Great Women of the Bible Challenge- Jael

Jael- The woman who killed Israel’s enemy

Bible Reference- Judges 4:17-22, Judges 5

Family Background- Jael was the wife of Heber the Kenite

Name Meaning- Jael also Yael, is a Hebrew name which means wild mountain goat

Who is Jael?

We are introduced to Jael in Judges 4. God told Deborah that she would deliver Israel from the King of Canaan. Deborah called Barak to lead a army against the King of Canaan. However Barak wished that Deborah would go with him in battle. Deborah agreed but prophesied that it was a woman that would deliver Israel from its enemy. The King of Canaan’s army was led by Sisera.

We learn that Sisera the enemy of Israel  fled to Jael’s tent. The Bible tells us this is because there was an alliance between Jabin the King and Jael’s husband.

Jael greets Sisera and invites him into her tent. She tells him not to be afraid.  He asks for water and she gives him milk. Sisera tells Jael to stand by the doorway of the tent and if anyone asks if anyone is in the tent say no.

However Jael picket up a tent peg and hammer, went quietly to him while he was sleeping and killed him.

Then Barak was looking for Sisera and Jael met him. She showed him the dead Sisera.

Why is Jael great?

To be honest when I first came across Jael when reading Deborah’s story, I did not think much of her. Should I include this woman in my study of the Great Women of the Bible? This woman used her hospitality skills to kill a man. What a sly woman? These were the thoughts running through my head. But then something struck me which is in Judges 5:17-22 and completely changed my mind on Jael.

Deborah described her- ‘Most blessed of women be Jael’. This struck me. Why did it? Jael is only one of two women in the Bible to be described as blessed, the other is Mary (mother of Jesus). This tells us something, that this woman is  special indeed. She is great because she was a fearless heroine, who killed the man who oppressed God’s people.

What can we learn from Jael?

Jael is not your ‘typical biblical great woman’. She is not as well known as the others. I questioned Jael’s actions over and over again. To offer hospitality and safety to a person, then the next minute murder him, I thought was really mean. In fact, evil. Remember, Jael’s husband was at peace with Sisera’s master King Jabin.

She may not be your Mary or your Hannah but there is something incredible we can learn from her. That God can use anyone to fulfil his plans. God told Deborah that he would deliver Israel from Jabin and Sisera. Jael, a non-Israelite and woman gave Israel the final victory over King Jabin and Sisera. Imagine at the time, a woman playing a role like that- it is only right to describe Jael as fearless and blessed.

Jael’s actions could be seen as unjustifiable, as she murdered Sisera. However God out of that, brought something good. Sisera under Jabin oppressed God’s people, Jael’s actions gave Israel deliverance and victory. There is a lesson here that although we may have committed a sin or been unfaithful to God, God can always bring about good.

Stay Blessed

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GREAT WOMEN OF THE BIBLE CHALLENGE-BATHSHEBA & DEBORAH

I hope you all had a great weekend and a blessed start to the week. Great women I looked at was Bathsheba and Deborah. Hope you are blessed by it. Enjoy!

Bathsheba-A woman who turned her sin around

Bible Reference- 2 Samuel 11, 2 Samuel 12, 1 Kings 1:11-31, 1 Kings 2:13-19, 1 Chronicles 3:5

Family Background-She was the daughter of Eliam and was married to Uriah the Hittite

Name Meaning- Bathsheba means the daughter of an oath

Who is Bathsheba?

Bathsheba is introduced to us from 2 Samuel 11:2 onwards. She is described as a very beautiful woman and her family background is given.

David got up from his bed one evening and saw Bathsheba bathing. He saw how beautiful she was and sent someone to find out about her. He found out her family background and that she was married yet he still sent for her. They slept together and she conceived. What I find hard to understand is why was Bathsheba bathing outside? The fact that David saw her bathing must have meant she exposed herself for all to see. If she was modest then she would have realised that people may have been able to see her. Additionally, if she had been a faithful wife, she would have refused David when he had sent for her. If she was a woman of principle she would have refused to take part in adultery.

After Bathsheba tells David of her pregnant condition, David comes up with a plan. To hide his sin, he sends for Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was fighting as a solider in the Israelite army. Uriah refused to come back home and have physical contact with his wife whilst his colleagues was fighting. Uriah was a man of integrity and honour. He wished to be with the rest of the soldiers and serve his King. David even made Uriah drunk, but he did not go home. Realising that his plan had failed, David sent a letter to Joab for Uriah to be put in a place where the he was likely to be killed. I find it shocking that Bathsheba could take part in an affair with a man her husband risked his life for. After her husband’s death, Bathsheba mourned for him. However after mourning, Bathsheba she moved to David’s house. She became his wife and bore a son.

