|Judges 4:1 Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died.|
THEN (time phrase) THE SONS OF ISRAEL AGAIN (Jeremiah 5:3) DID (LXX = poieo = Active Voice = volitional choice to do) EVIL (LXX = poneros = active evil) IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD (Jdg 2:11,19,20; 3:7,12; 6:1; 10:6; Leviticus 26:23, 24 25; Nehemiah 9:23-30; Psalms 106:43, 44, 45; Jeremiah 5:3)
Then - Always be alert to the word "then" which marks sequential action. Something occurred, then something else followed. That's the idea. This word takes on special import in prophetic Scriptures, where it is an important clue of the timing of the prophetic events. For example in the incredible prophecy of Daniel in 9:24, 25, 26, 27 (see notes Daniel 9:24 Daniel 9:25 Daniel 9:26 Daniel 9:27) we read…
In this passage of course it is even made more clear by the addition of the word "after".
Notice that this is the fourth cycle in the book of Judges.
Did evil in the sight of the LORD - a repeated phrase in Judges - see notes Judges 2:11, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, Judges 13:1 The phrase did evil is common in is also common in 1 and 2 Kings (24 times), increasing in frequency in second Kings (see this phrase in Jdg. 2:11; 3:12; 4:1; 10:6; 13:1; 1 Ki. 14:22; 15:26, 34; 16:25, 30; 22:52; 2 Ki. 3:2; 8:18, 27; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:2; 21:2, 20; 23:32, 37; 24:9, 19; 2 Chr. 21:6; 22:4; 33:2, 22; 36:5, 9, 12; Jer. 52:2). It is as if the closer they got to judgment, the more evil they became or the more certain the judgment had to be. Just a thought to ponder. Note it is also interesting that this phrase did evil is not found in 1 and 2 Samuel. Could it be that the reason is that the leaders were godly men like Samuel and David? Note also that the evil began with Baalim (plural) but progressed to the point documented in Judges 10:6 (note)!
If you are not overcoming temptations then the world is overcoming you. The worst enemy one has to overcome after all is one's self. Once again Israel would learn the truth of Jn 8:34…
One of Satan's greatest lies is that sin is liberating. "Try it you'll like it"
D L Moody once quipped that…
When did they do evil? The land had rest for eighty years, which should have confirmed them in their religion; but it made them secure, and they began to indulge their lusts. The prosperity of fools destroys them.
Israel as portrayed in the Book of Judges illustrates the difference between “religious reformation” and “spiritual revival.”
Reformation temporarily changes outward conduct while revival permanently alters inward character.
When Ehud removed the idols and commanded the people to worship only Jehovah, they obeyed him; but when that constraint was removed, the people obeyed their own desires. The nation of Israel was like the man in Jesus’ parable who got rid of one demon, cleaned house, and then ended up with seven worse demons (Mt 12:43-45).
The empty heart is prey to every form of evil.
Davis comments on the efficacy of Ehud as a "savior" writing that…
The drama of Judges 4-5 might be subtitled…
“Two Are Better than One,
The cast of characters in this drama is as follows:
Jabin: King of Hazor in Canaan; a tyrant
Deborah: a Jewish judge; a woman of faith and courage
Barak: a reluctant Jewish general
Sisera: captain of Jabin’s army
Heber: a Kenite neighbor, at peace with Jabin
Jael: wife of Heber; handy with a hammer
Jehovah God: in charge of wars and weather
Now let the drama unfold.
|Judges 4:2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim.|
AND THE LORD SOLD (pictures transferring "ownership" and control to) THEM (Jdg 2:14,15 10:7) INTO THE HAND OF JABIN (Jos11:1, 10,11; 19:36 ) KING OF CANAAN, WHO REIGNED IN HAZOR (8-10 mi N of Sea of Galilee): (Isaiah 50:1; Matthew 18:25)
Hazor - located north of the Sea of Galilee at the south end of the Hulah Valley, a strategic city along the Via Maris (Way of the Sea), which was the most important trade route of ancient times.
About 200 years earlier the Lord had freed Israel from slavery in Egypt. Now, in contrast, He sold them into the hands of the Canaanites as punishment for their sins (cf. Jdg 2:14-note; Jdg 3:8-note; 1Sa 12:9).
The term Canaanite often refers to all non-Jews living west of the Jordan but here the focus is on a northern coalition of Canaanites united under Jabin. Under the leadership of Joshua, Israel had conquered and burned Hazor and killed "Jabin" about 100-150 years earlier (Josh 11:1-13). The city had been rebuilt by the Canaanites and regained its previous strategic dominance over the whole region of Galilee. Why? Because they did not drive them out and utterly destroy (Dt 7:2, 12:2, 20:17, Jos 11:20) them (cp Jdg 1:27 notes Judges 1:27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33). Another Jabin now ruled (probably this name was used like "Abimelech" as a hereditary title). Hazor has been confirmed archaeologically to have been an important city in Canaanite times.
How Depraved Were the Canaanites?
The Canaanites far surpassed all of their contemporaries in lust, cruelty, and degrading spiritual practices. Their religion consisted of adoration of the planets and worship of a pantheon of gods, El being the supreme deity (note that Satan loves to counterfeit the truth for El is the name of our majestic triune God, Elohim [the plural of El]). Baal was the chief underling of El and overlord of the lesser gods in the pantheon. Baal was identified as the god of rain and the storm, whose voice rode the heavens on wings of the thunderclaps (cp the truth in Ps 104:3 - Spurgeon's note). His images depicted him holding a thunderbolt shaped into a spear. Their circle of gods also contained female figures. Astarte, Asherah, and Anath were believed to possess the power to change their gender as the occasion dictated.
Without spelling out sensual details, it must be noted that this grouping of Canaanite gods and goddesses promoted the most detestable sexual excesses. Promiscuity, incest, and nudity were all glorified among the gods of Canaan. Sacred prostitution and sodomy were also prominent in the licentious practices of these false deities.
Canaanite worship can only be characterized as a gross perversion of everything sacred to true people of God. One can, therefore, easily understand why God commanded Israel to drive out and utterly destroy the Canaanites—an act frequently condemned by liberals. How many times have you heard "The God of the OT is a God of wrath, of vengeance or anger?". In reality, it was an act of mercy for God was attempting to spare His people Israel the agonies they would, unfortunately choose to suffer, because they could not resist the temptation.
There is a powerful lesson for all believers of all ages - compromise with God's enemies soon evolves to becoming comfortable with their evil practices. Things that previously would have been revolting at just the mention, become "strange bedfellows" with those who have accommodated and rationalized their sin (there is nothing rational about sin!)
When we apply these facts to our present easy attitude toward sin and its consequences, we soon recognize the need for an immediate shift in our thinking. Many of the current movements, which take an almost flippant attitude toward conduct frowned upon in Scripture, are doing modern Christians a grave disservice. Catchphrases that promise effortlessly to restore the errant believer to a place of blessing are a delusion. Sin in any form is an offense to God. To call this to the attention of believers is not to engage in sanctimonious legalism. It is a warning that must be sounded. We must develop a sensitivity to sin and acquire a new appreciation of the need for true holiness in life. This beloved is the essence of true revival.
