The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting, They stay in the strongholds; Their strength is exhausted, They are becoming like women; Their dwelling places are set on fire, The bars of her gates are broken.- Jeremiah 51:30
“You fight like a girl.” “Stop acting like a woman” “The effeminate will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The scripture above is an insult to the Babylonian army. Their strength is weak and they are fighting like a girl. They are becoming like women. This is an insult to the mighty men. But is it an insult to women as well? Should women be offended when a man tells another man to stop acting like a woman.
The temptation is to think that this is sexist or to think that this is demeaning to women. But the scriptures are the word of God, the God who created both male and female and called them very good. So no, this is not an insult to women. And here is the reason why?
God made men and women with a common purpose, to love God and love their neighbor. Yet he gave them different ways to carry out this same purpose. That is he gave them different traits that would enable them to love in ways that are uniquely male or uniquely female. Men are by nature bigger, stronger, more apt to think in terms of cold facts and reason, and even rougher skin. I know someone will point to an exception here or there where a woman is bigger than a man. But we are speaking in generalities which are true. Women by nature have softer skin, bodies designed less for fighting and more for giving-life, and are more emotionally intelligent, that is they often think more in terms of relationships. All of these traits in men are meant to be used to love God and neighbor in particular by leading their homes, churches, and states, protecting those underneath their charge, and fighting the enemies of God both spiritually and at times physically. They are to use their strength, their hardness, their bodies and minds for others. Women also too are to use their design for love of God and love of others. They do this by giving-life, being nurturing, strengthening relationships, and beautifying things around them. What is often our strengths are often our weaknesses. A woman’s softeness is a weakness when it comes to fighting and other things that a man is supposed to be equipped for. Its not morally wrong for a woman to not be as strong as a man. Nor is it really a deficiency because her weakness is what enables her to be soft and nurturing. All of this is good and part of God’s design.
But when a man refuses to live up to his duty and starts taking on feminine traits, he is rejecting God’s design for him. Actually it is a bit of a misnomer to say a man takes on feminine traits. Because a man cannever be a woman he cannever truly take on femininity. But he can attempt to mimic it. He can be soft, focused on the emotional, and ect. But when we mimics these traits, he is distorting the feminine. He is distorting because he is trying to take on something not given to him and he is doing so not in order to love God and love others as he was created to do. A man who is effeminate is distorting femininity for his own self interests and lusts. It’s a mockery of femininity. It’s a parody. It’s a gross distortion. The same would go for a woman who attempts to take on masculine traits. A butch woman takes on these traits as a distortion. She most often does it for her own self-interests and self-preservation.
Now bringing this all back around to when the bible says that these men are becoming like women. It is simply saying that they have become weak in such a way that unlike men who are made for war, these men are acting more like women who are not designed for war. Its an insult for sure to the men. No man wants to be called a woman, because he was not made a woman. He was made a man and to be called a woman is to say that he isn’t capable of being what he has been created for. It’s a shame to him. On the flip side, to call a woman a man is of the same kind of insult. To say she is manly, is to say that she has left behind her created calling and isn’t capable of doing what she was created for. It is an insult that stings because God designed us to want to be what he made us.
But none of this is an insult to women. Its not an insult to a woman to say she can’t fight in a war as a soldier anymore than it would be insult to the owner of a nice porcelain coffee cup to say that they shouldn’t use that as a hammer. No godly woman would want to be a soldier.