The fourth judge is Deborah.
VERSE 1. The children of Israel again did that which was evil in the LORD’s sight, when Ehud was dead.
VERSE 2. The LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth of the Gentiles.
VERSE 3. The children of Israel cried to the LORD, for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and he mightily oppressed the children of Israel for twenty years.
Deborah, a prophetess. The Bible describes Deborah as a prophet. She is one of the five female prophets mentioned in the Old Testament.
The Bible and the Jewish tradition are very open to female prophets. How strange that we Christians are not. Read more »
judged Israel at that time. Deborah is a judge. She is leading the nation.
VERSE 5. She lived under Deborah’s palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
between Ramah and Bethel. Deborah held court about 8 or 10 miles north of Jerusalem.
the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Deborah is acknowledged as the judge.
VERSE 6. She sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh Naphtali, and said to him, “Hasn’t the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded, ‘Go and lead the way to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
hasn’t the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded. Deborah is speaking as a prophet. She is declaring the will of the LORD God for the nation.
take with you ten thousand men. Deborah commands Barak to recruit 10,000 men.
VERSE 7. I will draw to you, to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into your hand.’ ”
VERSE 8. Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”
If you will go with me. This reply is conditional. Barak will only do the revealed will of the LORD God if certain conditions are met.
If those conditions are not met, Barak will disobey the revealed will of the LORD GOd.
This is an unacceptable response to a command from the LORD God.
VERSE 9. She said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the journey that you take won’t be for your honor; for the LORD will sell Sisera into a woman’s hand.” Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.
won’t be for your honor. Due to Barak’s conditional obedience, he will not get the victory. Instead …
the LORD will sell Sisera into a woman’s hand. The enemy will be conquered by a woman.
This prophecy is fulfilled by Jael, a nomad, in verse 21 below.
VERSE 10. Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh. Ten thousand men followed him; and Deborah went up with him.
VERSE 11. Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, even from the children of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, and had pitched his tent as far as the oak in Zaanannim, which is by Kedesh.
Heber the Kenite. He is a nomad. He had left the Kenites. Now he lives near Kedesh.
VERSE 12. They told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to Mount Tabor.
VERSE 13. Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles, to the river Kishon.
nine hundred chariots of iron. In those days, iron chariots were the most advanced battle technology in the world.
VERSE 14. Deborah said to Barak, “Go; for this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Hasn’t the LORD gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.
Deborah said to Barak. Deborah sends Barak and 10,000 men into battle.
VERSE 15. The LORD confused Sisera, all his chariots, and all his army, with the edge of the sword before Barak. Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled away on his feet.
The LORD confused Sisera. As Deborah prophesied, the LORD God granted the victory.
VERSE 16. But Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth of the Gentiles; and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword. There was not a man left.
VERSE 17. However 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.
VERSE 18. Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; don’t be afraid.” He came in to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug.
He came in to her into the tent. The mighty king Sisera hides in the tent of a nomad.
VERSE 19. He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.” She opened a container of milk, and gave him a drink, and covered him.
VERSE 20. He said to her, “Stand in the door of the tent, and if any man comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there any man here?’ you shall say, ‘No.’ ”
VERSE 21. Then Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him, and struck the pin into his temples, and it pierced through into the ground, for he was in a deep sleep; so he fainted and died.
took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Eww. Gross.
Jael’s brave action gave Israel the victory. And it fulfilled the prophecy of Deborah in verse 9 above, that the enemy will be conquered by a woman.
In the next chapter, Deborah sings of this great deed of Jael:
Judges 5:26. She put her hand to the tent peg, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer. With the hammer she struck Sisera. She struck through his head. Yes, she pierced and struck through his temples.
VERSE 22. Behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you seek.” He came to her; and behold, Sisera lay dead, and the tent peg was in his temples.
VERSE 23. So God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel on that day.
VERSE 24. The hand of the children of Israel prevailed more and more against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.