Judges 5:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 5:26, NIV: Her hand reached for the tent peg, her right hand for the workman's hammer. She struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple.

Judges 5:26, ESV: She sent her hand to the tent peg and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet; she struck Sisera; she crushed his head; she shattered and pierced his temple.

Judges 5:26, KJV: She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.

Judges 5:26, NASB: She reached out her hand for the tent peg, And her right hand for the workmen’s hammer. Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head; And she shattered and pierced his temple.

Judges 5:26, NLT: Then with her left hand she reached for a tent peg, and with her right hand for the workman's hammer. She struck Sisera with the hammer, crushing his head. With a shattering blow, she pierced his temples.

Judges 5:26, CSB: She reached for a tent peg, her right hand, for a workman's hammer. Then she hammered Sisera -- she crushed his head; she shattered and pierced his temple.

What does Judges 5:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Deborah's song (Judges 5:1) comes now to the moment of Sisera's death (Judges 4:19–21). She packs in as many details as she can, using poetic language. Once Sisera was soundly asleep, Jael picked up the tools commonly used by nomadic women of her culture: heavy mallets and long wooden spikes. It's likely Jael had driven these tent pegs into the ground thousands of times in her life.

One need not imagine the damage a skilled person could do with such tools; Deborah provides details. The general's skull was shattered—through the soft part between the forehead, eyes, and ears. Jael didn't strike a single fleeting blow and then run. She committed herself to slay the Canaanite leader. The prior chapter indicates she drove the pointed wooden spike through Sisera's head and into the ground (Judges 4:21). There was no chance of survival or escape; the corpse was literally nailed in place when Barak arrived in pursuit (Judges 4:22).