Judges, Chapter 4

- ה י י -

Deborah and Barak Set Out to Defeat Sisera

The Israelites continue displeasing God. The newest tyrants oppressing them are Jabin, king of Hazor, and his commander, Sisera. Deborah is both a prophet and a judge. She offers the people counsel under a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel. She calls for Barak, the son of Abinoam, who lives in Kedesh, in the territory of Naphtali, and tells him that God has chosen him to defeat Sisera. However, the man she has designated is all but eager to accept this responsibility. He is willing to accept Deborah’s plea only if she’ll stand by his side during battle. Barak recruits troops from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and mobilizes them to the summit of Mount Tabor. Sisera commands over 900 charioteers by the Kishon River.

Barak’s 10,000 men crush Sisera’s cavalry. However, the commander himself is not seized, as he escapes the battlefield by foot. He finds refuge in the tent of a woman named Yael. After welcoming him and allowing him to sleep, she takes one of the tent’s stakes and hammers it into her guest’s temple. Deborah, the prophetess, responds to God’s calling. She does not fear the unknown. Instead, she recruits help and takes action to fulfill her prophecies. 

“Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go” (Judges 4:6)

“and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet” (Judges 4:16—17)

“Then Jael… took a nail of the tent, … and smote the nail into his temples,… So he died” (Judges 4:21)

Flexibility is being able to receive guidance and change course.