AND THE COMMANDER OF HIS ARMY WAS SISERA, WHO LIVED IN HAROSHETH-HAGOYIM ("woodland of the gentiles"): (1Samuel 12:9; Psalms 83:9 )
Harosheth Haggoyim (Harosheth of the Gentiles) (cf. Jdg 4:13, 16- notes Judges 4:13; 4:16) sometimes identified with Tell el-Amar located by a narrow gorge where the Kishon River enters the Plain of Acre about 10 mi NW of Megiddo in the Galilee. (See topics Harosheth Haggoyim • Harosheth of the Gentiles • Harosheth, Of The Gentiles, Of The Nations)
Through the brilliant help of Jabin's general, Sisera, Jabin exercised military control over at least 6 of the northern tribes.
Sisera pushed down from Hazor 8 mi N of the Sea of Galilee to occupy the Plain of Esdraelon (the Hebrew name is the Valley of Jezreel - see • Esdraelon • Esdraelon, Plain), a strategic and fertile valley in the central portion of Israel.
Note this new oppression was not brought about by a foreign invasion (external enemies) as the previous one had been but was instigated by the very Canaanites (internal enemies) whom the Israelites had failed to expel from the land (Jdg 1:30, 31, 32, 33-see notes Judges 1:30; 31; 32; 33).
Israel thus continued to reap a bitter fruit from the seeds of disobedience she had sown by refusing to believe God and thus not utterly destroying the enemies in the land. First we saw C-R from Mesopotamia, then the enemy came closer in Eglon from Moab (and actually in their land near Jericho) and now the enemy arises from WITHIN! Like James exhorts us in regard to the deceitfulness of sin (See related discussion: The Deceitfulness of Sin) "Don't be deceived beloved brethren"! (Jas 1:16-note). The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to…
Apply this to your personal life. Remember these things were written as examples for our instruction upon whom the end of the ages has come (1Cor 10:6, 11). Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
|Judges 4:3 And the sons of Israel cried to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.|
AND THE SONS OF ISRAEL CRIED TO THE LORD: (Jdg 3:9,15; 10:16; 1Sa 7:8; Ps 50:15; 78:34; Jer 2:27,28)
Cried to the LORD - Ex 8:12; Dt. 26:7; Jdg. 3:9, 15; 4:3; 6:6f; 1Sa 7:9; 2Ki. 20:11; 2Chr 13:14; Ps. 107:28; 120:1
As in the previous times of distress when Israel called on the Lord there was no evidence of genuine repentance for her sin. Israel was like the passengers on an airplane that suddenly lost engine power and began to cry out to God for help.
It is interesting that despite the plethora of so-called gods, in "crunch time" Israel cried out to the One God, Jehovah. This implies that deep inside they knew their so-called gods were not really God and had no power to save. It also shows how if men will not serve the One God, they are still so constituted that they must worship and will resort to gods of their own imagination to satisfy this deep inner need.
It's true of all of us - we have been created with a "God shaped vacuum" and if we will not worship the One True God, we will worship the god of self, of money, of power, etc. These latter gods make no moral demands per se on us and thus we can do as we please, doing whatever seems right in our own eyes. And so we conclude that much of the modern world like ancient Israel is in effect "polytheistic", the only difference being that the modern gods have different names.
FOR HE HAD NINE HUNDRED IRON CHARIOTS: (Jdg 1:19; Josh 17:16 )
Fruchtenbaum notes that…
The military position of Israel was nothing short of appalling = out-manned, out-gunned, out-positioned!
Humanly speaking Israel's lot was hopeless and helpless (cf the status of sinners in note on Romans 5:6 "while we were still helpless"). A nation without arms (see note Judges 5:8) was indeed "helpless" before a nation armed to the teeth. But Israel's real problem was not military but spiritual. Their real need was not an iron smelter but a living faith in Jehovah God. So in the face of this militarily impossible situation God does not raise up an Othniel or Ehud but a woman. Naturally speaking it was the last place Israel would have expected help from. Where were the men? Where are the men today? Who is usually involved in serious Bible study in America? Is it the men? No, sadly for the most part, it is the women. There is nothing wrong with the latter, but there is much wrong with the former deficit. Men, if you're too busy for serious Bible study, you are too busy period! And we are not talking about touchy, feely "manhood" studies. The pure milk of the Word is a man's basic need, not studies filled with psychological pabulum (baby food - which Webster defines as that which is insipid, simplistic, or bland) and/or humanistic aphorisms. Man does not live by bread (or stock portfolios, or lake houses, or sailboats, etc) but by every (how many?) Word that proceeds from the mouth of God - This is the Scriptural truth (Deut 8:3, Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4, Job 23:12-note , Jer 15:16, see Psalm 1:2, 3-note for God's formula for genuine success in this short, fleeting life that is given to prepare us for eternity, not as a hiatus for holiness)
AND HE OPPRESSED THE SONS OF ISRAEL SEVERELY FOR TWENTY YEARS: (Jdg 5:8; Dt 28:29,33,47,48; Ps 106:42)
Severely (hozqah) (5x in OT - Jdg. 4:3; 8:1; 1Sa 2:16; Ezek. 34:4; Jonah 3:8) means strength or force. From the OT uses one notes that most refer to a harsh, cruel, and self-serving use of one’s strength and power. Lxx translates with kratos = which denotes the possession of force or strength that affords supremacy or control.
As Fruchtenbaum rightly observes…
ISRAEL’S FAILURE TO BELIEVE and obey God created a slowly festering sore on the anatomy of the nation. Have you ever had an insect bite that you scratched and it became infected? And the red margin of infection begin to slowly, imperceptibly spread outward to the point that others begin to see what you had ignored? And then you needed a course of systemic antibiotics to cure the infection!
Israel would ultimately fall beneath the weight of a canker that they had allowed to become far too large and painful to excise with their own hands. Sin is deceptive. The inhabitants of the land, whose presence among them seemed inconsequential at the beginning, soon produced Jabin, Sisera, and 900 chariots of iron. Consequently, the children of Israel found themselves terrorized, oppressed, and faced with 20 years of debilitating servitude.
What "Jabin, Sisera or 900 chariots of iron" has God allowed to fester in your spiritual life beloved because of bad choices and/or failure to obey Him? It's time to cry out to Jehovah, but don't imitate Israel in the transience of their return to Him. Instead, cry out for revival even as did the Psalmist (who from the nature of his writing was undoubtedly one of the best men around… and yet he found it necessary to cry out for revival! You have not because you ask not beloved. Ask and it shall be given but ask in faith without any doubting. Don't be like the man who "buried the hatchet" of discord with a friend in the back yard and left the handle above the ground in case he needed it again! Cry out for the divine gift of genuine repentance and revival from the only One capable of giving it…
My soul cleaves** (sticks like glue is the picture) to the dust.
Revive me (bring spiritual life again) according to Thy Word.
