As you may have noticed by now, I have kind of taken up this blogging thing on a daily basis.
Having to pick a theme not just for every post, but for every day is an entirely new world for me. I didn’t even realize this until I began blogging once a day, but when I start my day by writing something, my entire day shapes itself around the theme or topic on which I write.
Today feels like a day for an adventure. What do you say we take another dive into the Scriptures? As I recall, I left off the story of Barak and Deborah at a critical time.
Let me get you up to speed. Currently, the armies of General Sisera are defeated, God sent a discomfiture upon their chariots and an army of 10,000 Israelites under the command of Barak have invaded the camp in search of Sisera.
General Sisera saw the men pouring over the hills and his chariots stuck fast in the muddy ground. The scene came back and plagued him over and over again. The mighty armies of the Caananites were destroyed, and now he, the great General of King Jabin, was fleeing for his life.
The valley of Harosheth was filled with the dust-brown tents of his encampment, their flaps blowing in the gusty wind that whipped through the valley of Harosheth. These tents would be searched, he couldn’t hide here. Searching frantically as he ran, casting glances over his shoulder every few seconds, Sisera stumbled upon a woman. A woman? In the Canaanite camp? Wait-, he knew this woman, she was the Kenite’s wife, what was his name… Heber. The Kenite was a friend of the Canaanites and had allowed Sisera’s army to camp in this valley. Surely this woman would help him.
“My lord,” she called out, sensing his need for haste. “Turn aside into my tent and fear not. The Israelites shall not trespass against a woman to search her tent. You shall be safe.”
The general thought hastily, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand casting another furtive glance over his shoulder.
“Fine, hide me.” He said, following after her into the tent.
When Jael, for that was the woman’s name, had safely concealed Sisera in her tent, she slipped her mantle from off of her shoulders and draped it over his.
“Can I get you anything?” She asked compassionately, staring deep into the eyes of the pitiable general.
“Water, water.” Sisera gasped, exhausted from running.
Jael fetched him a skin filled with milk from off a hook near the opening of the tent and opened it for him, offering Sisera its contents. The general drank greedily, then lowered the canteen and looked up at the woman, questioningly.
“Why are you helping me?” His voice was hoarse and his features were crestfallen.
“You are a man of nobility, a general in the army of King Jabin, I hate to see a man disgraced and hunted down like a beast.” She said compassionately. “Now lie down, and rest. You are safe here.” She told him as she went towards the tent opening.
“Yes, good. You stand watch, and if any man asks you, I’m not here. I never even passed this way.”
“As you wish… My lord.” A dark smirk lit up Jael’s face as she turned away. The instant Sisera’s head hit the ground he was asleep, fatigue had taken a mighty toll on him and he slept heavily.
Jael waited for several minutes until she was sure that the general would not wake, then slowly she crept to where he lay. Picking up a hammer and a tent stake from off the ground near Sisera she took aim, positioning the stake at his temple. Jael swung the hammer with such force that the stake drove straight through the man’s skull and into the earth on the other side.
Suddenly, she felt ill, realizing she had just killed a man. Her knees became weak, but she knew she must get word to the Israelite army. Standing on wobbly legs, Jael walked to the opening of the tent and heard the sounds of the soldiers searching for Sisera.
“You can stop your searching.” She called out. “The General is dead. Come and see.”
Barak, being near at the time, heard the woman’s words and ran into her tent to see for himself. He found Sisera dead and then remembered the words of Deborah.
“Because you have done this, you will receive no honor in battle. Sisera’s death will come at the hand of a woman.”
Barak looked upon the dead general at his feet. He had failed, and this woman had succeeded.
Thus ends the tale of Barak and Sisera. The real story can be found in Judges 4.
I hope this post has allowed you to view this history differently. These were real people, living real lives, not just stories.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist