Judges 4

 

Judges 4:1–24

Deborah and Barak


Outline of Chapter 4:

         vv.     1–3           Israel is oppressed by Jabin, a king of the Canaanites

         vv.     4–10         Deborah calls for Barak; they go out to war against the Canaanites

         vv.    11–12         Heber the Kenite

         vv.    13–16         The battle between Barak and Sisera

         vv.    17–22         Jael, the wife of Heber, kills Sisera

         vv.    23–24         Israel is victorious over Jabin


Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         Matthew Henry Outlines Judges 4

         Introduction         The Three Kedesh’s

         Introduction         Maps of the Correct and Incorrect Locations of the Various Kedesh’s

         Introduction         How Did Israel so Easily Fall into Idolatry?

         Introduction         Authorship Summary of Judges 4 and 5

         v.       1              The Five Cycles of Discipline

         v.       4              The Doctrine of a Prophetess

         v.       8              Judges 4:8c Text from the Greek Septuagint (not found in MT)

         v.       8              What is Wrong with Barak Asking Deborah to Accompany him in Battle?

         v.      11              The Kishon River and Mount Tabor (A Map)

         v.      11              Why Does the Bible Tell Us that Heber the Kenite Lives Here?

         v.      12              Mount Tabor

         v.      14              Deborah says, “This is the Day!”

         v.      15              Commentators on the Battle between Barak and Sisera

         v.      17              Commentators on the Kenites

         v.      19              Thirst in Scripture

         v.      21              Commentators Weigh in on Jael’s Act

         v.      21              Summary Points on Jael and Personal Application

         v.      21              Clarke’s False Premises and False Conclusion

         v.      21              Principles which we Use to Interpret this Passage and Jael’s Actions

         v.      24              A Comparison between Barak’s Battle and Israel’s War

         v.      24              A Complete Translation of Judges 4


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

Responsibilities and the Requirements of the Judges of Israel

 

Three Kedesh’s

Kenites

 

 

 

 



I ntroduction: Judges 4 takes place after the death of Ehud and introduces, Deborah, one of the very few female leaders to be found in the Bible. In fact, not only is she a judge, but she is also a prophetess, which is, in general, a true rarity in Scripture. Barak was to be the man of the hour, but he had to be led and guided by Deborah. The two villains in this chapter are Jabin, a king of the Canaanites, and Sisera, who was the commander-in-chief of Jabin’s army. Israel, at least northern Israel, is in subjection to Jabin and Sisera, and Deborah and Barak will lead Israel in war against the Canaanites. This is the general subject matter of the next two chapters of the book of Judges. Judges 4 is an historical account; and Judges 5 is a poetic account.


This chapter begins again the pattern established in the previous chapter: Israel does evil in the sight of God, and God allows a non-Jewish ruler (Jabin, king of the Canaanites) to oppress them for 20 years (vv. 1–3). Deborah, one of the few legitimate prophetesses in the Bible, calls upon Barak to lead Israel out of slavery (vv. 4–7). Barak agrees to this, only if Deborah will go up with him to war (v. 8). Deborah agrees, but warns Barak that he will receive limited glory for his actions (v. 9). Barak gathers men from Zebulun and Naphtali and they will gather and defeat Jabin and his general Sisera (vv. 10, 12–16). Sisera will escape the battle on foot and go to neutral territory (vv. 11, 17). He will be met by a woman, Jael, who encourages him to come into her tent to rest and hide out (vv. 18–19). Sisera instructs her to stand guard while he apparently falls asleep; and once he is asleep, she kills Sisera (vv. 20–21). By this time, Barak arrives, and Jael leads him to Sisera dying (v. 22). This chapter is summarized in vv. 23–24.


I always like to throw in someone else’s outline of a chapter:

Matthew Henry Outlines Judges 4

The method of the history of Deborah and Barak (the heroes in this chapter) is the same with that before:

I. Israel revolted from God (Judges 4:1).

II. Israel oppressed by Jabin (Judges 4:2–3).

III. Israel judged by Deborah (Judges 4:4–5).

IV. Israel rescued out of the hands of Jabin.

1. Their deliverance is concerted between Deborah and Barak (Judges 4:6, 9).

2. It is accomplished by their joint–agency.

Barak takes the field (Judges 4:10). Sisera, Jabin's general, meets him (Judges 4:12–13).

Deborah encourages him (Judges 4:14).

God gives him a complete victory. The army routed (Judges 4:15–16). The general forced to flee (Judges 4:17).

Where Sisera expected shelter he had his life stolen from him by Jael while he was asleep (Judges 4:18–21), which completes Barak's triumph (Judges 4:22).

Israel's deliverance (Judges 4:23–24).

Taken from Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, Judges 4 introduction. Slightly edited.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


We can guess at the time period that this battle takes place. Megiddo was completely destroyed in the middle of the 12th century and uninhabited until about 1100 b.c. The subsequent inhabitants appear to be Israelites. Megiddo is never mentioned as a city in this chapter or the next, although the waters of Megiddo will be mentioned in Judges 5:19. This suggests that there is no city of Megiddo (otherwise, the battle would have taken place at Taanach near Megiddo, rather than at Taanach near the waters of Megiddo). Archeological evidence indicates that Taanach and Megiddo were but five miles apart, but not simultaneously occupied, as does the Biblical record. ZPEB tells us: The convergence of historical, archeological, and literary evidence has made a date c. 1125 b.c. virtually certain. Footnote This places the dates given in The Narrated Bible, which I lean upon for a rough outline of time, about a century off (they give a date of 1224 b.c.).


