Deborah is ‘bee’ in Hebrew. It may also mean ‘spirited or fiery woman’. When attacked, Deborah can sting like a bee. Jael means ‘wild gazelle’ or ‘wild goat'. Name fits for one who dwells in the mountains.
Before the time of the kings, the nation of Israel was run by judges and the form of government was a theocracy under God. So the judge was the person that stood between God and the people. The judge took the direction from God, and directed the people in that way. When the judge died and there was no one to fill that position, the people became as lost sheep and went where ever the strongest forces of the day were. They drifted right back into the same heathen forms of worship that their forefathers were in, and away from God.
When the Israelites fell away, God gave the power to heathen kings and nations around them, to bring the Israelites to the bottom. Then when they lost everything they came to the point of crying out to God, and God heard them and raised up a leader for them. As we saw in the last chapter, God doesn't need strong warriors, but men and women that will be faithful to Him, and will trust and carry out His Word.
The last verse of Judges 3, Shamgar was obedient to God and went out to destroy the enemy king with an "ox goad", that is to say a cattle prod, a six foot stick with a nail attached to the end of it. Shamgar made the cattle prod, and then was obedient to God to where God could use Him to slay the Philistines.
So in this chapter we will see that God will chose a woman to judge over Israel, and lead them into battle against king Jabin their enemy. Deborah had the faith and knew that God would give the victory, and God placed her in charge. Today there are many pastors that are blind and ignorant to God's Word, in that they think that only a man is able to teach the Word of God. We are going to meet one of God's finest teachers, and here name is Deborah, a woman that is truly fit for the office that God has placed her in.)
4:1–5:31. Jabin. (Deborah).
1-3. Oppression by Jabin.
1. Evil wrought.
3-. Evil repented of.
Judges 4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil
in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.
(Today the mind set of our leaders has been to stray from the absolute position that God has set for the morals of running our nation. They are not depending on our Heavenly Father's guidance and protection, but trying to negotiate their way through their problems with detente. What the communist and socialist mind could not achieve outwardly, they have achieved through detente. This is the release of tension by negations. When one side, or nation is willing to give up what they hold to be dear for the sake of being a good neighbor. The purpose stated publicly is for the sake of world peace and the acceptance of all nations to enter and be accepted by their one world government. This world body of government is controlled by the Kenites and their people, and our national leaders have done exactly what ancient Israel did when there was no one to lead, and that was in turn away from the ways, laws and commandments of God.
Today many of the churches have sold out to the traditions of men and are accepting such heathen ways as Sodomy, as being normal. They have so modified their teachings that the Word of God is not accepted and taught as the prophets taught that it should. There is not much difference between what is happening today, and the ways that Israel fell to their neighboring nations, those mixed heathen peoples that God had allowed to be there. When the Israelites turned against God's command to chase the heathen out of their land or kill them, and destroy all their idols and altars then God allowed the people continue in that direction until they reached the very bottom in despair.)
2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin
(Heb. = whom God observes. Cp. Josh. 11:1-10.)
king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.
3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
(A long time to wait for deliverance. #20 = redemption.
This is the same pattern of what happened before, when the Israelites sank into bondage to a foreign king. The only time they cry out to the Lord for help is when something goes wrong, or they want something. There is nothing new to this, for it goes on even today.
The Israelites now expect God to get right after their enemies. Many times it take years to come to the point of being able to see a problem. God wasn't the one that caused Israel to fall into the hands of a foreign king, for the people withdrew from God's ways, His laws and command, and sought their own ways. They went whoring after heathen idols, and traditions to the point that they were completely separated from God.
The subject in this chapter is God teaching Israel how to war. How to be successful in their war against their enemies. The way that you start out on your path to success and defeating your enemies is by first approaching God in prayer, and asking for His direction. Then through His Word and His prophets you are instructed what to do. This applies in your spiritual life as well as your business, for God can smooth out those obstacles that are in your way, and make you a success. However it requires you love and trust for our Father before you even start.
Those "chariots of iron" spoken of here, have swords of iron mounted on their wheels that spin around and glitter in the sun, and chew up both the men and horses of the cavalry. The foot soldier and horses simply don't have a prayer of a chance against these nine hundred chariots. We will see later how God completely neutralized these Chariots to the point of being useless.)