What is associated with genuine revival? Clearly it is the Word of Life and Truth. It is not some emotional high but it is God in us working and willing to His good pleasure (Php 2:12, 13-see notes Philippians 2:12; 2:13), even stimulating a heart hunger for His truth, whereby we might live again. When you experience physical hunger, you usually satisfy it at the first opportunity. Do the same when God sends this spiritual hunger. Don't procrastinate and say I'll get into His Word tomorrow. I'll join a serious Bible study next month or next semester. Today is the day of your salvation (present tense salvation [see Three Tenses of Salvation] - ongoing day to day salvation whereby we are gradually, continually being set apart by the Spirit from the profane world and unto God and for His use and glory.) And how does it happen? The intake of His Word is central, so don't delay another day beloved. Consider joining a serious Bible Study. Men's (Women's) Bible Study Fellowship (Welcome to BSF), which is the "vehicle" God used to save me some 25 years ago as I studied in the Minor Prophets (Jesus is on every page of the Scripture)! After BSF I was introduced to Precept Ministries International which God first used to save my marriage (which he supernaturally revived through the study of Covenant - see Covenant As It Relates to Marriage) and then used over the next 15+ years to prepare me for the ministry you are reading on this website. There is a gross misconception that Precept Ministries International Bible studies are only for women but that is not correct. They are for all saints and have as their primary objective the making and maturing disciples. In my opinion Precept Ministries' inductive Bible studies are without peer as a tool which the Spirit can use to edify and equip saints who are "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ep 2:10-see note Ephesians 2:10). But I don't want to mislead you… inductive Bible study is difficult work (more work than BSF but a great follow up to BSF - yes, there is "life" after BSF!), but the reward is simply incalculable as eternity future will clearly testify. Try a sample by downloading lesson one of Judges (download pdf)
**Note on cleave (from Spurgeon's Notes) - The Hebrew word for "cleaveth" signifies "is joined," "has adhered," "has overtaken," "has taken hold," "has joined itself." Our soul is a polypus (cf octopus with powerful suckers): as the polypus readily adheres to the rocks, so does the soul cleave to the earth; and hardly can it be torn from the place to which it has once strongly attached itself. Though thy soul be now more perfect, and escaping from the waters of sin has become a bird of heaven, be not careless; earthly things are birdlime and glue; if you rub the wings against these thou wilt be held, and joined to the earth. Thomas Le Blanc.
SPURGEON'S SERMON NOTES
1. There are many reasons why we should seek quickening.
(a) Because of the deadening influence of the world. "Thy
soul cleaveth," etc.
(b) The influence of vanity (see Psalms 119:37).
(c) Because we are surrounded by deceivers (see Psalms 119:87, 88).
(d) Because of the effect of seasons of affliction upon us (see Psalms 119:7).
2. Some of the motives for seeking quickening.
(a) Because of what you are -- a Christian; life seeks more
(b) Because of what you ought to be.
(c) Because of what we shall be.
(d) In order to obedience (see Psalms 119:88).
(e) For your comfort (Psalms 119:107,50).
(f) As the best security against the attacks of enemies (Psalms 119:87, 88).
(g) To invigorate our memories (Psalms 119:93).
(h) Consider (as a motive to seek this quickening) the terrible consequences of losing spiritual life; or, in other words, lacking it in its manifest display.
3. Some of the ways in which the quickening may be brought to us.
(a) It must be by the Lord himself. "Quicken me, O Lord."
(b) By the turning of the eyes (Psalms 119:37).
(c) By the word (Psalms 119:50).
(d) By the precepts (Psalms 119:93).
(e) By affliction (Psalms 119:107).
(f) By divine comforts.
4. Enquire where are our pleas when we come before God to ask for quickening.
(a) Our necessity (Psalms 119:107, etc.)
(b) Our earnest desire (Psalms 119:40).
(c) Appeal to God's righteousness (Psalms 119:40).
(d) To his lovingkindness (Psalms 119:88,149,156).
(e) The plea in the text: "according to thy word" (Psalms 119:28,107).
See Spurgeon's Sermon No. 1350:
|Judges 4:4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.|
NOW DEBORAH A PROPHETESS THE WIFE OF LAPPIDOTH ("lamps"): (Exodus 15:20; 2Kings 22:14; Nehemiah 6:14; Joel 2:28,29; Micah 6:4; Luke 2:36; Acts 21:9; 1Corinthians 11:5; Galatians 3:28)
A prophetess - Hebrew is literally "a woman of prophecy", the same description that was given to Miriam (Ex 15:20 and Huldah (2Kings 22:14).
This extraordinary woman came into prominence when the men of Israel were paralyzed by fear. (Isa 3:12). As a prophetess she received Word from God and proclaimed it to Barak (v6-7). Deborah was a wife and mother - Scripture does not say that Lappidoth was the "husband of Deborah" but just the opposite, because this has always been God's order. She was judge, joining only one other person said to be both prophet and judge (Samuel).
Prophetess. Homemaker. Judge. Leader (mother in Israel) (Jdg 5:7-note).
When the leader (and leaders when Barak obeyed God's command) arose, the people volunteered to battle the enemy against all odds (Jdg 5:2-note).
Deborah's name means "bee" or "wasp" and as one Hebrew scholar wrote
Deborah held three positions of leadership in Israel. She was a judge (only woman judge ever noted); she was a military leader in a successful campaign against the Canaanites; and she was a prophetess who delivered God's word to Barak.
This extraordinary woman seems to have come into prominence at a time when the men of Israel were paralyzed by fear. She inspired Barak to pursue God's plan, leading him into battle. God has raised up women in history for these unique opportunities of inspiration and leadership (Jdg 5:12-note).
WAS JUDGING ISRAEL AT THAT TIME: (participle of shaphat expresses the permanence of the act of judging)
Deborah was clearly a most remarkable woman, to be accepted as judge of Israel at this low ebb in the nation's history. As far as is known, no other woman was ever so honored. Furthermore, she was a true "prophetess," a position accorded to only four other women named in the Bible [contrast the great number of men recognized therein as prophets]:
2Chr 34:22, Neh 6:14, Isa 8:3, Lu 2:36, Acts 21:9, Re 2:20-see note Re 2:20
Miriam (Ex 15:20)
Huldah (2Ki 22:14)
Wife of Isaiah the prophet (Isa 8:3)
Anna (Lk 2:36).
However, just as there were many false prophets, so two false prophetesses are mentioned
Noadiah (Neh 6:14)
Jezebel (Re 2:20-note).
Someone has said there are only 3 kinds of people --
Deborah was type #2!
Harry Truman said…
Now Deborah, a prophetess … she judged Israel at that time. Judges 4.4
In the light of subsequent Jewish prejudice against women as leaders, the story of Deborah is full of interest, as it reveals the fact that there never was any such prejudice in the mind of God. Whereas motherhood in all the sanctity and beauty of that great word, is the special function and glory of womanhood, yet when a woman is specially gifted for the exercise of prophetic and administrative work, she is not barred by any Divine law from such work.
