Jael: Swift and Decisive Action

by | Apr 1, 2021 | Women of the Bible | 3 comments

This article is part of Sister Alena X. Ricci’s series on the Women of the Bible.

I was originally planning to put Jael in a combined blog with Deborah, but the more I thought about her, and reading her short verses over and over, I realized that she deserved her own article.

Not just because she saved millions of people with her one act, but because of the fact that she actually did it. 

You can read her story in Judges 4–5, but essentially, an enemy general comes to her tent seeking refuge, and she drives a peg through his head.

Every time I’ve ever heard someone talk about Jael, they’ve always talked about her courage. And yes, her courage is evident.

But what I want to focus on here is the fact that she was calm, cool and listening to her gut, listening to that instinct that I find myself ignoring a lot

The verse is very clear that she picked up a tent nail and did the deed. There’s no scene of her questioning this decision. There’s no scene of her crying or doubting her shaking hands.

Instead, she just does it.

Honestly, if that isn’t just one of the coolest female empowerment stories ever, I’m not quite sure what is.

But seriously, how many times can you or I say that we just do it? How many times do we have that gut reaction, that instinct, that still small voice telling us something…and we just do it?

How many times do we allow our own humanity and sin to get in the way of what God has for us? 

Jael is the perfect example of taking action. 

And taking action is hard, I have no doubt that she had a moment before she swung the hammer—that she took a millisecond of a step back—but she still did it.

It’s in those moments of decision when our choice to choose Jesus is so critical. 

It’s when we’re faced with those crazy, life-changing, army-defeating moments where we have two paths: the straight and narrow or that dark, unpaved, dangerous path. 

It’s in these moments where God’s grace runs deep, where Peter stepped out on the water and could take a step but couldn’t take the next one.

This action-oriented woman had the mindset that we can all strive for.

That when we are faced with something, we listen to God’s voice. We feel the balm on our souls and choose the right thing. 

And sometimes it’s really hard. Sometimes it’s really confusing. And sometimes there are serious consequences. 

But God’s grace crashes in, wave after wave, over us. He makes us brave.

Ask people who have served God for a long time, and they probably won’t tell you that it’s been super-easy. No one will say that every day was clear and that God spoke to them in huge movements. Not everything was obvious.

But I’m sure that they’ll tell you that it was worth it. That every cloudy and foggy moment, every second of doubt, every question was worth it. 

Because God is moving in our lives and blessing us every day. He’s giving us those moments to be Jael, to take action and to be sure and quick about it. 

He’s giving us those moments to choose Him and His never-ending grace.

Image credit: “Giaele e Sisara” by Artemisia Gentileschi circa 1620

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.


  • Sister Alena spends her days traveling around PA advocating for good public policy and attends the McKees Rocks Branch in Pittsburgh, the greatest city in the world.


  1. Christina DiCenzo

    Excellent Sister!
    Dear Lord, give me the courage of Jael …but please don’t ask me to kill anyone…LOL. Amen.

  2. Carmela Gray

    I enjoyed your article! Yes, Jael was a gutsy woman. She did what she was directed to do. We all want to be close enough to our Lord to hear that small still voice and feel the power of His Spirit. God bless you

  3. Bro Dick

    Well done my Sister. From one who majored very late in life from Pitt in English Writing.


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