If I Had A Hammer

Judges 4:1-7 – The 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time – for Sunday, November 16, 2014

“I’ll lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, to assemble with his chariots and troops against you at the Kishon River, and then I’ll help you overpower him.’” (Judges 4:7)

Jael and Sisera have different bedtime plans . . .

I’m in over my head with Judges. I’ve spent hours reading and wondering and studying about Adam and Eve’s creative fling in the garden, Moses’ trudge toward the promised land, and David’s royal travesties and triumphs.

But I haven’t dwelled in the Biblical pages of Judges for much quality time. I could only talk about the history in a general way. Can’t easily explain the theology. Not sure when it was written, or by whom.

Frankly, given the brief glimpse of Judges provided in this week’s “lectionary lesson,” I would’ve preferred to spend time with Jael, a woman mentioned later in the book’s fourth chapter. Not long after meeting Deborah, the “star” of Judges 4:1-7 and the focus of Judges 5, the strong-stomached Biblical reader will be introduced to another woman named Jael. Jael served God’s, er, “good” purposes with some common—common, if you’re part of a tribe in the desert—household items. The final verses of chapter 4 with Jael were edge of the seat stuff compared to Deborah’s mild opening.

But . . . Judges 4:1-7 was the official reading. And so the opening of Judges’ chapter four involved the serene, let-me-share-insights-with-you Deborah. As the prophet Deborah sat under a shady palm tree in the lovely Ephraim highlands, settling disputes between . . .

Hey, hold your holy horses! What about Jael? What did she do?

Glad you asked! Continue reading →