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Hebrew: יָעֵל —transliteration: Yael

also known as: Ja-el

Meaning: mountain-goat

This is the name of a Canaanite woman, the wife of Heber the Kenite (Judges 4:17-22). Her name appears 6 times in 2 chapters of Judges (4 and 5).

When the Canaanites were defeated by Barak, Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, fled and sought refuge with the friendly tribe of Heber, beneath the oaks of Zaanaim.

As he drew near, Jael invited him to enter her tent. He did so, and as he lay wearied on the floor he fell into a deep sleep. She then took in her left hand one of the great wooden pins (“nail”) which fastened down the cords of the tent, and in her right hand the mallet, or “hammer,” used for driving it into the ground, and stealthily approaching her sleeping guest, with one well-directed blow drove the nail through his temples into the earth (Judges 5:27).

She then led Barak, who was in pursuit, into her tent, and boastfully showed him what she had done.

This fulfilled a prophecy by Deborah.

So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. —Judges 4:9 NKJV

The story of Jael is told in one of Deborah’s songs, in which she says “Most blessed among women is Jael…” (Judges 5:24).

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Article Version: July 13, 2019