The account of Deborah and Barak
is found in Judges 4 and 5 in the Old Testament.
had been under the control
of the Canaanite king Jabin and the commander
of his army, Sisera.
The Canaanites had 900 chariots of iron
ruled over Israel for 20 years
A prophetess named Deborah judged or made rulings for the people of Israel under a palm tree during that time. One of Deborah’s judgments was to instruct Barak to summon 10,000 men and attack Jabin’s army.
Likely fearful to comply with such a command,
Barak told Deborah,
"If you go with me,
I will go;
but if you don’t go with me,
I won’t go”
Certainly I will go with you. . . .
But because of the course you are taking,
the honor will not be yours,
for the Lord
will deliver Sisera into the
hands of a woman”
Deborah and Barak then gathered 10,000 troops and
attacked Sisera and his army.
Barak’s troops won:
“All Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left”
Sisera himself fled to the tent of a Hebrew woman named Jael.
She gave him milk to drink and covered him with a blanket in the tent.
Then, “Jael . . . picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted.
She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died” (verse 21).
Following this battle, “God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.
And the hand of the Israelites pressed
harder and harder
against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him”
Deborah’s prophecy was
Barak won, Sisera was killed by a woman,
and the Israelites
freed from their enemies.
Judges chapter 5 then records the song of
Deborah and Barak,
written to rejoice in God’s victory
over the Canaanites.
The lyrics encourage the actions of Deborah and Barak, saying,
"Wake up, wake up, Deborah!
Wake up, wake up,
break out in song!
Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam” (Judges 5:12).
Jael’s role is also heralded:
“Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
of tent-dwelling women”
The song of Deborah and Barak also gives some more detail about the victory over the Canaanites:
"The earth shook, the heavens poured, / the clouds poured down water” (Judges 5:4).
God used a flood to disable the iron chariots
The victory was supernatural
(verse 20). Chapter 5 concludes with the statement, “
And the land had peace
This impressive time of peace lasted until Midian took
control of Israel,
necessitating Gideon’s rise.
Lessons for today from the lives of Deborah and Barak
include the following:
1) God often calls people to step out in
faith to attempt the unexpected,
2) God often uses unlikely people and
sources to accomplish His plans,
3) God sometimes requires great risk and effort on our
behalf as part of His divine plan.
In the case
Deborah and Barak,
they risked their lives in war, while Jael took in a
runaway fugitive and risked her life
end his and help
free Israel from oppression.
Ultimately, this account
reveals that God is in control of the nations
changes their leaders
according to His desires.