Jael’s Story

Written by Ann Burton
Review by Michael I. Shoop


Jael, called “most blessed among women” by the Old Testament prophetess, Deborah, is given a full treatment in Burton’s third entry of her Women of the Bible series. Setting the novel firmly in the context of war-torn ancient Palestine, the author weaves a credible back-story for the famous heroine Jael: her family life, her marriage expectations, the reality of her marriage to the polygamous and abusive Heber the Kenite, and her life in general up to her momentous killing of the powerful Canaanite general, Sisera. The author’s use of authentic terms describing everyday life in a nomadic family group, information on ancient metalsmithing, and scenes of marketplaces and caravans give the reader a certain feel for the times. Jael’s conversion from paganism to Yahweh due to a captive outsider’s influence adds interest, and even though her romantic relationship with Levi of Napthali feels somewhat contrived, readers won’t mind. This is fine entertainment for those who prefer their Biblical fiction on the light side.