Baruk puffed as he climbed Mount Tabor, fully aware he needed to cut down on the Date Delights and spend more time lifting water jugs. He remembered the youth he once had been. That was then, this is now and I don’t regret spending my old age sitting under a date tree reading and eating all day ... except when I have to climb mountains. He had been annoyed when Deborah, the prophetess sent for him early in the morning and told him of her stategy. He set aside plans for a good read in the cool of his tent and instead, gathered ten thousand men to lead up Mount Tabor. It seems the Lord had decided to answer the cries of the Israelites and he had been chosen to head things up. Deborah would lure Sisera, the commander of King Jabin’s army, to the Kishon River and deliver him into Baruk’s hands. He’d pleaded with Deborah to go with him and she had responded with an angry retort. He winced as he remembered her words.
“Isn’t that just like a man. Hmmph, always hiding behind a woman’s skirt. Very well, I’ll go, but the honor will not be yours, Baruk. The Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.”
Baruk shuddered at the oppression the commander had laid on the Israelites. Why me? All I ever wanted was to spend my retirement quietly. Now I’m stuck on a mountain with a woman with an attitude.
Tent of Heber, the Kenite
“Jael, honey, don’t forget to milk the goats.”
Jael yawned, rolled up her blanket and put it against the wall of the tent. Heber bent down to kiss her. “Goat milk breath,” she muttered, “ Can’t you take the time to brush? And I bet you’re off to visit your new friend, Sisera. You’ve been spending a lot of time with him. I wish we hadn’t moved away from our old allies, the Israelites. You could have gotten a job back home.”
“But here I can work on King Jabin’s chariots. It’s a great vocation, one of the best.”
“ I guess you’re right, but I think you’ve taken up with scummy friends.”
Sisera’s servant pulled the curtains and the great wail of Israelites crying out to God floated through the window. “ Hey, what’s going on? Isn’t it enough to live in a town whose name I can’t pronounce? Noooo, I have to command the King’s army with an order to oppress those miserable people. Does King Jabin have to wake up to constant whining? Noooo. Only I , a man whose youthful dream it was to ride in a Camel Rodeo. I’ve half a mind to pull the covers over my head and let their God handle things today.”
That’s just what Sisera did until he was prodded by Heber .
“You must get up. I’ve come to tell you that Baruk has gone to Mt. Tabor with ten thousand men.”
“Baruk, smaruk, I was dreaming of breaking a bucking camel and you wake me up with trouble? Oh, all right, go and round up all the men from Harrosssss Hagga ... whatever ... and tell them to get the chariots ready to roll. Now back away, friend, you reek of camel’s milk.”
Sisera, his men and chariots advanced towards Mount Tabor. Deborah pushed at Baruk’s backside. “ Go now! Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?”
Baruk stumbled down the mountain, gaining strength from God. With a mighty roar, his men attacked. and overturned the Sisera’ s chariots. Metal wheels spun in the dust. His men fell by the Lord’s sword. Alas, Sisera was not among the dead bodies.
Tent of Heber:
"Oh my foot, ouch, ooch!” Sisera stopped to empty his sandal of stones. He’d abandoned his chariot and fled on foot.
“Come quickly, you are at Heber’s tent. I am Jael, his wife. I will hide you.”
Jael gave him some warm goat milk. Soon Sisera was sleeping like baby.
Her eye fell on a tent peg. Remembering her earlier alliance with Israel, she took a hammer, steadied the peg and drove it through Sisera’s temple. Baruk passed in pursuit of Sisera and did a double take as Jael pointed to his enemy’s death.
Who knew? Two men and one woman began their day unaware of the circumstances that would immortalize them in The Song of Deborah. Yet, every day, ordinary people awake and are led by God on an extraordinary adventure.
Reference: Judges 4 & 5
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