Prophet Pearls #16 – Beshalach (Judges 4:4-5:31)

Prophet Pearls Beshalach, Judges 4:4-5:31, devorah, israel, judges, torah portion, deborah, barak, jael, prophet, haftarah, jezreel valley, sisera, yehovah, yhvhIn episode of Prophet Pearls, 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

I look forward to reading your comments!

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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."

34 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #16 – Beshalach (Judges 4:4-5:31)

    • I can’t think of a presidency (USA or other) that operates like a Judge of Israel operated. The Judges were far more tilted toward the military side. Devorah may have judged, but I don’t read the biblical account as saying that she was the Judge. Of course, it doesn’t say that Barak was the Judge either.

      However, it is clear to me that Barak’s duties/actions were far more closely aligned with that of a Judge than were Devorah’s. She was a Prophetess, and her counsel/intervention was highly desired by Barak. It is very similar to the story of King Yehoshafat seeking advice from Elisha before going to battle against Moab.

  1. King Saul was ordained(Machiach) leader(King) of Israel, and yet before fighting the Philistines, He summon the Prophet Samuel from the grave for advice. This is the case with Deborah, people forget that Israel did not have a king on earth, it was a theocracy. Elohim is the King of Israel, not Deborah. That’s why Barak is the commander of the army not Deborah.

  2. I think Devorah was like a general. She gave the orders, but didn’t partake in the battle.
    For me, she is one of the most amaizing women in the Tanach!

  3. I am absolutely with Keith and so excited another brother is speaking about the translators agendas being sexist. This has been my field for over 10 years, it’s so eye opening to see how much of the Bible was translated with a patriarchal lens. Deborah was also definitely a leader, with authority and a military leader. This teaching was really cool! Deborah was in charge – woohooo!

  4. Nehemia, when/IF you get a wife….she will ‘KNOW’ stuff….just like Devorah!

    Women have been held back in the church system. So we love it when a woman is used by YeHoVaH…..Its in the book!

    Devorah a Judge and Prophetess (LEADER)….with Military Consulting skills as she heard from YeHoVah, HE was telling her what to say…..

    I love you two! Refreshing TRUTH, cleaning out the closet of lies…..Keep going! So entertaining…..

    • Agreed!! Each of us has special skills and abilities, regardless of what’s between our legs. Whether it’s women running the military or a man that very capable of taking care of children and the abode. I don’t recall God putting limits on either gender, excluding pregnancy.

  5. With regard to the role of prophet which is assigned to Deborah. I have assumed that only she was described as a prophet (prophetess) because she was a woman and her authority might have been questioned. I understood the role of a prophet as being a mediator between God and the people, on this basis all the Judges are prophets (good or bad) because they mediate God’s intentions for the people

  6. 🙁 I do not AT ALL share Keith’s “enthusiasm” about women in “the military.” Women have NO PLACE in battle (nor does any “Christian” btw)…as Nehemiah pointed out, Devorah was a Judge and a Prophetess… and as the account bears witness, she did no fighting. May we learn to put our weapons down until the Messiah comes leading His army from Heaven. “The battle belongs to YHVH.”

  7. Always wondered ; Was there not some sort of prohibition as to Sisra’s entering Ya’el’s tent ? She was married, yes ? Was it accepted that men could enter a married woman’s tent without a chaperone or is this a wonderful illustration where wisdom, as in Yosef’s example in Potifar’s house, would have been justified of itself ?

  8. Women have a unique and irreplaceable place in the world and the lives of all God’s people. But every so often a preacher will trot out this story to explain why “women are every bit as good as men”. Well, yes, they are every bit as good as men, and every bit as bad as men. But they aren’t every bit the same as men, nor vice versa, and we should all be thankful for that.

    Devorah was a prophetess and wide enough and close enough to God to hold court in the city gate and render judgements on matters apparently of dispute among the people. But no matter how many times I read and study this story, I cannot see how she can be called a “Judge” in the same office as that filled by Gideon, Jepthah, and Samson. The text is clear to me. Barak was “the Judge”, Devorah was the prophet bringing advice and rebuke, and Jael (whatever her motive) was politically astute.

