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Family Matters (Heber and Jael)

But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

Judges 4:21

READ Judges 4.

Nestled in the dramatic exploits of Samson, Barak, Deborah, and other famous judges is the story of Heber and Jael. If you read Judges 4 too fast, you can breeze right through the events and miss out on their connection. While we don't know much about it, we do know it holds a substantial biblical significance. The enemies of God were being attacked again. At the time, the world was unwilling to allow a lady to lead, but what could they do when the man selected was too scared to fight?

Enter Heber and Jael. We aren’t told of the size of their house or the direction of their tent, but we do know that their abode was positioned in the path of the Sisera, the fleeing king. There was an alliance between a neighboring kingdom and Heber’s family. It was that alliance Sisera was relying on when he attempted to secure relief and respite from the encroaching army.

The marriage is one where we know that they made an allegiance, or pact, with a neighboring nation. We know that the family was open enough with the contract that both the husband and wife were aware of the agreement. We also know that the wife was home and welcomed the stranger in. God allowed the couple to be on the same page in that their allegiance to God and His people was more important than their loyalty or connections to people. 

Without thinking about her plan, Jael carefully and skillfully prepared Sisera a cup of milk and allowed him to fall asleep. With a calculated strike of a tent stake, she killed the sleeping king, driving the stake through his temple. Here we see why family matters. Jael understood her family’s connection to God mattered more than an alliance with a country. 

As a couple, are you on the same page when it comes to your priorities? Do you see that one friend that is an enemy of God is a threat to your very existence? 

Thought Questions

  • How are you protecting your home to make sure that your commitment to God is the ONLY priority?
  • Are there any friendships or family connections negatively affecting your relationship with God and your spouse? How can you adjust these relationships to ensure that your home is respected?

Life Lessons

  • Often in life, we face the decision to choose between God or man. The first four commandments highlight that, while the challenge may come, God is always (and must always be) FIRST!

Further Study

Read Joshua 24:15. What “gods” stand in the way of you completely serving the true God with all your heart - is it money, popularity, materialism, status, ambition, or something else? Join your spouse in prayer, asking God to help you to remove those other gods and commit to serving Him alone.