Judges 4

Judges 4:4-16
4:1 After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD.

4:2 So the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin, a king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim.

4:3 Because he had nine hundred iron chariots and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the LORD for help.

4:4 [note four things about Deborah] [1] Deborah [woman], [2] a prophetess [delivered God’s messages to Israelites], the [3] wife of Lappidoth, was [4] leading [judging or governing; judges served as judicial, religious, military leaders; only woman to serve as a judge (leader)] Israel at that time.

4:5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah [the place to which people brought their disputes] between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided.

4:6 She [acting on divine instructions] sent for [summoned] Barak [Israel’s military leader] son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you [Deborah delivered God’s message]: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun [from the northern part of Israel] and lead the way to Mount Tabor.

4:7 I will lure [Heb. word means “drag” or “seize”] Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s [king of Canaan] army, with his chariots [the latest of military weapons at that time] and his troops [supporting infantry] to the Kishon River [or “wadi”—a stream or river that contains water only in the rainy season] and give him into your hands.’”

4:8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me [Barak wanted to be accompanied by God’s prophetess because he believed God’s presence was ensured by her presence], I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

4:9 “Very well,” Deborah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this [needing the reassurance of 4:8], the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman [not Deborah but Jael (cf. 4:17-24)].” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh [located in Naphtali (north of Sea of Galilee)],

4:10 where he summoned [means “cry out” or “call” or “to cry for help in a time of distress”] Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand men followed him, and Deborah also went with him.

4:11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

4:12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor,

4:13 Sisera gathered together his nine hundred iron chariots and all the men with him, from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River.

4:14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down [this took faith and courage] Mount Tabor, followed by ten thousand men [encouraged by Barak’s example].

4:15 At Barak’s advance, the LORD routed [through human instruments (Barak and his men)] Sisera and all his chariots [Jud. 5:4,20 imply rain which may have caused chariots to get bogged down in the mud thus levelling the playing field] and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot.

4:16 But Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim. All the troops of Sisera fell by the sword; not a man was left.

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