The geography of this is problematic for some—but only for those who have an incomplete understanding of the geography. We have the city of Kedesh-Naphtali mentioned in v. 6, which is where Barak is from. Then, throughout this narrative, we have mention of the city of Kedesh. Now, Kedesh-Naphtali is in north central Naphtali, 20 miles north of the Sea of Chinnereth (later known as the Sea of Galilee) in the foothills of Mount Naphtali. However, we continually hear about this Kedesh which appears to be near the River Kishon, which is southwest of the Sea of Chinnereth. No way are these Kedesh’s the same. You may want to refer to the Doctrine of the Three Kedesh’s in Joshua 12:22. However, to give you a brief run-down: Barak was born in Kedesh-Naphtali, which is pretty far away from the action which takes place. There is the River Kishon, which runs between Issachar and Manasseh, near Mount Tabor, where most of the action of this and the next chapter takes place. All of this is about forty miles south of Kedesh-Naphtali. Now along the River Kishon is a city known both as Kishion and as Kedesh (compare Joshua 19:20 21:28 1Chron. 6:72). Footnote This is the Kedesh referred to throughout most of this passage, which is quite different from the Kedesh where Barak was from. We will, near the end of this chapter, have Sisera make a running escape to the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh. Sisera’s run is less than ten miles. He does not make some 40 mile run north. As long as you understand the location of these two different Kedesh’s, then the geography of this passage makes perfect sense.


We may find this easier to follow in a table:

The Three Kedesh’s

Name

Description

Scripture

Kedesh in Judah

Grouped with cities in the far southwestern portion of Judah. Possibly equivalent to Kadesh-barnea.

Num. 20:1 Joshua 15:23

Kedesh of Issachar, by the river Kishion

Given the cities that this Kedesh is grouped with in Joshua 12, we may reasonably assume this is in Issachar. Possibly also named Kishion, due to its location near the river Kishon. It is in this general area where most of the action of Judges 4–5 takes place (however, this is not equivalent to the city Kedesh where Barak was born).

Joshua 12:22 19:20 Judges 4:11 1Chron. 6:72

Kedesh Naphtali (also known as Kedesh of Galilee)

Kedesh Naphtali is the birthplace of Barak, also mentioned in Judges 4, which is what causes no little confusion to the person with even just a smattering of geographical knowledge. This Kedesh is about 20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, in the general geographical region known as Galilee. While the evil Pekah ruled over the Northern Kingdom, Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria came down and took several cities in the land of Naphtali, including Kedesh Naphtali (called simply Kedesh in this passage, as its location is pretty obvious by context).

Joshua 19:37 20:7 Judges 4:6

Because some assume that the Kedesh of Judges 4:6 and 4:11 are equivalent, they locate another Kedesh along the southwestern shore of Galilee in order to try to make geographic sense of this narrative. However, that is unnecessary.

This information is given in greater detail, with more attention to justification of the locations of these three cities.

There is a fourth Kedesh located outside the land of Palestine.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Maps of the Correct and Incorrect Locations of the Various Kedesh’s

Correct Locations

Incorrect Locations

kedeshlocations.gif

 

judges04.gif

 

From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:1759_ map_Holy_Land_and_12_Tribes.jpg and edited. I added the three Kedesh’s.

From The MacMillan Bible Atlas; 3rd Edition; Aharoni, Avi-Yonah, Rainey, and Safrai; MacMillan; ©1993 by Carta; p. 67. Only a portion of the map is shown.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

As usual, Israel has gone through some prosperity, but, without a great national leader, has slid back into degeneracy. Now, you may wonder how such a thing could happen to a people whose history is so rich with the hand of God. There are several reasons.

How Did Israel so Easily Fall into Idolatry?

(1) Believers did not have access to God’s Word as we have. In my immediate periphery, I have around twenty various English translations of God’s Word and nearly a half-dozen in Greek and Hebrew. The average person had no direct contact with God’s Word. The Pentateuch—as at least, the lion’s portion of it—was written on some stones near Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal (Deut. 27:2–4 Joshua 8:32). So, for a few generations, if someone wanted to read the Law, they could go to that general area and read the stones. Other than that, no individual had easy access to God’s Word.

(2) Secondly, believers in the Old Testament did not have the Holy Spirit as we do. When we are saved, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5 I Cor. 12:13) and can, by a simple confession of sin, be restored to fellowship with God (1John 1:9). Very few people in the Old Testament had the Spirit, and certainly not the hoi polloi.

(3) Wherever God is mighty, Satan attacks. Satan did not send his demon troops to far away places—the people who were saved and who guarded God’s Word were in Israel, so that is where his headquarters is based.

(4) And most simply of all, man has an old sin nature and finds himself tempted by sin and falling into sin again and again.

The next time you wander into a church and wonder how the hell can they teach this crap?, recall that man has an old sin nature and Satan and his demon army is out to corrupt us in any way he can.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


It is in these differences that we can develop a better grasp of the correct understanding of the oral tradition. The mistaken understanding is that the oral tradition of the Jews preserved Scripture orally for centuries until someone decided to write it down. Part of this theory was based upon Scripture (where the Jews were told to tell their children about the great acts of God) and part of this theory was based upon faulty historical presumptions—specifically, that early man did not have the ability/means/desire to record things in writing. When it comes to truth, it is not unusual for a false idea, based upon a faulty premise, to remain, even after the faulty premise has been shown to be clearly false. Footnote This simple reason for this is that “...men love darkness rather than light.” (John 3:19b). Now even though we have archeological proof that very ancient men were able to record whatever they wanted to in writing, still remains the idea that early books of Scripture (like the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges and Job) were kept alive orally and finally written down much later in history than when they occurred. As we have studied these writings, this contradicts what we find recorded in the writings themselves; it defies explanation to think that men, who had the ability to write things down, chose, instead, to repeat them orally for century after century and then suddenly decide, Hey, why not write all this stuff down? And then his buddy cried, Brilliant idea! It sounds stupid, I realize, but some scholars hold to this idea. So, even though the faulty premise is shown to be faulty; and even though the idea is preposterous, still men hold to the idea that Scripture was written long after the fact (and, in radically different writing styles, to boot; the writing style and vocabulary of Moses and Joshua are not at all similar; the writing style and vocabulary of Judges appears to change with almost every chapter). Oh, and I forgot: this goofy concept of the oral tradition is considered to be the more scholarly view (along with the idea that several people and groups of people wrote the books of Moses after the fact). This is taught in many seminaries and carefully refuted by Josh McDowell in More Evidence that Demands a Verdict Part Two.


