Bible Knowledge Quiz #14

Judges sure were colorful characters!

Deborah was one of the most interesting, first, because she was a woman and secondly because of the unique relationship she had with Barak. Matthew Henry’s commentary states, “Her name signifies a bee; and she answered her name by her industry, sagacity, and great usefulness to the public, her sweetness to her friends and sharpness to her enemies”1

Here is a more in-depth look at the contribution of Deborah found in the Asbury Bible Commentary:

Before launching into the story of deliverance, 4:4-10 depicts Deborah’s judicial and prophetic role. Though a judge, she would not be the deliverer. Deborah prophetically summons Barak, who refuses to engage in battle unless Deborah joins him. Deborah’s agreement has a price: the honor will belong to a woman. But again, who? Barak musters the armies and assumes the role of deliverer. Jdg 4:11-24 narrates Barak’s divinely granted victory. Most suppose that Sisera learns of Barak’s advance from Heber, who abandoned his fellow Kenites. One related to Moses’ father-in-law now allies with Israel’s oppressors. Jdg 4:17-22 switches to the flight of Sisera to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber, from whom Sisera expects refuge because of his treaty with Heber. By double-crossing Sisera, Jael abrogates an unfaithful alliance. Ehudlike, Jael maneuvers Sisera into lowering his defenses, then spikes his head to the ground. The honor that bypasses Barak and Deborah goes to a non-Israelite woman whose defiance of her husband’s treaty with a Canaanite king wins her a place in Israel’s lore.

This story undercuts the ideal of the lone hero. The prophet instigates and sustains the victorious military leader, who plays a secondary role. The real honor goes to an obscure woman who rejected her husband’s compromise with Canaan. The story dramatizes the catalytic power of Yahweh’s word to elicit daring faithfulness and extols the heroics of an ordinary person choosing the Lord’s side.2

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1 Matthew Henry’s Commentary,

2 Asbury Bible Commentary,

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