Sisera Arrives at Jael's Tent
24 x 36
Gouache, pen, pencil, and ink on canvas
Black bible illustrations
This visit will not end as planned.
Beaten and exhausted, Sisera trudges down the lane toward Heber's tent. Here, I show Jael at the door of her tent as the bruised and battered warlord approaches her home. With her husband Heber away, she must think on her feet.
BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER
Heber was a Kenite who had separated himself from his people. He was a descendant of Hobab (also known as Jethro) the father-in-law of Moses. Jethro was the priest of Midian during the Exodus. The Midianites were relatives of the Hebrews through Abraham's marriage to Keturah, after the death of Sarah—thus the relationship between the Kenites, Midianites, and Hebrews.
Jethro provided shelter for Moses after his exile from Egypt and wise counsel for him as the people began the journey in the wilderness.
But at some point in the forty-year trek, (likely after Jethro had passed away) Midian colluded with the Moabites to entice Israel to sin against their God. In fact, it was an Israelite's unlawful liaison with a Midianitish woman that brought a deadly plague upon the people. Even after Israel successfully inherited the land promised to their forefathers, the Midianites continued to antagonize and oppress them.
ALWAYS BETTER TO CHOOSE
THE SIDE OF THE RIGHT
This knowledge of his people's history, combined with the understanding that the lineage of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob were the covenant people of the Most High God, may have been what convinced Heber to separate himself from his people. At any rate, his wife Jael is later described in the account as "blessed above women that dwell in the tent" for the way she handled the situation.