On the other hand, there was some truth to the oral tradition of the Jews. Even though it has been distorted into something other than what it was, there was a real oral tradition, and it is taught in Scripture. Because the average person did not have access to Scripture, what men observed in the deliverance of Israel at the Sea of Reeds, they were told to tell this to their sons and to their daughters (Deut. 4:5–14 6:20–25). Often, when God performed some great, seemingly supernatural act, a memorial would be set up, so that fathers would tell their sons the meaning of that memorial, so that the sons would tell their own sons (Joshua 4:1–7). Parts of the Law were to be carried on the person of a Jew, or written on the door frames, so that they would recall and then teach what is true (Deut. 6:6–9 11:18–20). Then, as now, there is nothing more important than knowing the Word of God and then teaching His Word. Recall what Moses said near the end of his life: “Take to your heart all the words with which I have warned you today, which you will command your sons to observe carefully—even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed, it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land into which you are about to possess after crossing the Jordan.” (Deut. 32:44–47). In other words, the ancient Israelites taught their children about the character of God for the exact same reason that we study God’s Word today and teach it to our own children. Similarly, many fathers failed then to teach it to their children, as occurs today as well.

 

One of the false assumptions is that, this historical event was kept alive by the song which follows, and that someone, much later in history, wrote out Judges 4. Keil and Delitzsch deal with this assertion: This fresh oppression of the Israelites, and the glorious victory which they obtained over Sisera, Jabin's general, through the judge Deborah and the heroic warrior Barak, are so fully described in Deborah's triumphal song in Judg 5, that this song may be regarded as a poetical commentary upon that event. It by no means follows from this fact, however, that the historical account in Judg 4 was first of all founded upon the ode, and was merely intended to furnish an explanation of the song itself. Any such assumption is overthrown by the fact that the prose account in Judg 4, contains, as even Bertheau acknowledges, some historical details which we look for in vain in the song, and which are of great assistance in the interpretation of it. Footnote


In our lives, we have a lot fewer reasons for failure. We all have the Holy Spirit and possibly 95% of us (in the United States) have Bibles. We don’t have a lot of reason for failure. Furthermore, if we desire to know God’s Word, God will see to us that we are taught. Satan is certainly hard at work in the United States, however, we have overcome the evil one (Rom. 8:15 Col. 1:13a 1John 2:13)—if not in practice, then in position (Matt. 4:1–11 Rom. 8:16 Gal. 3:26 Col. 1:13–14) and by choice (1John 1:9 2:5).


With Deborah and Barak, we will see that there are two very different ways of looking at Barak. The common way people see Barak is as someone who has been told by God what to do, and then Deborah has to call him into her office and repeat what God has for him to do. That is the view which I held to for many years. However, the more that I examine this book, the more I have allowed for the possibility that the first time that Barak received direction from God was in this book at the mouth of Deborah. In any case, Barak did not show good judgment in asking Deborah to accompany him, and, for that reason, was told that his glory would be usurped by a woman (not by Deborah, but by Jael). Barak needs a woman to accompany him into battle; therefore, there is no reason that Barak should be remembered as the man who killed Sisera. This is God’s sense of irony.


This chapter, written in prose, will be paralleled by Judges 5, which is written in poetry. This is possibly a his and hers approach to this material. In this chapter, it is difficult determining who the writer was. We have a very detailed description of Jael and Sisera, the latter of whom dies at the end of this narrative, making him an unlikely candidate to record the narrative. The account is so vivid, however, that it had to be given at least via direct interview with Jael, if not recorded by Jael herself.


We have summary verses at the beginning, very similar to a summary written throughout, indicating that whoever added to the book was aware of a format that needed to be followed; or, more likely, that all of this material was pulled together later by an editor who would put in the filler, but wrote the information which was recorded directly from the records that he had at his disposal. What I am saying is that he did very little, if any, editing, as the style of writing from chapter to chapter is so different. My guess would be that Deborah wrote this and the next chapter (or Barak wrote Judges 4), but neither of them wrote the first few verses. However, even that is a difficult call, because there does not appear to be a separation between the introduction and the historical occurrences. That is, there is no clear break in the writing style or the topic where you could say, for instance, Samuel wrote the first three verses and then copied down the history which Barak or Deborah wrote after the introduction. Our third option is that the editor is very good and wrote in such a way as to preserve a seamless effect between what he inserted and what Deborah actually wrote. Believe it or not, that can be a tougher sell, as we will have an example in the middle of Judges 20 where an additional account of the events is given, and there is no smooth transition from one account to the other. However, if Samuel pieced this together (which is the popular view), Judges 20 could have already existed as a literary unit which he was loath to change (we find verses which were added in the surrounding chapters, but not in chapter 20).


Let me explain what I mean by seamless. We begin by v. 1, which reads: But the sons of Israel continued to do evil in the eyes of Yehowah and Ehud died. This appears to be tied directly to the previous chapter. That is, the person who wrote it, was well-aware of the previous chapter. The next verse where the situation of the Israelites is described, where they are under the control of Jabin and Sisera, appears to be the next natural thing to say, expounding upon the general statement of v. 1. Then we have the cry of the sons of Israel to God in v. 3, a result of the oppression of v. 2. This is a formula which we have seen Judges 3:7–8 and 3:15, and which is repeated throughout most of the book of the Judges. Such a formula would suggest a final editor who would insert these transitional verses. However, the formula is not precise—that is, it does not appear as though the author of the book of Judges actually had a set thing that he said in between the various Judges. What this suggests to me is that this book was written like the book of Genesis. Someone would write a chapter or three, put it down, and then someone from several decades later would write in another few chapters, maintaining the general outline of the book by a catch-phrase (in the book of Genesis, it was, and these were the generations of...). Here, the catch-phrase is, And Israel did evil in the sight of Jehovah, and Jehovah delivered them into the hands of Bob, the electriclite, and they served Bob for twenty years. Then the children of Israel cried to Jehovah and he heard their cry. So, Jehovah raised up Rex, the judge. The more that I think about this, the more it appears as though this was written by several hands over the course of several hundred years and not necessarily by an editor who pulled the information together from various sources. What this does have, though, are implications that the book of Judges is a linearly-written book. That is, even though the episodes individually are not necessarily chronological (Judges 4 and 5 are concurrent), the overall book itself is chronological, which may cause us some dating problems. However, the styles are so different from chapter to chapter, it only seems reasonable that this is the product of several authors.


