Judges 4 -5
Jael kills Sisera
Jael’s story is similar to the one told about David and Goliath. A seemingly, weak person, Jael, triumphs over a terrifying and apparently invincible warrior, Sisera. The story celebrates the defeat of Israel’s enemies and the power of Israel’s God. Jael called Sisera into her tent, hid him and fed him. After he fell asleep, Jael killed him by driving a tent peg through the side of his head. She was hailed as a national heroine by the pursuing Israelite forces, led by Deborah and Barak.
The story is terrifying. A general is killed by a gruesome act. The grim reality is that we live in a fallen world. Terror and brutality still exist. Terrible acts of violence happen. Israel had been held hostage by a conquering king. Israel had been cruelly oppressed for two decades. The people’s cry for deliverance had gone up to the Lord. Barak had acted in fear. Jael acted in faith. By her act of bravery, Israel is delivered. Jael’s daring act of courage translated into freedom. With Sisera dead, there was no longer a threat to Israel. The land had been saved and the people spared. A greater good is served, but it is filled with violence.
The crucifixion and death of Jesus is also by no means a pretty sight. Crucifixion was a cruel form of tourer. Only the vilest of offenders found themselves on the cross. But this was the means by which the world’s salvation was delivered. Christ the innocent person is handed over to a violent death to win for the world forgiveness and life.
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of light now in the time of this mortal life in which Your Son Jesus Christ, came to visit us in great humility, that in the Last Day, when He shall come again in glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to life immortal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS
Collect for Newness of life in Christ, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis