Judges 4:17: Sisera's Flight

Verse 17:[1] Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.


[He came to the tent of Jael, etc.] That was near Tabor, in the valley after Kadesh (Montanus’ Commentary). Question: Why does he call it the tent of Jael, not of Heber? Responses: 1. Because Heber was not at home at that time. 2. Because of the excellent virtue of this woman (Menochius). 3. In great households the tents of men and women were separated (Serarius, Bonfrerius, Menochius).


To the tent of Jael; for women had their tents apart from their husbands, Genesis 24:67; 31:33. And here he thought to lurk more securely than in her husband’s tent.


[There was peace between Jabin…and Heber] Question: What was the source of this agreement? Responses: 1. The King did not fear them, removed as they were from the business of war, given to a peaceful life, accustomed to meditation upon the Law and the exercise of virtues; all which pursuits even the barbarous King with his own were admiring in them (Bonfrerius out of Serarius). 2. These Kenites were separated in habitation from the Israelites, and so peac was able to be offered to them (Bonfrerius). 3. Divine protection: For, since these were removed from scandals of the Israelites, God was also willing the punishment be at a distance from them; so that even in this way the Israelites might acknowledge the vengeance of God in their case, and that their calamity came forth from their sins (Bonfrerius out of Serarius).


There was peace; not a league or covenant of friendship, which they were forbidden to make with that cursed people, but only a cessation of hostilities, which he afforded them because they were a peaceable people, abhorring war, and wholly minding pasturage, and were not Israelites, with whom his principal quarrel was; and especially by God’s overruling disposal of his heart to favour them who were careful to keep themselves uncorrupted with Israel’s sins, and therefore are preserved from their plagues.

[1] Hebrew: וְסִֽיסְרָא֙ נָ֣ס בְּרַגְלָ֔יו אֶל־אֹ֣הֶל יָעֵ֔ל אֵ֖שֶׁת חֶ֣בֶר הַקֵּינִ֑י כִּ֣י שָׁל֗וֹם בֵּ֚ין יָבִ֣ין מֶֽלֶךְ־חָצ֔וֹר וּבֵ֕ין בֵּ֖ית חֶ֥בֶר הַקֵּינִֽי׃

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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