11 “Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.
12 When Sisera was told that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called out all his chariots, 900 chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot.16 And Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.
17 But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him.20 And he said to her, “Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. 22 And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.”
“Lord, when you went out from Seir,
when you marched from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled
and the heavens dropped,
yes, the clouds dropped water.
5 The mountains quaked before the Lord,
even Sinai before the Lord, the God of Israel.”
24 “Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
25 He asked for water and she gave him milk;
she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.
26 She sent her hand to the tent peg
and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
she struck Sisera;
she crushed his head;
she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 Between her feet
he sank, he fell, he lay still;
between her feet
he sank, he fell;
where he sank,
there he fell—dead.
I put this post together last Wednesday and never posted the draft version to my blog. Today is Monday, May 12th and I opened my emails to read a few devotions, after reading this weeks assignment on Delilah, and found that God still has something for me to learn about Jael.
|Monday May 12, 2014|
|Most blessed among women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. May she be blessed above all women who live in tents.|
|Judges 5:24, NLT|
|Wars often invade homes, and battles are usually fought in someone’s backyard. The differences between soldiers and civilians are not always clear. Allegiances shift. Sometimes people in the same family choose opposite sides of a war to support. When Israel declared war with Canaan, Heber the Kenite, a descendant of Moses’ father-in-law, was on “friendly terms” (Judges 4:17) with the Canaanites. But apparently his wife Jael wasn’t so sure.
During the decisive battle of the war, Sisera, the Canaanite commander, abandoned his post and fled for his life. He sought refuge in Heber’s camp, and Jael invited him into her tent. He let down his guard and went to sleep, trusting Jael to keep watch. Instead, she drove a tent peg through his temple and killed him. When Barak, the leader of Israel’s forces, came looking for Sisera, Jael presented him with the body.
Jael’s actions were probably not premeditated. She could not have known beforehand that Sisera would run to their camp. She was faced with a terrible dilemma–Sisera and his army were supposed to be her protectors, not the reverse. Sisera’s presence put her family at risk. Killing Sisera was probably the best plan she could think of to ensure the safety of her people from the conquering forces of Israel. If so, the plan worked, because Deborah commemorated Jael’s action as a hero, ridding Israel of a ruthless oppressor.
The Bible includes Jael’s story as an illustration of one way God accomplishes his will even when the primary actors don’t cooperate. Barak hesitated in trusting God, and therefore his triumph was partial (Judges 4:9). When we fail to obey, others are sometimes placed in harm’s way. Jael serves as an example of desperate courage, but the central lesson in these events is the need for decisive trust in God. Others may not follow through with their duties and roles before God. They can’t be our excuse. We must respond as well as we can to the opportunities God places before us.
1. What was God’s role in these events?
God orchestrated and ordained these events. These things happened in order for God to fulfill His promise to His people.
2. Use three adjectives to describe Jael before she kills Sisera. Pretend you don’t know what she is going to do and describe her just from 4:17-20.
3. Why do you think Jael did what she did? Do you see her as brave, treacherous, fearful, desperate? How much do you think her life experience in a brutal culture had to do with it?
4. Why do you think Deborah praised her for such a savage deed?
5. What do you think God wants you to take from the story of Deborah, Barak, and Jael, and all of the death woven within it?