The Period Of The Judges

 Chapter 15
Deborah and Barak Are Called  
  [Judges   4:1–11]
 
  
Scripture

1And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. 2And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.
3And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
4And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
5And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
6And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
 7And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.
8And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.
9And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.
10And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.
11Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.

 

CAST OF CHARACTERS

The cast of characters in this drama is as follows:
Jabin: King of Hazor, in Canaan, a tyrant. Probably the key person in this drama, because God raised him up to discipline the people of Israel.
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 hammer.
Jehovah God: In charge of wars and weather.

Commentary

1And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.
2And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.
3And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

After the death of Ehud the eighty-year period of rest came to an end, and the Israelites once more sinned against God. Here is Israel backsliding from God: They yet again did evil in His sight, forsook his service, and worshipped idols; for this was the sin which now most easily beset them. See in this historical evet: 

a. The surprising strength of corruption, which hustles men into sin in spite of having experienced its fatal    consequences before. The predisposition to backslide is difficult to retrain. 

b. The common ill effects of a long peace. The land had peace for eighty years, which should have bolstered them in their religion; but, on the contrary, it made them secure and immoral, and indulgent of those lusts which the worship of the false gods was dsigned to gratify. Consequently, it i said that the prosperity of fools destroys them. 

c. The great loss which a people sustains by the death of good governors. They did evil, because Ehud was dead. While alive, he kept a strict eye upon them, restrained and punished everything that could lead to idolatry, and kept them close to God’s service. But, when he was gone, they revolted, fearing Jabin more than God.

About 200 years earlier the Lord had freed Israel from slavery in Egypt, but here the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of [1]Canaan , whose headquarters were at Hazor. The name Jabin was probably a [2]dynastic  title, rather than a personal name.  He was also called “King of Canaan.” This title probably means that he was the head of a confederacy of kings. According to Joshua 11, the Israelites had earlier conquered the city of [3]Hazor  and killed “Jabin,” the king of that city a century before. Several such names appear in the Bible and are prevalent in these early accounts. Notice that the personal name of Pharaoh is never given. Other such name-titles include Abimelech of the Philistines. This is similar to the usage of the personal name Caesar as a throne name for the subsequent rulers of the Roman Empire. Most scholars assume that Hazor was rebuilt after the destruction by Joshua and again occupied a place of prominence at this time. However, Kitchen (Ancient Orient and Old Testament, p. 68) suggests that the destruction by fire under Joshua was the final destruction of the city and that Jabin was merely from that area and, therefore, associated with it since no emphasis is actually placed on the city of Hazor itself. Jabin’s main source of strength came from his general Sisera  from Harosheth of the Gentiles. Sisera’s name has been identified as possibly Hittite, or even Egyptian, by those who see him as an official in the Megiddo district, which was under strong Egyptian influence (Bruce, p. 223). Pfeiffer (p. 241) notes that [4]Sisera’s home, is usually identified with modern Tell-amar, located at the place where the Kishon River passes through a narrow gorge to enter the Plain of Acre, about ten miles northwest of Megiddo. For details on the archaeological excavation at Hazor see Y. Yadin--Hazor. The oppression by Jabin and Sisera lasted for twenty years because of the superior military strength of the Canaanites. Verse 3 claims that Sisera had nine hundred chariots of iron. This number is rarely questioned since Thutmose III captured eight hundred twenty-four chariots among the spoils of the Battle of Meggido (James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 237). This gave Sisera, the military leader of the combined armies, a source of complete dominance until a situation arose in which chariots could not be used.

When Ehud was dead—Why not when Shamgar was dead? Does not this intimate that Shamgar was not reckoned in the number of the judges?

The children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead—the removal of the zealous judge Ehud again left his infatuated countrymen without the restraint of religion.

Jabin king of Canaan—probably a descendant of the Jabin (a royal title) mentioned in [5]Joshua 11:1 , who had gathered together the wrecks of the army of that Jabin defeated by Joshua. Calmet supposes that these Canaanites had the dominion over the tribes of Naphtali, Zebulun, and Issachar; while Deborah (whose name means “honeybee”) judged in Ephraim, and Shamgar in Judah. The second Jabin built a new capital on the ruins of the old [6](Jos. 11:10, 11 ). The northern Canaanites had recovered from the effect of their disastrous overthrow in the time of Joshua, and now triumphed in their turn over Israel. This was the severest oppression to which Israel had been subjected. But it fell heaviest on the tribes in the north, and it was not until after a grinding servitude of twenty years that they were awakened to view it as the punishment for their sins and to seek deliverance from God.

