Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Blessed above women.—Jael would be regarded as a patriotic heroine, whose daring had secured to Israel the fruits of their victory. The morals of that early age were not sufficiently enlightened to understand that treachery and assassination are never justifiable, however good may be the end in view. But, as serious moralists, even in the nineteenth century, have held up to admiration the murder of Marat by Charlotte Corday, and have even given to her the title of “the Angel of Assassination,” we can hardly be surprised that Deborah should exult in Jael’s heroism, and her choice of the right side, without expressing—perhaps even without the degree of later moral enlightenment which would have led her to feel—any moral reprobation of the means by which the end was accomplished. But to compare this outburst of patriotic approval for such a deed with the salutation of “Blessed art thou among women,” addressed by the angel to the blessed Virgin Mary (as is done by some commentators), seems to me a most dangerous way of handling the mere words of Scripture, apart from their context and true significance.
Above women in the tent.—The honour paid to her because of her deed would raise her far above the common mass of ignorant and downtrodden nomad women. Instead of a Kenite woman, she would be lauded and honoured as a heroine of Israel.Jdg 5:24. Blessed, &c. — This is a beautiful and striking transition, whereby the prophetess passes from the curse pronounced by the command of the angel on the Merozites to the blessing of Jael, on whom she passes the finest encomium, because, though only a sojourner in Israel, she had done them most signal service in taking off Sisera, their most inveterate enemy. Blessed above women — Celebrated and endowed with all sorts of blessings more than they. In the tent — In her tent and habitation; in her house and family, and all her affairs. The Kenites lived not in houses, but in tents. But the tent is here mentioned as an allusion to the place where the fact was done.Blessed above women; celebrated, and praised, and endowed with all sorts of blessings more than they. But of this fact of Jael’s, See Poole "Judges 4:21".
In the tent; in her tent or habitation, in her house and family, and all her affairs; for she and hers dwelt in tents. The tent is here mentioned in allusion to the place where this fact was done.
blessed shall she be above the women in the tent; above all women that dwell in tents: this being a proper description of a woman, whose character it is to abide in her tent, dwell at home, and mind the business of her family; and may have respect to the manly action she performed in her tent, equal, if not superior, to what was done in the field.Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. The courageous devotion of Jael is set effectively against the unpatriotic selfishness of Meroz. Jael here receives enthusiastic praise for what strikes us as nothing less than a treacherous murder. According to the standards of the times, however, it would not appear in this light at all, and such are the standards by which we must judge the morality of the deed.
the wife of Heber the Kenite] interrupts the parallelism and spoils the rhythm of the verse; it is evidently a gloss from Jdg 4:17, where the words are in place.
women in the tent] The Bedouin are described as dwellers in tents Jdg 4:11, Jdg 8:11; Jeremiah 35:7.Verse 24. - Blessed above women, etc. With the selfish indifference of the men of Meroz she contrasts the valorous enthusiasm of Jael the Kenite, and blesses her for it as emphatically as she curses the inhabitants of Meroz. Judges 4:10), who constituted at any rate the kernel of the Israelitish army.
If we run over the tribes enumerated, it seems strange that the tribes of Judah and Simeon are not mentioned either among those who joined in the battle, or among those who stayed away. The only way in which this can be explained is on the supposition that these two tribes were never summoned by Barak, either because they were so involved in conflict with the Philistines, that they were unable to render any assistance to the northern tribes against their Canaanitish oppressors, as we might infer from Judges 3:31, or because of some inward disagreement between these tribes and the rest. But even apart from Judah and Simeon, the want of sympathy on the part of the tribes that are reproved is a sufficient proof that the enthusiasm for the cause of the Lord had greatly diminished in the nation, and that the internal unity of the congregation was considerably loosened.
In the next strophe the battle and the victory are described: -
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