by first presenting alternative gender norms that are unsustainable and threatening. Their story, post-transgression, testifies that men and women are not equal counterparts as they were immediately after Eve’s birth, and that women should not exert authority over men as Eve does when she gives the fruit to Adam. Instead, gender roles should remain distinct and gender hierarchy intact. The Bible, I contend, is invested in gender hierarchy not only because it preserves male social power but also because it preserves divine power. Eve and Adam’s story is a lesson in hierarchy in which the relationship between man and woman mirrors and impacts the relationship between God and man. Just as Eve learns to be subject to Adam, Adam learns to be subject to God. He learns not to obey Eve but to obey God.