For the last couple of posts, we’ve been looking at the story of Barak.  Though he followed God’s plan his hesitancy allowed a woman to receive credit for ultimately killing the leader of the opposing army.

When I read the end of the story, I was surprised that Jael killed Sisera.  Afterall he was her husband’s friend and he had come to her seeking refuge.  She gave him something to drink, covered him and once he was asleep she drove a stake through his head.  I didn’t see that one coming.  Why would she do that?  I found a viable explanation from the blog of Shawna Atteberry

“But that leaves the question: why did she kill him? Sisera is on sacred ground, and the rules of hospitality are that you will fight, and if necessary, die in your guest’s place, not kill them. First she was in danger if Barak did find Sisera in her tent. She would then be seen as Israel’s enemy. The second reason is possible rape. In Deborah’s song the verses that follow Jael’s murder of Sisera have Sisera’s mother saying that he delays because there is a woman (literally “womb”) or two for each man to rape (5:38-40). She did not want to have the same fate befall her. It is also worth noting that if Sisera’s intentions were honorable, he would have gone into her husband’s tent and not hers. In my “Judges” class in seminary, we learned that the tradition of the time was for the husband and wife or wives to have their own separate tents. There was no reason for Sisera to be in her tent. If her husband came home, she would have been accused of adultery. She was protecting herself from possible rape as well as the possibility of being killed.”