Strange Weapons Lesson 2: The Peg (introduction and narrative)

March 18, 2011 at 11:55 am | Posted in Strange Weapons | 7 Comments
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Strange Weapons: A Prod, a Peg, and a Pitcher

Lesson Two: The Peg

[In Lesson One, I renamed Shamgar’s ox-goad a “prod” (as in cattle prod). Now I’m going to call Jael’s “nail” a tent “peg” – even though, where I’m from, “Jael” and “nail” rhyme.]

Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Judges 4:21

Both Shamgar’s prod and Jael’s peg were strange weapons, even though the days recorded in the Book of Judges were not such strange days. In fact, they were eerily similar to our “days,” in the sense that people were generally doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.

Judges 4:1-2

It appears that Jabin was king of the Canaanites, but his captain, Sisera, who had 900 chariots of iron, was the one who really terrorized the Israelites. He did not, however, terrorize their God:

And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.

Judges 4:15-16

This battle took place in the area around Mount Megiddo where – according to Revelation 16:16 – the battle of Armageddon will be fought. There were a number of Biblical battles fought at this location, and it is also the place where Napoleon defeated the Turks under similar circumstances in 1799. God sent a storm, the river overflowed, and the chariots bogged down and got stuck in the muddy and drenched ground.

Barak (who shares a name with our current U.S. President) wiped out Sisera’s army as they fled on foot. Sisera himself, however, escaped to the the village of Heber the Kenite, and to the tent of a lady named Jael. Which brings us to…

And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.

Judges 4:18

The “mantle” was sort of a blanket (maybe one of those “snuggies?”). Sisera was tired and he wanted to hide.

And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.

Judges 4:19

The “milk” was sort of like what we would call “half and half” or “yogurt” – it was possibly fermented. Jael tucked in Sisera with his milk and his blankie and put him “night-night.”

Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

Judges 4:20

Sisera asked Jael to lie for him.

Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Judges 4:21

Jael, whose job, as a woman in a tribe of nomadic desert-dwelling people in those days, would have been to regularly take down and put up the tent in addition to other hard physical types of labor, was probably big and strong (with arms like the Arm and Hammer Baking Soda man).

arm and hammer

The name “Jael” meant “mountain goat,” so it’s kind of hard to envision her as petite and dainty.

And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

Judges 4:22-23

There is a tendency here to feel a little sorry for Sisera, considering he was on the run, desperate, and hunted. He turned to this woman for help, and she coaxed him to sleep and slammed a tent peg through his brain!

Jael and Sisera

But before we feel too sorry for Sisera and start being too critical of Jael, we need to remember that if Sisera had won the battle against the Israelites, or if he had escaped and raised another army, or if he had been able to come back with reinforcements, he and his men would have raped the women and taken all their valuables.

Jael’s weapon – her tent peg – was a strange weapon in her day. So too are the weapons of our spiritual warfare in our day. Next time, I want to make three comparisons between the peg and the spiritual weapons we must wield against our enemy who has come to kill, steal, and destroy.


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  1. […] Lesson Two: The Peg (continued from previous post) […]

  2. […] Weapons: A Prod, a Peg, and a […]

  3. […] Two: The Peg (Judges 4:22) A peg is a hidden weapon (like prayer). A peg is a honed weapon (like the Bible). A […]

  4. […] Weapons (Series 1): A Prod, a Peg, and a […]

  5. […] youth, but many find great fulfillment and excitement in coaching. Goads prompt you to keep going; nails are what you use to hold in place what you’ve already […]

  6. […] incident was later used as imagery in the song of Deborah and Barak after the defeat of Jabin, the king of […]

  7. […] the Pitcher a. The Prod (background) (Judges 3:31; 5:6) b. The Prod (comparisons and conclusion) c. The Peg (introduction and narrative) (Judges 4) d. The Peg (illustrations) (Judges 4:18-23) e. The Pitcher (factual summary) (Judges […]

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