Deborah was a prophetess in the full sense of that word; that is, she was the inspired mouthpiece of the Word of God to her people.
She also judged Israel and whatever that meant in the case of the men who exercised that office, it also meant in her case.
She was a saviour, a deliverer; she administered the affairs of the people, and led them out of the circumstances of difficulty into which their sin had brought them.
One can imagine how this daughter of her people, true child of faith, had suffered under the consciousness of the degradation of the people.
There is a touch of poetry and romance in the story which is full of fascination. Ever and anon in the long history of God's patient dealing with men, we find Him raising up some woman to lead, to guide, to inspire; and always there is this same element of enthusiasm and force.
The one great message of the story seems to be that it warns us to take heed that we do not imagine ourselves to be wiser than God. When He calls and equips a woman to high service, let us beware lest we dishonour Him by refusing to recognize her, or co-operate with her. (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible) (Bolding added)
|Judges 4:5 And she used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.|
SHE USED TO SIT UNDER THE PALM TREE OF DEBORAH BETWEEN RAMAH AND BETHEL IN THE HILL COUNTRY OF EPHRAIM (Ephraim): (Genesis 35:8) (Joshua 16:2; 18:22,25; 1Samuel 1:1,19; 6:16,17; 25:1; Jeremiah 31:15) probably some 8 mi N of Jerusalem.
AND THE SONS OF ISRAEL CAME UP TO HER FOR JUDGMENT (verdicts). (Exodus 18:13,16,19,26; Deuteronomy 17:8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 2Samuel 15:2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Fruchtenbaum points out that…
|Judges 4:6 Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, "Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, 'Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun.|
NOW SHE SENT AND SUMMONED BARAK THE SON OF ABINOAM: (Jdg 5:1; Hebrews 11:32 )
God could have destroyed the enemy with one blow but He worked thru 3 human beings to accomplish His will, 3 willing (even through Barak initially hesitated) and available individuals, both strong and weak, well-known and obscure.
God uses people like Austin Gallaher, a young man whose name few people would even recognize today. He saved a young Abraham Lincoln from drowning in a creek. Today God still uses Jael's and Austin Gallahers to accomplish His purposes. Are you willing and available to be God's vessel? (2Ti 2:21, 22 -note).
FROM KEDESH-NAPHTALI (means sacred place/sanctuary + Naphtali = wrestler): (Joshua 19:32,37; 21:32)
One possible location of Kedesh in Naphtali, was the city of refuge (Joshua 20:7), usually identified as Tel Qedesh, 5 mi W by NW of Lake Huleh (now drained but then just N of Sea of Galilee). An alternate site, and in my opinion more likely site for the Kedesh referred to in this context is Khirbet el-Kidish on the eastern edge of the Jabneel Valley, about a mile from the SW shore of the Sea of Galilee. This "Kedesh" is more closely located to Mt Tabor where the army of Israel was mustered by Barak. So at this time Barak was about ~60 miles N of the palm tree of Deborah in central Israel.
AND SAID TO HIM BEHOLD, THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, HAS COMMANDED GO AND MARCH TO MOUNT TABOR (Joshua 1:9; Psalms 7:6; Isaiah 13:2-5; Acts 13:47 ) (Ps 89:12; Hosea 5:1): (Tabor - Jdg 8:18; 1Samuel 10:3; Psalms 89:12; Jeremiah 46:18; Hosea 5:1)
Mt Tabor is a conical (See picture and interesting description) Mt Tabor (see another picture and description) rises to 1,350 feet above the plain in turn 400' above Med Sea and was strategically located at the juncture of the tribes of Naphtali, Zebulun, and Issachar in the northeast part of the Jezreel Valley.
This conical symmetrical mound of limestone is in the NE of plain of Esdraelon (the Hebrew name is the Valley of Jezreel - see • Esdraelon • Esdraelon, Plain = Jezreel assigned to Zebulun and Issachar [Joshua 19:10-23] from Med Sea > Jordan R at Beth-Shean includes Plain of Megiddo in E and Jezreel in W) ~ 6 mi E of Nazareth. N slope covered w oak trees
AND TAKE WITH YOU TEN THOUSAND MEN FROM THE SONS OF NAPHTALI (Joshua 21:32, Jdg 5:18-note) AND FROM THE SONS OF ZEBULUN
Take a moment and "get your bearing" regarding the geographical locations by clicking the map below - it will help "bring alive" some of these places as you read through the chapter. (After enlarging the map you may need to resize it for better resolution).
On this map don't be confused by the designation of the origin of Deborah, for most of the action described in Judges 4-5 occurs just to the West of the Sea of Galilee.
This map also has two other locations which are key to interpreting Judges 4-5…
Comes Jabin like a foul plague
|Judges 4:7 'And I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon; and I will give him into your hand.'"|
AND I WILL DRAW OUT TO YOU SISERA THE COMMANDER OF JABIN'S ARMY WITH HIS CHARIOTS AND HIS MANY TROOPS TO THE RIVER KISHON (Flows thru Jezreel V, N of Mt Carmel- Jdg 5:21,1Ki 18:40, Ps 83:9)
Kishon (note) - 5x in OT - Jdg. 4:7, 13; 5:21; 1 Ki. 18:40; Ps. 83:9
Draw out (masak) (35x in OT - Gen. 37:28; Exod. 12:21; 19:13; Deut. 21:3; Jos. 6:5; Jdg. 4:6f; 5:14; 20:37; 1 Ki. 22:34; 2 Chr. 18:33; Neh. 9:30; Job 21:33; 24:22; 41:1; Ps. 10:9; 28:3; 36:10; 85:5; 109:12; Prov. 13:12; Eccl. 2:3; Song 1:4; Isa. 5:18; 13:22; 18:2, 7; Jer. 31:3; 38:13; Ezek. 12:25, 28; 32:20; Hos. 7:5; 11:4; Amos 9:13) is used of exertion and means to drag or to pull. The NIV and NLT render it as "lure" but "lure" implies a hint of trickery by offering some pleasure or gain and this is overstating the case. God does not need to entice people. Somehow He simply draws Sisera pointing of course to the Lord's sovereign control of people, places and events. He orchestrates the battle by leading Sisera's forces to their doom. Note how God gives men responsibility in but it is God's sovereign power that works out the plan of salvation of Israel from their enemies (Php 2:12, 13- cp notes Philippians 2:12; 2:13).
The Divine call is always accompanied by His Divine provision.
AND I WILL GIVE HIM (Jdg 4:14-note, Joshua 8:7, 10:8, 11:6) INTO YOUR HAND: (Jdg 4:14; Exodus 21:13; Joshua 8:7; 10:8; 11:6; 1Samuel 24:10,18)
Give (KJV = deliver) (Hebrew - nathan) is translated in the Septuagint (LXX) with the Greek verb paradidomi (see word study) which signifies the giving of one over of someone or some thing to the power of another (see uses in Ro 1:24, 26, 28 (see notes on Ro 1:24; 26; 28) where those who suppress and exchange the truth about God are given over respectively to the "lusts of their hearts", "degrading passions" and "a depraved mind"! Jabin and Sisera were God rejecters who reaped the wages of their rejection of their Creator.)