4:4–5:31. Deliverance by Deborah.
4:4,5. Deliverer raised up.
5:1-31-. Deliverer's song.
4 And Deborah,
(= a bee, i.e. like a queen bee.)
(Not therefore a "ruler" in the strict sense of the title. Like Miram, Ex. 15:20; Huldah, 2 Kings 22:14. Cp. her prophecy in vv. 7,9.)
the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
(Note the 2 women connected with Barak, Deborah and Jael, vv.17-21. See note on v.17, and cp. 5:7,11,24,30. Israel was "mightily oppressed", contrary to 2:18. The words "she ruled" state a fact: but do they imply a Divine appointment to the office? She was a "prophetess", but was she "a ruler" in the proper sense of the word?) 5 And she dwelt
(As ruler: near where her namesake, Rebekah's nurse, died. Gen.35:8.)
under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
(God used Deborah to witness, judge and lead for Him, and this is as it shall be in the latter days. The prophet Joel prophesied in Joel 2:28 of this.
Joel 2:28 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:"
When the Holy Spirit comes upon these daughters, these women [young and old] they shall teach and preach the Word of God. This is as it was on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1-3.
Men and women alike, all those that loved the Lord and they were waiting for the Promise that Jesus said in Acts 1:4,5 that would come to them on the day of Pentecost. That Promise was God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
Today we are seeing the woman taking a very definite part in the prophesying of God's Word, in their filling of the Holy Spirit of God. Deborah is an example of how God will use women to lead, and for His service even in these latter days.)
6. Command given by Yahaveh.
7-. Place of battle.
-7. Victory promised.
8,9. Instruments. Barak and a woman.
10-13. Place of battle.
14-16. Victory. Promise fulfilled.
15-22. Instruments. Barak and a woman.
23,24. Victory given by Yahaveh.
6 And she sent and called Barak
(= lightning. Perhaps an ironic pun on Barak’s reluctance to enter into battle, and the terrible storm that God sent to help him.)
the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, "Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, 'Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
Mount Tabor from Nazareth ridge. It is also the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus
7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera,
(Cp. Ps. 83:9,10.)
the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.' "
(Stop and think for a moment what general Barak is thinking. He is probably thinking; I am going to take ten thousand foot soldiers and go out against those 900 iron chariots with their wheel knives shining in the sun, and be turned into hamburger. Those many thousands of his soldiers greatly out number us, with their chariots, and God is going to deliver them to me.
This takes a great deal of faith to have this confidence of victory.)
8 And Barak said unto her, "If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go."
(Sounds like our generals today, general Barak put one condition on mustering the troops, and that was the condition that Judge Deborah would come along. So at this point if there is a battle, and if there is to be any faith and leading, it will not be from the men of Deborah's army, for this pack of cowards wanted Deborah the judge to go along and hold their hands while they do battle. Old Barak was wondering if God really told Deborah this thing or if she had made it up herself. If she was sure of herself then she would go out with us when we will go to battle.
This same thing happened a few generation later, for when the men of Israel froze up, and refused to go out against the Philistines, and it took a little shepherd boy and his sling shot, to put the bravery back into the men. So now the men of Israel have froze up, and they are going to send a woman into battle. It sounds like what our military forces have become today.)
9 And she said, "I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera
(His name = battle array.)
into the hand of a woman." And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.
(Deborah didn't hesitate for one second as she committed herself to the battle. As Deborah heard the conditions from Barak, she reminded him that if she was required to go, there will be no honor in the battle for him, or his soldiers, for all the honor of the victory will go to God first, and then the woman that shall lead them. Immediately she arose and went with Barak.
In the end it wasn't even Deborah that killed Sisera, but another woman. We will see how this took place later in the chapter. Again, God uses whom ever He chooses to do His business. At this point, remember that Sisera depended on his chariots, for he never lost a battle when he used them.)
10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite,
(This refers to a geographical location only. Heber was NOT a Kenite = a son of Cain.)
which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses,
had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.
(This is the same situation that exist when the Kenites are called Jews, because they live in Judea with Judah, and in time became identified with Judah by geographic location. We know this from Numbers 10:29.