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Article 4.1:Israel Oppressed By Their Enemies.

When they forsook God, he forsook them; and then they became an easy prey to every spoiler. They alienated themselves from God as if he were none of theirs; and then God alienated them as none of his. Those that threw themselves out of God’s service threw themselves out of his protection. What has my beloved to do in my house when she has thus played the harlot? Jer. 11:15. He sold them into the hand of Jabin. This Jabin reigned in Hazor, as another of the same name, and perhaps his ancestor, had done it before him, whom Joshua routed and slew, and burnt his city, Jos. 11:1, 10. But it seems, in process of time, the city was rebuilt, the power regained, the loss retrieved, and, by degrees, the king of Hazor becomes able to terrorize Israel, who through sin had lost all their advantage over the Canaanites. This servitude was longer than either of the former, and much more grievous. Jabin, and his general Sisera, did mightily oppress Israel. That which aggravated the oppression was:
a. That this enemy was nearer to them than any of their former foes; they lived within their borders, and by this means had more opportunity to do them damage.
b. That they were the natives of the country, who hated them, for invading and dispossessing them. So when they had them in their power, they would be more cruel and mischievous towards them in payback for the old quarrel.
c. That these Canaanites had formerly been conquered and subdued by Israel; in the past they were sentenced to be their servants [7](Gen. 9:25 ), and might now have been under their feet, and utterly incapable of giving them any trouble, if Israel’s own slothfulness, cowardice, and unbelief, had not allowed them  to get control. To be oppressed by those whom their fathers had conquered, and whom they themselves had foolishly spared, would be very grave.

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Nine hundred chariots of iron—Chariots armed with iron scythes, as is generally supposed; they could not have been made of all iron, but they might have been shod with iron, or had iron scythes projecting from the axle on each side, by which infantry might be easily cut down or thrown into confusion. The ancient Britons are said to have had such chariots.

Israel returning to their God: They cried unto the Lord, when distress drove them to him, and they saw no other way of relief; they asked for God to relieve their suffering not to forgive their sins. Had they truly repented, God would have done much more than deliver them from physical slavery. He would have delivered them from their spiritual bondage as well. Those that slight God in their prosperity will find themselves under a necessity of seeking him when they are in trouble.

4And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
5And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
6And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor , and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
7And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.
8And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.
9And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

Deborah, a prophetess. A woman of extraordinary knowledge, wisdom, and piety, instructed in divine knowledge by the Holy Spirit and accustomed to interpret His will; who acquired an extensive influence, and was held in universal respect, insomuch that she became the animating spirit of the government and discharged all the special duties of a judge, except that of military leader. God can use women mightily for civil, religious or other tasks, e.g. Deborah’s rise to the status of Judge is the exception in the book, because of Barak’s failure to show the courage to lead courageously. God rebuked his cowardess by the pledge that a woman would kill Sisera. For God to give His people a woman judge was to treat them like little children, which is exactly what they were when it came to spiritual things.

The wife of Lapidoth. Rendered by some, "a woman of splendors."

She judged Israel—this is, I believe, the first instance of female government, on record. Deborah seems to have been supreme both in civil and religious affairs; and Lapidoth (whose name means “torch”), her husband (nothing else is known of this man.), appears to have had no hand in the government. But the original may as well be translated a woman of Lapidoth, as the wife of Lapidoth.

The palm tree of Deborah. It is common for the Hindu’s to plant trees in the names of themselves and their friends; and some religious mendicants (Religious extremists who live by begging for charity) live for a considerable time under trees. It is common still in the East to administer justice in the open air, or under the canopy of a shady tree.

She sent and called Barak (whose name means “lightning”). She appointed him to be general of the armies on this occasion; which shows that she possessed the supreme power in the state.

God did not raise up a man this time. He raised up a member of the “weaker sex,” a prophetess named Deborah. The context makes it clear that she was a well-respected leader in Israel. Her place of residence was located between Ramah and Beth-el in Mount Ephraim, putting her in the south of Ephraim, about fifty miles from the scene of the battle. For the most part, prior to the incident where she rallies the tribes together and assists Barak in leading them to victory, her position seems to be that of a non-military judge.

It is not the norm for a woman to occupy such a place of spiritual authority, but this was a time of religious and moral decline. She should not be used as an example of the woman’s role in the church today, since she is the exception and not the rule. Also, this was Israel, not the church. Deborah commissioned Barak to go north and attack Sisera’s forces, but he refused to go unless she accompanied him. Because of his reluctance to lead he was told that the victory over Sisera would be given to a woman rather than to him.

The year of the redeemed came at long last, when Israel was to be delivered out of the hands of Jabin, and restored again to their liberty, which we may suppose the northern tribes, that lay nearest to the oppressors and felt most the effects of his fury, did in a particular manner cry out to God. For the oppression of the poor, and the sighing of the needy, now will God arise. Now here we have,
1. The preparation of the people for their deliverance, by the prophetic conduct and government of Deborah. Her name signifies a bee; and she suited her name through her hard work, wisdom, and great usefulness to the public. She is said to be the wife of Lapidoth; but, because the terminology is not commonly found in a man’s name; some make this the name of a place: she was a woman from Lapidoth. Others take it appellatively, Lapidoth signifies lamps. The Rabbin say she had employed herself in making wicks for the lamps of the tabernacle; and, having stooped to that lowly office for God, she was rewarded afterward with the highest office in the land. Or she was a woman of enlightenment, or of brilliance, one that was extraordinarily knowing and wise, and so came to be very eminent and illustrious. Concerning her we are here told,
a. That she was intimately acquainted with God; she was a prophetess, one that was instructed in divine knowledge by the immediate inspiration of the Spirit of God, and had gifts of wisdom, to which she attained not in an ordinary way: she heard the words of God, and probably saw the visions of the Almighty.
b. That she was entirely devoted to the service of Israel. She judged Israel at the time that Jabin oppressed them; and perhaps, being a woman, she was the more easily permitted by the oppressor to do it. She judged, not as a princess, not by a civil authority conferred upon her, but as a prophetess, and as God’s mouth to them, correcting abuses and redressing grievances, especially those which related to the worship of God. The children of Israel came up to her from all parts for judgment, not so much for the deciding of controversies between men, but for advice about what was wrong with things pertaining to God. Those among them who for some time had secretly grieved over the impieties and idolatries of their neighbors, but did not know how to go about creating in them saving faith in Jehovah God, now made their complaints to Deborah, who, by the sword of the Spirit, showed them the judgment of God, and reduced and reclaimed many, and excited and animated the magistrates in their respective districts to execute the laws. It is said she dwelt, or, as some read it, she sat under a palm-tree, named after her; the palm-tree of Deborah. Either she had her house under that tree, a poor habitation which would be built under a tree, or she had her judgment-seat in the open air, under the shadow of that tree, which was an emblem of the justice she sat there to administer, which will thrive and grow against opposition. Josephus says that the children of Israel came to Deborah, to desire her to pray to God for them, that they might be delivered out of the hand of Jabin; and Samuel is said at one particular time to judge Israel in Mizpeh, that is, to bring them back again to God, when they made the same address to him upon a like occasion, [7](1 Sa. 7:6, 8).

The project laid for their deliverance. When the children of Israel came to her for judgment, they found salvation. So those that seek God's grace shall have grace and peace, grace and comfort, grace and glory. She was not herself fit to command an army in person, being a woman; but she nominated one that was fit, Barak of Naphtali, who, it is probable, had already distinguished himself in some encounters with the forces of the oppressor, living near him (for Hazor and Harosheth lay within the lot of that tribe), and thereby had gained a reputation and notoriety among his people. Some struggles, we may suppose, that brave man had made in an effort to shake off of the yoke of opression, but could not succeed with it until he had his commission and instructions from Deborah. He could do nothing without her leadership, or she without his hands; but both together made a complete deliverer, and accomplished a complete deliverance. The greatest and best are not self-sufficient, but need one another.

