This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Beshalach covering Judges 4:4-5:31. Although not a “military commander” like the other judges, Deborah coolly commands the military in this portion’s reading—and then writes a lovely song about it to boot. We learn the context of her years as a judge and prophetess and how her administration fits into the life cycle of ancient Israel.
Word studies include “Maccabee/hammer,” and “Devorah/bee.” The issue of whether Hobab was the father-in-law or brother-in-law of Moses gives a glimpse into the sometimes messy world of the translator. With insight into language, historical context and local geography, we learn answers to the following: Why did Barak insist Deborah go with him? Why did Sisera think he could trust Jael? How did the Lord personally route 900 chariots in the Jezreel valley?
Johnson gives examples of three women currently serving Israel in the spirit of Deborah and Jael by commanding an air force squadron, a combat battalion and a patrol boat off the coast of Gaza. In closing, Gordon encourages listeners to trust in Yehovah and not in man and prayed for victories from heaven in the lives of all who call upon his name.
"Devorah was a prophetess woman... she judged Israel at that time. She used to sit under the date-palm of Devorah... The Children of Israel would come up to her for judgment." Judges 4:4-5
The image at the top of this page is original artwork made specially for this episode of Prophet Pearls by 7-year old Caroline Starnes of West Virginia. In Caroline's own words:
"It's a picture of the Israelites coming to Deborah to be judged. That lady, Jael, she, well... put a nail in that man's temples and he died. The Israelites had been bad and they were enslaved. Deborah spoke to Barak and told him to gather ten thousand men with him and fight Sisera, and that Yehovah would deliver the enemies to him. Barak said he would not go unless you go with me, and so Deborah went with him, and they defeated their enemies."