Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2009 – 14:42
Bible Book: Judges / Rigters
Chapter: 4
Verse: 1 – 24

Judges 4 tells how Deborah, Barak and Jael defeated the armies of Sisera and Sisera himself. Verses 23 and 24 explain that this battle meant the end of King Jabin of Canaan’s oppression of the Israelites. Hereafter the Israelites had the upper hand.

The story gives prominence to the two women, Deborah and Jael. It even seems that they are given so much attention, that Barak takes a back seat. When Barak is given the command to go and fight Sisera (verses 6-7) and the condition that Deborah has to go with him (verse 8), it seems as if he is unwilling and afraid. Hidden in Deborah’s answer (verse 9) is an element of reproach. She predicts that a woman will be the end of Sisera and will receive the honour for it. This is exactly what happens when Jael kills Sisera.

Most important, however, is that it is the Lord who sets the Israelites free. The order comes from the Lord (verse 6). The Lord hands Sisera over (verse 9). The Lord goes out in front of Barak and his army (verse 14) and it is He who frightens Sisera and his men away (verse 15). It is the Lord who uses different people in his act of liberation, specifically two women and a man: Deborah, Barak and Jael.

It is important too to notice that the Lord, the God of Israel, uses women to free the Israelites from the oppression of King Jabin of Canaan. The issue here is whether it is necessary to emphasise this fact at the cost of Barak. In the song of victory recorded in Judges 5, Barak is not reproached. The only criticism goes to those tribes who failed to participate in the battle (5:16-17). Someone quite rightly remarked that Barak’s initial unwillingness puts him in the company of Moses, Gideon and Jeremiah.

This reminds me of the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 21:28-31. The first son promises that he will work, but it is the second son, unwilling at first, who goes to work and carries out his father’s request. What’s important is that the work is done, that the Lord’s orders are carried out.

The need created by the AIDS pandemic makes one question stand out, and that is whether men, women and young people are willing to do what the Lord expects from them. We can not afford to play people off against one another – the need is far too great.

It is only God, the Father of Jesus Christ, who can deliver us from this pandemic – and He is using women and men to do it.

Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English