Women of the Word: Sisera’s Mother

Sisera was the captain of the army of King Jabin of Canaan. Together, they and the powerful Canaanite army were enemies of Israel and often oppressed them and fought against them. One day, Jabin sent Sisera and the Canaanite army to fight against Barak, Deborah, and the Israelite army. To Sisera’s shock, he and the Canaanite army were defeated and Sisera fled from the battle scene on foot. He soon came to the tent of a man named Heber the Kenite. But Heber wasn’t home. Only his wife, Jael, was. Jael welcomed Sisera into the tent and gave him milk to drink. Tired from fighting, Sisera lay down and soon sank into a deep sleep. When Jael saw that he was sleeping, she took a tent peg and a mallet (which is a hammer) and used these items to kill him.

When Barak and Deborah found out how and by whom Sisera died, they sang Jael’s praises in a song which is recorded in Judges 5:24-27:

Most blessed among women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Blessed is she among women in tents.
He asked for water, she gave milk;
She brought out cream in a lordly bowl.
She stretched her hand to the tent peg,
Her right hand to the workmen’s hammer;
She pounded Sisera, she pierced his head,
She split and struck through his temple.
At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still;
At her feet he sank, he fell;
Where he sank, there he fell dead.

The stanza following this one (Judges 5:28-31) makes mention of Sisera’s mother. Barak and Deborah imagine that when Sisera’s mother did not see him returning home victorious, she peered out the window and cried: “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?”

Barak and Deborah further imagine that a wise lady tried to assuage the concerns of Sisera’s mother by suggesting that he was dividing the spoils and captives of the Israelite army of which he had conquered. But this was not the case. It was not Sisera and the Canaanite army who had conquered, but Barak, Deborah, Jael, and the Israelite army.

We don’t know the exact response of Sisera’s mother to her son’s delay or how she reacted when she found out about his death. We can imagine, like Barak and Deborah, that she was initially worried and then grief-stricken when she learned of his fate. Sisera’s mother may have found it hard to believe that her son – a fearless warrior, mighty army captain, and all that jazz – was felled by a simple stay-at-home (or in those days, stay-at-tent) wife and an audacious female judge. What she probably did not realize was that it was not two women who defeated Sisera and the Canaanite army. It was the God in those two women. Continue reading

I Rise Today

I rise today
with the power of God to pilot me,
God’s strength to sustain me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look ahead for me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to protect me,
God’s way before me,
God’s shield to defend me,
God’s host to deliver me,
from snares of devils,
from evil temptations,
from nature’s failings,
from all who wish to harm me,
far or near,
alone and in a crowd.

—”Saint Patrick’s Breastplate,”
Old Irish, eighth-century prayer

Women of the Word: Singing and Dancing Women

David and Goliath is one of the most popular stories in the Bible. For forty days, the infamous Philistine giant held the Israelite army hostage – defying them, taunting their God, and flaunting his might in their faces. For forty days, King Saul and all the other Israelites were dismayed and terrified. They didn’t know how they were going to get out alive of the pickle they were in. Thankfully, David volunteered to fight Goliath. Because David relied on the power of God, he was able to defeat Goliath with just a slingshot and a stone.

After Goliath was defeated, David became the de facto leader of the Israelite army. Whatever mission he was sent on, he was successful. All Israelite troops and officers, and Saul’s son, the prince Jonathan, admired and loved him and were eager to follow him into battle. Even the common Israelite people loved David. 1 Samuel 18:6-7 reads:

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

This little ditty made Saul very angry and jealous, of course, but we’re not focusing on him. We’re focusing on the women who sang and danced because of the great miracle that God had worked for them through a simple shepherd boy who would later become their warrior and king. Continue reading

Women of the Word: Shelomith

The book of Leviticus in the Bible is often referred to as the Book of the Law because it contains numerous guidelines and rules for how God wanted His people, the Israelites, to live and handle various matters. One such matter was what should be done to someone who blasphemed the name of the Lord. Leviticus 24:10-12 reads:

Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them.

So what was the will of the Lord regarding Shelomith’s son? The passage goes on to tell us that he was taken outside of the camp and stoned by the entire assembly. This was to happen to anyone who cursed God or blasphemed His name. Even though she is mentioned in this passage, Shelomith is silent about her son’s behavior and she is silent about the punishment that took her son’s life as a result of his behavior. What can we learn from her reaction to this unfortunate situation? Continue reading

Women of the Word: Ministering Women In the Tent of Meeting

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After leaving Egypt, the Israelites took part in the construction of God’s sanctuary, also called the tent of meeting, while they sojourned in the desert. So dedicated were the Israelites to the sanctuary that they contributed more than was needed for its construction. They gave so much that the craftsmen in charge of construction told Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” Moses then had to tell the people, “Stop! Do not do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.”

The book of Exodus gives a very detailed account concerning the construction of the temple and the men who were involved in its work. But men weren’t the only ones involved; women and children were involved, as well. Exodus 38:8, in particular, reads:

He [a craftsman named Bezalel] made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting.

From the verse above we see that these women not only ministered in the tent of meeting, but they also assisted in its construction by allowing the bronze basins to be made out of their mirrors. Continue reading

Women of the Word (Recap 13)

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When God created woman, He made a very special creation. He made us beautiful and unique. He made us strong and resilient, gutsy and spirited, sassy and sweet. And He loves us. God really, really loves His girls. And the Bible is filled with many women – some good, some bad – all of who God made, who God loved, and who we can learn many lessons from.

So far in our Women of the Word series, we have looked at over 130 different female figures in the Bible. They all have something to teach us. So, (drum roll, please). Here is our thirteenth series recap:

View the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninthtentheleventh, and twelfth series recaps.

Women of the Word: Job’s First Daughters

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In previous posts, we wrote about four other women who were apart of Job’s life: his wife and his second set of three daughters, Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-Happuch. Now, we’re checking out his first set of three daughters who are namelessly mentioned in the Bible. Before a series of unfortunate events happened to Job, he had a relatively good life and a very large family. Job 1:2 says, “He had seven sons and three daughters.”

On their birthdays, Job’s sons liked to hold extravagant parties with a lot of food and drinks. They would invite their sisters to their parties and eat and drink for a long period of time. At one such party, which was held at the oldest’s brothers house, the brothers and sisters were eating and drinking and having a good old time when a mighty desert wind hit the house and caused it to collapse. Sadly, all of them died. What can we learn from the lives of three sisters who came to such a swift and unexpected end? Continue reading