And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not…
When Jael received him, she did so no doubt in good faith, nor had she heard of his overwhelming disaster. She would be only too ready to afford shelter to the proudest warrior of those regions. It is not unlikely that while he was sleeping she began to reflect upon the strangeness of his being in a condition to need such succour, and that from fugitives and others passing by she learned the story of that eventful day. She found that it was no longer a victor, but a baffled and helpless fugitive, who lay in her tent. She probably had a dim idea also of his character, as an enemy of the God of heaven whom the Israelites worshipped. A sudden impulse seized her; she would despatch him as he lay. Was he not the worst of oppressors? Did he deserve to live? Besides, the cries of the pursuers already echo through the mountains, and their weapons flash amid the foliage. The wretched Sisera is too exhausted to offer a dangerous resistance. She enters the apartment and strikes him. He staggers up; then in a swoon he falls at her feet. An iron tent pin, to which the cords of the tent were fastened, is in her hand, and a mallet. She drives the iron pin through his temples into the earth, with a blow given in the superhuman strength of frenzied excitement. Then voices are heard in the forest. The pursuers have come up; it is Barak himself (ver. 22). The whole story appears perfectly natural; nor is there any need for the supposition of Jael acting under a Divine impulse or a special Divine commission. Her act was dictated as much by self-interest as by any other motive. It was a moment of wild excitement, and cannot be judged by the rules of our peaceable and decorous time. If in the great Indian mutiny we had heard of Nana Sahib having been entrapped and killed by some wild woman of a wandering tribe, the public opinion of England would not have scrutinised too closely the morality of the action, in its joy at being rid of the most infamous of murderers. It is, in fact, the eulogy pronounced by Deborah which has constituted the difficulty. And a difficulty it must always remain to those who believe that every word uttered by those who of old had the name and rank of prophets is a direct utterance of the Divine will. The difficulty, however, disappears if we view the splendid ode of Deborah as being included by the guidance of the Spirit of God among the records of His ancient Church, and as expressing the feelings of an Israelite patriot of that day. The holiest and most devout of the Church of that age would respond to Deborah's language. Whether such sentiments would be appropriate in our own day is not in question: we believe in the doctrine and in the fact of progressive light.
(L. H. Wiseman, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.