There are several women today who grew up on fairy tales narrated, animated, and sprinkled with pixie dusty – to be more happy or joyful than the originals – by Disney. Each one of them who favored a princess, pretending to be her on the playground, grew up to be a woman who has an underlining want to have a guy brave enough to save her from evil or love her for her mind when everyone else treats her like a freak. Even I, who favored a female space captain over a princess, have this underlining want.
It isn’t that I don’t trust God to give me the strength to be brave or to provide a way to escape the clutches of evil when the time is right. Nor do I mind anymore about being the odd duck in a crowd. It’s the idea that someone’s willing to fight, to pursue. Because if he’s willing to fight for me, then he’s willing to fight beside me when we come together and face the enemy together. It also means I can trust him to lead our household well, especially if he’s listening to God’s guidance.
I guess that’s why I love the story of Aksah and Othniel so much. Having not grown up in a Bible reading home, I didn’t know of their existence until last year. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, though, Lord willing.
“And Caleb said, ‘I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.’ Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage. One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, ‘What can I do for you?’ She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.” –Joshua 15:16-19 (Echoed in Judges 1:12-15)
“The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.” –Judges 3:7-11
Othniel – according to scripture – was the only one to step forth and lay down his life for Aksah. No one else seemed willing to risk it. (Or maybe they didn’t want Caleb as a father-in-law. ‘Man, I’ll be glad when we finish claiming the Promise Land so I can get away from that guy.’) Othniel not only fought for her but he also listened when she spoke. She urged him to speak with her father about owning land. Instead of telling her no, they visited her father with that intension. Amazingly, Caleb addressed her instead of his son-in-law in relation to such a matter and gave her what she asked of him.
I may be wrong, but I imagine Aksah had a good, level head and a strong will. I mean, she had Caleb, a spy turned warrior, as her father and he listened to what she had to say. He allowed her to speak her mind and neither he nor Othniel stopped her form making a land request even though land ownership was a decision and responsibility for the head of the household.
Then, we see in Judges 3 that Othniel was a godly man. The Lord used him to deliver the Israelites, he was blessed with the Spirit’s presence, and the Lord gave him strength to overpower the king of Aram. Scripture doesn’t say Othniel ever took his eyes off the Lord. Instead, it says there was peace throughout his days. Whether or not Aksah was with him until the end or not, scripture doesn’t tell us that either. However, as far as I can tell, she was his only wife.
A girl couldn’t ask for a better love story. It gives women of strong wills hope that there is an Othniel out there somewhere for them.
As I write this I pray the Lord is watching over my warrior wherever he may be. May his eyes never lose their focus on Jesus. May he be brave when the Lord deems it time for us to meet and may I be open to receive him. Until then, may we both be doing what God asks us to care for, continuing on our journey with Him as we grow in the faith.