God was displeased with Bathsheba and David’s behaviour. God sent the prophet Nathan to make David and Bathsheba realise the sins they had committed. As a result the son they bore died. Nathan told David, God had forgiven him but there would be calamity in his household.

 

Why is Bathsheba great?

You must be wondering why I think Bathsheba is great. After all she did with David committing adultery, murder, deceit, lust and betraying Uriah. However she turned it all around. From a woman whose sin resulted into murder, became a blessed woman with favour. God blessed David and Bathsheba with a son called Solomon which the Bible says the Lord loved him. David was repentant of his sin and it seems Bathsheba was too, otherwise God would not have blessed her with this child. God could have given Solomon to one of David’s wives, but he chose Bathsheba. Bathsheba continued to have influence over David which is seen when she reminded David of his promise to her. This promise was that their son would be his successor. Bathsheba’s son, Solomon was known for his wisdom which is seen in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Songs of Solomon. Solomon became King and was known not for only his wisdom but also his wealth and power. To have a child who was an extraordinary blessing, Bathsheba herself must have been great.

Indeed, Bathsheba was a great woman as she was included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1. This is evidence that God restored Bathsheba to divine favour.

 

What can we learn from Bathsheba?

We can learn from Bathsheba, that God can turn it around. He can take away our sin and make it clean. All we need to do, is to be repentant of our sins. I am amazed at how God blessed Bathsheba- look at how she started and look at how she ended! From the woman who lead a King to commit murder, then give birth to a renowned wise King and became an ancestor of Jesus. This is a 360! Bathsheba did not allow one sin to ruin her life. Instead she used her mistake to  direct her future steps.  God can take our sins and turn it into something great!

Deborah-The Prophetess Judge

Bible Reference-Judges 4, Judges 5

Family Background-She was the wife of Lappidoth

Name Meaning-A bee

Who is Deborah?

Deborah was a prophetess, a judge and a warrior. She is introduced to us in Judges 4:4 as a wife and a prophetess leading Israel. At this time, Israel was under the King of Canaan who was oppressing them. The commander of his army was Sisera. Immediately as you read this passage, you get a sense that Deborah was a woman of substance. She was leading a nation, was a wife, prophetess and a counsellor. She is also described as the ‘mother of Israel’ in Judges 5:7. This shows that Deborah was a maternal figure to all of Israel, that she took everyone in and was a mother to all.

Why is Deborah great?

I believe Deborah was great because of her role as a Judge of Israel. She is the only noted female judge in the scripture where  she sat under a palm tree named after her. Deborah’s role as a ruler is extraordinary, as at that time women would have been in the background. However she gave justice and settled disputes under her palm tree. Deborah was  a wise and intelligent woman to lead a land where it had peace for forty years.

I also admire the patriotism and fight Deborah had in her. She was brave and had great courage. This can be seen when she sent Barak to lead the 10,000 army and deliver Israel from their oppressors. Barak was hesitant to go, but he wished that Deborah would go with him. This shows that Deborah was respected as a fearless and brave warrior. Sisera had commanded 900 iron chariots. However Deborah declared that God had given Sisera into their hands. This came to pass where Barak and his men won the battle where not one man was left. Deborah knew that when God is on your side of the battle, that the enemy cannot win.

In Judges 5, the song of Deborah can be seen. This demonstrates not only could Deborah prophesy, lead battles and counsel but she could write. Deborah was a songwriter and a poetess. The song gives praise to God for delivering Israel through their leaders. Deborah was a woman of many talents.

What can we learn from Deborah?

Deborah was an incredible leader. Deborah had a remarkable personality and various gifts which delivered Israel from its enemy. She was gifted with wisdom and courage. I also admire how her reputation is based on her own merit, rather than coming from someone else. Most great women in the Bible, were married to great men or related to one. However Deborah did it on her own. Girl power! From this I learnt that you do not always have to rely on someone’s name to be great, you can carve out a name for yourself. She trusted in God’s words that he gave her. I also learnt that in a powerful position you must be grateful, thankful and humble. This is seen in the Song of Deborah when she magnifies God for enabling her and Barak to conquer Israel’s enemy.

 

Stay Blessed

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