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Barak and Deborah
Bible Passage Judges 4:1-24
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book Judges.

Barak and Deborah

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached April 18, 2023

1 After Ehud died, while the LORD was watching, the Israelis made the evil they had been practicing even worse,

2 so the LORD turned them over to domination by Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commanding officer of his army, lived in Harosheth-haggoyim.

3 The Israelis cried out to the LORD, because of his 900 iron chariots. Jabin oppressed the Israelis forcefully for twenty years.

4 Deborah, a woman, prophet, and wife of Lappidoth, was herself judging Israel during that time.

5 She regularly took her seat under the Palm Tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountainous region of Ephraim, where the Israelis would approach her for decisions.

6 She sent word to Abinoam’s son Barak from Kedesh-naphtali, summoning him. She asked him, “The LORD God of Israel has commanded you, hasn’t he? He told you, ‘Go out, march to Mount Tabor, and take 10,000 men with you from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun.

7 I will draw out Sisera, the commanding officer of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and troops, to the Kishon River, where I will drop him right into your hands.’”

8 “If you’ll go with me, I’ll go,” Barak replied. “But if you won’t go with me, then I’m not going.”

9 She responded, “I will surely go with you, but the road that you’re about to take will not lead to honor for you. The LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah got up and went with Barak toward Kedesh.

10 Barak called out the army of the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali to march on Kedesh, and 10,000 men went out to war with him, along with Deborah.

11 Meanwhile, Heber the Kenite had been separated from the Kenites, the descendants of Moses’ father-in-law Hobab. He had pitched his tents far away, near the Elon-bezaanannim.

12 Furthermore, Sisera had been informed that Abinoam’s son Barak had marched on Mount Tabor.

13 So Sisera gathered his iron chariots together from Harosheth-haggoyim—all 900 of them, along with all the people who were assigned to them—and they assembled at the Kishon River.

14 “Get going!” Deborah told Barak. “Because today’s the day when the LORD has dropped Sisera into your hands! Look! The LORD has already gone out ahead of you!” So Barak left Mount Tabor, followed by 10,000 men,

15 and the LORD threw Sisera, all the chariots, and his entire army into a panic right in front of Barak. Then Sisera abandoned his chariot and escaped on foot

16 while Barak chased the chariots and army as far as Harosheth-haggoyim. Sisera’s entire army died in the battle—not even one soldier remained.

17 Meanwhile, Sisera had escaped on foot to a tent belonging to Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, since there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the household of Heber the Kenite. place

18 Jael went out to greet Sisera. “Turn aside, sir!” she told him. “Turn aside to me! Don’t be afraid.” So he turned aside to her and entered her tent, where she concealed him behind a curtain.

19 He asked her, “Please give me some water to drink because I’m thirsty.” Instead, she opened a leather container of milk, gave him a drink, and then covered him up.

20 He told her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and if anyone comes and asks ‘Is anybody here?’ say ‘No’.”

21 But Heber’s wife Jael grabbed a tent peg in one hand and a hammer in the other crept up to him quietly, and drove the tent peg right through his temple into the ground below after he had fallen sound asleep from exhaustion. That’s how he died.

22 Meanwhile, as Barak continued chasing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him. “Come with me,” she told him, “and I’ll show you the man you’re looking for!” So he went with her, and there was Sisera, lying dead with the tent peg still embedded in his temple!

23 That’s how God subdued Jabin, king of Canaan right in front of the Israelis that day.

24 And the Israelis gained greater control over King Jabin of Canaan until they had eliminated him.


Hazor, the chief city of the north, had been conquered and burnt by Joshua (Josh 11:10-13). However, not all the people had been destroyed. Having rebuilt Hazor, they now took revenge on the northern tribes, especially Zebulun and Naphtali, and ruled them cruelly for twenty years (verses 1-3)

Israel’s deliverer on this occasion was Deborah, a woman who was already established as a leading civil administrator in the nation. With her army commander Barak, she led a large Israelite force up, Mt Tabor. The plan was to make the enemy commander Sisera believe there was an armed rebellion in Israel, and so draw Sisera’s chariot forces out into the plain of the Kishon River, which lay below the Israelites (verse 6-10).

The plan was successful. Soon after Sisera crossed the shallow stream, a tremendous rainstorm flooded the river. The soft ground quickly became one huge bog; the small stream became a raging river. The Canaanites were thrown into confusion as chariots became bogged, horses grew mad with fear, and soldiers drowned in the rushing waters. Certain of victory, the Israelites rushed down upon the enemy.

Sisera escaped and looked for safety in the tent of his friend Heber (verse 17; compare verse 11). But Heber was not at home, and Sisera did not know that Heber’s wife Jael was on the side of Israel. Once Jael had made sure that Sisera was soundly asleep, she killed him (verses 18-22).

The Israelites’ victory that day gave them the confidence and courage to fight on till they destroyed the power of the enemy to enslave them (verses 23-24).


🔷 Our enemies can come back to life again. In this world today, no success against what is wrong will ever be final.

🔷 We can be easily left in the hands of the enemy, should we continue to be disobedient to God

🔷 Collaboration is very effective since it gives the opportunity to share ideas and experiences

🔷 Women are also created in the image of God and equal tools God can use for His work

💥 Thank God for the lives of leaders in the community, nation, and church
💥 Ask God to give you faithful partners and friends

God gives victory to those who rely on Him and prepare themselves for the battles of this life. This victory can come from anyone at all God chooses, including those that are despised. But if the people will have faith in God, there will always be victory.

In series Bright Morning Reflections