Judges 4:23

I. OPPRESSION ROUSES THE DARKEST PASSIONS OF THE OPPRESSED. Jael's treacherous murder of Sisera did not occur in an age of peace and comfort, but after her nation had been terribly crushed by the Canaanite power. The worst evil of tyranny is not found in the mere distress which it brings on those who suffer from it, but in the bad passions which it provokes. The oppressed are degraded morally; they grow revengeful; unequal to open resistance, they become treacherous; misery blinds them to the claims of humanity Slaves are too often cruel and treacherous. This fact, instead of excusing slavery, is its heaviest condemnation.

II. CRUELTY MAY EXPECT TO BE REWARDED WITH TREACHERY. Sisera was no innocent soldier falling in the discharge of loyal service to his country. He had "mightily oppressed the children of Israel." Harshness may appear to silence all opposition, but it really provokes the most dangerous enmity - secret and treacherous enmity. Sisera meets with a just doom. There is something cowardly in brutal oppression; it is fitting that the man who descended to practise it should not fall in honourable warfare, but meet his miserable fate at the hands of a deceitful woman.

III. THE GUILT OF A CRIME MUST BE MEASURED BY THE MOTIVE WHICH INSTIGATED IT. A cold-blooded crime committed for low ends of personal profit is far more wicked than the same deed done in the heat of provoked passion. The act which is committed for the good of others is less wicked than that which is entirely selfish in its motives. The motive of Jael was patriotic. She anticipated no danger to herself from Sisera, but she thought to rid her country of a great and cruel enemy. So far she was brave and noble.

IV. THE UTILITY OF THE END WILL NEVER EXCUSE THE WICKEDNESS OF THE MEANS EMPLOYED TO SECURE IT. Jael was no vulgar murderess. Her patriotic motive mitigated the guilt of her crime, but it did not destroy that guilt. She was guilty of a breach of the sacred rights of hospitality. Did she meditate murder when she welcomed Sisera into her tent? Possibly not. It may be that the sight of the sleeping man suggested the temptation to an easy way of delivering her nation from a great enemy. If so, her treachery was so much the less guilty. But the very warmth of her ostentatious hospitality offered to such a man as Sisera suggests only too forcibly that she meant treachery from the first. That grim scene - the weary soldier trusting himself in the hands of the murderous woman, while she lavishes her hospitality on him with fearful schemes working in her brain - is surely no picture of womanly glory, in whatever age we set it, with whatever provocations we mitigate its dark horror. Jael is plainly guilty of a gross breach of trust. We must not shut our eyes to her criminality because she did a deed on the side of the Jews which we should have condemned with loathing if it had been committed by a less enlightened, heathen, Canaanite woman. Reverence for the teaching of Scripture does not require us to excuse the faults of the Jews. - (Jael the Kenite was practically a Jewess.) It is most degrading to the conscience to read the dark pages of Hebrew history with the understanding that we must condemn nothing done by an Israelite. It is also false to the intentions of Scripture. In the Bible we see the failings of good men and the personal wickedness of some who took their stand on the right side. The merit of their cause does not destroy the guilt of their individual conduct. Deceit and cruelty have sometimes been practised in the interests of Christianity, of liberty, of humanity; but the only service God will accept must be fair, and true, and pure. - A.

So God subdued on that day Jabin.
I. WHAT HE DID: "God subdued... Jabin the king."

1. This is the normal issue of God's activity. For God to act is for Him to conquer. Where the victory tarries, it is only God waiting.

2. He subdued Jabin the king of Canaan. Who is able to stand against Him?

3. Every oppressor of God's people becomes His foe. He who molests them virtually challenges God.


1. By inspiring Deborah with a holy courage.

2. By arrangement. The plan of salvation is only one grand instance of the Divine order,

III. WHEN HE DID IT: "On that day." God never miscalculates. The Eternal is never late.

1. It was as soon as they wanted it.

2. It was when they were most ready to receive it.

IV. WHERE HE DID IT: "Before the children of Israel."

1. There are many things which God must do out of our sight.

2. There are instances when He works by signs which are visible — Red Sea; Carmel. This victory was not only decided, but manifest.

(E. M. Mouchin.).

Abinoam, Barak, Deborah, Ehud, Heber, Hobab, Israelites, Jabin, Jael, Kenites, Lapidoth, Naphtali, Sisera, Zebulun
Bethel, Canaan, Harosheth-hagoyim, Hazor, Kedesh, Kedesh-naphtali, Kishon River, Moab, Mount Tabor, Ramah, Zaanannim
Canaan, Canaanite, Humbleth, Israelites, Jabin, Overcame, Sons, Subdued
1. Deborah and Barak deliver them from Jabin and Sisera
17. Jael kills Sisera

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Judges 4:23

     6634   deliverance

Judges 4:23-24

     5354   invasions

Sin Slain
I want to picture to you to-night, if I can, three acts in a great history--three different pictures illustrating one subject. I trust we have passed through all three of them, many of us; and as we shall look upon them, whilst I paint them upon the wall, I think there will be many here who will be able to say, I was in that state once;" and when we come to the last, I hope we shall be able to clap our hands, and rejoice to feel that the last is our case also, and that we are in the plight of the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860

