General of the army of King Jabin of Hazor. According to Judges iv. 9 et seq., he invaded the northern part of Judea in the time of Deborah, the prophetess and judge. Upon Deborah's order Barak took 10,000 men and went out to meet Sisera, going as far as the river of Kishon. Sisera suffered defeat, and while Barak pursued the enemy as far as "Harosheth of the Gentiles," Sisera fled alone and on foot. Arrived at the settlement of the Kenites, who, according to legend, were the descendants of Jethro, he was invited by a Kenite woman named Jael, wife of Heber, into her tent. Sisera accepted the invitation and asked for water, but instead she gave him milk. When Sisera had fallen asleep, Jael took a hammer and drove a "nail," or tent-pin, into his temple.

The position of Sisera's army is not specifically mentioned in Judges v. 19, where the battle is said to have taken place at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. The identity of Sisera has not yet been established (see M. Müller, "Asien und Europa," p. 332; Budde, "Die Bücher Richter und Samuel").

According to the Midrash (Yalḳuṭ Shim'oni on Judges iv. 3), Sisera hitherto had conquered every country against which he had fought. His voice was so strong that when he called loudly the most solid wall would shake and the wildest animal would fall dead. Deborah was the only one who could withstand his voice and whom it did not cause to stir from her place. Sisera caught fishenough in his beard when bathing in the Kishon to provision his whole army. According to the same source (lii., end), thirty-one kings followed Sisera merely for the opportunity of drinking, or otherwise using, the waters of Israel. The descendants of Sisera, according to Giṭ. 57b, were teachers of the young in Jerusalem. See Deborah; Jael.

J. S. O.
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