(Jaʹel) [Mountain Goat].
The wife of Heber the Kenite, hence a non-Israelite, and slayer of the Canaanite army chief Sisera.
With her husband, Jael tented near Kedesh, and there was peace between Heber and the Canaanite oppressors. (Jg 4:10, 11, 17, 21; see KEDESH No. 3.) After Sisera was defeated at Israel’s hand, he fled to Heber’s neutral encampment, where Jael invited him into her tent. She then covered him with a blanket. When he asked for water she gave him a banquet bowl of curdled milk to drink. After she again covered him up, he asked her to stand guard at the entrance of the tent. Thinking himself secure as her guest, the tired and weary Sisera soon fell fast asleep. Jael, who as a tent dweller was undoubtedly used to driving tent pins into the ground, then quietly came in to him armed with a hammer and a tent pin that she drove through his head into the earth. When the pursuer Barak arrived, she showed him the army chief, dead at “the hand of a woman,” as Deborah foretold. (Jg 4:9, 17-22) Jael’s courageous act against the enemy of Jehovah is extolled in the victory song of Deborah and Barak, which also pronounces Jael “most blessed among women.”—Jg 5:6, 24-27.