Sunday, 4 October 2015

Warning–Yogurt May Cause Headaches!

At our recent Harvest Supper, we had a Food-Themed Quiz, and one round was all about food in the Bible. I discovered that a lot of folk were not very familiar with some of the blood-and-guts Old Testament stories. Including the one about Jael and Sisera, from Judges 4.Sisera was commander of the Canaanite army, and was fleeing from Barak, commander of the Israelites
After the battle…Sisera ran away to the tent of Jael. She went out to meet him and said, “Come in, sir; come into my tent. Don't be afraid.” So he went in, and she hid him behind a curtain.He said to her, “Please give me a drink of water; I'm thirsty.” She opened a leather bag of milk, gave him a drink, and hid him again. Then he told her, “Stand at the door of the tent, and if anyone comes and asks you if anyone is here, say no.” Sisera was so tired that he fell sound asleep. Then Jael took a hammer and a tent peg, quietly went up to him, and killed him by driving the peg right through the side of his head and into the ground. When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come here! I'll show you the man you're looking for.” So he went in with her, and there was Sisera on the ground, dead, with the tent peg through his head. That day God gave the Israelites victory
My Dad taught me about Jael, and said that probably in the hot climate, the ‘milk’ would probably have been yogurt, or a cottage cheese type product – they did not have pasteurisation or fridges back then.
P1020247I suppose it isn’t the sort of thing most children are told as a bedtime story these days, is it?  In Victorian times, children learned Bible stories as a matter of course – and artists and sculptors used these tales as inspiration for their work.
When we visited the Russell Cotes Museum the morning after our Harvest Supper, we found that lots of the artwork was related to Bible stories.
We were both ridiculously pleased to see a marble statue of Jael among the exhibits.
Here she is, standing on her plinth, with a jug in her right hand – inviting Sisera to come and hide in the tent and take a rest. Very tempting…
But why is Bob pointing at her left hand? What can he see that we can’t?
Look at the back of the sculpture
Look! she is sneakily concealing a tent peg in the folds of her robe.
We both thought it was a fabulous statue. But probably not appropriate for display in the Manse garden.


  1. Angela, Thank you for that wonderful lesson! Will definitely pass it on! Sandy

  2. Oh I REMEMBER the story of this! As soon as you said, Sisera, I thought, "He's the one who got his head smashed in!" (I thought she hit him with a rock!) . That statue is great!x


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