Song Title: Hush Yael
Artist: Oh, Sleeper
Album: Children of Fire
Label: Solid State Records
I almost decided against writing this article. The lyrics offer an immediate warning: “We’re going back to the darkest hours / Where our kind has confirmed / We are the masters of sin and slaughter.” It isn’t a feel-good kind of song and it’s a far cry from contemporary worship… but we need to remember who our God is and the purpose He calls us to, despite and through times of darkness.
Feel of the Song
Metalcore is my favorite music genre, yet even for me the track begins so heavy and frantic that it’s nearly overwhelming. However, those sections of chaos are beautifully contrasted at the song’s chorus– where the tempo slows, the guitar riffs take on an inspiring tone, and clean vocals complement intense growls. It’s a brilliant arrangement in light of everything that’s going on lyrically.
Lyrics and Meaning
We don’t need to guess the meaning of “Hush Yael”, because the lyrics offer a specific date: “the 22nd day of the 4th month, 1979.” On that day, a teenage militant of the Palestine Liberation Front participated in attacking a town of Israel.
His team raided a family apartment for hostages, taking 31-year-old Danny Haran and his 4-year-old daughter, Einat. The mother, Smadar Haran, managed to hide in a crawlspace above their bedroom where she covered the crying of her 2-year-old daughter, Yael. The song explains what follows, and I do not wish to be graphic or create shock in a story that is already appalling when plainly told.
It’s a song about the murder of a family at a coward’s hands, but please know this is very different from so many bands who sing about serial killers and genocide, simply because that’s the “metal” thing to do. The artists behind Oh, Sleeper are exposing rather than glorifying this darkness, relating with the victims instead of emphasizing the killer, and using their perspective as Christians to speak something meaningful into tragedy.
We must rise for the helpless and fight for their justice
So lift your voices high
Higher than the mountains of their spite
We are the fearless, the ruthless
The heralds of our time
Do we believe we can rise and fight for the justice of helpless people? I do, not because of my optimism for hashtags or human nature, but by my faith in Jesus. He said the kingdom is near, that we can pray for God’s will on earth , and that all authority for every corner of our universe is in His hands (Matthew 4:17, 6:10, & 28:18).
Of course, that isn’t to say our world will ever be completely rid of evil until Jesus returns. Still, He’s called us to battle against sin and Satan, the true enemies behind this atrocity and every other. God isn’t hiding when these evil acts happen; He’s burdened with compassion and outrage right alongside us, and already joined in that suffering with humanity. His grace equips us to rise above the cycle of vengeful spite.
For all Christians, I see this song as a call to wake up. The Bible was never shy about acknowledging humanity’s dark side, and the Lord always remains good and so much bigger in comparison. We can be moved to action instead of being crippled by fear… and for my fellow geeks living in grace in particular, I pray God uses our familiarity with the mistreated, imaginative minds, and creative interests towards that larger picture of ushering His kingdom in our world.
What do you think of the song? How do you feel God is leading you to spread His kingdom? Let us know in the comments and keep following Geeks Under Grace for encouraging (if also challenging) Beat Breakers.
About the Author
An ardent indoorsman, Taylor Charles Lewis's enjoyment and energy are primarily found in theology and storytelling. His favorite interests and interactions often involve the melding of the two— through reading, writing, and video games. He's lives in California, and when venturing beyond computers and books helps in youth ministry to see God's word written on human hearts.