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.
Reflection by Darlene Wagner
It is rather frightening that Holy Scriptures would call Jael the “most blessed of women” for murdering Sisera while he slept. Sisera was likely known to be a cold-blooded killer in addition to being an oppressor of the Jews. Maybe, Jael’s slaying of Sisera was justified under the rough-and-tumble unwritten laws of tribal desert peoples. Then again, Jael extended hospitality towards Sisera, only to betray him with death. This would seem to run afoul of the high regard desert tribes place upon hospitality.
Despite the accolades she gains from the song of Deborah and Barak, Jael’s actions are indeed wrong when viewed from a New Testament perspective. Christ taught, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27). Paul taught, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him” (Romans 12:20). While God is unchanging, the human understanding of God grows throughout the ages to become more compassionate and just. From the perspective of imperfect human experience, God is still speaking.
Invocation: Most Compassionate Father, Thank you for patiently teaching us In your paths of peace and compassion! For human ways are not your ways; Violence is never part of your plan.