Remember Jael’s Nail

This past Sunday we took a look at true freedom from sin and saw that one of the aspects of sin is that it is deceitful. Like a skilled fisherman, sin offers something shiny and enjoyable but ends up killing us in the process. This made me recall a biblical illustration from Judges 4:17-22:

But Sisera fled away on foot 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. And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. And he said to her, “Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’ ” But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.

Sin offers us a warm blanket and a refreshing glass of milk, but in the end drives a tent peg through our skulls.

May we remember Jael’s Nail and watch out for the deceitful promises of sin!


  1. #1 by Jeffery on April 13, 2010 - 11:41 am


    Jael was righteous here; she used the nail to “nail” the sinful ruler. The “head” is a huge historical-redemptive cue: serpant’s head crushed (Gen 3) ; law of God written on the head (Deut); Uzziah gets leporsy on his head (2 Chron. 26); “taw” (a cross) marking the faithful (Ezek 9) placed on the head; Jesus dies on the place of the head, or skull–Golgotha; mark of the Beast is placed on the head . . . etc. etc.

    I think your main point is correct regarding the deceitfulness of sin, and Sisera certainly was living autonoously (Jer. 2) and his sin “found him.” But, I think we should be wary to protect against someone attributing sin to Jael, rather than Sisera in this instance.

  2. #2 by lukesimmons on April 13, 2010 - 1:51 pm

    Agreed that Sisera’s death was deserving as he was sinful and unjust. This is just an illustration of the way sin works. Wasn’t saying that Jael did the wrong thing, just that sin has a luring and, ultimately, devastating effect.

    Also, Jeffrey, I did use your final “D” on Sunday at 11am – defeated. Great point!

  3. #3 by Jeffery on April 13, 2010 - 2:57 pm


    We are on the same page, but more importantly, we are on the Lord’s page! (I did not interpret your post to impugn Jael, but as my friend Ken Sande once counseled me: “Speak to be understood and speak so as not to be misunderstood.” I’ve had to pay dues in this regard.)

  4. #4 by kevin on April 13, 2010 - 10:41 pm

    Hi Luke,

    Kind of interesting. Just yesterday, I too read of Barak, Sisera and Jael. I too was struck by the allegory that was evident in this story about sin trying to evade detection. I like Sisera would also easily run into the tent of Jael to hide. Sin, milk and cookies….sweet. Hah! Fortunately, God has been merciful, abundantly merciful, and put Jaels nail not through my head, but through Christs hands and feet.

    • #5 by lukesimmons on April 16, 2010 - 4:51 pm

      Amen, Kevin!

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