This is a frequent idiom in the OT (click other OT uses), signifying the giving of someone over to the power of another.
THE RIVER KISHON - is a stream that flows through the valley of Jezreel (means God scatters! See picture and description or Here for nice description) The River Kishon is located at the western end of the Valley of Jezreel. Mount Tabor, where Barak and Israel mustered, was at the eastern end of the same valley.
|Judges 4:8 Then 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."|
English translation of the Septuagint (LXX) adds a phrase not in the Hebrew text…
THEN BARAK SAID TO HER IF YOU WILL GO WITH ME: (Exodus 4:10, 11, 12, 13, 14; Matthew 14:30,31)
Think about what Barak had just been promised. At first glance it seems as if Barak is expressing doubt [and giving the honor to a woman to kill Sisera tends to support this] but the LXX adds a phrase above that suggests this is not necessarily the case. And so we will wait until we meet Barak in heaven.
One thing is for sure… he did not shy back one iota when Deborah told him to arise (see note Judges 4:14) but in fact led the charge (Jdg 5:15-see note Judges 5:15) down the hill (Barak means "lightning"!) with 10,000 men who counted their life naught to serve their God (Jdg 5:18-see note Judges 5:18). Barak was hardly a coward!
THEN I WILL GO BUT IF YOU WILL NOT GO WITH ME, I WILL NOT GO:
Some commentators feel that Barak either forgot or failed to lay hold of the truth that God's Divine call is always accompanied by His Divine provision (it is a possibility). In any event, there is a timeless principle that it not our strength we are to depend on in the battle lest God not receive the glory. Let us always have Paul's attitude in (2Cor 3:5, 4, 5, 6)…
God is Faithful
Let believers today not forget this eternal, encouraging truth. Even in His victorious return at the end of the Great Tribulation is called Faithful and True (Re 19:11-see note Revelation 19:11, Php 1:6, 1Th 5:24, He 10:23, 11 - see notes Phil 1:6, 1Th 5:24, He 10:23, He 11:11).
Our faithful God is the same God today as He was in the lives of Deborah and Barak (He 13:8-note, Isaiah 46:4; Malachi 3:6). Let us lay hold of Him and His precious and magnificent promises by faith, a faith that obeys (2Pe 1:4-note)
|Judges 4:9 And she said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman." Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.|
AND SHE SAID, I WILL SURELY GO WITH YOU NEVERTHELESS, THE HONOR SHALL NOT BE YOURS ON THE JOURNEY THAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO TAKE FOR THE LORD WILL SELL SISERA INTO THE HANDS OF A WOMAN: (1Samuel 2:30; 2Chronicles 26:18 ) (Jdg 4:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; 5:24, 25, 26, 27; 9:54; 2Sa 20:21,22)
Notice her two part answer - first a promise and secondly a prophecy.
Honor (tipharah) often refers to physical beauty, but it can also refer to royal splendor, fame, or God's glory.
Tipharah - 46x in OT - Exod. 28:2, 40; Deut. 26:19; Jdg. 4:9; 1 Chr. 22:5; 29:11, 13; Ps. 71:8; 78:61; 89:17; 96:6; Prov. 4:9; 16:31; 17:6; 19:11; 20:29; 28:12; Isa. 3:18; 4:2; 10:12; 13:19; 20:5; 28:5; 44:13; 46:13; 52:1; 60:7, 19; 62:3; 63:12, 14f; 64:11; Jer. 13:11, 18, 20; 33:9; 48:17; Lam. 2:1; Ezek. 16:12, 17, 39; 23:26, 42; 24:25; Zech. 12:7
The Septuagint (LXX) translates "honor" in this verse with the Greek word proterema meaning "advantage" or "victory".
In this context the Hebrew word tipharah refers to the honor associated with defeating the enemy and the subsequent honor attendant to the victor.
So it appears that Barak has indeed "missed out" on something that God would give him and yet clearly he is still "honored" by being mentioned in the Hebrews 11 "hall of faith"
Nevertheless, it is axiomatic that God honors prompt and unquestioning obedience to His command.
And so the honor was taken from Barak and given to Jael.
Brensinger has an interesting application that focuses on Barak's hesitation writing…
C H Spurgeon wrote the following devotional entitled "A Woman's War" in Faith's Checkbook…
THEN DEBORAH AROSE AND WENT WITH BARAK TO KEDESH:
The battle began at her command, "Arise!" (Jdg 4:14).
The journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour.
Barak preferred the inspiration of Deborah’s presence to the invisible but certain help of Almighty God. It was Jehovah who had commanded him to draw his forces towards the River Kishon, and had promised to deliver Sisera into his hand. But he seemed unable to rise to the splendor of the situation. If only he could have Deborah beside him he would go, but otherwise not. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of faith; but his faith lay rather in Deborah’s influence with God than in his own. Thus he missed the crown of that great day of victory. (Ed note: I am not sure that Meyer is correct in this assessment… we must wait for that day to see for certain.)
It is the mark of the carnal Christian that he has no direct dealings with God for himself, but must needs deal with Him through the medium of another’s prayers, and words, and leadership. Barak must have Deborah. It is faith, though greatly attenuated and reduced by the opaqueness of the medium through which it passes. Such do not attain “unto the first three.” God cannot honor them as He does those who have absolutely no help or hope save in Himself.
If God tells you to go alone to a work, be sure and obey. Go, at whatever cost. Dare to stand by yourself if God is with you. In such hours we realize what Jesus meant when He said,
Yet if you are unbelieving, your unbelief cannot make God’s faith of none effect. He abideth faithful. He cannot deny Himself. (2Ti 2:13-see note 2 Timothy 2:13) He will still deliver Israel. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
|Judges 4:10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him.|
Ten thousand men went up with him - It is interesting to observe that in this group of men were "the princes of Issachar… as was Issachar so was Barak..." (Jdg 5:15-note; Exodus 11:8; 1Samuel 25:27; 1Kings 20:11)
The three tribes which had geographically the most to lose (see map) were Naphtali, Zebulun and Issachar.
Elsewhere we read this great description of the tribe of Issachar in the several hundred years later in the days of David when Saul was attempting to kill him…
We in America (and the world for that matter) live in desperate times much like the days of Judges. May God raise up in His true church in America men like the "sons of Issachar", that we might once again experience the victorious wind of revival over God's arch enemies.
|Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.|
NOW HEBER THE KENITE: (Jdg 1:16; Nu 10:29; 24:21 )
The name Kenite = "smith', and the presence of copper SE of the Gulf of Aqabah, the Kenite-Midianite region, would nicely correlate with the meaning of this tribe's name. The Kenites first appear as inhabitants of patriarchal Canaan (Ge 15:19). Subsequently Moses becomes son-in-law of Reuel (Ex 2:18) and invites Hobab his son to accompany the Israelites, coveting his nomadic skill. In [Nu 10:29] the Kenites accompanied Judah into their inheritance (see OT Map)
Near Kedesh - (Kedesh)
HAD SEPARATED HIMSELF FROM THE KENITES, FROM THE SONS OF HOBAB THE FATHER-IN-LAW OF MOSES AND HAD PITCHED HIS TENT AS FAR AWAY AS THE OAK IN ZAANANNIM WHICH IS NEAR KEDESH: (Hobab - Exodus 2:18; 3:1; 18:1) (Zaanaim - Joshua 19:33,37 )
Heber the Kenite had separated himself - The Kenites were normally friendly to Israel, but Heber had separated from the majority of the Kenites and had allied himself with the Canaanites.
