Throughout the Bible, there are many stories of strong and heroic women. In this series, we will explore a story of a faithful biblical woman each month. With their strong faith, the women of the Bible continue to teach us how to live authentic, faith-filled lives. No matter what our circumstances are, we can find ourselves in their stories.
Last month we learned about Deborah, an Israelite warrior that led her people to victory in a battle against the Canaanites and their commander Sisera. During this time she foretold that, “The Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” And that woman was Jael.
Jael’s husband, Heber, was a friend of the Canaanite King, who happened to be Sisera’s leader. However, Heber was also related to the Israelites, as he was descendent of Moses. Through kinship responsibilities, Jael’s heart was faithful to the Israelites and God.
But her husband Heber was a businessman and therefore remained on good terms with the Canaanites. Jael and Heber were tinsmiths who made farming utensils, domestic items and weapons. They traveled where they could find work. Their campsite was close to the battlefield because they were making and supplying weapons for the army.
Sisera saw the encampment of Jael and Heber as a refuge after his bloody battle that day. The Israelites had killed all of Sisera’s men, and Sisera was the only survivor. He was running for his life when he runs to the tent of Jael. Jael had her own tent, separate from her husband’s tent.
Sisera tells Jael to stand guard and if anyone arrives to lie and say he was not there.
Jael covered him with a rug, which suggests that he was afraid and wanted to hide. Then she gave him goat’s milk, and he fell into a deep sleep, exhausted from the battle and fleeing.
This is when one of the most graphically described murders in the Old Testament took place. Faced with a man who was superior to her in physical strength, Jael used her wits and courage. She took the wooden hammer steel tent pegs that held the tent ropes, and then with one blow, she drove the peg into Sisera’s head. Even a second of uncertainty or hesitation could have meant tragedy. Did Jael think of God’s people and of how this man had abused them for decades? Or did she think of the privilege of taking her stand for God? With Sisera gone, the Canaanite oppression was over. Peace prevailed for 40 years for the Israelites, and Jael was blessed for putting her faith in God.
Many of us need to have the faith of Jael. She trusted God rather than submit to fear. You may face what seem like insurmountable circumstances in your own life, but we can put our trust in God when making our decisions.