Let’s summarize this information:

Authorship Summary of Judges 4 and 5

1.      We find specific phrases occurring again and again in the book of Judges. This would cause us to speculate that an editor put this book together much later, drawing from first-hand accounts, and inserting commentary as he went. See Judges 3:7–8, 15 4:1–2 6:1 etc. Although, it could be that each historian was moved by God the Holy Spirit to record these similar words; this could also be the result of an editor piecing these narratives together.

2.      Judges 4 gives us much more detailed information about Jael than it does about Barak; in fact, the acts of Barak are given in only the most general terms. This suggests that Jael either wrote most of this chapter or that it was written down after directly interviewing her. There are incidents in the second half of this chapter which would be known only to her and Sisera, whom she kills.

3.      We do have a conversation between Barak and Deborah recorded, suggesting that one of them wrote this down. Given that Deborah is an acknowledged prophetess and that Barak was weak, yet still God’s man for resisting Jabin and Sisera; I would put my money on Deborah as the author of at least the first half of Judges 4; and probably the author of Judges 5, the poetical recollection of these events.

4.      Given that the second section of Judges (that which deals with the specific judges of Israel) seems to vary considerably as to content; that some portions of incidents only known to a couple of people; and given that this section still seems to be held together by the thread and Israel did evil in the sight of Jehovah; I would conclude that we have one editor (for instance, Samuel) who pieced this together from records which had been kept—many of them first-hand accounts or interviews of those who are involved in the incidents recorded.

5.      

 


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The portion of the chapter where Barak and Deborah speak to one another was likely written by either one of them. The battle seems to have been written from a high vantage point rather than from being in the midst of the action. Barak’s point of view in pursuing Sisera is almost non-existent. For this reason, the bulk of this chapter was probably written by Deborah, gathered in part from a report from Barak and Jael.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


Israel Is Oppressed by Jabin, a King of the Canaanites


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so added sons of Israel to do the evil in eyes of Yehowah and Ehud had died.

Judges

4:1

But the sons of Israel continued to do evil in the eyes of Yehowah; also [lit., and] Ehud died.

Still, the people of Israel continued to do evil in the eyes of Jehovah after Ehud died.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so added sons of Israel to do the evil in eyes of Yehowah and Ehud had died.

Septuagint                              And the children of Israel continued to do evil against the Lord; and Aod was dead.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       After the death of Ehud, the Israelites again started disobeying the LORD.

The Message                         The People of Israel kept right on doing evil in GOD's sight. With Ehud dead,...

REB                                       After Ehud’s death the Israelites once again did what was wrong in the eyes of the Lord,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         After Ehud died, the people of Israel again did what the LORD considered evil.

HCSB                                     The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD after Ehud had died.

JPS (Tanakh)                         The Israelites again did what was offensive to the Lord—Ehud now being dead.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                                      The children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, when Ehud was dead.

Young's Literal Translation     And the sons of Israel add to do the evil thing in the eyes of Jehovah when Ehud is dead,.


What is the gist of this verse? .


Judges 4:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâçaph (ף ַס ָי) [pronounced yaw-SAHPH]

to add, to augment, to increase, to multiply; to add to do = to do again; to continue to

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #3254 BDB #414

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

ra׳ (ע ַר) [pronounced rahģ]

evil, bad, wicked; evil in appearance, deformed; misery, distress, injury; that which is displeasing [disagreeable, unhappy, unfortunate, sad]

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7451 BDB #948

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳êynayim (ם̣יַני̤ע) [pronounced ģay-nah-YIM]

eyes, two eyes, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes; face, appearance, form; surface

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

Together, the bêyth preposition and ׳ayin literally mean in the eyes of; it can be understood to mean in the opinion of, in the thinking of, in the estimation of; as ____ sees things to be.

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: But the sons of Israel continued to do evil in the eyes of Yehowah;... As we discussed in the introduction, Israel is on this low roller coaster ride and at this point, they are at the bottom again. Their doing evil is repeated in Judges 2:11, 19 3:7, 12 6:1 10:6. As long as the evil influence of the Canaanite was in the land, Israel would continue to do evil. The parallel is simple: as long as we possess an old sin nature and as long as Satan and his minions are in the land, we will continue to do evil. Rot occurs first on the inside then it is manifested on the out. Even though the enemies throughout most of the book of Judges actually attack Israel from the outside or from border areas, this always follows Israel’s internal degeneracy. In our country, there is nothing wrong with exhibiting a little paranoia when it comes to the Chinese Communists or to portions of the Russian states or to the some of various Arabic countries. But we will first fall to degeneracy within, then we will be attacked from without. We are in a period of time when we have a large number of believers, but none of them have a clue as to how to lead their lives—we’re not interested in God’s Word nor in the filling of the Spirit (which is not some powerful, ecstatic reaction).


Judges 4:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Êhûwd (דה̤א) [pronounced ay-HOOD]

I will give thanks; I will be praised; undivided, united; transliterated Ehud

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong's #164 BDB #13

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559


Translation: ...also [lit., and] Ehud died. The last words of this verse (which I am mentioning, because most of your Bibles read when or after the death of Ehud), are the wâw conjunction, the proper noun Ehud, and the Qal perfect of the verb to die. The perfect tense is the completed tense. What we have is that the Hiphil imperfect of the verb to add or to continue represents the action of the people which is ongoing, and Ehud’s death just occurs. The two events occur perhaps around the same time but the evil committed by the sons of Israel begins before and certainly continues past the death of Ehud. It would be nice and neat to replace the wâw consecutive with when or after (The sons of Israel continued to do evil after Ehud died); however, the Hebrew really does not allow for that understanding. Furthermore, we even have Scriptural backing for this understanding that Israel goes awry even while their deliverer is still alive: Then Jehovah raised up governors who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them; and yet, they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of Jehovah (Judges 2:16–17).


