The bible is filled with women of faith, bravery, and cunning. Here is one woman's tale ' as it might have happened
Jael ' s Story
' Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be,
Blessed shall she be above women in the tent. ' Judges 5:24
Like many a bride-to-be, Jael looks forward to a long, loving marriage. But when her husband, Heber, takes her home to live in the company of his other wife and concubine, Jael ' s dreams begin to crumble. The women in her tent warn Jael that, to bear Heber the sons he demands, she will have to risk shame, betrayal of her vows, even possible execution '
But in the darkest moment of her life, there sparks a flame: a young warrior named Levi enters her life ' and Jael is presented with a life-changing decision, one that will affect the fate of all the people of Israel. Now there ' s no turning back on the path that will lead her to change history ' by doing the unthinkable '
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March 07, 2006
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Excerpt from Women of the Bible: Jael's Story by Ann Burton
I stepped out of the bride's tent, accompanied by my father and my brother, to the sound of clashing tambourines and the high melody of the flutes-as well as to the racing of my own heart. My fingers tightened around my father's arm. I walked forward to meet for the first time the man to whom I would be given as wife.
We were all gathered-my family and friends, our neighbors, and my soon-to-be-husband's family, including his other wife and many of his sons at the high shrine of Baal on Mount Tabor, to beseech the god whose rains brought fertility to the earth to bring the same fertility to our union. Such is the custom of Canaanites, who are my people. And the Kenite Heber had adopted our customs as his own. This, both my mother and my father told me, would be a good thing: I could keep my house idols; I could worship my own gods; I would share my husband with another wife who was Canaanite like me.
My family was pleased that they had arranged such a favorable match for me. "He's a close friend of King Jabin," my father said, "and of Jabin's great general, Sisera. Heber has the trust of the two most powerful men in Hazor."
"He is rich," my mother said. "He will give you fine clothes, and jewelry, and good food to eat. In his care, you will not want for anything."
Heber had paid my bride-price extravagantly, as befitted a man of his wealth; he had given my father a matched pair of oxen, both young, strong, and healthy, and a cast Baal of solid silver that he had made with his own hands. My father declared the oxen extraordinary, while my mother praised the exquisite workmanship of the little idol.
"You are marrying a man of means," my younger sister said with envy in her voice. "And a man whose other wife, and even whose concubine, has borne him strong sons." She said I could count on the blessings of Baal to give me sons.
In every way, I clearly faced a fine future. The augur had foretold for me many strong sons by Heber, and much happiness in his household. The morning was cool and bright, befitting the season, the sky clear, the witnesses happy, the revelry waiting to begin. I could not offer up a single complaint or a single reason to worry; my parents had worked to give me the best future possible.
Why then did my heart race like a whipped horse?
I hid within my veils and prayed to each god or goddess who might help me-to Father El the Bull, Mother Asherah the Serpent of the Sea, Anat the Maiden, Ashtartu the Divine Nymph. I prayed that Heber would be good and kind and gentle. That he would look at me warmly and with pleasure, that he would welcome me as a companion, that he would give me both sons and daughters. I prayed that he might be fair to look upon, though I was quick to offer up fairness of face and form in exchange for goodness of spirit.
I leaned upon my father's arm for guidance as we made our way to the altar that stood between the bride's tent and the groom's tent. The veils over my face so blinded me that I could make out only barest shapes, only those borders where dark gave way to light, or light to dark. I stumbled, and my father made a soothing sound and kept me on my feet.