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Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Judges 4

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-24

Chapter 4

Verse four, or chapter four, verse one; the same old story.

AND the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin the king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and for twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel ( Judges 4:1-3 ).

So this is up now, Hazor is up about fifteen miles north of the Sea Galilee and in the area above Galilee, actually. And Jabin the king dwelt there. Hazor was a fortified city, a very large city. The ruins are quite large, encompassed a very large area. But he had a powerful army, nine hundred chariots of iron, the Canaanite army. And he oppressed the children of Israel for twenty years. Now, no doubt those that were in the upper area, the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun were most oppressed by him in that upper area of Galilee. Naphtali was all around Galilee and Zebulun was just south of Galilee in the area that is now sort of bordered by Mount Gilboa and Nazareth and Meggido, the plains through there was the territory of Zebulun.

So Barak, there was -well, first of all we're introduced to Deborah, verse six. And Deborah was a prophetess and she judged Israel at that time. So here is a woman who is judging Israel at this particular time who also was a prophetess. There are some men today that would exclude women from any kind of service unto God, but certainly God doesn't exclude them at all, even from important positions such as judging over Israel. And she was gifted as a prophetess and she dwelled between Ramah and Bethel, which is just north of Jerusalem about five miles or so.

And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam of Kedeshnaphtali ( Judges 4:6 ),

So of the area of Naphtali, the area around Galilee.

She said to him, Hath not Jehovah God of Israel commanded, say, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw to thee to the river of Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into your hand. Barak said unto her, If you will go with me, then I will go: but if you won't go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that you take shall not be for your honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman ( Judges 4:6-9 ).

So no wonder God had a woman as judge, and you had those kinds of men in a land that won't do anything unless a woman goes with them, you really don't have real men. And so it was a tragic condition that the land was in when Barak says "Well, I won't go if you don't go with." And so she said, "I'll go but God's gonna give the glory to this whole thing not to you but to a woman." It will come to a woman. God will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.

So Barak called Zebulun [the tribe people of Zebulun] and Naphtali to Kedesh; [the city that he lived in] and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him. Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab who was the father in law of Moses, has severed himself from the Kenites, and had pitched his tent in the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh ( Judges 4:10-11 ).

Now, Moses' father-in-law, his family sort of came with the children of Israel but here this guy's sort of a trader. He was a nark, actually informed on the fact that Sisera was there in Mount Tabor with his army. He let them know. And so Sisera came down with his army, the nine hundred chariots and the whole thing.

And Sisera gathered together against them to the river Kishon. And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this day, this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand: has not the LORD gone out from before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all of his chariots, and all the host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera got off of his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber of the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite ( Judges 4:13-17 ).

Now the house of Heber was the family of Moses' father-in-law. So Jael went out because there was peace between Jabin the Canaanite king and the house of Heber. Jael went out to the tent door and Sisera came running up. And so Jael said, "Well, come on into the tent and I will take care of you." And so she covered him with a mantle. And he said, "Give me a drink of water." So she fixed a-she opened the bottle and gave him some milk. And I thought, that's an interesting scripture. Think of how long ago they have bottles of milk. I was really fascinated by that. Now, she gave him a drink and covered him, she gave him a drink of milk and covered him. Of course, milk, good warm milk is sort of a neat thing to drink and go to sleep on.

So he said unto her, Now stand in the door, and if any man comes by and says, Have you seen anybody? tell him No. So Jael Heber's wife took a tent stake, and a hammer, and she came up quietly, and she drove the stake through his temples ( Judges 4:20-21 ),

Now she was a tough cookie too because she also then cut off his head.

[So that when Barak came up pursuing Sisera,] Jael came out to meet him, and said, Come, and I'll show you the man you are pursuing. So he came into the tent, and there was Sisera with a nail driven through his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan and the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they destroyed Jabin the king of Canaan ( Judges 4:22-24 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Judges 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/judges-4.html. 2014.
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