Davis adds an interesting analysis writing that…
|Judges 4:13 And Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon.|
AND SISERA CALLED TOGETHER ALL HIS CHARIOTS 900 IRON CHARIOTS AND ALL THE PEOPLE WHO WERE WITH HIM:
Remember the context. In we learn God say "I will give him into your hand" but here we see Sisera's actions in response to the report of Israel's troop movements. Sisera was totally unaware of the fact that the sovereign God of the universe was behind the scenes bringing Sisera's forces to the River Kishon! What a mighty God we serve beloved! Never lose sight (with eyes of faith) of His great and marvelous deeds of old. He is the same God for you today, and desires to glorify Himself in and through your life.
Picture the scene. Put yourself in Barak's sandals. In the distance he hears a rumble and sees dust. Then he begins to recognize the rattling of iron chariots and the neighing of more than a thousand horses. These must have been fearsome sights and sounds to Barak and the 10,000 on the side of Mt Tabor. But at the same time their very real fear was quenched by faith in the very sure prophetic promises of God, in this case the promise of complete victory over the enemy. (see first of a 4 part series on How To Handle Fear Part 1)
FROM HAROSHETH-HAGOYIM TO THE RIVER KISHON:
Sisera informed of the massing of Israelite troops on Mt. Tabor moves his massive army to a temporary base at the Kishon River some 20 miles to the west across the Plain of Esdraelon (the Hebrew name is the Valley of Jezreel - see • Esdraelon • Esdraelon, Plain).
What a contrast - Sisera armed to the teeth. Deborah, Barak and 10,000 with no ostensible defense against the arrows and spears that would surely come at them. Hand-to-hand combat must have been their only thought.
But then they had the mighty sword of the Spirit which is the spoken promise of God in this case that He would deliver and defeat the enemy. Beloved, at this very moment, you may be facing impossible odds and implacable enemies, but play "Standing on the Promises" and allow R. Kelso Carter's great words and glorious melody in this old hymn encourage your heart and soul in Christ Jesus the Captain of the Hosts (keeping in mind the truth of Romans 15:4 [note])
Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
I’m standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.
Let us stand on the precious and magnificent promises (see note 2 Peter 1:4) our Trustworthy Lord has given us, no matter what the "odds makers" may say about our chances of victory. They simply do not know our faithful God or the certitude of His unfailing Word.
Remember though that it is one thing for us to know these mighty deeds of our God such as described in Judges 4-5 but it is quite another thing to stand firm on the promises when all we see at the moment is the enemy amassing his humanly overpowering forces. Oh, let us as children of the living God, "Behold our God" with eyes of faith. He is mighty indeed and He will undertake for His beloved!
|Judges 4:14 And Deborah said to Barak, "Arise! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hands; behold, the LORD has gone out before you." So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.|
AND DEBORAH SAID TO BARAK, "ARISE!" (Compare Judges 5:12 [note]) (Jdg 19:28; Genesis 19:14; 44:4; Joshua 7:13; 1Samuel 9:26 )
Arise (Quwm in the Qal Imperative = a command)
Instead of Arise the KJV minces no words translating it "Up!"
The Spanish version Reina Valera renders it "Levantate".
Rise up from prostrate position (Joshua 3:16). In many instances it refers to preparatory activity especially pursuant to traveling (Dt 17:8).
FOR THIS IS THE DAY (see note Judges 5:1 ) IN WHICH THE LORD HAS GIVEN SISERA INTO YOUR HANDS BEHOLD, THE LORD HAS GONE OUT BEFORE YOU (Dt 9:3 2Sa 5:24 Ps 68:7,8 Isa 52:12, Jos 1:5,9; Micah 2:13)
Deborah reiterates God's promise of (see note Judges 4:7), but adds that there is One Who has already gone before Barak and his forces -- that One is none other than Jehovah Himself. This is a vital truth which the young lad David well knew declaring to the giant Goliath (again the secular odds makers would be heavily against David for they do not know David's God)
The Amplified version phrases it as a rhetorical question from Deborah…
Fruchtenbaum sums up these thoughts this way…
The English translation of the Septuagint renders it…
SO BARAK WENT DOWN FROM MT TABOR WITH 10,000 MEN FOLLOWING HIM:
Note that this time Barak had no hesitation. Secondly, note who takes the lead - is it Deborah? No, Barak takes the lead. Jehovah of course has already gone before him. He faithfully follows in the steps of the Captain of the Hosts (cp Joshua 5:14-15).
|Judges 4:15 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.|
AND THE LORD ROUTED (moved noisily, confused) 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: (Jdg 5:20,21; Joshua 10:10; 2Kings 7:6; 2Chronicles 13:15, 16, 17; Psalms 83:9,10; Hebrews 11:32)
The LORD routed Sisera - This is the great truth of Judges 4
Notice the wonderful truth expressed by the end of the last verse (Judges 4:14) and the beginning of this verse.
Barak… with 10,000 men went down
Jehovah routed Sisera and all… chariots… army
The first part pictures man's responsibility, while the second part pictures God's sovereignty.
Routed (hamam) (13x in OT - Exod. 14:24; 23:27; Deut. 2:15; Jos. 10:10; Jdg. 4:15; 1 Sam. 7:10; 2 Sam. 22:15; 2 Chr. 15:6; Esther 9:24; Ps. 18:14; 144:6; Isa. 28:28; Jer. 51:34) means to make a noise, to move noisily, to confuse, to put into commotion. When it means to move noisily, it often refers to the wheels of wagons or chariots. The idea of moving noisily or with commotion carries over into the idea of confusion.
God confused the the Egyptian army at the Red Sea as they pursue Israel
Compare this use of hamam
The Lord routed the enemy in fulfillment of His ancient promise…
A similar event transpired when Napoleon defeated the Turks in the same place in AD1799.
Sisera was routed, and he fled on foot because the swollen waters of the Kishon (v13) made his chariots ineffectual in the rain and mud of the plain of Esdraelon (cf. Jdg 5:19, 20, 21, 22- notes Jdg 5:19; 20; 21 ; 22). The account of Jael's bravery is supplemented, and her deed is praised in song in Judges 5:24, 25, 26, 27 (see notes Judges 5:24; 5:25 ; 5:26 ; 5:27).
