Judges 4

Judges 4 has a predictable outcome.  The people “again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud died”.  A strong leader dies, without a strong transition plan to another leader, and the people fall off the wagon and wander away from the Lord.  It is a predictable pattern.  So they are captured by Jabin king of Canaan and his commander, a thug named Sisera.  This guy “oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years”.  We’ve seen the length of time that Israel comes under punishment grow with each wandering from God’s hand.

“Deborah….was judging Israel at that time”.  She went to Barak who was one of the leaders of the Israelites and told him that God has a plan for their victory over their captors.  But Barak is not so sure, and he tells her “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go”.  He wasn’t about to head into battle based on what she told him alone.  If she would go along, he knew she truly believed what she was saying.  Deborah immediately said yes, but also told Barak “the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”

So Barak traded his opportunity to get some great press and build his resume because of his lack of trust.  But he gathers 10,000 men and prepares.  Deborah us up early and says “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you”?  It’s battle time, and along with Deborah he heads into battle against Sisera.  Deborah’s prophecy was absolutely correct and they route the enemy.  Sisera flees and escapes to someplace he believes he will be safe, the tent of Heber who was an ally.

But Jael, the woman of the tent, has a different plan.  While she welcomes this scoundrel in, and he instructs her to hide him, she has her own plan.  Sisera asked her to hide him under a rug, which she did, but then “she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness”.  That would cause quite a headache.  She kills this thug and when Barak comes chasing she shows him that Sisera is dead.  That encourages the army and they “pressed harder and harder….until they destroyed Jabin king of Canaan”.

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