I. ENSLAVEMENT (Judges 4:1-3)
A. Canaan Resurgent
Notice vs 2 - the Lord "SOLD" them = slavery
This is really ironic. LOOK AT Gen 9:20-25
("Curse of Ham")
Sold to "Jabin" = "'Jabin' is to Canaan what "Pharaoh" is to Egypt, a name
carried by all the rulers" (jbj p.72).
Joshua had earlier destroyed Hazor and another "Jabin."
The Israelites had allowed his throne to be rebuilt. Instead of being alert &
sober, they did evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud died.
Sisera was Jabin's right hand man - his "war lord"
vs 2 - Harosheth-Hagoyim = Harosheth of the nations or Gentiles
Believed to have been what became Galilee
This is prophetic - it shadows our Lord's victory over the Greater Sisera: Satan.
LOOK AT Isa 9:1-6
LOOK AT Matt 4:12-17
Remember Judges chp 1 and the chariots?
How many chariots did Sisera have? 900
vs 3 notice the oppression was severe - similar to bondage in Egypt
II. GOD'S COMMAND/PROMISE (4:4-7)
A. The Mother of Israel (4:4-5)
Deborah means "bee" "she had honey for her friends and a stinger for her enemies" (jbj p.75)
Chapter 5 tells us she was from the north - Issachar (5:15)
She had moved south to Ephraim, which is in the center of Israel
She judged near Bethel - What was Bethel?
"House of God" and where Jacob had his dream
The place was the gate of heaven to Jacob.
Elders and judges sat in the gates and judged Israel
vs 5 "and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment"
OK - How can a woman judge and rule over Israel?
LOOK BACK AT Gen 2:15-20
WOMAN was to be a helper to MAN in his work in the garden
vs 15 of Gen 2 says man was to "keep it" or guard it
The woman then would become part of what he would guard
In the Song of Solomon the woman is made a kind of a symbol for the garden as a whole
The man who is the image of the Bridegroom/Christ guards the woman who is the image of the Bride/Church
In a sense all the Church is feminine before God as the Bride of Christ.
This is why Deborah can guard the seed; that is, the seed of the woman: the children.
But when the children become of age, as in the N.T., only a true male priest can preside - Christ is our true priest.
In Deborah's case - Barak was to be the male priest. (he was Levite)
The children of Israel, in a sense, came of age when the Lord delivered them from their bondage.
LOOK AT THE N.T. EXAMPLE Gal 4:1-7
B. Barak (4:6-7)
Barak means "Lightning"
Kedesh-naphtali was a city of refuge, a Levitical city
"Barak was one of the appointed guardians of Israel" (jbj p.79).
Barak, however, refused to accept his role.
This was to be a "holy war" and would extend God's sanctuary over His people.
C. Barak's Response (4:8-9)
LOOK AT vs 8
"...if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go."
"This is not a statement of faith, not a request, but an attempt to put a condition on God" (jbj p.80).
Barak was not being a coward--think about it.
We do the same - "It's hard to walk by faith. I demand a little sight as well" (jbj p.80).
God has a response to Barak - what was it?
"The honor would go to a woman" (jbj p.80).
Why does this seem to be humiliating? READ Herodotus p.618-19.
The man is to lead the woman - Gen 2:18.
Deborah could lead Barak when he was a child, but now as a man he is to guard the Garden.
The point here is that "the mother raises up a son, who turns around and saves her, as Jesus did Mary" (jbj p.81).
D. Israel's Response (4:10-16)
We see the number 10,000 again.
The number is used in other references for the host of God.
CAN BE FOUND IN : Jude 14
(don't look up) Rev 5:11
Significance is that this is God's war & His army
Notice vs 11 - Heber the Kenite - who were the Kenites?
vs 14 Deborah sounds the charge
Do you think the Israelites were combat ready?
LOOK AT Judges 5:8
Sisera had probably disarmed Israel a long time ago.
The Israelites were not combat veterans, where Sisera's army would have been.