We may reasonably assume that there was some spiritual revival when Ehud first delivered Israel, and that there was great enthusiasm when Moab was defeated and their king assassinated. However, after awhile, after a few decades of peace, a new generation of Israelites are born, and with much less appreciation of what God has done for them.


The United States, at this point in time, provides a remarkable parallel. In World War !!, we defeated one of the greatest evil forces of the world; and thousands upon thousands of men gave their lives in this endeavor. For about two decades, American was appreciative of the peace we had won on the battlefield. Strong families, a worshiping of God, and great appreciation for what we had been given was the norm. When my generation came into its own, our appreciation waned, our spiritual life moved into idolatry, and we became all about pleasure, rather than self-discipline and self-sacrifice. I write this about 60 years after World War II, and we have become so different from that generation and so far removed. We are unappreciative, unpatriotic, not willing to sacrifice anything, even for our own sons and daughters.


As I see it, Ehud was a governor for some years after delivering Israel; but he became old; the victory over Moab became less and less memorable; that great oppression something remembered only by those who were getting old. One generation sprung up, then another after that; as Ehud became older and older. Those of his generation recalled the oppression of Eglon and may have even participated in the victory over the Moabite army; however, after 40 or 50 years, there were a significant number of people who did not know about any of this from personal experience. The next few generations had less and less appreciation for Jehovah God, for His mandates, for the land which He gave them. Therefore, they did evil in the eyes of Jehovah. Although we are not given any specifics, I think we may reasonable assume that they married women of other nations, or women of indigenous populations, and compromised their faith, worshiping other gods, falling into the idolatry which Israel had been warned against.


In the Church Age, we live in an era of historical trends, rather than an era of prophecy; an era when God works through His church, rather than through one country; yet, God’s ban on idolatry continues in all ages. There is one God and one mediator between man and God—the man Christ Jesus (1Tim. 2:5). “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6). We do not worship the same God that the Buddhist worship; we are not to pay homage to Mohammed; John Smith is just another man, not a prophet of God. It’s easy to see—the further we move away from our God, the worse things become.


Application: You cannot legislate Christianity; you cannot legislate faith in God. The repeated attacks against our spiritual heritage are symptomatic of our weakened spiritual state. No matter what we do legislatively or in the courts, it will make little or no difference as fewer and fewer believers understand God’s Word. As the number of believers decrease and as the number of believers who hold firm to true doctrine, our country will continue on a downhill slide, which will be reflected in our greed, our attitudes, our weak and non-existent family structure, our unwillingness to work, our unwillingness to put in any sort of effort, and in our unwillingness to put off or forgo pleasure. The World War II generation had no problem with the God of our fathers; they had no problem with singing Christmas hymns in school; if they came across the name of God in some public institution, it did not concern them. Several generations later, it is a different story. But, this did not come about because of our court system, corrupt as it is; or because of our legislature, or because of this or that president; all of this came about because of the weak spiritual condition of the believers in this land.


Application: Just as Israel was oppressed by the Moabites; just as Israel felt the shame of a foreign military on their land, we will face the same things. If you go to Lev. 26, you can see the stages of divine discipline that we potentially face. We do not solve this by getting the right person into office; by electing the right president; by appointing the best judges to our courts; this comes about by a spiritual revival—by faith in Jesus Christ first, and then true spiritual growth.


I’ve mentioned these cycles of discipline; let me gives these to you:

The Five Cycles of Discipline

Cycle

Scripture

Description

First

Lev. 26:14–17

Loss of health, decline of agriculture prosperity, terror, fear and death in combat, loss of personal freedoms due to negtive volition toward Bible doctrine.

Second

Lev. 26:18–20

Economic recession and depression, increased personal and individual discipline for continued negative volition in spite of the first warning.

Third

Lev. 26:21–22

Violence and breakdown of law and order; cities are laid waste.

Fourth

Lev. 26:23–26

Military conquest and/or foreign occupation, scarcity of food (reduced to a tenth of the normal supply); and the separation of families.

Fifth

Lev. 26:27–39

Destruction of a nation due to maximum rejection of Biblical truth.

Bear in mind that these are general principles. What is described herein is a matter of degree. For instance, we have seen events which have sparked rioting, a state of lawlessness, where city blocks were destroyed. However, this does not indicate that we are in the 3rd cycle of discipline. If we saw this occur in virtually every major city in the United States, then we could reasonably confirm that we are in the 3rd cycle of discipline.

I hope that it is pretty obvious that we are not even in the first cycle of discipline, although that is not afar off, given our current spiritual status.

This was taken from R. B. Thieme, Jr., Daniel Chapters One through Six; ©1996 by R. B. Thieme, Jr.; p. 5 (footnote).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


And so sold them Yehowah into a hand of Jabin, a king of Canaan who reigned in Hazor; and a commander of his army, Sisera, and he was dwelling in Harosheth-hagoiim.

Judges

4:2

Therefore, Yehowah sold them into the hand of Jabin, the king of Canaan who reigned in Razor. The commander of his army [was] Sisera, and he was dwelling in Harosheth-hagoiim [or, Harosheth of the Gentiles].

Accordingly, Jehovah sold them into the hand of Jabin, the king of Canaan, who ruled from Hazor. The commander-in-chief of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth of the Gentiles.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so sold them Yehowah into a hand of Jabin, a king of Canaan who reigned in Hazor; and a commander of his army, Sisera, and he was dwelling in Harosheth-hagoiim.

Septuagint                              And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Chanaan, who ruled in Asor; and the chief of his power was Sisara, and he dwelt in Arisoth of the Gentiles.

 

Significant differences:           The only real difference between the Greek and Hebrew is the Greek has the word power instead of army, as does the Latin and Syriac. Hagoiim is a transliteration; the translation is the Gentiles.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       So the LORD let the Canaanite King Jabin of Hazor conquer Israel. Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, lived in Harosheth-Ha-Goiim.

The Message                         ...GOD sold them off to Jabin king of Canaan who ruled from Hazor. Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim, was the commander of his army.

NLT                                        So the Lord handed them over to King Jabin of Razor, a Canaanite king. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-haggoyim.