Numbers 10:29 "And Moses said unto Hobab [Heber's grandfather], the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses' father in law' "
The point to be brought out is that Kenites are not Midianites, for Midianites are from their father Midian who was the son of Abraham, by his second wife Keturah as recorded in Genesis 25:1, 2. In the time that this battle took place with Deborah, it followed some hundred and twenty years later. It is easy to see where the Heber of Deborah's time is either the grandson or even the great grandson of Hobab, the son of Raguel. So we know that Moses' father in law "Raguel" had moved out of the land of the Kenites, and severed his ties with those people. However the fact that he once lived there branded him as a Kenite.
The Kenites were the sons of Cain, the first child born to Eve, and he was the son of the sexual union between Eve and his father Satan, from the garden of Eden.)
12 And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.
13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.
14 And Deborah said unto Barak, "Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee?" So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.
(The Israelites had faced these chariots of iron before, and found it impossible. We read of this in Judges 1:19; "And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron." The people of the valley could not be taken when the fight was in the valley, but here God has said that this is the time to do battle with them, because it is God that will give the victory.
So down off mount Tabor charged the Israelites right at the greatly numbered forces with all their 900 chariots. Deborah gave the command, up and at them, for God is going to give them to us.)
15 And the LORD discomfited Sisera,
(Cp. Ps.83:9. The word "discomfited" in the Strong's Hebrew dictionary it is # 2000; "hamam, a prime root,  to put in commotion, to break, consume, trouble; floods, storms, winds, vex." Number 1993 reads; "Hamah, haw-maw; to make a loud sound, to be in commotion, rage, clamor."
God brought in natural events of lightning storms with rains and thunder that scared Sisera and his army out of their minds. Iron in a lightning storm gives a shock, where they left their chariots and horses and all their weapons and fled on foot to get out of the area. The field became a muddy mess, and Sisera and his army had never fought in such condition. God turned the battle field in the favor of the Israelites. This is well documented in the next chapter. All it took by God was a heavy rain storm with a little lightning and thunder and Sisera was ready to run. They were not fit to fight God's people, when God is in control. The point we see here is that when you do it God's way, and turn it over to God, then God will clear the path for you.
Cp. 5:20-22. Ex. 14:24. Josh. 10:10. 2 Sam.22:15. Ps.18:15.)
and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.
(So here Sisera's forces, with lightening and thunder all around them, mud up to their horses bellies, their chariots stuck in the mud and ten thousand Israelites armed with their swords coming of the high places on the hill. All Sisera could think of was to flee the area. These events all happened as an ensample to you, to let you know how to act in your life. God gave these simple examples so that even children can understand how God takes care of those that love Him. This shows us how we can have the victory and have peace of mind, and be blessed of God.)
16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.
(The entire army of Sisera was killed by Deborah's army however Sisera had escaped. Remember what Deborah said concerning Sisera, "because you would not go up alone to do battle with Sisera, a woman would have Sisera's head.")
Map of battle area.
17-22. Instrument. A Woman.
17. Flight of Sisera.
18-. Jael meeting Sisera.
21. Sisera slain.
22-. Pursuit of Barak.
-22-. Jael meeting Barak.
-22. Sisera dead.
17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael
(= mountain goat.)
the wife of Heber the Kenite:
(Note, not of Heber: the woman's tent, which itself brought Sisera under the death penalty. But there is nothing to apologize for here. The Author and Giver of life came to Jael as on Ehud, and enabled her to have the daughters of Israel from a fate worse than death. Cp. 5:7,11,24,30.)
for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.
(Cp. v.11, refers to the geographical location.)
18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.
(Jael knew exactly who Sisera was, for he was in his military clothes, and fleeing from battle. Jael went to Sisera and said, don't be afraid of me, come into my home and rest a while. When Sisera came in and laid down, Jael covered Sisera with a rug. Sisera trusted Jael complete, for Sisera knew that it was against God's law for anyone to enter into the tent while her husband was away. Sisera thought he was completely safe.)
19 And he said unto her, "Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty." And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.
(In the Hebrew text, this is buttermilk that she has just churned. Jael gave Sisera some of the nice fresh buttermilk and covered him with the rug. Sisera thinks he is going to have sweet dreams, only God has something special planned for him.)
