Engage

Jael

Nondescript. The daughter of no one,

married to a drifter whose family name

was her only defense in a world gone mad.

The days slipped away indistinctly,

reckoned only by periodic returns of the drifter,

drenched in stale wine and declaring marital rites.

With a yank and thrust he dashed her humanity,

dispensing with it like the delicate yarn restraining

her raven hair. She watched it descend to the floor—

silent, soft, slow. He dressed, turning back while departing to

demand that she pack; they’d decamp within the month.

She stepped outside into the downpour—

a welcomed washing of his dankness

from her skin. Despite the drumming thunder,

an eerie silence fell. Her thoughts drifted to her neighbors—

those conquerors-turned-captives at odds with the King.

Then, a blaze of lightning torched the dark,

pulling a man from the shadows. He drew nearer. Though

deprived of his distinctive armor, it was beyond a doubt the General Sisera.

Decorum dictated her invitation, but he would’ve demanded it anyway.

All she had and was he could despoil. Yet she dealt gently,

disarming him with docility. Deference played duet with dominance

until the latter succumbed to slumber.

Dashing to the drawer, she drew a weapon of domesticity.

Returning, kneeling, she made out his breathing. His head was turned,

just so; his temple still soiled as evidence of his mortification in battle.

A shallow breath—his. A gasp—hers. Now, death’s blow…dealt by

the hand of a friend, not the clash of a foe…at the hand of a woman,

nondescript.

*Read Judges 1-3. Why are enemy tribes still in the Promised Land?

*Read Judges 4. Who had God commanded to fight and conquer the Canaanites? Is Jael an Israelite? 

Consider: Was Deborah’s prophecy of Jael’s act (Judg 4.9) divine sanction of it or is there greater meaning? 

Amy Leigh Bamberg

Amy Leigh is an Alabama native, but never drinks sweet tea or cheers for the Crimson Tide. Ever. She grew up working on her family’s cattle and catfish farm, shucking corn, slinging cow patties, and singing in the church choir. But, she longed for more. She attended Auburn University and studied horticulture and worked for several years in the commercial and residential sectors of the green industry. Then she joined the staff of a local church, equipping thousands of volunteers, developing systems and structures, and pastoring every step of the way. She attended Dallas Theological Seminary where the focus of her coursework was theology of the body, theology of beauty, and the role of women in ministry. Amy Leigh works as a free-lance landscape designer, consultant, author, and teacher. And she still longs for more, which is why her articles address topics such as faith, culture, creation, the church, and relationships.