    • Uh, that should have read “wise enough”, not “wide enough”. I have never seen an original Polaroid of this woman, nor would I comment on such. 🙂

  9. I always so enjoy and learn from Torah Pearls and Prophet Pearls. Thank you! Listening to this segment of Prophet Pearls, I noticed that the name Anna was fleetingly mentioned while discussing false prophetesses. Please explain.

    YeHoVah bless you Nehemia, Keith, & Jono, and continue to open your (my) eyes to the wonders of Torah.

    • Not a false prophetess; they were discussing prophetesses in TANAKH, finishing with the false prophetess, and then in passing Nehemia tried throwing a bone to Keith by asking a trivia question concerning prophetess in the Gospels (Anna). I also found this one a bit hard to follow with the breaks and tangents.

      • Thanks Brianne and Daniel! That’s what I finally figured out…sometimes they talk so quickly, I can’t keep up (getting old..ha).

  10. Just a thought on men’s and women’s roles in Yah’s kingdom, and their interchangeability: I was taught years ago that when Yah appoints a woman as prophet or leader, it is usually a case where no man has stepped up to accept the responsibility, and Yah is rubbing it in the men’s faces. I see that affirmed in the song of Devorah.

    From verse 2(hebrew) we see the plight of the afflictions (pogroms-פרעות) of the land, and from then on the delight in the few who are willing to take up arms against the adversaries. Up to verse 18 we read of the remnant, and not even of all tribes, who were willing to join the resistance. To paraphrase, in the song we see a deplorable national apostasy and pursuit of materialism, with the people disregarding the word of their father Yah. Therefore, in answer to their cries for help, and to shame them, he sends the voice of a mother. Obviously though, the normal way since the expulsion from Eden will be for the Man to take the lead. There will be exceptions, but we need to accept these as Yah’s unspoken direction back to his Torah.

  11. Praise Yehovah, you guys weathered the storm and brought us another nugget. I am trusting the Lord, you will continue to press on. These studies are making the stories and truths of the bible more clear to me. Thank you.

    Is Jael one of the “motley crowd?” I never noticed that before. Intriguing…

  12. Shalom Keith and Nehemia; very interesting discussion. I’d say that promotion of women in combat though is problematic. When Yah gives men the ability to bear and nurture children, them women will be able to be considered expendable enough to thrust into combat. Also, wars are typically conducted in rather unsanitary conditions, which is sort of the natural male condition, not as much the female. Obviously there will be exceptions, but we need not legislate general rules on the basis of exceptions.

    Keith , you missed the point on Devorah’s leadership. She did not have the command, but was merely the messenger. Yah had the command and leadership. Barack, perhaps in lack of faith, needed the presence of the messenger, perhaps to verify the authenticity of her source. Her presence affirmed her faithfulness as Yah’s messenger to him. The troops followed Barack though, and if Devorah was the commander, it was news to them. (Ju 4:10) This from morfix online dictionary, “to be canalized ; to be channeled, to be redirected”, for “ותעל” (and she went up) may help to indicate it was not Yah’s original plan that she be at the battle.

    It took more than mere flowing water, or even mud to disable the chariots. Ju 4:15&16 tell us that Yah worked the victory by the sword, and while muddy conditions probably were instrumental, the water only washed them away, presumably afterward.

    Interestingly, the killing of Sisera may have been easier than you guys described. It appears from the poem, that she hit him with the hammer first, perhaps to the point of disfigurement, before putting the peg through his temple.

    All in all though, great job guys, considering the technological duress, and the unrehearsed nature of the presentation. IAOEH bless!

