Discover the facts of Bible history in this famous story about Deborah, Judge of Israel, from the book Her Story - A Study on Biblical Women, by Susanna L. Jordan

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Bible History

Deborah (Cont.)
Judge, Warrior and Prophetess

She may have thought about how her neighbors, the Israelite people would praise her for her bravery, and inevitably spare her family. It could go either way, fame or death.

During these days as well, all things connected with setting up the tent were considered the woman’s job. Jael would have been responsible for making, pitching and staking the tents. For this reason, Jael knew how to handle a hammer and as Sisera lay sleeping, she took the hammer in one hand and a tent stake in the other and crept over to him. 

“Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died." (v. 21)


Barak was frantically pursuing Sisera and came upon Jael’s tent. She came out to meet him and said, “Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest.” (v. 22) It seems from this verse that Jael was quite calm when she went out to meet Barak. The Bible doesn't always give us the full picture of what's going on in a scene. Was she shaking and crying, or cold and uncaring? 

We may never know, but she is a woman, and most likely fearing for the safety of her family, and I'm sure there was some emotion taking place there. When Barak saw the body of Sisera he remembered the prophetic words of Deborah, “for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” (v. 9) Thus, Jael received the honor that Barak forfeited.

In Deborah’s song, Jael is blessed above women. “Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.” (Judges 5:24-27)

Jael had murdered Sisera, in cold blood. Just as we talked about the rules being different in war time with Rahab, here again was war time and Jael was praised for killing Sisera, just as she should be.


There is one more woman mentioned in Deborah’s song—Sisera’s mother. As the mother of the captain of the host, Sisera’s mother would have been very well off. There is no mention of a wife, so undoubtedly his mother was “the woman in his life.” 

She would have been accustomed to the finest things life could offer and was surely a luxury-loving and material minded woman. She was anticipating all the lovely things her son would be bringing her as he defeated his enemy in battle and took freely of the best of the spoils of war.

She does not cry to God as she wonders what is keeping Sisera in his return, but rather, she is sitting at a lattice window in her house or palace and asks her ladies in waiting,


SusannaLJordan From the book,
Her Story - A Study on Biblical Women, by Susanna L. Jordan



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