What does Judges 5:24 mean?
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.
NKJV: “Most blessed among women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Blessed is she among women in tents.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Judges 5:24–31 completes a song of victory celebrating the defeat of the Canaanites (Judges 4:12–16). This especially notes the slaying of Sisera, Canaan's general, by the woman Jael. Her brutally efficient methods were described in the prior chapter (Judges 4:17–21). Sisera's death is given an especially dramatic, poetic treatment—the ancient written equivalent of a slow-motion sequence. The passage also imagines the surprise which will accompany Sisera's death, depicting it from the view of his mother and servants. The song ends with a plea that God would extend the same defeat to all His enemies. The peace won by Barak and Deborah (Judges 4:4–7) will last forty years.
Chapter Summary:
Deborah and Barak sing a victory song she has written. This celebrates all the Lord accomplished through Israel's victory in battle over Sisera and Canaan. She praises God for willing volunteers and calls for everyone to pass along the story. She tells of the torrent of water that flowed down the Kishon River and swept away the enemy. She describes in detail the death of Sisera at the hands of a woman and even shows his mother crying for his return. Her song emphasizes that credit for success goes to the Lord.
Chapter Context:
Judges 5 follows the narrative-style account of the battle between Sisera and Barak, as instigated by the prophetess Deborah in chapter 4. This chapter is a song, poetically depicting the same series of events. Deborah describes Sisera's defeat in battle, Jael's bold killing of the cruel general Sisera, and the tears of his mother as she waits for him at home. The following chapter shows that Israel—once again—responds to this hard-won peace with another cycle of idolatry, sin, and oppression (Judges 6:1).
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
Accessed 5/30/2024 6:52:51 AM
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