The fact that she was a woman has caused questions to arise, as to why she occupied the position of a judge. A thorough reading of chapters 4 and 5 makes it clear that women played the predominant roles in this entire incident, and their significance is a reflection on the weakness of male leadership in Israel at that time. The entire book of Judges shows us a behind-the-scenes expose' of the spiritual decline and weakness that was then prevalent in Israel. Nothing in the Mosaic Law directly prohibited women from taking a place of responsibility that was normally the place occupied by men; and the principle seems clear that when a man was not on the scene to deliver the people, God chose to use a woman. However, this incident cannot be taken as a justification for contradicting the pastoral qualifications listed in the New Testament Epistles. One should always remember that Old Testament procedures do not necessarily justify New Testament policies. That pastors of churches should be men, not women, is made clear by such passages as I Timothy 3 and I Corinthians 14; and there are no records of women pastors in the New Testament. However, there are extensive references to the important place and activity of women in the New Testament congregations.
It is also interesting to note that Deborah did not lead this military reprisal herself, but chose Barak to serve as the commander of the tribe. He was an inhabitant of Kedesh-naphtali, near Hazor. As God’s spokesman, Deborah tells him that he is to take ten thousand men toward mount Tabor, and that God said He would draw unto thee … Sisera … and … deliver him into thine hand. The brave Barak responded that he would not go unless Deborah would go with him! She replied that she would be willing to go; but the battle would not be in his honor, for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. This was a prediction which Barak could not understand at the time; but the strain of it conveyed a rebuke of his unmanly fears. Again, there can be no doubt that this passage is intended to indicate the weakness of male leadership at that time. Judge Deborah takes charge of the situation:
1. By God’s direction, she orders Barak to raise an army, and engage Jabin’s forces, that were under Sisera’s command. It may be that Barak had been considering some action against the common enemy; a spark of fire was glowing in his breast, and he would gladly do something for his people and for the cities of his God. But two things discouraged him:
a. He wanted a commission to recruit forces; therefore, Deborah gives him orders under the broad seal of heaven, which, as a prophetess, she had every right to do it: "Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded it? Certainly he has; take my word for it.” Some think she intends this as an appeal to Barak’s own heart. "Has not God, as if it were a secret, whispered to you, given you some intimation of how He plans to use you as an instrument in his hands to save Israel? Haven’t you felt some impulse of this kind acting on your own spirit?” If so, the spirit of prophesy in Deborah confirms the spirit of a soldier and leader in Barak: Go and draw towards [8]Mount Tabor.
i. She tells him the number of men to raise—10,000; and do not allow him to fear that these will be too few, when God has said He will with them save Israel.
ii. Where he should raise them—only from his own tribe, and the tribe of Zebulun. These two counties should furnish him with an army of sufficient size; he need not need any more.
iii. She orders him where to make his rendezvous—at Mount Tabor, in his own neighborhood.  It was a convenient place to assemble, and the recruitment is not to be limited to ten thousand, although a smaller force would have been inadequate.
2. When he had an army raised, he did not know how to go about engaging the enemy, who perhaps declined fighting, after hearing that Israel, if they had courage enough to go up against any enemy, seldom failed to succeed. "Well,” says Deborah, in the name of "God, I will draw unto thee Sisera and his army.” She assured him that the issue would be determined by one pitched battle that should take place as soon as possible.
a. In mentioning the power of the enemy; Sisera, a celebrated general, bold and experienced, his iron chariots, and his huge number of soldiers, she obligates Barak to fortify himself with the highest degree of determination; for the enemy he was to engage was a very formidable one. It is good to know the worst that can happen; that we may be prepared to meet it. But,
b. In fixing the very place to which Sisera would draw his army, she gave him a sign, which might help to confirm his faith when the battle is engage. In the beginning he may have thought that the progression of the battle depended upon Sisera’s own will; but, afterwards when Barak sees the event unfolding  just as Deborah had foretold, he might surmise that she spoke under divine direction, which would be a great encouragement to him, especially because with this,
c. She gave him an express promise of success. I will (that is, God will, in whose name I speak) deliver them into thy hand; so that when he saw them prepared to enter the fight against him, he might be confident that, according to her word, he would soon see them fall before him. Notice, God drew them to him only so that He might deliver them into his hand. When Sisera drew his forces together, he had made plans for the destruction of Israel; but God gathered them as sheaves into the floor, for their own destruction, [10]Mic. 4:11, 12. Assemble yourselves, and you shall be broken to pieces, [11]Isa. 8:9. See [11]Rev. 19:17, 18.

Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go. Responding to Barak’s request, she promises to go along with him to the field of battle.

1. Barak insisted much upon the necessity of her presence, which, for him, would be better than a council of war: "If thou wilt go with me to direct and advise me, and in every difficult case to let me know God’s mind, then I will go with all my heart, and not fear the chariots of iron; otherwise I will not go.”  Some make this out to be the language of a weak faith; he could not believe her words unless he had her with him to give advice, if he needed it on the spot; or perhaps to give up her life in case of failure by Israel’s army. It seems that this attitude arises from a conviction of the necessity of God’s presence and continual direction, a pledge and guarantee of which he would consider Deborah’s presence to be, and therefore he begged earnestly for it. "If thou go not up with me, in token of God’s going with me, carry me not up hence.”  Nothing would be more satisfying than to have the prophetess with him to animate the soldiers and to be consulted as an oracle upon all occasions.

2. Deborah promised to go with him. No hard work or danger can discourage her from doing the utmost for the service of her country. She would not send him where she would not go herself. Those that in God’s name call others to do their duty should be very ready to assist them in it. Deborah was the weaker vessel, yet she had the stronger faith. But though she agrees to go with Barak, if he insists upon it, she gives him a hint sufficient enough to move a soldier not to insist upon it: The journey thou undertakest (she was so confident of the success of the mission that she called his engaging in war the undertaking of a journey) shall not be for thy honour; not so much for thy honour as it would have been if you would have gone by yourself; for the Lord shall sell Sisera "into the hands of a woman;’’ that is:

a. The world would ascribe the victory to the hand of Deborah: this he might himself foresee.
b. God (to correct his weakness) would complete the victory by the hand of Jael, which would cast a shadow over his glory. But Barak values the satisfaction of his mind, and the good success of his enterprise, more than his honor; and therefore he will not drop his request. He dares not fight unless he has Deborah with him, to direct him and pray for him. She therefore stood by her word with a masculine courage; this noble heroine arose and went with Barak. It must be noted that despite his show of cowardess that Barak is listed among the heroes of faith [12](Heb. 11.32 ).

10And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.
11Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.

And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.

Barak appealed to the two northern tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali to meet the Canaanite encroachment into that area. They responded to the call by sending 10,000 men, all volunteers, which happens to be the number that Deborah said he should have. They were all foot soldiers because he did not have any chariots; Israel always had to depend upon their infantry. Barak’s army is said to be at his feet, which infers that they were committed to following him, and to submitting themselves to his command. God is said to call us to his feet [13](Isa. 41:2 ), that is, into obedience to him. Some think it intimates that they were all footmen, and so the armies of the Jews generally were, which made the disproportion of strength between them and the enemy (who had horses and chariots) very great, and the victory the more illustrious; but the presence of God and his prophetess was abundantly sufficient to balance that disproportion. Barak had his men at his feet, which intimates their cheerfulness and readiness to follow him whithersoever he went, [14]Rev. 14:4. Though the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali were chiefly depended on, yet it appears from Deborah’s song that some had come in to him from other tribes (Manasseh and Issachar), and more were expected that did not show up from Reuben, Dan, and Asher [15](Jg. 5:14–17 ). But these are overlooked here; and we are only told that to make his 10,000 men effective indeed Deborah went up with him.

Verse 11 concerns the removal of Heber, one of the families of the Kenites; It says there that Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the main body of his tribe and had settled near Kedesh, in the northern country. Before that, they were living with their tribe in the wilderness of Judah, in the south, [16](Jg. 1:16 ). We are given this little bit of information for the sake of what was to follow concerning the exploit of Jael, a wife of that family.The Kenites were first encountered by Moses while he was in the Midianite desert and appear several times in the early history of Israel.

What did I learn? When God wants to glorify Himself through His people, He always has a perfect plan for us to follow. God chose the leader of His army, the place for the battle, and the plan for His army to follow. God also guaranteed the victory. It was like the “good old days of Joshua again.”

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[1]Canaan: was made up of a number of city-states, each of which was ruled by a king (See Josh. 12)

[2]Dynastic—a family of rulers following one after another.

[3]Hazor—The most important northern Canaanite stronghold in northern Galilee about 8½ miles north of the Sea of Galilee.

[4]Sisera— The captain of Jabin's army, which was routed and destroyed by the army of Barak on the plain of Esdraelon. After all was lost he fled to the settlement of Heber the Kenite in the plain of Zaanaim. Jael, Heber's wife, received him into her tent with apparent hospitality, and "gave him butter" (i.e., lebben, or curdled milk) "in a lordly dish." Having drunk the refreshing beverage, he lay down, and soon sank into the sleep of the weary. While he lay asleep Jael crept stealthily up to him, and taking in her hand one of the tent pegs, with a mallet she drove it with such force through his temples that it entered into the ground where he lay, and "at her feet he bowed, he fell; where he bowed, there he fell down dead." The part of Deborah's song (Jg. 5:24-27) referring to the death of Sisera (which is a "mere patriotic outburst," and "is no proof that purer eyes would have failed to see gross sin mingling with Jael's service to Israel") is thus rendered by Professor Roberts (Old Testament Revision):

"Extolled above women be Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite,
Extolled above women in the tent.
He asked for water, she gave him milk;
She brought him cream in a lordly dish.
She stretched forth her hand to the nail,
Her right hand to the workman's hammer,
And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head,
She crashed through and transfixed his temples.
At her feet he curled himself, he fell, he lay still;
At her feet he curled himself, he fell;
And where he curled himself, there he fell dead."

[5](Jos. 11.1) “And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph”

[6] (Jos. 11:10, 11) “And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.” 

[7](Gen 9.25) “And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” This doom has been fulfilled in the destruction of the Canaanites—in the degradation of Egypt and the slavery of the Africans, the descendants of Ham.

 [8]Mount Tabor—"Mount Tabor," says Maundrell, "stands by itself, about two or three furlongs within the plains of Esdraelon. It has a plain area at the top, both fertile and delicious of an oval figure, extending about one furlong in breadth, and two in length. The view from the top is beautiful: on the N.W. is the Mediterranean; and all around you have the spacious plains of Esdraelon and Galilee, which present you with a view of many places famous for the resort and miracles of the Son of God. At the bottom of Tabor, westward, stands Daberah, a small village, supposed to have taken its name from Deborah. Near this valley is the brook Kishon. During the rainy season, all the water that falls on the eastern side of the mountain, or upon the rising ground to the southward, empties itself into it, in a number of torrents: at which conjuncture it overflows its banks, acquires a wonderful rapidity, and carries all before it. It might be at such a time as this when the stars are said to fight against Sisera, Judges 5:20, 21, by bringing an abundance of rain, whereby the Kishon became so high and rapid as to sweep away the host of Sisera, in attempting to ford it." See Maundrell and Shaw. This mountain has a very difficult ascent; it took Mr. Maundrell nearly an hour to reach the top; this, with its grand area on the summit, made a very proper place for the rendezvous of Barak's army. Antiochus used it for the same purpose in his wars; and Josephus appears to have fortified it; and Placidus, one of Vespasian's generals, was sent to reduce it.

 [9](1 Sa. 7:6, 8) “And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh… And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.” At the time of Eli's death he could not have much exceeded twenty years of age; and although his character and position must have given him great influence, it does not appear that hitherto he had done more than prophets were wont to do. Now he entered on the duties of a civil magistrate.

[10](Mic. 4.11-12) “Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.”
• Many nations are gathered against thee—The Chaldeans, who were composed of many nations. And, we may add, all the surrounding nations were their enemies; and rejoiced when the Chaldean army had overthrown Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and led the people away captive.
• Let her be defiled—This was their cry and their wish: Let Jerusalem be laid as low as she can be, like a thing defiled and cast away with abhorrence; that their eyes might look upon Zion with scorn, contempt, and exultation.
• But they know not the thoughts of the Lord—These people think that God has utterly rejected his people, and they shall have a troublesome neighbor no more: but this is not his design; he will afflict them for a time; but these, the enemies of his people, he will gather as sheaves into the threshing-floor, there to be trodden, and the wheel to go over them. This is the counsel, the purpose of God, which these do not understand. The persons here referred to are not only the Chaldeans which were threshed by the Persians and Medes; but the Idumeans, Ammonites, Moabites, and Philistines, which the Jews afterwards subdued.

[11](Rev 19:17-18) “(And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.”

[12](Heb. 11.32) “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak…” 

[13](Isa. 41.2) “Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.” 

[14](Rev. 14.4) “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” 

[15](Jg. 5.14-17) “Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.  And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.  Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart. Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.”

[16](Jg.. 1:16) “And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people.”

 

 

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