God at work through her
Judges 4:11-24 (JDV)
Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite had moved away from the Kenites, the sons of Hobab, Moses’s father-in-law, and pitched his tent beside the oak tree of Zaanannim, which was near Kedesh.
Judges 4:12 It was reported to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up Mount Tabor.
Judges 4:13 Sisera called to arms all his nine hundred iron chariots and all the troops who were with him from Harosheth of the Nations to the Wadi Kishon.
Judges 4:14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day Yahveh has handed Sisera over to you. Hasn’t Yahveh gone before you?” So Barak came down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.
Judges 4:15 Yahveh threw Sisera, all his charioteers, and all his army into confusion before Barak’s assault. Sisera left his chariot and fled on foot.
Judges 4:16 Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth of the Nations, and the whole army of Sisera fell by the sword; not a single man was left.
Judges 4:17 Meanwhile, Sisera had fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between King Jabin of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.
Judges 4:18 Jael went out to greet Sisera and said to him, “Come in, my lord. Come in with me. Don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.
Judges 4:19 He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink for I am thirsty.” She opened a container of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him again.
Judges 4:20 Then he said to her, “Stand at the entrance to the tent. If a man comes and asks you, ‘Is there a man here? ‘ say, ‘No.'”
Judges 4:21 While he was sleeping from exhaustion, Heber’s wife Jael took a tent peg, grabbed a hammer, and went silently to Sisera. She hammered the peg into his temple and drove it into the ground, and he died.
Judges 4:22 When Barak arrived in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to greet him and said to him, “Come and I will show you the man you are looking for.” So he went in with her, and noticed Sisera lying dead with a tent peg through his temple!
Judges 4:23 That day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites.
Judges 4:24 The power of the Israelites continued to increase against King Jabin of Canaan until they cut him down.
God at work through her
God was at work eliminating the threat of Jabin’s army by means of Barak’s army. God was also at work eliminating Sisera through Jael — a Kenite housewife. She could have stayed in “her place” and waited for her husband, or a male soldier to do it, but she did not. She violated her assigned gender role in order to obey God and do what he called her to do.
This is one of the many passages in Scripture which help me to form a more comprehensive theology relating to males and females. I accept that God created us with differences, and bow to his wisdom in doing so. But I cannot accept that those differences are so profound that I should question the actions of someone like Jael. The Bible has nothing but praise for her courage and commitment.
God is also at work through his servants and soldiers today, and many happen to be women. Many of my fellow Christians feel uncomfortable about that because they see it as a reflection of an ungodly moral revolution. Having taught many female ministry students, and raised three daughters, I see it as something else. Jael is among us, and she will get the job done, because God is at work through her.
LORD, thank you for working through any of us who is willing to obey you.