Prophetess and Judge
In the days before kings ruled in Israel, God appointed judges to sit at the gate of a city and hear peoples problems and complaints. The judge would then listen and make a judgment call on the situation.
Judging: refers to functioning in a recognized office, including rendering decisions on people’s inquiries. [footnote in the Spirit-filled Life Bible]
God raised up Deborah as a prophetess and judge in Israel. Israel was, once again, doing evil in the sight of the LORD.
So, what did God do? He turned them over into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan. Jabin’s, king of Canaan, commander of the army was Sisera. These were evil men.
Israel, operating in all types of evil, cried out to the LORD in fear of Jabin and his 900 chariots of iron and for the horrible 20 years they had suffered oppression under him.
Deborah under the palm tree
I love the picture this paints in my mind. There she sat, under a palm tree, between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim.
And, the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Judges 4.5
Deborah, the prophetess sends for Barak
Now, Israel was under great oppression by evil Jabin and his huge army; Deborah heard from the LORD, as prophetesses and prophets do. The LORD said to deploy troops against the Canaanites.
Deborah sent for Barak, the Commander of the Israeli Army.
Barak, has not the LORD God of Israel commanded to go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor? And, to take 10,000 men of the sons of Naphtali and Zebulon and God Himself will deploy Jabin’s Commander Sisera and will Himself deliver Sisera into your hand? Judges 4.6-7
Barak, did He not command? Knock-knock who’s there, Barak?
And, here’s where I lose all respect for Barak, the Commander of the Israeli Army.
And Barak said to Deborah, If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go! Judges 4.8
Deborah, the prophetess and judge, with no military training, responded by saying, “I will go but there will be no glory for you in the journey – for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Judges 4.9
Barak Calls His Troops
Barak and Deborah went to Kedesh and gathered the ten thousand troops.
Evil Sisera had spies tell him that Barak and his troops had gone to Mount Tabor. And, Sisera called together his chariots and men and went to the River Kishon.
This is the day!
Deborah exclaimed, “This is the day the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Get up and let’s go!” Down the mountain they went.
The Word tells us that the LORD routed Sisera and his army. This word routed is the same verb used in Exodus when referencing how the Red Sea swallowed up the Egyptian army. (Remember Sisera’s troops were camped at the River Kishon.)
Barak pursued. And, all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not one man was left standing. Judges 4.16
However, Sisera, the Commander, fled away by foot to the tent of Jael. Jael (a woman) went out to meet Sisera and invited him into her tent. She told him not to fear – she instructed him to lie down and she covered him with a blanket. He asked for water and he instructed her if anyone should come looking for him she was to tell them he was not there. The blanket was brought up and over Sisera’s head. Exhausted, he fell asleep. Sound asleep. Jael took a tent peg and a hammer and drove the spike into Sisera’s temple killing him instantly.
Barak came to Jael’s tent in pursuit of Sisera. She brought Barak into her tent and showed him the man he sought. Dead, with a tent peg in his temple.
Jabin king of Canaan was subdued
And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until finally they had destroyed him. Judges 4.24
What can we learn from Deborah?
- Deborah’s position in the Lord was paramount to her position as a wife. Judges 4.4, Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth.
- There should be no conflict between being a wife and a spiritual leader.
- Deborah was obedient to the Lord and He blessed her with great spiritual discernment.
- Deborah was a woman who exercised balance in her roles: prophetess, judge, wife, and possibly mother. We are wise to do the same.
The Song of Deborah
I encourage you to click on the link and read this beautiful song of Deborah! Be encouraged, O! Women of God!