What else God did and the other means He used are revealed in Judges 5 - The torrent of Kishon swept them away (Jdg 5:21, 22-see especially notes Judges 5:21; 5:22). When you remember that the Canaanite god Baal was the god of storms, you can see how a sudden change of weather (assuming God did send torrential rains to swell the brook Kishon into a torrent) could have affected the superstitious Canaanites. Had their own god Baal turned against them? Was the God of Israel stronger than Baal? If so, then the battle was already lost, and the wisest thing the soldiers could do was flee.
|Judges 4:16 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 even one was left.|
BUT BARAK PURSUED THE CHARIOTS AND THE ARMY AS FAR AS HAROSHETH-HAGOYIM (Harosheth of the Gentiles -- Harosheth Haggoyim • Harosheth of the Gentiles • Harosheth, Of The Gentiles, Of The Nations): (Leviticus 26:7,8; Joshua 10:19,20; 11:8; Psalms 104:35; Romans 2:12; James 2:13)
This would be back toward the east probably in the region of the foot of Mt Carmel where Sisera had originally set up "base camp." Sisera fled in the opposite direction.
AND ALL THE ARMY OF SISERA FELL BY THE EDGE OF THE SWORD NOT EVEN ONE WAS LEFT (fulfills God promise in Judges 4:7): (Isaiah 43:17 )
How many of Barak's troops are reported as killed in battle?
|Judges 4:17 Now Sisera fled away on foot 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.|
NOW SISERA FLED AWAY ON FOOT TO THE TENT OF JAEL ("mountain goat") THE WIFE OF HEBER THE KENITE (v11) (LXX adds "his friend"): (Job 12:19, 20, 21; 18:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 40:11,12; Psalms 37:35,36; 107:40; Proverbs 29:23; Amos 5:19,20 )
This verse picks up from verse 15.
Sisera's chariots had been his pride and his confidence. Thus are those disappointed who rest on the works of men; like a broken reed, it not only breaks under them, but pierces them with many sorrows.
The idol may quickly become a burden, [Isa46:1]; what we were sick for, God can make us sick of.
It is probable that Jael really intended kindness to Sisera but by a Divine impulse (God had spoken this prophecy to Deborah in Jdg 4:9) she was afterwards led to consider him as the determined enemy of the Lord and of his people, and to destroy him. All our alliances and contacts with God's enemies must be broken off, if we would have the Lord as our Deliverer. Sisera had thought he would destroy Israel with his many iron chariots, but is himself destroyed with one tent peg. Thus God uses the weak things of the world to confound the mighty (1Cor 1:27). The Israelites would have prevented much mischief, if they had destroyed the Canaanites (Jdg 1:30, 31, 32, 33 - see notes Judges 1:30; 31; 32; 33), as God commanded and enabled them: but better be wise late, and buy wisdom by experience, than never be wise.
FOR THERE WAS PEACE BETWEEN JABIN THE KING OF HAZOR: (Psalms 69:22; Isaiah 57:21)
Peace between -Hebrew expression which refers to a formal agreement or treaty between two parties. Sisera fled to Heber's (remember Heber was a Kenite who had separated and changed sides so to speak) clan because he assumed the latter was his ally.
Of the many standing stones found in and around Palestine the best examples are those at Hazor. An upright stone, with the top broken off, was found standing by the entrance to an important building in the Canaanite citadel, an offering before it. In the lower city lay a small shrine containing a row of several slabs about 45 cm high and many more stacked in a side room.
AND THE HOUSE OF HEBER THE KENITE:
Weariness got the best of Sisera and providentially he was near the tents of Heber at the oak of Zaanannim (v11). This famous oak was on the border of Naphtali (Joshua 19:33) (see map), about 6 mi E of Mt Tabor.
Fruchtenbaum makes an interesting point of why Sisera would go to the Kenites noting that…
And as just stated in this verse, Sisera knew there was peace between the King of Hazor and the Kenites.
|Judges 4:20 And he said to her, "Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, 'Is there anyone here?' that you shall say, 'No.'"|
AND HE SAID TO HER, "STAND IN THE DOORWAY OF THE TENT, AND IT SHALL BE IF ANYONE COMES AND INQUIRES OF YOU
AND SAYS, 'IS THERE ANYONE HERE?' THAT YOU SHALL SAY, 'NO: (Joshua 2:3, 4, 5; 2Samuel 17:20)
Wiersbe makes a very interesting observation that I basically agree with :
Wiersbe goes on to discuss Jael:
|Judges 4:21 But Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died.|
BUT JAEL, HEBER'S WIFE, TOOK A TENT PEG AND SEIZED A HAMMER IN HER HAND: (Jdg 3:21,31; 5:26; 15:15; 1Samuel 17:43,49,50; 1Corinthians 1:19,27 ) (Psalms 3:7)
The mallet and tent peg were easily accessible, since pitching a tent was the woman's job.
AND WENT SECRETLY TO HIM AND DROVE THE PEG (first she smashed his head then pierced it thru) INTO HIS TEMPLE AND IT WENT THROUGH INTO THE GROUND:
Drove is the same verb used to describe Ehud's sword thrust (cf. "plunged" in Jdg 3:21 [note]). This is one of several parallels between Jael and Ehud:
The narrator depicts Jael as a female version of Ehud, highlighting the fact that she, not Barak, is the real hero of the story. Her deed is praised in Deborah’s song (Jdg 5:24, 25, 26, 27-see notes Jdg 5:24; 25; 26; 27), although some people find it difficult to understand this deed.
FOR HE WAS SOUND ASLEEP AND EXHAUSTED. SO HE DIED:
Sisera died ignominiously at the hand of a woman. (cf similar fate recorded in Jdg 9:54-note). We may wince at the graphic details of this assassination but must remember that God was at work in these events (Jdg 4:9, 23-see notes Judges 4:9, 23). Furthermore, Jael is not condemned for her deed but is proclaimed "most blessed of women" for destroying Israel's (God's) enemy (Jdg 5:24-see note Judges 5:24). Jael was simply doing what many of the sons of Israel failed to do in Judges 1 in obedience to God's clear command -- utterly destroy the Canaanites (cp Dt 7:2, 20:16).
|Judges 4:24 And the hand of the sons of Israel pressed heavier and heavier upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin the king of Canaan.|
AND THE HAND OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL PRESSED HEAVIER AND HEAVIER UPON JABIN THE KING OF CANAAN: (KJV = "prospered and prevailed against Jabin.)
Again note the combination …
They had won the battle of "Kishon" but there were still Canaanite enemies that must be destroyed… utterly destroyed. Moses records…
Let us not become complacent when God gives us a clear victory over His enemies which are also our enemies… but press on the battle until every last enemy is rooted out and destroyed. There can be no perfect peace until we obey God's command to utterly drive out and destroy whatever the Canaanites are in our life, such as "immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these". (Galatians 5:19-21)
Heavier (second heavier) (qasheh/qaseh) is an adjective meaning hard, harsh, cruel, severe, strong, violent, fierce. This term’s basic function is to describe something as hard.
