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Judges 5:24

ESV “Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
NIV Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women.
NASB 'Most blessed of women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Most blessed is she of women in the tent.
CSB Most blessed of women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; she is most blessed among tent-dwelling women.
NLT 'Most blessed among women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. May she be blessed above all women who live in tents.
KJV Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.

What does Judges 5:24 mean?

Having delivered a curse to the people of a town called Meroz, Deborah's song now dispenses a blessing to Jael, the wife of Heber (Judges 4:11). She killed Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army (Judges 4:17–21). That involved lulling the fleeing general into sleep, only to drive a wooden spike through his skull.

God's providence—His ability to "provide" through an arrangement of events rather than by direct action—means He can use anything, even human evil, to accomplish good purposes. The previous chapter's straightforward reporting offered no commentary on Jael's deed. She was used by the Lord to kill Sisera, helping to rescue Israel from brutality (Judges 4:1–3). The initial account did not say whether what she did, itself, was good or bad. Was she a hero, striking down a brutal oppressor? Or was she a manipulative, betraying murderess? Deborah's song does not hold back, pronouncing Jael to be the most blessed of tent-dwelling women.

Jael's action cannot be judged appropriately without fully understanding its context. When Israel first approached the Promised Land of Canaan, God gave a dire command about the Canaanites who lived there. Because of the culture's pervasive sin—including child sacrifice and sexual depravity—Israel was to utterly eliminate them from the land (Deuteronomy 20:16–17). This was not only to judge those nations for their evil (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4–5), but to prevent Israel from falling into their habits (Deuteronomy 20:18). The people's failure to follow this command is what led to their cycle of sin and subjugation (Judges 2:10–19).

Sisera—the man ambushed and killed by Jael—had long been tormenting Israel. Verses later in Deborah's song (Judges 5:1) imply he had a reputation for taking female captives (Judges 5:30). He was fleeing a battle to which God had called His people. Jael was not murdering for personal gain or out of ambition. She was taking advantage of an opportunity, to strike down a hated, wicked, dangerous enemy. She showed initiative that many in Israel failed to exhibit (Judges 5:15–17). Despite her husband Heber's peace agreement with Jabin, Jael acted for the Lord and for the people of the Lord.

This is not a small blessing from one woman to another. Deborah speaks through this song as a prophetess (Judges 4:4–5) and representative of Yahweh. God Himself is blessing Jael for her action in killing Sisera. The crucial moment is depicted in poetic detail in the following verses.
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