Statens Museum for Kunst/Cope, Copenhagen, Denmark/Art Resource, NY/Photo by Erich Lessing
“Into the hands of a woman will the Lord deliver Sisera,” predicts Deborah in her rebuke of Barak. In a surprise twist, however, Sisera escapes the army of Deborah and Barak and flees to the tent of Jael, whom Sisera believes to be an ally of his king, Jabin. Jael calmly executes the judgment with a tent pin, later showing Barak the grisly result. Bartholmaeus Spranger, the Danish artist who painted this scene, shrouds Jael’s deed in darkness; the biblical text, however, proclaims: “On that day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites” (Judges 4:23).