20 Again he said unto her, "Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, 'Is there any man here?' that thou shalt say, 'No.' "
(This is the second sin that Sisera told Jael to commit for him. Sisera ordered Jael to lie for him. Jael has completely broke down any doubt of loyalty by her sweet tone of voice, the fresh drink of buttermilk, and setting up a place of rest for him. So Sisera is feeling pretty safe and good about himself in the hands of this woman.)
21 Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent,
(= A tent peg. Constantly tents are taken down and put up by women to the present day.)
and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.
(All it took was one mighty blow by this farm lady to drive that tent peg through Sisera head and right into the ground. God used this lady "Jael" to nail Sisera to the ground right there in her tent. Sisera never knew what hit him, and he died.
The first of 10 recorded death at the hands of women: Sisera [here]; Abimelech [Judg.9:53. 2 Sam.11:21]; Sheba [2 Sam.20:22]; the harlot's child [1 Kings 3:19]; prophets [1 Kings 18:4]; Naboth [1 Kings 21:9,10]; a son by his mother [2 Kings 6:29]; seed royal [2 Kings 11:1. 2 Chron.22:10]; Haman's son [Est. 9:13,14]; John Baptist [Matt.14:8]. #10 = testimony, law and responsibility.
So God's prophecy came to pass exactly as God revealed to Deborah that it would be by a woman. This evil heathen ruler was soothed and taken completely off guard by this sweet little farm lady, and her soft gentle hands. Barak did not have the honor of killing this heathen warlord, but this woman did.)
22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, "Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest." And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.
(Jael was a nice lady that did something very spiritual for God. She did something that the men of the army could not do, and she did it well. This is teaching us how to war, and it is setting an example for us today. When God has a mission to be done, He will select whom ever He chooses to get the job done. The important thing to remember here is that it is God that cleared the path, and He set up the time and place for this to take place. Sisera was complete wore out from his fleeing from the battle field, and hungry and wanting something to drink. God placed Sisera at Jael's tent door at the exact time and under the right conditions for this to take place.)
23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.
(God used his ways to undue Jabin and the Canaanites and delivered them into the hands of the Israelites. King Jabin's power was in the might of his military forces under Sisera and those 900 chariots. When they became bogged down in the mud by the heavy storms, and the lightning hit those buckets of iron, Jabin lost his power. It wasn't the ten thousand fighting men of Israel that brought the victory, for there was no competition once God took the chariots out of the battle. Nine hundred chariot drivers with their buggy whips are no fighting force against the ten thousand Israelites with their swords and spears. God turned the tide of power from Jabin's forces to the Israelites in one quick storm.
It was just as simple for the army of Israel to kill these chariot drivers that were stuck in the mud, as it was for Jael's sweet words, her buttermilk, her rug and tent peg to drive home the victory. It is God that makes the opportunity for you to have the victory, and he prepares the path for you to have your opportunity for victory. The thing is that it requires your faith in Him and your trust to follow through on God's path to those blessings. It is your loving Him, and letting Him know that you love Him that causes Him to bless you in all that you do. Wealth from God is to be enjoyed for it is given by God to be enjoyed. The only wealth that will keep you from heaven is that which is ill-gotten gains. But to be wealthy with God's blessings is beautiful.)
24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
(The children of Israel prospered by following Deborah's leadership, and following God battle plan. Today you don't see the spiritual battle that goes on in your life daily, but you can sure hear the people cry and carry on like they are in a battle. There is a spiritual battle in your life every day, and you must put on the armor that it requires for God to give you the victory. Every thing that you will face in your life, and has given you and ensample in His Word as to how you are to face that battle and have the victory over it.
In that day a woman stood up when there was no one else for God to give the order to. When there is one that will take a stand and lead, others will follow right along with her or him, then God will cause those that follow His ways to prosper also. God created and owns all that is, and it is God's to give to whom ever He chooses. He can cause it to rain, or He can shut off the rain, He can do what ever pleases Him to do.
As we saw in each of the times that the children of Israel fell away from God's laws and commandments, there was no Judged to lead them. In time the Israelites turned to the ways of the world around them. God turned them over to their own devices and allowed them to sink to the bottom, to where they would cry out to God for help. Then God raised up a leader of His choosing to overcome their enemies.)
The Song of Deborah