the General and
the Hammer Woman (Part 2)
by Sophia Prinsloo
Text Version | Afrikaans
(Continued from Part 1)
Deborah, the prophetess-judge...
...Barak, the general of Israel's army...
...and 10,000 brave warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulon...
...were ready for battle!
They were waiting on Mount Tabor for the Lord's command to march down towards the valley of the winding Kishon River. At the bottom, they would meet King Jabin's General Sisera and his army of 900 iron chariots.
A man by the name of Heber pitched his tents under a tall tree not far from the place where Deborah, Barak and the soldiers gathered. Remember Moses, the man who led Israel out of Egypt? Well, Heber's family was related to Moses' wife and in the past was on the Israelites' side. Now, however, Heber was on the side of King Jabin and Sisera because they were stronger than Israel and his family was good friends with King Jabin.
Heber usually moved around a lot, living in tents with his people. His wife, Jael, was always in charge of pitching the tents. When Jael first married Heber, she was so clumsy at pitching tents. She would try to hit a tent peg with a hammer and miss it, hitting her hand instead. OUCH! Sometimes she did not hit the peg straight on its head and it would go into the ground crooked. Sometimes she did not hammer the pegs deep enough into the ground. Then they would pull out when she went inside the tent and the tent would cave in on her. All the children would laugh at her as she struggled to get out from under canvas. And when she finally got out, they would go running, trying to get away from her and her hammer.
As she practiced and practiced, Jael got better and better at hitting tent pegs. Later, she became so good at it that she did not miss even one peg with the hammer. She would hit it straight on the head, driving it deep into the ground with each blow. Little did she know that the Lord was training her hammer skills to one day use for his purpose and for his glory.
In the meantime, Sisera's spies told King Jabin that General Barak and his army were gathered on Mount Tabor. Some people suspected Heber as being one of those spies.
Sisera quickly called all his soldiers, prepared his 900 iron chariots and rode like the wind through the valley of the Kishon River. They drove all the way to the foot of Mount Tabor. Sisera thought nothing could stop him and his 900 chariots from winning the battle, not even the God of Deborah and Barak, but soon enough he would find out all about the Lord's mighty power.
On the Lord's command, Deborah said to Barak, "Now is the time for action! The Lord leads on! He has already delivered Sisera into your hands!"
So General Barak led his 10,000 brave soldiers down Mount Tabor to go into battle with Sisera's army. Suddenly, lightning and thunder filled the skies and, before long, the soldiers became drenched from the heavy rainstorm. The water of the Kishon River rose higher and higher until it flooded its banks.
The ground became soft and squishy, causing all 900 of Sisera's heavy, iron chariots to get stuck in the mud and sink. They quickly lost all their might because they could not move one step closer.
Sisera's soldiers jumped off the iron chariots...
...fleeing on foot before General Barak and his army.
They ran like rabbits in all directions, but they could not get away fast enough. General Barak's 10,000 soldiers slaughtered them all before they could reach Harosheth. Not one soldier survived.
Only Sisera got away. He was very anxious and ran straight to the tents of Heber, thinking he might get some protection from King Jabin's friend. Jael came out to meet him and said, "Sir, come here. Don't be afraid. You can hide in my tent."
Sisera was very glad because he was very tired and had nowhere to go. Jael covered him with a blanket in her tent. He was very thirsty and asked Jael, "Lady, can I have some water, please?"
Jael said, "Sir, for a great warrior like you, I'll do even better than that!" So Jael gave him some milk to drink in a pretty cup. He drank eagerly. When the last drop was finished, he lay down and Jael covered him with the blanket again.
Then Sisera told her, "Stand watch at the door of the tent and if somebody asks you: 'Is there someone here?' you must say, 'No, nobody!"
While Jael stood at the door of the tent, Sisera fell asleep. He was totally exhausted from fleeing on foot before General Barak's fighting soldiers. Jael waited patiently until she could hear him snoring softly. Then she silently took a tent peg and a hammer and quietly snuck up beside him.
Suddenly a mouse came running through the tent! Jael gasped with fright as the mouse ran straight across Sisera's legs. Fortunately, Sisera was so sound asleep that he did not wake up. Whispering a little prayer: "Please, Lord, help me. I have never done this before," Jael moved closer to Sisera. With a couple of hard blows, she hit the peg with the hammer and drove it right through his head at his temples, and into the ground.
...BANG! BANG! BANG!
Sisera died immediately.
Not long after that, General Barak arrived at Heber's tents, still searching for Sisera. Jael called to him and said, "Come, look here! I'll show you the man you are looking for." When Barak looked into her tent, he saw Sisera on the ground with the peg right through his head, as dead as could be. Barak marveled at how Deborah's prophesy came to pass with a woman taking the honor of killing Sisera.
The news spread like wildfire through all of Israel and everyone celebrated with loud cheering. Deborah rejoiced in the Lord, and she and Barak sang a song together.
In the song, they had harsh words for those who did not want to come and fight with them. But they praised God for raising up willing leaders and willing people who worked together to make the victory possible. Everyone had an important part to play but, most important of all, they gave all the honor and glory to God while they sang:
♫♪ "I sing praises
to the glory of the Lord. ♪
♫ I praise the Lord,
the God of Israel,
with my song!" ♪♫
From that day on, Israel became stronger and stronger against King Jabin of Canaan until they destroyed him completely. Then there was peace in the land for forty years while they served the Lord. Praise the Lord, the God of Israel!
It doesn't matter if you're a leader or a follower in God's army. Whatever you do, whether small or great, must always be done with a servant's heart, to honor God and bring glory to his Name.
1. How many women did God use in this story?
2. What were their talents?
3. Which one was the leader?
4. Which one was the hammer-woman and got the glory for killing Sisera?
5. How many iron chariots did Sisera have?
6. Why was General Barak not afraid of the iron chariot army anymore?
7. What happened to the iron chariots?
8. Who sang a song of victory that day? Who won?
A VERSE TO LEARN
"He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).
AN ALTERNATIVE VERSE TO LEARN
"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23).
Heavenly Father, thank You for the talents You have given us.
Help us to use them humbly to bless other people,
bringing honor and glory to your Name.
If we are leaders, help us be great leaders and
if we are followers, help us be great followers.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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