  13. really appreciate what you are doing, I just wish it would last more than one hour 🙂

    You guys mentioned mo’ed, appointed times. And I have a question on that, and it may be more for Keith actually, but you Nehemiah probably know the Hebrew better (no offense Keith) 🙂

    Mo’ed, appointed time, and in Isaiah 14:13 it talks about the mount of congregation. That he will sit on the mount of congregation instead of YHVH. Could be a worldly ruler usurping himself over YHVH, there have indeed been many of them 🙂
    Or satan either directly or by proxy, like a letter of intent so to speak. .

    I have come across George Wigram’s “Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament” (downloaded it as PDF from Yale), and there mo’ed is written/read as moh-gehd, rendering mount of congregation as “har moh-gehd”. Possibly resulting in what is translated as Armageddon in Revelation? Revelation was written in Hebrew and at a later point in time translated to Greek. Maybe via Aramaic.
    In Daniel 7:25 it also speaks of a little horn that will think to change the times and laws of YHVH.

    My thought would then be that it is all about who will have authority over the mount of the congregation, the har moh-gehd, the place of appointed times and seasons for the people of YHVH. The battle of har mo-ed.
    The Sabbath comes to mind, as does the feasts of YHVH…

    My question is then, am I out on a limb? Or could there be a correlation with regards to the har mo-ed/moh-gehd and Armageddon?

    Thanks for you time

  14. Devorah was a judge,and Yahovah spoke through her.I believe Father used Jael to kill sisera and not Barak so Israel could give glory to Yahovah for their deliverance.They could see Yahovah was still with them

  15. Good news Nehemia, new evidence for the name “Yahweh”! I was praying this morning when the cat barged in. I was wondering if she wanted to join me for prayer, when she clearly exclaimed, several times, “Yahw, Yahw, Yahw”, which is of course another abbreviation of the name.

  16. praise yahshua all,

    may yahshua bless you my brothers. most belessed and may yahshua continue to bless you. just a small please which would make your efforts so much more enjoyable. please stop the we alone are correct behaviour. the yahweh people, the messianics, the yahshua people please give it some prayer firstly and then thought before entering into these assaults, which border insults. many of these that you are almost attacking, have a relationship with the almighty contary to what is being said and it would follow is your belief. many came to this walk through prayer with very little from input from mankind. people can reach a conclusion as to what to call the messiah formed by the picture of messiah in the scriptures. not everything is established through vowel points, or masters degrees but the master himself. the donkey had no masters, apart from the one on his back and his true master who created him, and he spoke in tongues unless donkies normally speak or communicate in hebrew. so let him/the true master who is the only judge be who he is in this matter, the judge and do just that, as he is the one who sits on the throne and is the only true judge not man. shalom my brothers, lets try and keep it that way.

  17. I happen to like the term “ministry minute”. If I asked a man who had offered to change a tire on my car how long it would take, and he responded, “Just a minute, miss” – well I certainly wouldn’t expect it to take 60 literal seconds. However, at the same time, I wouldn’t expect his gallantry to take an awful long time either. So, I imagine that even Webster would agree that “minute” in the English language can properly be used to mean a rather short period of time.

  18. Why a bee is devorah– long time ago I took a degree in linguistics. One of the first things about communication that we studied was the dance of the bee, how they are able to communicate with each other the location of the flowers with the pollen, based on the work of Karl von Frisch in the late 1950’s. So the bee does carry the davar, the word.

  19. Shalom Chaverim … Another really great teaching! I loved the fact that you brought out “if a prophet tells you to do something that goes against Torah DO NOT DO IT!!! They are a FALSE prophet!!! יהוה Yahoveh does not send prophets to tell you yo do something AGAINST HIS WORD!!!!
    Something sorely missing today!!!
    Blessings and prayers you two can continue on … especially with all the technical challenges you have of being on the road and traveling the world!

  20. Thanks for pressing through, gents! You were valiant and the teaching was great! I recently saw this terrific 5 minute video on archery and how one gentleman in Denmark has re-discovered the art of ancient archery, which is nothing like what we picture from films. Anyone who is interested in biblical warfare might want to view this You Tube video. I found it fascinating!

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