TEV                                        So the Lord let them be conquered by Jabin a Canaanite king who ruled in the city of Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived at Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So the LORD used King Jabin of Canaan, who ruled at Hazor, to defeat them. The commander of King Jabin's army was Sisera, who lived at Harosheth Haggoyim.

HCSB                                     So the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his forces was Sisera who lived in Harosheth of the Nations.

JPS (Tanakh)                         And the Lord surrendered them to King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. His army commander was Sisera, whose base was Harosheth-goiim.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim.

LTHB                                     And Jehovah sold them into the hand of Jabin the king of Canaan, who ruled in Hazor. And his army commander was Sisera; and he lived in Harosheth of the nations.

Young’s Updated LT             And Jehovah sell them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who has reigned in Hazor, and the head of his host is Sisera, and he is dwelling in Haroshes of the Goyim.


What is the gist of this verse? .


Judges 4:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

mâkar (ר-כ ָמ) [pronounced maw-KAHR]

to sell, to sell [betroth] [a daughter]; to sell [deliver over] [a people]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #4376 BDB #569

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand literally means in [the] hand of; and can be rendered in the power of; by the power of; with; through, by, by means of; before, in the sight of.

Yâbîyn (ןי.בָי) [pronounced yaw-BEEN]

intelligent; God [is] intelligent; whom God observes; transliterated Jabin

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #2985 BDB #108

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

Kena׳an (ן -ע-נ) [pronounced keNAH-ģahn]

which possibly means merchant and is transliterated Canaan

masculine proper noun; territory

Strong’s #3667 BDB #488

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Châtsôr (רֹצ ָח or רצ ָח) [pronounced khaw-SOHR]

enclosure, court, settled abode, settlement, village; transliterated Hazor

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2674 BDB #347


Translation: Therefore, Yehowah sold them into the hand of Jabin, the king of Canaan who reigned in Hazor. God selling Israel into the hand of their enemy is repeated throughout this book and the next and appears to apply primarily to northern Israel (Judges 2:14 3:8 6:1 I Sam. 12:9).


There is a Jabin of Hazor mentioned way back in Joshua 11:1, 10, which would indicate that Jabin is either a generic title for the king of the Canaanites (like pharaoh), or of a dynasty of the Canaanites. We studied Hazor in great detail in Joshua 11:1, noting that it had been destroyed and rebuilt 21 times over the centuries. What seems most likely is that the Israelites totally destroyed the city back in Joshua 11 and did not go back in to re-build and re-populate it (quite like Jericho). The Canaanites of northern Israel and/or north of Israel apparently moved back in, re-established Hazor, and either restored the throne of the family of Jabin, or simply kept the title, which is even more likely. Now, according to the archeological evidence, Hazor was burned to the ground circa 1400 b.c., circa 1300 b.c. and circa 1230 b.c. Now, we cannot simply add up the years of good times and bad times in this book, add them linearly, and determine the date. Joshua’s attack on the land was probably the 1400 b.c. date. This attack was very likely the 1230 b.c., which fits in quite well with the time line which I set up in the introduction. It is possible that the second burning of the city is the work of Jabin, the king of Canaan. Also, bear in mind that you cannot just assume archeology is right on the money when it comes to the time frame. However, what archeological studies have determined is that Hazor was burned to the ground in 1400 b.c., which would square with Joshua 11:11–13. Then, the upper city of roughly 25 acres was occupied, while the lower city, of about 150 acres, remained unoccupied. The location of Hazor is at a strategic position overlooking a major trade route would make it a likely area for the Canaanites to repopulate themselves a century later. It is also reasonable for the chariot force to be maintained at a separate location, Harosheth hagoiim, in the Plain of Sharon. Footnote


Judges 4:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ) [pronounced tsawb-VAW]

army, war, or warfare

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #6635 DB #838

Çîyçerâ (אָר סי .ס) [pronounced seese-RAW]

battle array [according to BDB]; and is transliterated Sisera

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5516 BDB #696


Translation: The commander of his army [was] Sisera,...


Judges 4:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it; himself as a demonstrative pronoun: that, this

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

inhabiting, staying, remaining, dwelling, sitting

Qal active participle

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Chărôsheth (ת∵שֹרֲח) [pronounced khuh-roh-SHETH]

woodland; magic drug, magic art; transliterated Harosheth

proper singular noun/location

Strong’s #2800 BDB #361

gôwyîm (ם̣י) [pronounced goh-YEEM]

Gentiles, [Gentile] nation, people, peoples, nations

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1471 BDB #156


Translation: ...and he was dwelling in Harosheth-hagoiim [or, Harosheth of the Gentiles]. This is the first mention of the city of Harosheth-hagoiim. This might be properly Harosheth of the Goiim (of the Gentiles).

 

Barnes explains the meaning of Harosheth: The name Harosheth signifies workmanship, cutting, and carving, whether in stone or wood (Ex. xxxi. 5), and hence might be applied to the place where such works are carried on. It has been conjectured that this being a great timber district, rich in cedars and fir-trees, and near Great Zidon (Josh. xi. 8), Jabin kept a large number of oppressed Israelites at work in hewing wood, and preparing it at Harosheth for transport to Zidon; and that these woodcutters, armed with axes and hatchets, formed the soldiers of Barak’s army. Footnote


Whereas the beginning of this thought is likely, the latter is pure conjecture, and would very likely have been included in Scripture if true, if only for its irony. Footnote One author of the ZPEB places it in a narrow valley Where the Kishon flows out of the Esdraelon Plain into the Plain of Acre and the Mediterranean Sea. Footnote The Macmillan Bible Atlas places this further inland 2–3 miles south of Megiddo. If you are not looking at a map, you cannot appreciate that these are very different places. The suggestion of ZPEB places it about 30+ miles west of the Sea of Chinnereth and The Macmillan Bible Atlas places it a little less than 30 miles southwest of the Sea of Chinnereth. In other words, two of my sources place this city almost 30 miles apart. In either case, this places Hazor in Naphtali and Harosheth-hagoiim is at least 40 miles away, either in Asher, Zebulun or Manasseh. This means that the Canaanites had a serious foothold in the northern one-third of Israel. My thinking is that these two men were split up for two reasons—one, to keep out of each other’s way (so that there would not be a power grab between the two of them); and secondly, to control a major portion of Israel. Rather than having control over one city and its perimeter, they have a diagonal foothold over much of the land running from Lake Huleh to where the Kishon River flows into the Mediterranean Sea. You might recall how Dan has or will conquer an area on the very northern perimeter of Israel? Quite obviously this had to occur either before or after this incident.