Whether the Grace of the Word of Wisdom and Knowledge is Becoming to Women?
Objection 1: It would seem that the grace of the word of wisdom and knowledge is becoming even to women. For teaching is pertinent to this grace, as stated in the foregoing Article. Now it is becoming to a woman to teach; for it is written (Prov. 4:3,4): "I was an only son in the sight of my mother, and she taught me [*Vulg.: 'I was my father's son, tender, and as an only son in the sight of my mother. And he taught me.']." Therefore this grace is becoming to women. Objection 2: Further, the grace
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The First Blast of the Trumpet
The English Scholar's Library etc. No. 2. The First Blast of the Trumpet &c. 1558. The English Scholar's Library of Old and Modern Works. No. 2. The First Blast of the Trumpet &c. 1558. Edited by EDWARD ARBER, F.S.A., etc., LECTURER IN ENGLISH LITERATURE, ETC., UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON. SOUTHGATE, LONDON, N. 15 August 1878. No. 2. (All rights reserved.) CONTENTS. Bibliography vii-viii Introduction
John Knox—The First Blast of the Trumpet

A Nation's Struggle for a Home and Freedom.
ISRAEL'S VICTORIES OVER THE CANAANITES.--Josh. 2-9; Judg. 1, 4, 5. Parallel Readings. Hist. Bible II,1-4.1. Prin. of Politics X. That the leaders took the lead in Israel, That the people volunteered readily, Bless Jehovah! Zebulun was a people who exposed themselves to deadly peril, And Naphtali on the heights of the open field. Kings came, they fought; They fought, the kings of Canaan, At Taanach by the Waters of Megiddo, They took no booty of silver. Prom heaven fought the stars, From their
Charles Foster Kent—The Making of a Nation

Gamala. Chorazin.
These things determine the situation of Gamala:--1. It was "in lower Gaulon," in which, as we have seen, Bethsaida was. 2. It was "upon the lake [of Gennesaret]." 3. It was "over-against Tarichee." Compare the maps, whether in their placing of it they agree with these passages. Here was Judas born, commonly called 'Gaulanites,' and as commonly also, the 'Galilean.' So Peter and Andrew and Philip were Gaulanites; of Bethsaida, John 1:44; and yet they were called 'Galileans.' While we are speaking
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Blessings of Noah Upon Shem and Japheth. (Gen. Ix. 18-27. )
Ver. 20. "And Noah began and became an husbandman, and planted vineyards."--This does not imply that Noah was the first who began to till the ground, and, more especially, to cultivate the vine; for Cain, too, was a tiller of the ground, Gen. iv. 2. The sense rather is, that Noah, after the flood, again took up this calling. Moreover, the remark has not an independent import; it serves only to prepare the way for the communication of the subsequent account of Noah's drunkenness. By this remark,
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Beth-El. Beth-Aven.
Josephus thus describes the land of Benjamin; "The Benjamites' portion of land was from the river Jordan to the sea, in length: in breadth, it was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." Let these last words be marked, "The breadth of the land of Benjamin was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." May we not justly conclude, from these words, that Jerusalem and Beth-el were opposite, as it were, in a right line? But if you look upon the maps, there are some that separate these by a very large tract of land,
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

A Cloud of Witnesses.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.... By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient,
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

The Mountainous Country of Judea.
"What is the mountainous country of Judea? It is the king's mountain." However Judea, here and there, doth swell out much with mountains, yet its chief swelling appears in that broad back of mountains, that runs from the utmost southern cost as far as Hebron, and almost as Jerusalem itself. Which the Holy Scripture called "The hill-country of Judah," Joshua 21:11; Luke 1:39. Unless I am very much mistaken,--the maps of Adricomus, Tirinius, and others, ought to be corrected, which have feigned to
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Country of Jericho, and the Situation of the City.
Here we will borrow Josephus' pencil, "Jericho is seated in a plain, yet a certain barren mountain hangs over it, narrow, indeed, but long; for it runs out northward to the country of Scythopolis,--and southward, to the country of Sodom, and the utmost coast of the Asphaltites." Of this mountain mention is made, Joshua 2:22, where the two spies, sent by Joshua, and received by Rahab, are said to "conceal themselves." "Opposite against this, lies a mountain on the other side Jordan, beginning from
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

He Does Battle for the Faith; He Restores Peace among those who were at Variance; He Takes in Hand to Build a Stone Church.
57. (32). There was a certain clerk in Lismore whose life, as it is said, was good, but his faith not so. He was a man of some knowledge in his own eyes, and dared to say that in the Eucharist there is only a sacrament and not the fact[718] of the sacrament, that is, mere sanctification and not the truth of the Body. On this subject he was often addressed by Malachy in secret, but in vain; and finally he was called before a public assembly, the laity however being excluded, in order that if it were
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

Miscellaneous Subjects.
Woman's Freedom. The Scriptural right for women to labor in the gospel as exhorters, teachers, preachers, etc., is questioned by many. To deny women such a privilege is contrary to the Christian spirit of equality, and a serious obstruction to pure gospel light. We (male and female) are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28. In the kingdom of grace man and woman are on an equal footing so far as concerns the work of God. To explain some texts that seem to prohibit women from laboring in the gospel
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

For the understanding of the early history and religion of Israel, the book of Judges, which covers the period from the death of Joshua to the beginning of the struggle with the Philistines, is of inestimable importance; and it is very fortunate that the elements contributed by the later editors are so easily separated from the ancient stories whose moral they seek to point. That moral is most elaborately stated in ii. 6-iii. 6, which is a sort of programme or preface to iii. 7-xvi. 31, which constitutes
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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