Content Warning: Shaming, divorce, gendered insult
“It matters not,” he muttered, after she had described the vision that had led her to the disgraceful murder of their guest. “Henceforth, everyone will know the house of Heber as traitorous and dishonorable hosts—what difference does one of your trances make? You have brought shame on me and my house.”
“I have saved our house from destruction,” she yelled. “Think you that the men of Israel would have left us in peace if we had allowed Sisera to escape—or worse, aided and concealed him?”
“Better an honorable death, in defense of our allies, then life with such dishonor,” he shouted back.
“You allied with the wrong people,” she said. “Can you not see that Israel has the favor of the gods?”
“You drive me mad, woman! It was at your counsel that I separated our household from Israel and made treaty with the king of Hazor!”
“So you were faithless already, and no mere killing of a monster and oppressor can add to the dishonor of your house.”
She saw at once from the hardness of his face how these words had chilled his heart toward her, and she opened her mouth to retract them, but he stormed from the tent. She paced back and forth for some minutes, unwilling to humble herself and seek his pardon, but he returned not long after with his scribe in tow.
“Write this woman a certificate of divorce,” he said. “I am finished with her.”
Numbly, she watched the scribe trace the scant words required to legalize his assertion, but when he handed it to her, panic welled up within her at the thought of leaving him. She looked up at her husband’s face—still almost as beautiful as it had looked to her when she first met him in his youth. Despite the coldness in his eyes, and against her own will, she found herself begging: “Don’t send me away from you, my husband. You loved me until today. Won’t you remember your love, and forgive my unkind words?”
He looked down at her, and for a moment affection seemed to triumph over his anger and injured pride. Slowly, hesitantly, he stooped his face to hers, and kissed her once more, but as soon as their lips met, he pulled away. Disgust and disappointment choked his voice as he pointed to the door and said, “Get out, witch.”
At this, rage bubbled up inside her, rising from her chest to the back of her throat. Thrusting up her face as close to his as her stature would allow, she said: “You, not I, have disgraced your house this day, Heber! Israel will sing songs of my deed, and bless my name, but you will be remembered only as the husband of Yael.”
Doubt and remorse flickered into his eyes, but she stayed not to see whether he would relent, for now her anger bested her. She strode out of the tent and into the road. Stooping, she picked up a handful of dust, then threw back her veil and uncovered her hair once more. Looking into his face for the last time as he stood watching her from the door, she poured the dust over her head and turned, marching away down the road and weeping with rage and heartbreak as she went.
Thus concludes “She Dishonors Her House”! Look for the full story at the next update.