Now, it may be odd that a man would write about a female Bible character, but that’s what I want to do right now. I am currently working my way through the Old Testament book of Judges. In the fourth chapter, a female is introduced who goes by Jael. She seems like an alright gal until you keep reading. Sisera was a commander of the forces opposing the Israelites. God gives victory to the Israelites and Sisera is running for his life. He finds Jael, who is the wife of Heber and she offers him rest and some milk. The rest, they say is history.
After giving him the milk and covering him up with a rug (I assume he was tired and wanted to sleep on the floor), he passes out from exhaustion. While Sisera is sleeping, Jael reaches with her left hand and grabs a tent-peg and with her right hand she picks up a hammer. Now, the first thing I am thinking is maybe she’s going outside because the wind has blown one of the corners of the tent loose and she must fix it. Wrong. She takes the tent-peg and drives it through the temple of Sisera and pins him to the ground. It doesn’t say how long it takes for Sisera to die, but eventually the loss of blood gets to him.
That would have to be a horribly painful way to die. Rather than being killed on the battlefield by a sword or even a disease that he picked up due to an open wound, he dies from a tent-peg. In my lifetime, I don’t think I have heard of people being killed by a tent-peg. I hear all the time about a knife or a gun or even a car accident, but this is the only place I have heard about a tent-peg.
Jael must have been a stout woman because she drove it all the way through his head into the ground. She did not stop at just puncturing the skin and inflicting some pain, she nailed his head to the floor. Jael is more like Xena than maybe even Xena herself. This seemingly nice and hospitable woman is ultimately a hardcore fighter and she does not fight with traditional methods.
So the next time someone tells you the Old Testament or even the Bible for that matter is boring and dull, refer them to the story of Jael and Sisera in Judges chapter four. After reading that, it is easy to see that there is interesting stuff in the Bible.
Have you heard this story before? Have you heard of a death caused by a tent peg? Is there something that would be worse to die from?