Sisera is quite possibly not a Canaanite himself (according to the NIV Study Bible, his name is not Canaanitish). He and Jabin will attempt to take back the land which once belonged to the Canaanites. He will actually be mentioned twice in Scripture after this, in retrospect. 1Sam. 12:9 has Samuel addressing Israel, and he says: “But they forgot Jehovah their god, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them.” In that once verse, Samuel summed up much of the book of the Judges. The psalmist Asaph also mentions Sisera: Deal with them as with Midian; as with Sisera–Jabin, at the torrent of Kishon. In fact, we will likely study this psalm after Judges 5.


The difference between this chapter and most of the others in this book is that in the other chapters, Israel’s attackers come from without—Aram, Naharaim, Moab, Midian and Ammon, whose primary interest was to take some of Israel’s wealth. In Judges 4–5, the Canaanites who live within will up to reclaim portions of the land of Canaan. Footnote


And so cried sons of Israel unto Yehowah because nine hundreds chariots of iron to him and he, [even] he, oppressed sons of Israel by force [or, with violence] twenty years.

Judges

4:3

Then the sons of Israel cried unto Yehowah because he had 900 iron chariots [lit., (there were 900 chariots of iron to him] and he, [even] he, oppressed the sons of Israel with violence [for] twenty years.

Then the sons of Israel cried out to Jehovah because he had 900 chariots of iron; and, furthermore, he oppressed them with violence for twenty years.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so cried sons of Israel unto Yehowah because nine hundreds chariots of iron to him and he, [even] he, oppressed sons of Israel by force [or, with violence] twenty years.

Septuagint                              And the children of Israel cried to the Lord, because nine hundred chariots of iron were to him; and he mightily oppressed Israel twenty years.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek inserts the verb to be, which is implied in the Hebrew. In both languages, the sense is, he had 900 chariots of iron.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Jabin's army had nine hundred iron chariots, and for twenty years he made life miserable for the Israelites, until finally they begged the LORD for help.

NLT                                        Sisera, who had nine hundred chariots, ruthlessly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.

TEV                                        Jabin had nine hundred iron chariots, and he ruled the people of Israel with cruelty and violence for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

HCSB                                     Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, because Jabin had 900 iron chariots, and he harshly oppressed them 20 years.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help, for he had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years.

Young’s Updated LT             And the sons of Israel cry unto Jehovah, for he has nine hundred chariots of iron, and he has oppressed the sons of Israel mightily twenty years.


What is the gist of this verse? .


One of the things that you have no doubt noticed is that we are no longer spending a lot of time in the Hebrew in this chapter. The reason for that is that, although this Hebrew is not elementary (the vocabulary is varied, but not difficult), the sentence structure and the syntax is fairly simple.


Judges 4:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

tsâ׳aq (ק-עָצ) [pronounced tsaw-ĢAHK]

to cry, to cry out, to call, to summon

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6817 BDB #858

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: Then the sons of Israel cried unto Yehowah...


Judges 4:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

têsha׳ (ע-ש̤) [pronounced TAY-shahģ]

nine, ninth

masculine singular noun; ordinal or cardinal numeral

Strong’s #8672 BDB #1077

mêôwth (תא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

hundreds

feminine plural numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

recheb (ב∵כ∵ר) [pronounced REH-khebv]

chariot, mill-stone, rider

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #7393 BDB #939

barezel (לז׃רַ) [pronounced bare-ZEL]

iron

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1270 BDB #137

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...because he had 900 iron chariots [lit., (there were) 900 chariots of iron to him]... Despite all of the battle victories of the Israelites in the book of Joshua, they had collected precious few weapons and no armored vehicles (chariots). Sisera was able to oppress them because of his elite corps of chariot warriors. However, this should not have been enough to oppress the Israelites. Recall what Moses had told them: “Why you go out to battle against your enemies and you see horses and chariots—people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them, for Jehovah your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.” (Deut. 20:1). That the Canaanites from that general area did have chariots is confirmed by the words of Joshua. When Ephraim and West Manasseh complained that their territory was too small, Joshua told them, “You are a numerous people and you have great power; you will not have one lot, but the hill country will also be yours. For, though it is a forest, you will clear it, and to its farthest borders, it will be yours; for you will drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron and though they are strong.” (Joshua 17:17b–18) Footnote .


The NIV suggests that the 900 chariots are the result of a coalition, and not the chariots of only one city. Their reasoning is that in the 15th century b.c., Pharaoh Thutmose III boasted of having captured 924 chariots at the battle of Megiddo. Footnote The Bible here is not claiming that there were 900 chariots from one city.


We will see in v. 10 that Barak will assemble Zebulun and Naphtali against Sisera. Given the location of the two cities of Jabin and Sisera, it is possible that Asher, West Manasseh and Issachar were also oppressed by Jabin and Sisera.


Judges 4:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it; himself as a demonstrative pronoun: that, this

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

lâchats (ץ ַח ָל) [pronounced law-KHAHTZ]

to squeeze, to press; therefore, figuratively, to oppress, to afflict

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3905 BDB #537

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

châzeqâh (הָק׃זָח) [pronounced khawze-KAW]

strength, might, violence; force

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #2394 BDB #306

Although both BDB and Gesenius list these Strong #’s separately, the primary difference is a vowel point, which could indicate nothing more than a slight difference in regional pronunciation, rather than an actual substantive difference. The definitions given from both sources are similar enough to consider these as the same word.

With the bêyth preposition, this means by force or with violence.

׳eserîym (םי.ר∵ע) [pronounced ģese-REEM]

twenty

plural numeral adjective

Strong’s #6242 BDB #797

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040

 

Translation: ...and he, [even] he, oppressed the sons of Israel with violence [for] twenty years. In describing the way Sisera oppressed the Israelites, we have the bêyth preposition and the feminine singular noun châzeqâh (ה ָק  ׃ז ָח) [pronounced khawze-KAW], which means strength, might, violence. With bêyth, this means by force or with violence. This is the same word used of Egypt over Israel back in Ex. 3:8. Strong’s #2394 BDB #306.




