Judges 4:21: Jael's Glorious Victory over Sisera, Part 2

Verse 21:[1] Then Jael Heber’s wife (Judg. 5:26) took a nail of the tent, and took (Heb. put[2]) an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.


[She brought a nail of the tent, יְתַד] A peg (Arabic, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius). One of the iron pegs with which a tent is fixed in place (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Piscator); which were on that account large and very sharp (Bonfrerius). Now, she made use of this nail, either, because the Israelites had been disarmed by the Canaanites (Martyr); or, because among the Kenites arms were wanting with which they might strike others (Bonfrerius).


A nail of the tent; wherewith they used to fasten the tent, which consequently was long and sharp, being headed with iron: these weapons she chooseth, either, 1. Because she had no better weapons at hand, this being only the woman’s tent, where arms use not to be kept, and these people being wholly given to peace, and negligent of war, or Sisera having disarmed them before this time. Or, 2. Because she had more skill in the handling these than other weapons, being probably accustomed to fasten the tents herewith. Or, 3. Because this was very proper for his present posture, and which she knew would be effectual.


[Above the temple of his head] Which was a softer part of the head and more liable to receive the nail (Menochius).


[It buried, etc., וַתִּצְנַ֖ח בָּאָ֑רֶץ] And it fixed itself (was fixed [Pagnine]) into the earth (Montanus); and it passed through into the earth (Septuagint); it fastened in the earth (Munster, Junius and Tremellius, similarly Tigurinus, Vatablus). That is, with his head pierced and transfixed (Vatablus). Hebrew: it alighted upon the earth; that is, bursting forth with force from the other temple it was fixed in the earth (Junius). The woman’s attempt was bold, but she was seeing God and the elements fight against the impious man, the persecutor of the faithful (Munster).


[Who, entering into a deep sleep, etc., נִרְדָּ֥ם וַיָּ֖עַף] He was overwhelmed by sleep and weary (Munster); he was overwhelmed by sleep because of weariness (Vatablus). [Pagnine and the English Version place these words in parentheses.] The reasons for his sleep were weariness, the mil