Also, LOOK BACK AT vs 12
Barak went up a 2,000 foot hill/mountain (exhausting)
Of course it's a strong defense against an enemy in a valley.
But! "Once on the mountain, Barak and his men had no choice. They had to meet the enemy. They had to fight and gain the victory, or die" (jbj p.84).
And remember - 900 iron chariots and well armed footsoldiers waited at the foot of the mountain.
But again! "is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down..."
vs 16 says there was not a soldier in Sisera's army left at the end of the battle
This is also a type of the Battle of Armeggadon.
LOOK AT Rev 19:11-16 Christ coming down leading his army into battle
Mt Tabor overlooked the Plain of Jezreel and was northeast of Meggido.
E. Jael's Response (4:17-22)
Who was Jael? - wife of Heber (Heber had apostasized by making a peace treaty with Jabin)
Sisera probably would not have gone to a woman's tent because to the ancient mind, "to go to the tent of another man's wife was the same thing as adultery" (jbj p.85).
But he was on the run.
Jael also helps out by inviting him in - at least that's the way it looked.
Symbolically, this was another example of how Jabin's army, under Sisera, had raped Israel.
LOOK AT Jud 5:30 "a damsel or two"
Remember Gen 3:15 - the enmity between the serpent and the seed of the woman
"Satan wants to possess the bride and raise up his own wicked seed" (jbj p.86).
Now look at what happens, especially the women, could you have done this?
READ vs 19-21
Jael is a prophetic picture of the ultimate seed of the woman: Christ.
She literally crushed the enemy's head.
Now Barak sees Deborah's prophecy fulfilled - remember vs 9?
"the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman"
F. Conclusion (4:23-24)
Ultimately, it was God Who did all the work
God subdued Jabin
God fought Sisera
God passed judgment on His enemies
There are no longer any Canaanites in God's house
And Jael literally hit the nail on the head
(6 charges against Jael can be looked at next week)
But what about the role of women as perceived from this story?
FIRST - Deborah was called a mother in Israel
Mothers guard children, fathers guard the whole family.
Barak was slow to lead. But what did Deborah do? Did she take over and lead in his place?
No. Women, if you want to ruin your husband's reputation, take over the family.
That way the whole world can see his shortcomings.
Order him around like a child. Correct him in front of other adults.
SECOND - Deborah appealed to God
Barak was not fully obedient to the Word of God.
Did Deborah take over? No again. She knew God had commanded Barak.
She knew God would deal with Barak; she didn't try to discipline Barak like a child.
God gave the honor of killing Sisera to a woman.
This was the discipline.
In other words it was humiliating to Barak a man, that a woman did a his job.
THIRD - Deborah encouraged Barak in the end
Deborah encouraged Barak in the day of the battle.
Women, you can either nag your husbands to death or encourage them.
"Oh, why can't you be more like so-and-so? Why can't you be more like Moses or Joshua?"
Notice I said encouragement, not belittlement like "you know you should be out there doing this. You're not acting like a spiritual leader by staying here."
LOOK AT vs 14 - Deborah basically says, "you can do it Barak! Go get 'em killer. God's with you and so am I."
In Prov 31 it says the virtuous woman does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life.
If you want to do your husband wrong, and do him evil, then simply:
take over the leadership of the family
point out his shortcomings to the other women
correct him in front of other adults
order him around like a child
don't appeal to God, just complain about him
don't encourage him, just belittle him
compare & contrast him to other men
GO OVER "QUESTIONS FOR NEXT WEEK"
READ Eph 5:21-33
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT FOR NEXT WEEK
1. Is it ever right for a wife to disobey her husband?
2. Is a wife to obey her husband as if he were God Himself?
3. Is the husband solely responsible for making decisions?
4. Is submission the same as "blind obedience"?
5. Can a wife be submissive without being obedient?
6. What does it mean "Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord"?
7. What does it mean to "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake"?
8. What does it mean Christ "became obedient unto death"?
READ Eph 5:21-33