Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Egypt. Ses-Ra, "servant of Ra").
(1) The captain of Jabin's army ( Judges 4:2 ), which was routed and destroyed
by the army of Barak on the plain of Esdraelon. After all was lost he fled to
the settlement of Heber the Kenite in the plain of Zaanaim. Jael, Heber's wife,
received him into her tent with apparent hospitality, and "gave him butter" (i.e.,
lebben, or curdled milk) "in a lordly dish." Having drunk the refreshing beverage,
he lay down, and soon sank into the sleep of the weary. While he lay asleep Jael
crept stealthily up to him, and taking in her hand one of the tent pegs, with
a mallet she drove it with such force through his temples that it entered into
the ground where he lay, and "at her feet he bowed, he fell; where he bowed, there
he fell down dead." The part of Deborah's song (Judges 5:24 - 27 ) referring to
the death of Sisera (which is a "mere patriotic outburst," and "is no proof that
purer eyes would have failed to see gross sin mingling with Jael's service to
Israel") is thus rendered by Professor Roberts (Old Testament Revision): "Extolled
above women be Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite, Extolled above women in the
tent. He asked for water, she gave him milk; She brought him cream in a lordly
dish. She stretched forth her hand to the nail, Her right hand to the workman's
hammer, And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head, She crashed through and transfixed
his temples. At her feet he curled himself, he fell, he lay still; At her feet
he curled himself, he fell; And where he curled himself, there he fell dead."
(2) The ancestor of some of the Nethinim who returned with Zerubbabel ( Ezra 2:53
; Nehemiah 7:55 )
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
that sees a horse or a swallow
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) Captain of the army of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. He himself
resided in Harosheth of the Gentiles. The particulars of the rout of Megiddo and
of Sisera's flight and death are drawn out under the heads of BARAK, DEBORAH,
JAEL, KISHON. (B.C. 1296.)
(2) After a long interval the name appears in the lists of Nethinim who returned
from the captivity with Zerubbabel. ( Ezra 2:53 ; Nehemiah 7:55 ) It doubtless
tells of Canaanite captives devoted to the lowest offices of the temple. (B.C.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
sis'-er-a (cicera', of doubtful meaning; S(e)isara):
(1) Given in Judges 4 as the captain of the army of Jabin, king of Hazor. The
accounts given of the battle of Sisera with Barak, as found in Judges 4 and 5,
have important points of difference. The first is a prose, the second a poetic
narrative. In the first only Naphtali and Zebulun are mentioned as being under
the command of Barak; in the second 6 tribes are given as being under his command.
In Judges 4 Sisera is known as the captain of Jabin's forces, while in Judges
5 he seems to have been an independent leader. There is also a difference as to
the scene of the battle and as to the manner in which Sisera met his death at
the hand of Jael. Because of these points of difference, added to the fact that
this is the only account, in these early times, where a king did not lead his
own forces, it is thought by many that there is here the combination of two traditions
dealing with different and distinct events.
Sisera resided in Harosheth of the Gentiles, a place identified with el-Charithiyeh,
on the right bank of the Kishon and commanding the way from the Central Plain
to the sea. Taking the versions in the two chapters of Judges as being the account
of a single campaign, we find Deborah urging Barak to combine the forces of Israel
to wage war with Sisera as the representative of Jabin, the king of Hazor. The
scene of the battle was on the plain at the foot of the slopes of Mt. Tabor (Judges
4:12 - 14), or at the foot of the Carmel heights (Judges 5:19). The attack of
Barak and Deborah was so furious, animated as it was by the hatred of Sisera and
the Canaanites, that the hosts of Sisera were put to rout, and Sisera, deserting
his troops, fled on foot to the Northeast. He took refuge in the tent of Heber,
near Kedesh, and here met death at the hands of Jael, the wife of Heber (see JAEL).
Sisera's name had long produced fear in Israel because of his oppression of the
people, his vast army and his 900 chariots of iron. His overthrow was the cause
of much rejoicing and was celebrated by the song in which Deborah led the people.
It is interesting to note that the great rabbi Aqiba, who fought so valiantly
in the Jewish war for independence as standard bearer to Bar-cocheba, was descended
from the ancient warlike Sisera of Harosheth.
(2) In Ezra 2:53 and Nehemiah 7:55 the name Sisera, after a long interval, reappears
in a family of the Nethinim. There is no evidence that the latter Sisera is connected
by family descent with the former.
C. E. Schenk
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, captain of jabin's army, killed by jael, megiddo, nail through his temple, sisera, war with deborah and barak