Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
A moral perplexity to modern times. This arises from the advance, amounting almost to a revolution, in the spiritual sentiment of the world. It is from the higher platform of the New Testament that we see the deed in its true relations and proportions.
I. ITS JUSTIFICATION. There are several grounds, upon any or all of which the deed may be defended.
1. That of a relative and imperfect morality. Morality in that age was not perfectly revealed or realised. With increasing light of revelation and spiritual experience come new moral levels and tests. A thing may be comparatively or relatively right which is not absolutely so. The fact that we condemn the action is not due to our superior natural light, but simply to the teachings of Christianity, the outgrowth and perfecting of the crude morality of the Old Testament.
2. On the principle that the obligation to tell the truth depends upon the existence of a normal and friendly relation between men; the permission to kill carrying with it that of dissimulation (Mozley).
3. Because Jael followed as a mere instrument the impulse of the Absolute. Is it not credible that persons may be moved by a superior reason to do things justifiable from the standpoint of that superior reason, but which, if they fully realised what they were doing, would be utterly unlawful for them to do?
II. ITS BEARINGS UPON INSPIRATION, etc. OF HOLY SCRIPTURE. The inspiration of Scripture cannot be affected by the inspired sanction of such a deed. Inspiration does not necessarily involve a knowledge of the" whole counsel of God." It has its degrees, and is reliable so far as it goes. A merely human production would have avoided such apparent self-contradictions. That there are moral mysteries and difficulties in the Bible, which are nevertheless seen to have possible solutions beyond the immediate knowledge of man, is a strong presumption in favour of its being Divine.
III. HOW FAR IS JAEL AN EXAMPLE TO BE IMITATED? In no wise. This is an exceptional case, all of whose circumstances must be taken into account She is, like many whom a special destiny seems to isolate from their fellows, almost to be pitied, save for the thought that she acted as the servant of God. The instincts by which we condemn her deed are evidently of God, and must therefore be followed. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.