UNSUNG HEROES

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  Jael  
 
 

Judges 4:17-24
17 Sisera, however, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there were friendly relations between Jabin king of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite.
18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come, my lord, come right in. Don't be afraid." So he entered her tent, and she put a covering over him.
19 "I'm thirsty," he said. "Please give me some water." She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.
20 "Stand in the doorway of the tent," he told her. "If someone comes by and asks you, 'Is anyone here?' say 'No.'"
21 But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.
22 Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. "Come," she said, "I will show you the man you're looking for." So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple--dead.
23 On that day God subdued Jabin, the Canaanite king, before the Israelites.
24 And the hand of the Israelites grew stronger and stronger against Jabin, the Canaanite king, until they destroyed him.


The setting is a scene of a fierce battle. The enemy is losing and Sisera the Commander of the losing side flees. He heads to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. He thought to himself, this is a safe place to hide and avoid being captured.

The Kenite tribes were allies of Israel, yet Heber's clan was friendly with Jabin's army - the enemy. His clan was probably the one who gave away the location of the Israel army. Jael chose to stay loyal to the Israelites unlike her husband, however she kept that information to herself.

Sisera had no reason whatsoever to doubt her loyalty. His guard was down since he didn't feel threatened in the presence of this woman, the wife of a faithful loyalist. Battle worn, tired, fleeing for his life he could finally relax as he was with someone he trusted, what harm could possibly come to him.

A dutiful, hospitable, respectful, concerned and sweet wife, yet there was a fierce commitment and loyalty in her that brought about unquestioning obedience to the unconventional role she was called to in God's amazing plan to bring victory to his people. She had a clear focus and very good understanding of her responsibility. She displayed a courage and toughness at a very crucial time and did not waver in fulfilling her duty. A woman unknown until then was Jael tending to her family and going about her ordinary normal life.

God however was preparing her for a special role and purpose in the history of Israel. She did not hesitate to accomplish what God had put on her heart to do. We don't need to have a role or title to fulfil God's purpose. We all have strengths and talents that can be used for God. In those days it was the women who put up the tents and Jael was very good at driving a tent peg in the ground. She did what she knew how to do best to bring victory to God's people. A small talent, a quick decision at an opportune time brought about complete victory for God's people. She did not wait for someone to come and get the job done. She could have waited for Barak to arrive and do the job, but she did not. She was a quick thinker and grabbed the opportunity that came her way.

Judges 5:24-27
24 "Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women.
25 He asked for water, and she gave him milk; in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk.
26 Her hand reached for the tent peg, her right hand for the workman's hammer. She struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 At her feet he sank, he fell; there he lay. At her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell--dead.


In her song honouring God, Deborah called Jael blessed for her obedience to God's call.

Like Jael if you were the only one in your family to stand up for God, would you do it or would you give into your fears and follow the crowd?

Was there a time when someone close to you, maybe your spouse, a sibling, a close friend or your mentor chose to make an unspiritual choice? How did you respond? Were you willing to take a stand? If not, what was the reason for it? Would you be confused or doubt fulfilling an unconventional role God calls you to? Something that was risky, way out of your comfort zone, dangerous and beyond your ability how would you respond? Would you respond with obedience or would you question God's wisdom in it?

Are you quick to act when an opportunity presents itself or do you wait for someone else to take the lead while you take a safer stand?

Do you use your talents to honour God?

Jael did something very radical, not something normally a woman would do. She was called blessed. We too need to be prepared to heed God's call anywhere, anytime, anyhow so that the victory can be the Lords.