Qasheh - 36x in OT - Gen. 42:7, 30; Exod. 1:14; 6:9; 18:26; 32:9; 33:3, 5; 34:9; Deut. 9:6, 13; 26:6; 31:27; Jdg. 2:19; 4:24; 1 Sam. 1:15; 20:10; 25:3; 2 Sam. 2:17; 3:39; 1 Ki. 12:4, 13; 14:6; 2 Chr. 10:4, 13; Job 30:25; Ps. 60:3; Cant. 8:6; Isa. 14:3; 19:4; 21:2; 27:1, 8; 48:4; Ezek. 2:4; 3:7
UNTIL THEY HAD DESTROYED (karath - cut off) JABIN THE KING OF CANAAN:
Karath - (often used in "cutting" or establishing covenant) 283x in OT - Gen. 9:11; 15:18; 17:14; 21:27, 32; 26:28; 31:44; 41:36; Exod. 4:25; 8:9; 12:15, 19; 23:32; 24:8; 30:33, 38; 31:14; 34:10, 12f, 15, 27; Lev. 7:20f, 25, 27; 17:4, 9f, 14; 18:29; 19:8; 20:3, 5f, 17f; 22:3, 24; 23:29; 26:22, 30; Num. 4:18; 9:13; 11:33; 13:23f; 15:30f; 19:13, 20; Deut. 4:23; 5:2f; 7:2; 9:9; 12:29; 19:1, 5; 20:19f; 23:1; 29:1, 12, 14, 25; 31:16; Jos. 3:13, 16; 4:7; 7:9; 9:6f, 11, 15f, 23; 11:21; 23:4; 24:25; Jdg. 2:2; 4:24; 6:25f, 28, 30; 9:48f;
Ruth 4:10; 1 Sam. 2:33; 5:4; 11:1f; 17:51; 18:3; 20:15f; 22:8; 23:18; 24:4f, 11, 21; 28:9; 31:9; 2 Sam. 3:12f, 21, 29; 5:3; 7:9; 10:4; 20:22; 1 Ki. 2:4; 5:6, 12; 6:36; 7:2, 12; 8:9, 21, 25; 9:5, 7; 11:16; 14:10, 14; 15:13; 18:4f; 20:34; 21:21; 2 Ki. 9:8; 11:4, 17; 17:15, 35, 38; 18:4; 19:23; 23:3, 14;
1 Chr. 11:3; 16:16; 17:8; 19:4; 2 Chr. 2:8, 10, 16; 5:10; 6:11, 16; 7:18; 15:16; 21:7; 22:7; 23:3, 16; 29:10; 34:31; Ezr. 10:3; Neh. 9:8, 38; Job 14:7; 31:1; 41:4;
Ps. 12:3; 34:16; 37:9, 22, 28, 34, 38; 50:5; 83:5; 89:3; 101:8; 105:9; 109:13, 15; Prov. 2:22; 10:31; 23:18; 24:14;
Isa. 9:14; 10:7; 11:13; 14:8, 22; 18:5; 22:25; 28:15; 29:20; 37:24; 44:14; 48:9, 19; 55:3, 13; 56:5; 57:8; 61:8; Jer. 6:6; 7:28; 9:21; 10:3; 11:10, 19; 22:7; 31:31ff; 32:40; 33:17f; 34:8, 13, 15, 18; 35:19; 44:7f, 11; 46:23; 47:4; 48:2; 50:16; 51:62;
Ezek. 14:8, 13, 17, 19, 21; 16:4; 17:13, 17; 21:3f; 25:7, 13, 16; 29:8; 30:15; 31:12; 34:25; 35:7; 37:26; Referring to Messiah = Dan. 9:26-see notes;; Hos. 2:18; 8:4; 10:4; 12:1; Joel 1:5, 9, 16; Amos 1:5, 8; 2:3; Obad. 1:9f, 14; Mic. 5:9ff; Nah. 1:14f; 2:13; 3:15; Zeph. 1:3f, 11; 3:6f; Hag. 2:5; Zech. 9:6, 10; 11:10; 13:2, 8; 14:2; Mal. 2:12
Note the time phrase until (see importance of expressions of time in inductive Bible study) indicating that it was not an immediate defeat for Hazor and the Canaanites but this time they destroyed the enemy. It is notable that The Canaanites never oppressed Israel again militarily, as far as Scripture records. Their detestable false idolatrous religion, however, continued to ensnare God’s people and in one sense this warfare is an even more dangerous war for it is a spiritual struggle for our souls and purity of our hearts!
Remember Paul's words…
Jesus' words of admonition call for continual vigilance…
Peter rightly warned us…
D L Moody recognized this spiritual struggle especially that which comes from our old flesh nature. He once said…
I like what John Piper said…
|F B Meyer…
These chapters of the Judges are full of encouragement to such as are discouraged by repeated failures; those whose experience has been one long series of endeavors after a better life, interrupted and darkened by transgression and relapse. They have gone back to God so often with the same tale that they are almost ashamed to go any more. Let these take heart; His mercy endureth for ever. Their remorse, and yearning to be different, are a clear proof that He has not withdrawn His favor from them. Let them look again towards His holy temple (Jonah 2:4).
Judges 4:1-3 Jabin's oppression. -- In this chapter Israel had again rebelled against God; and this time Jabin, King of Hazor, was the oppressor permitted to bring them to repentance. His city had been razed once (Josh. 11:1-14); but, through the inactivity of Israel, had been built again, and his kingdom partially re-established. He must have been a very formidable foe, and his tyranny was very bitter (Judges 4:3). Mighty oppression like that of Jabin and Sisera, is a type of vehement hatred of our spiritual foes, but it is the foil on which God displays the might of His deliverance.
Judges 4:4-9 Deborah and Barak. -- Deborah, the heroine of her time, was the prime mover in their deliverance. She was a prophetess, living in communion with God, possessed of remarkable insight into His will, and able to communicate it in glowing words. She was full of patriotic ardor, which she infused into others.
Barak, the soldier. How lamentable that Barak should have pinned his faith to a woman, instead of to the eternal God! If only he had said these words (Judges 4:8) to God, he might have achieved a more wonderful deliverance, and his rule established on a more settled basis. We must beware lest we imitate his fault, and trust more in those who are around us than in the living God. There cannot be failure in our faith without our suffering in some way the results.
Judges 4:10-16 The defeat of Sisera's host. -- The tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali chiefly bore the brunt of this conflict, which set them free from the tyranny which had lain especially heavily upon the luxuriant plain of Esdraelon. How sweet it is to know when the Lord is going before us; though this does not make our best efforts superfluous (Judges 4:14). The Lord will ever defeat the foes of those who follow Him.
Judges 4:17-24 Jael was the heroine of the day. At first she doubtless intended to show true Eastern hospitality, and then was seized by the impulse of ridding the land of her adoption of the instrument of Jabin's authority. A tent-peg sufficed for the grim deed of vengeance. Those were wild days, matched by the Border wars of Scottish and British history; and through all a Divine purpose ran, which, though not condoning these deeds of violence, wrought through all for the people, beloved for their fathers' sakes. (F. B. Meyer. CHOICE NOTES ON JOSHUA THROUGH 2 KINGS)