Deborah: A Brave Woman

From Issue: Discovery 12/1/2004

In Judges chapter four, we read about a man named Jabin, who was king of Canaan. Jabin ruled harshly over the children of Israel for twenty years. He had 900 chariots of iron (vs. 3)! You can imagine that the children of Israel were afraid of Jabin.

At that time, a prophetess (a female prophet) named Deborah was judging Israel (4:4). The children of Israel would come to Deborah and ask for her judgment. Deborah must have been a very wise woman.

One day, Deborah asked Barak, commander of the Israelite army, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and the sons of Zebulun and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him to your hand’” (vs 6-7)?  Even though Barak was a man, listen to his reply to Deborah: “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go” (vs. 8).

Why would Barak say this to a woman? He must have trusted in her very much, and he must have known that she was brave. Deborah replied to Barak that she would go with him, but that there would not be any glory for him because “the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman” (vs. 9). Barak then called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kadesh, and he went with ten thousand men and Deborah. After Sisera heard this, he gathered his 900 chariots of iron and all his people. The Bible says, “The Lord routed (or defeated) Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak,” and Sisera got out of his chariot and fled (vs. 15).

Even though Sisera escaped (only temporarily, because he was killed shortly thereafter), none of his army survived (vs. 16)! We can learn from this story that God uses men and women to carry out His plans. Also, we learn from Deborah’s bravery that she was a woman who showed courage, faith in God, and obedience to God’s commands.


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