We also left off with Barak trying to chase down General Sisera running for his life and Jael living in a tent. And here, our two stories intertwine…
Jael meets General Sister while he’s seeking shelter. Perhaps she motioned for him to come to her tent, or maybe hers was the first tent he could find. Either way, the fun’s about to start. But just to make Jael a little more real since I tend to think of Bible women as super hero types, let’s play pretend for a minute.
***** WARNING: Everything I’m about to say is complete conjecture…I am not quoting from the Bible nor am I trying to add to the Bible…just playing let’s pretend to try and remind myself that women from the Bible are not really different from me. Are you with me, can we try, just for a minute?*****
Jael was a tough, strong woman, with plenty of stamina for all the hard labor she was used to doing. How about her marriage to Heber? Was it an arranged marriage? Was it a good match or a difficult relationship? Being alone in her tent, had she ever had to fight off unwanted advances from other men who happened to stop her way for a drink of water and rest, knowing full well they’d never be denied hospitality? Did she have children? Maybe she had little kids full of energy and curiosity? Perhaps on the day that General Sistera arrived at her tent, the bickering between the children had been constant as they went about their chores while the baby had found some new trouble to get into? Perhaps she burned the bread while tending to their mischief. Maybe she’d had another sleepless night as one or more than one of the children woke up with nightmares. Perhaps she was tired and weary. Perhaps work had exhausted her more that week than usual.
I have no idea what her life was actually like, and it doesn’t really matter, except to gain perspective and remember that she was ordinary. She was an average woman just like us. So imagine on an ordinary day, a person of importance suddenly appears on her doorstep, expecting a pleasant and hospitable host and in need of a hideout. Then again maybe I’m completely off base and her life wasn’t as busy as ours, and she wasn’t tired or weary. Instead, it was probably full of rainbows and butterflies fluttering about while a chorus of birds whistled harmonizing tunes as she danced and skipped along sweeping her dirt floor, baking date pies, and singing with woodland creatures. Yeah, that sounds plausible (dripping with sarcasm…)
Whatever it was, Jael welcomes General Sisera to her tent, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” (Judges 4:18) She welcomes him with a nice blanket, assures him he’s safe and to not to be afraid. This girl sure knows how to make a guy feel at home! Sisera asks for some water, but instead of water, she ups it and gives him some milk (ooh la la!), puts him at ease and treats with him respect. She adjusts the covering over him one more time to make sure he’s comfortable.
Throughout all this hospitality…to a very dangerous and wanted man…she never once rushed. Jael practiced calm and intentional patience in her actions. Her deliberate, cool patience has a purpose and we’ll soon find out why…
(Judges 4: 15-24)