Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jael, Rhymes with Nail

Then Jael, Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand..... Judges 4:21

Gary had barely finished reading the passage about Ehud and Eglon, when Sue’s eyes lit up. “That was great!”, she said with excitement, “but I’ve got another story that I like too.”

We didn’t see a lot of emotion from Sue. She was a devoted Christian. Anyone who spent time around her soon realized that. But she was not what you would call outgoing. There was always an air of quiet about her. She could bond with children and, for some reason, she was not shy around Glen. His rough exterior and blunt manners did not seem to frighten her one bit.

But her avid expression and enthusiasm over the story of Ehud and his home-made dagger, did seem out of character for someone with such a quiet personality.

Maybe it shows that all of us are more complex than is generally realized?

“Have we got time to read it too?” she asked.

“Unfortunately” said Joy. “I mean business this morning has really been slow. But let’s hear the story you like so much..”

“Gary, I bet you know where it is.”

“Where what is?” said Gary, with an air of mild curiosity.

“I mean my favorite story in Judges, or a least one of my favorites. It’s the one where Jael takes a hammer....”

“Oh, sure” said Gary. I know about where it is. The heading in my Scofield has it under “Sisera’s defeat and death.You would think Jael would get the top billing, not Sisera.”

“Sisera was such a powerful force against Israel” said Glen, who had been quietly taking this all in..Not only the subject matter was of interest to Glen, but he liked to find which parts of the Bible appealed to each of his friends. He said he learned a lot about them in this way.

“Sisera had nine hundred chariots of iron. In those days chariots were the equivalent to tanks in the modern army.”

“I’ve read this story” said Joy.“Why doesn’t it mention how many chariots Israel had?”

“Israel was forbidden to have chariots, or even horses” said Gary.

“Good point, Gary” said Glen. “Israel was meant to rely on God to gain the victory, not horses and chariots. When they went out on foot and defeated enemy forces that came at them with armored calvary, their victory showed that it was by the hand off God that they were able to win.”

Sue listen quietly, but you could see she was impatient to hear the story.
“Sorry to interrupt, Sue” said Glen, “Just a little background, is all.”

Joy spoke, after an apology to Sue. “You know, Israel went into battle knowing they would win. Deborah, a prophetess, spoke for God. She said He would deliver the enemy into their hands. Now I’ll shut up so we can hear the story.”

Gary began to read: And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. Judges 4:15

“Imagine Patton leaving his armor outfit and running for his life!, exclaimed Glen.

“That’s how bad this is.”

Gary read on “But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword: and there was not a man left. Judges 4:16

“Not a man left of the army, just their leader, Sisera” said Gary.

Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet 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.

“He figured he was safe” said Sue gleefully.

And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in to her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And he said to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.
“Nighty night!” said Sue, obviously enjoying this part of the story.

Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? That thou shalt say, No.

At this point Sue clasped her little hands together in childlike anticipation.

Then Jael, Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. Judges 4:21

“Just like Deborah foretold” said Joy. “Deborah said the Lord would sell Sisera into the hand of a woman”

“Every man feared that fate” said Glen. “It was considered a curse to die at the hands of a woman.”

We turned to Gary, who completed the story: And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, Come and I will show thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead. And the nail was in his temples. Judges 4:22

Sue’s left hand curled as if to hold a tent stake. She swung an imaginary hammer down with such vigor that her locket came out of her dress and swung on its chain like a pendulum. “Pow, pow, pow!” she swung three times, killing Sisera again in her imagination.

“Take that!” she said.

We all watched her in amazement.

Joy’s face had an expression that seemed to say “Who have I got working in my store?”

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