Judges 4:19
And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.
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(19) Give me, I pray thee, a little water.—The request was natural enough; but, as he had not made it at first, we may suspect that he wanted to taste food in the tent, as a way of rendering still more secure the inviolable laws of Eastern hospitality. Saladin refuses to let Reginald of Chatillon drink in his tent, because he means to kill him.

A bottle of milk.—Rather, the skin of milk. The word “bottle” means, of course, a leathern bottle or skin. Josephus says that the milk was “already corrupted,” i.e., that it was butter-milk (Antt v. 6, § 5). This is quite probable, because butter-milk (lebban) is a common drink in Arab tents. When R. Tanchum adds that butter-milk inebriates, and Rashi that it produces deep sleep, and that it was her object to stupefy him, they are simply giving reins to their imagination. Josephus says, He drank so immoderately that he fell asleep.” It might have been supposed that she would naturally offer him wine; but it is far from certain that even “must” or “unfermented wine”—much less fermented wine, which requires considerable art to make—would have been found in those poor tents; and, further, these Kenites may have been abstainers from wine, as their descendants the Rechabites were. ( Jeremiah 35:2.)

4:17-24 Sisera's chariots had been his pride and his confidence. Thus are those disappointed who rest on the creature; like a broken reed, it not only breaks under them, but pierces them with many sorrows. The idol may quickly become a burden, Isa 46:1; what we were sick for, God can make us sick of. It is probable that Jael really intended kindness to Sisera; but by a Divine impulse she was afterwards led to consider him as the determined enemy of the Lord and of his people, and to destroy him. All our connexions with God's enemies must be broken off, if we would have the Lord for our God, and his people for our people. He that had thought to have destroyed Israel with his many iron chariots, is himself destroyed with one iron nail. Thus the weak things of the world confound the mighty. The Israelites would have prevented much mischief, if they had sooner destroyed the Canaanites, as God commanded and enabled them: but better be wise late, and buy wisdom by experience, than never be wise.Sisera went, not to Heber's tent, but to Joel's, as more secure from pursuit. Women occupied a separate tent. Genesis 18:6, Genesis 18:10; Genesis 24:67. 19. she … gave him drink, and covered him—Sisera reckoned on this as a pledge of his safety, especially in the tent of a friendly sheik. This pledge was the strongest that could be sought or obtained, after he had partaken of refreshments, and been introduced in the inner or women's apartment. Gave him milk to drink; either because she had not water in her tent, and pretended fear of discovery or some inconvenience if she went out to fetch it; or as a signification of greater respect; or as a likely mean to cast him into a sleep, which she desired and designed; to which end possibly she might mix something with it to cause sleep, which she could not so conveniently have done with water. Covered him, upon pretence of hiding him, but really to dispose him to sleep.

And he said unto her, give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink, for I am thirsty,.... Which might be occasioned by the heat of the battle, and by the heat of the day, and by heat in running; he asks for a little water, that being very desirable by persons athirst. Some think he did not ask for wine, because he knew the Kenites did not drink any, and so of course kept none in their tents; but though this was the custom of the Rechabites, who were the same with the Kenites, Jeremiah 35:8; yet it is very probable this custom had not yet obtained among them, since it was enjoined by Jonadab their father, who lived in the times of Jehu, 2 Kings 10:15,

and she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him to drink; which she did either out of courtesy, being a better liquor, or with design to throw him into a sleep, which milk inclines to, making heavy, as all the Jewish commentators observe; though Josephus (n) has no authority to say, as he does? that the milk she gave him was bad and corrupt:

and covered him: again, after he had taken a draught of milk, which it seems she poured into a dish with the cream on it, see Judges 5:25.

(n) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 1.)

And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.
19. a bottle of milk] the milk-skin, the goat-skin in which the Bedouin still keep water, milk etc.; cf. Joshua 9:4 (used for wine). From Jdg 5:25 we gather that Jael poured the milk into a bowl. Her hospitality gave Sisera a feeling of security. Note the contrast with Jdg 5:25-27; here Sisera asks for drink, and Jael brings it after he has lain down and been covered with the tent-rug.

Verse 19. - A little water. Faint and thirsty as he was, he did not ask for strong drink, but only water. Judges 4:19On his asking for water to drink, as he was thirsty (צמתּי, defective form for צמאתּי), she handed him milk from her bottle, and covered him up again. She gave him milk instead of water, as Deborah emphatically mentions in her song in Judges 5:25, no doubt merely for the purpose of giving to her guest a friendly and hospitable reception. When Josephus affirms, in his account of this event (Ant. v. 5, 4), that she gave him milk that was already spoiled (διεφθορὸς ἤδη), i.e., had turned sour, and R. Tanchum supposes that such milk intoxicated the weary man, these are merely later decorations of the simple fact, that have no historical worth whatever.
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