Study Notes

Judges 4:1-5:31

4:1-3 Another Sin Cycle

Once again, the cycle of sin repeats itself, with the Israelites doing evil after the judge died.

This time, the Lord allows them to go into slavery for 20 years at the hands of the Canaanites, ruled by king Yaw-BENE in Khaw-TSORE. The commander of Yaw-BENE's army was See-ser-AW, who lived in Khar-O-sheth-ha-GO-eem. You might recognize the word GO-eem, or goyim, meaning "gentiles." "Khar-O-sheth GO-eem" means "woodland of the Gentiles."

900 Iron Chariots

The Jews were afraid of the Canaanites' iron chariots. They had nothing like this in their army. This was a stumbling block to them, even though God had told them,

Deut. 20:1 "When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots {and} people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.

But still, the tribe of Joseph complained to Joshua about the Canaanites' iron chariots, and Joshua reassured them,

Josh. 17:18 shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron {and} though they are strong."

And then in Judges 1 we read, of the tribe of Judah, that...

Judg. 1:19 ...they took possession of the hill country; but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had iron chariots.

God had told them this wasn't an issue, but they fell into unbelief in spite of that. I wonder how many things frighten us that God has already reassured us in His Word cannot harm us or have victory over us?

Jesus told us,

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

If we really walked in faith, we would not walk in fear, even when encountering 900 iron chariots.

Ps. 20:7(KJV) Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

May we trust Him alone.

4:4-5 Deborah

This was a time in Israel's history where no man seemed brave enough or available enough to stand up and judge Israel. But God is not limited to waiting for brave men in order to do His work. He used women, children, and even animals to accomplish His plans.

In this case, He used Deborah, who was no wimp. The name Deborah means "bee." I imagine that she must have had a temper and a sting! Speculations aside, we are told three things about Deborah here:

A Prophetess

She is a prophetess - the second mentioned in the Bible. The first prophetess mentioned was Moses and Aaron's sister Miriam, and there are at least seven more listed in Scripture.

A prophetess is a prophet who is a woman. Prophets were people that heard from God directly and told the people.

Num. 12:6 ..."If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream."

The word of the Lord came to the prophets in various ways, and they spoke them to God's people. So Deborah was one who heard from God directly.

Wife Of Lappidoth

The second thing we're told about Deborah is that she was married to a man named Lap-pee-DOTH. Lap-pee-DOTH is not mentioned in the entire Bible except for right here. Apparently, he didn't have much to do with serving the Lord - he left that for his wife. Does that sound similar to much of the church today? Why is it that more wives come to church without their husbands than husbands without their wives? Why is it that ladies' Bible studies and prayer meetings are always more full than the men's? Why is it that more women always volunteer to serve at the church than men?

God has commanded that men be the spiritual heads of their households.

Eph. 5:23-27 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself {being} the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives {ought to be} to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.

Forget for a moment the dogma of women's lib that has rejected this teaching, and look at it in context of God knowing that women generally tend to be more spiritual and more devoted to the Lord. God is saying, "Hey husbands! Wake up and be more spiritually driven than your wives! Learn of Me so you can imitate Me and be a blessing to your wife instead of a weight! Set your wife apart by teaching her and encouraging her in the Word of God!"

Ladies, God is trying to bless you by telling your husbands that they are the spiritual authority. Men, God is kicking you in the pants and telling you to get spiritual! It would appear that Deborah's husband Lap-pee-DOTH wasn't tuned in to that. Are you?

Judging Israel

The third thing we learn about Deborah is that she was judging Israel, rendering decisions for disputes. Remember that this is what Moses did in the days of the Exodus. Moses said,

Exod. 18:15-16 "...The people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and make known the statutes of God and His laws."

So Deborah needed to have wisdom and a knowledge of the Word of God to judge.

4:6-7 Barak's Call To Battle

Deborah got a word from God that He was going to give deliverance to Israel from king Yaw-BENE. So she called Baw-RAWK, the son of Ab-ee-NO-am from KEH-desh-Naf-taw-LEE, and told him that God was calling him to battle and to victory. The Lord had promised that Commander See-ser-AW would be defeated.

4:8-10 Barak's Appeal To Deborah

Baw-RAWK shows the big yellow streak running down his back by saying, "I'm not going unless you go with me."

Now I'm sure that he wasn't thinking that Deborah's strength would be needed, but her relationship with God. He was revealing the same tendency man many today have - I'll trust in someone else's relationship with God. Too often, husbands trust their wife's relationship with God will carry him through. Kids trust that their parents' relationship with God will carry them through. People in the church trust that the pastor's relationship with God will carry them through. I think of Simon that was a sorcerer in Samaria.

Acts 8:13 And even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip; and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.

He was new in the Lord, immature in his faith, and when he saw the Holy Spirit being imparted by the laying on of hands, he offered the apostles money, saying,

Acts 8:19 ..."Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

But Peter rebuked him, telling him to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness for his heart not being right before God.

Acts 8:24 But Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."

Simon somehow thought that Peter's prayers would be more effective, or better heard than his. But God isn't desirous of our asking others to pray as much as He desires us to pray. He doesn't want us around people that have good relationships with Him as much as He wants us to have a good relationship with Him.

Deborah was not afraid of the battle, for she knew that the Lord had promised victory. But she informs Baw-RAWK that there would be no honor for him, because God was not going to bless his fearfulness - See-ser-AW would be killed by a woman instead.

4:11 Heber The Kenite

The Kenites were a people that lived in the land of Canaan, yet were accepting of the Israelites. This may be because Moses' father-in-law was a Kenite. When Balaam was prophesying destruction to the various nations,

Num. 24:21 ...He looked at the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said, Your dwelling place is enduring, and your nest is set in the cliff.

I think that the Kenites were kind of like Switzerland - trying to be friends with everyone. On one hand,

1Sam. 15:6 Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt." So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.

But on the other hand,

Judg. 4:17 ...There was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

Remember that these are the people that have enslaved the Israelites.

So Heber, whose name means "comrade," had separated himself from the Kenites, and went to live in Tsah-an-an-NEEM, by KEH-desh, where Deborah and Ba-RAWK are headed for battle.

4:12-16 Sisera's Army Defeated

See-ser-AW gathers his armies from Khar-O-sheth-ha-GO-eem to the river Kee-SHONE, and heads out to battle. But the Lord was on Israel's side, and Ba-RAWK's army is victorious over 9,999 of them. But there is one guy that escapes - Commander See-se-RAW.

4:17-21 Jael Kills Sisera

See-se-RAW comes upon the tent of Heber's wife Yaw-ALE. Knowing that they were Kenites, he figured he'd be safe there.

When he asked for water, she gave him milk - maybe a little warm milk to get him to fall asleep?

After See-se-RAW falls asleep, Yaw-ALE kills him by driving a tent peg though his head.

4:22-24 Jabin Destroyed

With 10,000 of his army killed, along with his commander, it wasn't long before king Yaw-BENE was also destroyed.

(5:1-31) The Song Of Deborah And Barak

Chapter five is the lyrics to the song that Deborah and Ba-RAWK sang the day they defeated their oppressors.

The Land Was Undisturbed For Forty Years

At the end of verse 31, we find that there was forty more years of peace before the cycle of sin repeated itself.

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