1 When Ehud was dead the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD. 2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the captain of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. 3 And the children of Israel cried to the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; he strongly oppressed the children of Israel twenty years.
- God sells His own into the hand of evil to teach them not to choose evil.
- Chariots of iron were to them like tanks.
- Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, judged Israel at that time. 5 And 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.
- A prophet or prophetess was a person through whom God spoke to His people.
- Amos 3:8 The Lord GOD has spoken, who can but prophesy?
- Psalm 75:6 For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7 But God is the judge: he puts down one, and sets up another.
God gives military strategy and victory
6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded saying, Go, march toward mount Tabor, take with you ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun! 7 And I will draw Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, to you to the river Kishon, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into your hand.
- God gave military strategy in this verse.
- He set up the battle and drew the enemy into His trap.
- The people only had to obey.
- God fought the battle for them.
- The forces of evil love mankind to think that killing and war are wrong.
- That gives evil free reign on earth.
- "The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy but I come that they might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10)."
- 1Samuel 17:47… the LORD does not save with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s…
8 And Barak said to her, If you will go with me, then I will go: but if you will not go with me, then I will not go. 9 And she said, I will surely go with you: however, the journey that you take will not be for your honor; for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.
- Barak trusted Deborah over the Lord.
- God fought and gave the victory, not Deborah.
10 Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him. 11 Now Heber the Kenite, who was of the children of Hobab, the father in law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites, and spread his tent by the oak in Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. 12 And they showed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to mount Tabor. 13 So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him from Harosheth of the Gentiles to the river of Kishon.
God goes before us into battle
14 And Deborah said to Barak, Up; for this is the day in that the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand: has not the LORD gone out before you? So Barak went down from mount Tabor with ten thousand men. 15 And the LORD defeated Sisera before Barak, all his chariots, and all his army, with the edge of the sword; so that Sisera jumped off his chariot and ran away on his feet. 16 But Barak chased after the chariots, and after the army to Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the army of Sisera fell on the edge of the sword; not one man was left.
- The Lord defeated Sisera and all his army to the last man.
- Those who would keep us from following God, those things that keep us from peace, health, prosperity are all given into our hands.
- We must take God’s promises and power.
- We must let God lead us out of the traps of the enemy into total victory.
- Deuteronomy 1:30T he LORD your God that goes before you, he will fight for you,
- Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
- Deuteronomy 7:23 But the LORD your God will deliver them to you, and will destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they are destroyed.
17 However Sisera ran away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; don’t be afraid. And when he had turned in to her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. 19 And he said to her, Please give me a little water to drink; I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him. 20 Again he said to her, Stand in the door of the tent, when any man comes and inquire of you and say, Is any man here? Say, No. 21 Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, took an hammer in her hand, went softly to him, struck the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.
- Sisera ran away from the battle instead of fighting for his people to the end.
- He was not a good leader.
- Our Lord fought all the forces of evil and died for us.
- John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is a hired man, and not the shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and runs away: the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep.
22 And behold, as Barak chased Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, Come, and I will show you the man you seek. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. 23 So on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. 24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
- In the last battle of history Christ comes from heaven to conquer earth. He wins the battle.
- Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew, but he himself. 13 He was clothed with a garment dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, to strike the nations: he will rule them with a rod of iron: he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
God avenges His people
1 On that day Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, sang saying, 2 Praise the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. 3 Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
- Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.
4 LORD, when you went out of Seir, when you marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. 5 The mountains melted from before the LORD, even Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel. 6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through back roads. 7 The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until I Deborah arose, I arose a mother in Israel.
- When the men of a nation are weak, God puts women in leadership as a judgment (Isaiah 3:12).
- It is a kindness to woman that God places men over them.
- Women are more gullible than men—Genesis 3.
- Leading is a difficult task which received greater judgment.
- God's place for women is a place of love and
protection under the man.
He allows war when we choose other gods
8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel! 9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless the LORD. 10 Speak, you that ride on white asses, you that sit in judgment, and walk by the way. 11 Those that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there they will retell the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then the people of the LORD will go down to the gates.
- Israel had peace as long as they worshipped the one true God, their Maker.
- When they chose new god (new gods are not God but lying imposters, 2 Kings 19:18) war came to them.
- White asses were the transportation of the rich.
- Everything God has done is right.
- He has not ever made even a small fraction of a mistake in anything.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead your captivity captive, you son of Abinoam. 13 Then he made him that remains have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty.
- God gives dominion.
- Though the people fought, it was God that gave them the victory and enabled them to be released from the cruel servitude of this other nation.
- Psalm 68:18 You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive: you for men; yes, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
- Daniel 2:21 And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
- Revelation 3:21 To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
14 Out of Ephraim there was a root against Amalek; after you, Benjamin, among your people; out of Machir governors came down, and out of Zebulun those that handle the pen of the writer. 15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. In the divisions of Reuben there were great impressions of heart. 16 Why do you dwell among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? In the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart. 17 Gilead stayed beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the seashore, and stayed in his creeks. 18 Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that risked their lives to the death in the high places of the field.
- Judges 4:10 explains that these two tribes were called to battle by Barak to fight against Sisera.
19 The kings came and fought, the kings of Canaan fought in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. 20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their paths fought against Sisera. 21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, you have trodden down strength. 22 Then the horses hooves were broken because of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones. 23 Curse Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, bitterly curse its inhabitants; because they did not come to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.
- God cursed those who wouldn’t help His people.
- 2 Kings shows angelic help in human warfare—and in verse 20 they fought from heaven.
- 2Kings 6:1 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray you, open his eyes that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.
- Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that does not gather with me scatters abroad.
24 Blessed above women is Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, she will be blessed above women in the tent. 25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. 26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and she hammered, she struck Sisera, she struck off his head, when she had pierced and struck through his temples. 27 Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: between her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead/destroyed. 28 The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why do the wheels of his chariots delay? 29 Her wise ladies answered her, Yes, she returned answer to herself, 30 Have they not hurried? Have they not divided the plunder; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a spoil of dyed work embroidered, dyed work of double embroidery on the neck of the plunderer? 31 So let all your enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goes forth in his strength. And the land had rest forty years.
- Most grief is unnecessary and a result of personal choices against God.
- If this mother had raised a son who worshipped the true God she would not need to fear no matter what happened to him.
- He would have been safe in the Lord forever. The Lord’s enemies perish but those who love Him go forth as the sun.
- Revelation 1:16 and his countenance was as the sun shines in his strength.
- Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
God delivers us into the hand of our enemies when we do evil
1 The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made the dens for themselves that are in the mountains, caves, and strong holds. 3 And when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, they came up against them; 4 They camped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth as far as Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, not sheep, nor ox, nor ass. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.
- God used this oppression by foreign powers to make Israel listen to Him so that He could deliver them from the greater spiritual oppression of evil as well as this foreign enemy.
- Job 36:15 He delivers the poor in his affliction, and opens their ears in oppression.
- Romans 8:31 If God be for us, who can be against us?
6 Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried to the LORD. 7 And when the children of Israel cried to the LORD because of the Midianites, 8 That the LORD sent a man, a prophet to the children of Israel, that said to them, The LORD God of Israel says this, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of slavery; 9 I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land; 10 And I said to you, I am the LORD your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but you have not obeyed my voice. 11 And an angel of the LORD came and sat under an oak that was in Ophrah, that belonged to Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor.
- In Genesis 18:4, 8 God sat under a tree while Abraham fixed food for them.
- Gideon was threshing his wheat in a winepress, hiding from the Midianites.
- God chose a cowardly hero so the power would be from Him.
- God knows the future.
13 And Gideon said to him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where be all his miracles that our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD has forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 14 And the LORD looked on him and said, Go in this your strength, and you will save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent you? 15 And he said to him, Oh my Lord, with what will I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.
- God had forsaken them because they did not obey His voice (verses 10). They worshipped idols.
He promises to be with us
16 And the LORD said to him, I will definitely be with you, and you will strike the Midianites as one man. 17 And he said to him, If I have found grace in your sight, then show me a sign that you talk with me. 18 Please stay here until I come to you and bring my gift and set it before you. And he said, I will sit until you come again. 19 Gideon went in and prepared a kid of the goats, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: he put the flesh in a basket. He put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak, and presented it. 20 And the angel of God said to him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth. So he did this. 21 Then the angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and fire rose up out of the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 22 When Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. 23 And the LORD said to him, Peace to you. Do not fear: you will not die.
- John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
- Revelation1:18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it
Jehovah-shalom/the Lord is peace: it is still in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites to this day. 25 That same night the LORD said to him, Take your father’s young bull and the second bull of seven years old and
throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the grove that is by it: 26 And build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold, in the ordered manner, and take the second bullock,
and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood from the grove that you will cut down.
- The altar was the place of approach to God.
- Each sacrifice was a communion with the Lord.
- It showed His promise of deliverance from sin by the sacrifice that He would provide.
- It showed the depths of our Creator’s love for us.
- He loves us enough to die for us.
- No one else could ever love us this much…because God is infinite His love is infinite.
- He destroys evil and that which leads to it.
- Psalm 16:7 I will bless the LORD, who has given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said to him: and so, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, he could not do it by day, he did it at night. 28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bull was offered on the altar that was built. 29 And they said one to another, Who has done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing. 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, Bring out your son to die: because he has thrown down the altar of Baal, and because he cut down the grove that was by it. 31 And Joash said to all that stood against him, Will you plead for Baal? Will you save him? He that will plead for him, let him be put to death while it is still morning: if he is a god, let him contend for himself because someone has thrown down his altar.
- If Baal were truly God, men wouldn’t have to stand up for him, he could stand up for himself.
- Evil has power only through the choice of man.
- If Adam had said no to the serpent, evil could not have entered earth (Genesis 3).
- If Cain had said no to the sin that whispered to him, he wouldn’t have killed his brother (Genesis 4:7).
- Why worship a lesser God when the one true God, Maker of heaven and earth, made you in His image and loves you enough to pay for your sins so that you can be with Him forever?
32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal/let baal plead, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he has thrown down his altar. 33 Then all the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the children of the east gathered together and went over and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the LORD clothed/came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abi-ezer was gathered after him.
- God’s Spirit empowers for service. The text in Hebrew literally says, ‘The Spirit of the LORD clothed himself with Gideon,’
- Acts 1:8 But you will receive power, after the Holy Ghost has come upon you:
35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers to Asher, to Zebulun, and to Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36 And Gideon said to God, If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 Look, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew is only on the fleece, and it is dry on all the ground around, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said. 38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and wrung the fleece together, and wrung dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39 And Gideon said to God, Do not let your anger be hot against me, and I will speak just this once: Please let me test, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground. 40 And God did so that night: it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
- God was patient with Gideon's doubts.
- 1John 5:4 and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
- Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
SUMMARY: Judges 4-6
- God gives military strategy and victory
- God goes before us into battle
- He avenges His people
- He allows war when we choose other gods
- When we choose evil He delivers us into the hands of our enemies
- He promises to be with us