And he said to her, Give me, I pray you, 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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.)Genesis 18:6, Genesis 18:10; Genesis 24:67. 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. 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.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 5:19, at Taanach by the water of Megiddo.
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