23 October 2009

Jael pounds a tent stake through a sleeping man's skull

In God's last killing, God “discomfited” the Canaanite army, causing them all to be killed. (It's not clear how God did this, but he probably forced them to kill each other. He likes doing stuff like that.)

But Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army, somehow managed to escape. And that night he passed by Heber's tent (Heber was an ally of the Canaanites), which is where Jael enters the story.

Jael was Heber's wife and she came out to greet Sisera, inviting him to stay the night in their tent. She prepared a bed for him, gave him a glass of water, and tucked him in for the night.
Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Judges 4.18-19
Then, after he was asleep, she drove a tent stake through his head.
Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.4.21
OK, so what, you say. Why blame this killing on God?

Because God blamed it on himself. Deborah, who was a prophetess, said the killing would take place, and that God would take an active part.
The LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. 4.9
After the killing Deborah even wrote a little song about Jael and her blessed hammer.
Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be,
blessed shall she be above women.

He asked water, and she gave him milk;
she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.

She put her hand to the nail,
and her right hand to the workmen's hammer;

and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head,
when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. 5.24-26
So there you have it. Jael is the most blessed of all women. I think there's even a well-known prayer about it. It goes like this:

Hail Jael, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women....

Or maybe I’m confusing it with another prayer.

God's next killing: Gideon's story

12 comments:

matt311 said...

...and blessed is the fruit of thy wound, Hammer? :-P

I don't think I'd ever want her to pray for me; she'd probably drive a stake through my head for just asking for a raise at my job.

Marcus said...

The moral of this story is to wear a helmet at all times.

Brucker said...

No, no, you're misquoting. Mary is blessed among women (Luke 1:42), while Jael is blessed above women (Judges 5:24). Sorry Mary, maybe if you had killed a few foreigners...

Steve Wells said...

Oh, so Jael wasn't a women. Is that what you're saying, Brucker?

(If Jael was a woman, and she is blessed above women, then wouldn't she be blessed among women, too?)

twillight said...

Ah, the highly important teological dilemmas! This's almost as good as the "had Adam bellybutton?"

Brucker said...

I think the implication is "blessed above (all other) women".

Oh, and since it was brought up, I think Adam had a bellybutton just as much as he had an X-chromosome.

Steve Wells said...

I think the implication is "blessed above (all other) women".

Which is exactly what Catholics mean when they say "blessed art thou among women" in the Hail Mary. (I know. I used to say it all the time.)

Oh, and since it was brought up, I think Adam had a bellybutton just as much as he had an X-chromosome.

So you think there was a real Adam, eh Brucker? The first human, unrelated to any other animal, and directly created by God from the dust of the earth on this very day 6012 years ago?

And you say you think Adam had an x chromosome. Do you think he had a y chromosome, too? Or did he just had one x chromosome like Jesus did? (Since Jesus was a product of parthenogenesis, he had only one x chromosome -- which means that he was really a she. So maybe Jesus was blessed among women, too. Now we have 3 candidates for the title!)

Brucker said...

So you think there was a real Adam, eh Brucker?

Well, I'm not a strong literalist, but there are theological implications to the story in Genesis 3 that present problems if Adam did not exist.

And you say you think Adam had an x chromosome. Do you think he had a y chromosome, too?

My belief is that he would have been largely indistinguishable from any other man.

Or did he just had one x chromosome like Jesus did? (Since Jesus was a product of parthenogenesis, he had only one x chromosome -- which means that he was really a she. So maybe Jesus was blessed among women, too. Now we have 3 candidates for the title!)

Hmm, I've never heard that theory. Of course, what with Jesus supposedly being the product of parthenogenesis, it is interesting to speculate as to His genetic makeup. I've always figured that since it's a miraculous conception, just about anything's possible. He could be a clone of Mary (and thus genetically female), the genetic offspring of Joseph (despite not being the physical offspring), or even no genetic relation to His earthly parents at all. I've never heard any convincing reason to think any of these was the definitive option, though.

Oh and thanks for the link, I've always wondered where Ussher came up with his data, maybe I should read more about it. Happy Birthday, Earth! Any excuse for a party...

Prometheus said...

This is one of those bible verses that sticks in your head, er, I mean it's a memorable verse.

busterggi said...

Cheez Brucker, you sure are willing to go through any sort of mental gyration to affirm your fairy tales!

Yeah, there are theological problems if there was no real Adam but there are other problems if there was.

Of course there were no explanations for Jesus' genetic make-up in the bible or other classical Christian writings - none of those people knew that genes even existed.

Apologies & apologists evolve even though they don't believe in evolution.

I Am said...

What a heartwarming story. I don't know if this is better or worse than what happen to John Bobbitt in his sleep.

Come to think of it, the Bobbitt story sounds like the kind of material that could be in the Bible. Would go right along with Deuteronomy 23:1 and God's general obsession with genetalia.

matt311 said...

Ah, yes; Adam's belly button, which Phillip Gosse so hilariously tried to justify with his Omphalos hypothesis:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis

You ought to tear it apart in some detail, Steve.