Deborah and Barak
Happy Monday! Today, we will continue with our highlights of women in the book of Judges.
“If you will go with me, then I will go!”
Such a winning line from Deborah and Barak! Let’s set the scene.
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?” And 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!” So she said, “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.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.
-Judges 4:4-10 NKJV
Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh. And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon. Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” (THE PROPHETESS HAD SPOKEN) So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth Hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left. However, Sisera had fled away (HE RAN RIGHT INTO HIS DYING FATE) on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my Lord, turn aside to me; do not fear.” And when he had turned aside with her into the tent, she covered him with a blanket. Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him. And he said to her, “Stand at 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.’ ” 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. (WHAT A WARRIOR OF A WIFE RIGHT IN THE COMFORT OF HER OWN TENT)
And then, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, I will show you the man whom you seek.” And when he went into her tent, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple. So on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
-Judges 4:11-24 NKJV
Scene 3 - A song
Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying: “When leaders lead in Israel, When the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the Lord! “Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel. “Lord, when You went out from Seir, When You marched from the field of Edom, The earth trembled and the heavens poured, The clouds also poured water; The mountains gushed before the Lord, This Sinai, before the Lord God of Israel. “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, In the days of Jael, The highways were deserted, And the travelers walked along the byways. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Arose a mother in Israel. They chose new gods; Then there was war in the gates; Not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. My heart is with the rulers of Israel Who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the Lord!
“Speak, you who ride on white donkeys, Who sit in judges’ attire, And who walk along the road. Far from the noise of the archers, among the watering places, There they shall recount the righteous acts of the Lord, The righteous acts for His villagers in Israel; Then the people of the Lord shall go down to the gates. “Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and lead your captives away, O son of Abinoam! “Then the survivors came down, the people against the nobles; The Lord came down for me against the mighty. From Ephraim were those whose roots were in Amalek. After you, Benjamin, with your peoples, From Machir rulers came down, And from Zebulun those who bear the recruiter’s staff. And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; As Issachar, so was Barak sent into the valley under his command; Among the divisions of Reuben There were great resolves of heart.
Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, To hear the pipings for the flocks? The divisions of Reuben have great searchings of heart. Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan, And why did Dan remain on ships? Asher continued at the seashore, And stayed by his inlets. Zebulun is a people who jeopardized their lives to the point of death, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield. “The kings came and fought, Then the kings of Canaan fought In Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; They took no spoils of silver. They fought from the heavens; The stars from their courses fought against Sisera. The torrent of Kishon swept them away, That ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon. O my soul, march on in strength! Then the horses’ hooves pounded, The galloping, galloping of his steeds. ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord, ‘Curse its inhabitants bitterly, Because they did not come to the help of the Lord, To the help of the Lord against the mighty.’ “Most blessed among women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Blessed is she among women in tents. He asked for water, she gave milk; She brought out cream in a Lordly bowl. She stretched her hand to the tent peg, Her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; She pounded Sisera, she pierced his head, She split and struck through his temple. At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still; At her feet he sank, he fell; Where he sank, there he fell dead. “The mother of Sisera looked through the window, And cried out through the lattice, ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarries the clatter of his chariots?’ Her wisest ladies answered her, Yes, she answered herself, ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoil: To every man a girl or two; For Sisera, plunder of dyed garments, Plunder of garments embroidered and dyed, Two pieces of dyed embroidery for the neck of the looter?’ “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun When it comes out in full strength.” So the land had rest for forty years.
-Judges 5:1-31 NKJV
This passage reveals that:
Deborah was a prophetess and worshipper.
Barak was a conqueror.
Their combined efforts and anointing brought forth a victory.
Jael was a woman bravely blessed and one who brought honor to woman of tents everywhere.
And so, the land had rest for forty years.
The footnotes in The Passion Translation says that Deborah means “a woman of many torches/lightning flashes.” Barak almost means the same thing, “lightning bolt.”
Summary: We have to conquer things in life to enjoy a season of rest. And we need to know which friends it will take to help conquer these things too.
This takes me to a moment of practical advice.
Do I know who to call if I have a crisis?
Who do I trust to watch my kids?
Who can take care of me, my assets, or my kids if something happens?
Preparation is a good thing for those suddenly moments. Please take my advice on this. Being prepared for future moments, whether easy or tragic, is wisdom. I have heard this said, “Unclear is unkind.” So, for example, when you prepare your will, protect your family with a life insurance policy, and care for your home to a state that is well maintained including your vehicle too, these steps help you to be prepared. This is being a good steward of the assets we have been given. That includes us too. When you get your assets and desires set in place, then, whatever is ahead, you will have space to grieve in peace for the decisions have already been made. Again, as someone who has walked through grief, making clear decisions can be hard in their own right, but add in the emotions of loss on top of that and it increases the difficulty of those said decisions. We can grieve with grace when we have prepared everything along the way.
Welp, this one ended up being longer than expected today, but sometimes things have to be said.
Until next time,
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