Tag Archives: Deborah

A Story Within A Song – Jael

Within the song of Deborah and Barak, there is another story of a woman named Jael. She lived near Kadesh. She was married to Heber the Kenite (related to the father-in-law of Moses). They had separated from the Kenites (maybe because of Philistine aggression) and moved north to the Napthali area.

11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. Judges 4:11

Deborah had told Barak, the military leader of Israel, to go up Mt Tabor with 10,000 men to get ready to fight the Canaanites (Jabin was their ruler) and deliver them from Jabin’s oppression (4:3) This was accomplished with God’s help: good strategy and timely weather conditions. The Canaanite military leader, Sisera, escaped back to the Kadesh area and sought safety from  Heber’s wife, Jael:

17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. Judges 4:17

However, Sisera was not safe with Jael as he had thought:

24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. 

25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. 26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. Judges 5:25-26

Sisera was killed by Jael. Deborah had told (4:9) Barak earlier that a woman would end Sisera’s life. Verse 27 is interesting from a figure of speech view. A figure of speech gives added emphasis to the situation.

27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead. Judges 5:27

There are two figures in this verse: asyndeton (no-ands)  and epibole (overlaid repetition). The asyndeton involves a series of phrases with no conjunctions. It speeds up the tempo of the sentence ending with a climax statement ‘he fell down dead’.

The Israelites were delivered from the devilish oppression of 20 years by Deborah, Barak, the leaders and people of certain tribes of Israel and finally by Jael the Kenite. It is interesting how many were involved and who was involved in doing his/her part. God certainly operated in a variety of hearts to bring deliverance. The land had rest for 40 years after this victory.



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To Judge or Not to Judge

Today in the news, the people who are screaming about how judgemental others are,  actually are the worst in that category. It can be seen all over Facebook and it practically runs Twitter. These sites can be subject to the passive-aggressive outcries that can get downright nasty.

Our ability to truly judge situations and actions of people is very limited. It really takes a birds-eye view to see all aspects of what is actually going on. Only God can provide that view.  When we sense the effects or see the fruit of what is going on, it behooves us to tap our all-knowing Father to enlighten our eyes as to what to do about it. In order to benefit from wisdom from above, we must have the courage to trust the wings of the Almighty in carrying through the appropriate action.

The subject of chapter 5 of the book of Judges is a victory and praise song sung by Deborah and Barak (Hebrews 11:32). There is a lot of joy in the song and acknowledgment of God about things he had done for them in the past, how they were delivered from the current situation, and how God worked in the people to get the right results.

At one point Deborah makes a point about being ‘a mother in Israel’:

7 The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel. Judges 5:7

Now we don’t know if Deborah had children, but the illustration hits the mark. What is a ‘mother’? A mother trusts God and recognizes that he is to be the power in her children’s lives(5:1-5). She teaches them to go to God and his word. She is an encourager (5:9,24).  She is a challenger (4:6). She encouraged Barak to rise up to his calling. A mother has to be courageous.  As she fights for her children, she is not always the most popular person in the world and Mom’s have to live with that. It takes courage. There is a lot of work, patience, and steadfastness in being a Mom.  It is downright hard at times and it has to be God that gives the rest and assurance.

There is a lot of mixture of good and evil in the world today and it is important to separate the two.

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Judgment involves discernment and God has given us great tools to navigate with to properly judge, One of the Greek words for ‘discerning’ or judging’ is the word ‘diakrisis’ (‘dia’ as in diameter and ‘krisis’ as in judgment)

‘Kalon’ = good and ‘Kakon’ = evil. Notice there is one letter difference between the two words. The difference between good and evil can be so small.

14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:14

Deborah was a “full age” believer as a mother in Israel because of her trust in God and her courage to carry out his instruction.

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Deborah ~Why A Female?

Why not a female! It says that Deborah was a prophetess in Judges 4:1-4:

4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead. 2 And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.

3 And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

A prophetess speaks for God.  In the Old Testament God could communicate to a man or woman via spirit upon them. It was temporary and usually on someone God chose to lead the rest of his people.

After experiencing freedom during the time of the judge, Ehud, God’s people were oppressed by Jabin, a Canaanite king. It went on twenty years. Working with Barak, Deborah coordinated a strategy to remove the oppressors from the land. Barak was encouraged by Deborah and said he wanted her to accompany him.  He recognized the spirit of God working upon her and the strategy was successful and she recognized him and the job he needed to do.

The plan was brilliant and the weather brought the enemies weapons into a sluggish mire. They got turned around and outflanked just by these two working together with God. This is about a faithful woman and a warrior working to bring out God’s victory.

5 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, 2 Praise ye the Lord…..

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The 4th judge mentioned in the Book of Judges is Deborah. In verse 4 of chapter 4, we see that she was a prophetess and a judge. The children of Israel had gotten into one of their down cycles of unbelief and were experiencing 20 years of oppression. They cried out to God for help.

God’s love extends to everyone. If a person or group turn out and away from God, they eventually fall into oppressive pressure traps, not because God ceases to love them, but because he can’t reach them outside his boundaries.  Many people blame God or diss him for all sorts of reasons when the only one to blame is really themselves. All of what God has created, and the way he has created what is today, is meant to bless. People who stick up their nose at him are ignorant or have mistaken notions about love, sin, good and evil.

Some don’t like boundaries, but God has boundaries. ‘Sin’ is defined as ‘missing the mark’ as it is an ancient archery term. There’s a target and there is an area outside the target. Hitting the target is golden and has significance and reward. I like to define ‘sin’ as missing out on’. Actually, I looked at a frequent Greek word for ‘sin’ and it essentially means ‘missing a share or a portion’.  ‘Missing the mark’ connotes to me a ‘performance condition’. Our performance is not the issue.  It is believing what has been provided for us.  The boundaries keep us within reach.

When Israel cried to God, he worked through a woman. A prophetess speaks for God. In order to speak for God, she had to have spirit upon her. In the Old Testament, this is how God worked through an individual to bless a group and rescue them out of the clutches of oppression.  In the New Testament, the spirit can take up residence in anyone who chooses God by confessing the Lordship of his son and believing that God got Jesus up from the dead.

This lady was also a judge:

4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Judges 4:4-5

She didn’t have to belong to any international  or national organization for women’s rights, she had God at her back. God’s view of women has been so distorted by people throughout history. She didn’t run around giving everybody a piece of her mind to show strength, she gave her heart. At the center of her heart was God.

She is an example of a great woman. In the New Testament, we have an even greater potential as women. The spirit of God has been made available to anyone (male or female) who chooses. We can truly walk in the love of God free from the coldness of sin and evil, to do good.  In that context, we can be anything we want to be!

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