“When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim. And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he had harshly oppressed the children of Israel” (Judges 4:1-3). Three judges (Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar) had already been sent by God to deliver Israel from their oppressors but after the latest judge, Ehud, was dead the Israelites returned to their evil ways. God’s judgment came upon them once again by an enemy overtaking them and oppressing them for twenty years. After two decades of oppression, Israel finally cried out to God and He sent another judge to Israel whose name was Deborah. She was a prophetess in Israel known for wisdom and discernment among the people (4:4-5). One day Deborah called for a man named Barak and commanded him to take 10,000 warriors to battle against Sisera, who would be defeated (4:6-7). Barak responded to her request by saying that the only way he would go to battle was if she accompanied him (4:8). Deborah agreed to go but said these words to Barak about his conditional agreement, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman” (4:9). Deborah did accompany Barack with an army of 10,000 soldiers and they swiftly defeated Sisera’s army (4:10-15a, 16); however, Sisera escaped on foot (4:15b) and took refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber (4:17). It is obvious that Sisera had some type of peaceful relationship with Heber, but it appears that Heber’s wife, Jael, did not share that same relationship. Jael initially received Sisera into her tent and hid him under a blanket, but after promising to keep him hidden from his enemies she quickly went into action (4:18-20). ”Then Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died” (4:21). Not long after she had killed Sisera, Jael came out to meet Barak and showed him the body of Sisera inside of her tent (4:22). In this culture, being killed by a woman was disgraceful, but Jael’s actions were a fulfillment of Deborah’s words to Barak in Judges 4:9. Through the actions of both Barak and Jael, God brought victory over Sisera (commander of the army) and Jabin, king of Canaan (4:23-24). In celebration of Israel’s victory over their enemies, Deborah and Barak sang a song that day as an expression of praise to God, which is recorded in Judges 5. Singing songs of praise were common expressions of worship throughout Israel’s history and this song was most likely written by Deborah (see Judges 5:7), although Barak added his voice to the song (Judges 5:1). As Deborah praised God for His personal involvement in Israel’s victory, modern-day worshipers should also be careful to express their praise to God for His goodness in their lives. Failure to give God thanks for His work reveals a selfish heart on the part of a believer. All glory goes to God for every good thing!
Dear God, I praise You for all the victories You have given to me in my life.