Now might be a good time to examine (again) Historical Parallels: The “Israel Stele.”


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


Deborah Calls for Barak; They Go out to War Against the Canaanites


And Deborah, a woman, a prophetess, a woman of Lappidoth—she was judging Israel in the time the that.

Judges

4:4

Deborah—a woman, a prophetess, [and] the wife of Lappidoth—was judging [or, governing] Israel at that time.

During that time there was a woman, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, who judged over Israel.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And Deborah, a woman, a prophetess, a woman of Lappidoth—she was judging Israel in the time the that.

Septuagint                              And Debbora, a woman, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth,––she judged Israel at that time.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Deborah the wife of Lappidoth was a prophet and a leader of Israel during those days.

NLT                                        Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who had become a judge in Israel.

REB                                       At that time Deborah wife of Lappidoth, a prophetess, was judge in Israel.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Deborah, wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet. She was the judge in Israel at that time.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                                      Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

Young's Updated LT              And Deborah, a woman inspired, wife of Lapidoth; she is judging Israel at that time.


What is the gist of this verse? .


Judges 4:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

Debôwrâh (הָרב ׃) [pronounced deb-voh-RAW],

bee; transliterated Deborah

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1683 BDB #184

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun

Strong's #802 BDB #61

nebîyâh (הָאי  ̣ב׃נ) [pronounced nebvee-AW]

prophetess; wife of a prophet; used of true and false prophets

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #5031 BDB #612

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

Lappîydôwth (תדי.-ל) [pronounced lap-pee-DOHTH]

torches, lightning peels; transliterated Lappidoth

feminine plural, proper noun

Strong’s #3941 BDB #542


Translation: Deborah—a woman, a prophetess, [and] the wife of Lappidoth—... Only two women in the Bible have this name: Rachel’s nurse (Gen. 35:8) and Deborah of the judges (Judges 4–5). According to Zodhiates, Deborah means “bee,” perhaps emphasizing the [active and] organized life of that insect. Footnote

 

Deborah is first called the feminine singular of îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH], which means woman, wife. It is the name that Adam gave to the woman.


Deborah is also called a prophetess. In fact, this is only the second time so far that we have seen this word in the Bible (the first time, it was applied to Miriam, Moses’ sister). In fact, it might be instructive to examine each and every time that this word is found in Scripture.


The Doctrine of a Prophetess

 

1.      The word used here is the feminine singular of nebîyâh (הָאי  ̣ב׃נ) [pronounced nebvee-AW], which is found very infrequently in the Old Testament, and it means prophetess; it is used of true and false prophets. Strong’s #5031 BDB #612.

2.      That Deborah was a legitimate prophetess is confirmed by Judges 4:6–7, 9, and14.

3.      We find this word used originally of Miriam in Ex. 15:20: And Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. This takes place during the singing of the song of Moses.

4.      Deborah, of course, is called a prophetess in our passage, Judges 4:4. None of the other judges, save Samuel, the last judge, will be called a prophet, placing her in very distinguished company.

5.      This word is not found again until 2Kings 22:14, which reads: So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum, the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, the keeper of the wardrobe—now, she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter; and they spoke to her. From the passage which follows, she appears to be a legitimate prophetess. This same verse is repeated in 2Chron. 24:22.

6.      In Isa. 8:33, we have a prophetess in a story which appears to be a vision rather than an actual event (it may be an actual event upon which some prophecy of Isaiah is advanced). So I approached the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. Then Jehovah said to me, “Name him Maher-shalal-has-baz”

7.      In what appears to be an open prayer, Nehemiah writes: Remember, O my God, Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these works of theirs, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the rest of the prophets who were trying to frighten me (Neh. 6:14). These three are actually false prophets, not sent by God, as Neh. 6:7–13 attests. Noadiah is not mentioned in that passage, but is guilty of being a false prophetess by association.

8.      In conclusion, in all of the Old Testament, we really only have one prophetess of note, Deborah, who arose during a time of great degeneracy in Israel. She is a prophetess, a judge, and she will join Barak in battle as per his request. By contrasts, the word prophet occurs over 300 times in the Old Testament

9.      The New Testament also is almost bereft of female prophets. We have a legitimate female prophetess mentioned in Luke 2:36: And there was a prophetess, Ann, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage.

10.    The only other prophetess mentioned in all of the New Testament is Jezebel, whom Jesus Christ detests, as she leads the people at Thyatira astray (Rev. 2:20–21). So the story in the New Testament is the same as the Old; half of the women who are prophets are not legitimate.

11.    Let me add one additional comment from Moses. There were two men in the camp of Israel who were prophesying in God’s name and were apparently legitimate. Joshua has his underpants in a bunch over this and came to Moses, saying, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp...Moses, my lord, restrain them!” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all Jehovah’s people were prophets, that Jehovah would put His Spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:27b, 28b–29)

.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Then she’s called îshshâh again, but this time as a feminine construct attached to her husband, Lappidoth, who is never mentioned again. There is this unbearable emphasis upon asceticism in the Catholic church where those who serve God preferably do so in celibacy. Paul suggested this, and rationalized his suggestion. He made it clear that this was not for everyone who served God. He also recommended that it is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire. Certainly, the Catholic church can point to Paul and to Paul’s argument and say that it is better for a person to remain single and to serve God, as he is less likely to be derailed and he (or she) will have more time to devote to God’s work. And all this is well and good—unless that person has an insatiable desire for the opposite sex, but is so confused by asceticism that he sublimates it or allows it to finally come out in ways which are embarrassing to the church. It is better to marry than to burn with sexual desire (I Cor. 7:9b; see also I Cor. 7:2). The idea that large chunks of the church which serves the community should be unmarried is ridiculous and is nowhere taught in God’s Word.


Judges 4:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hîy (אי.ה) [pronounced hee]

she, it; also used as a demonstrative pronoun: that, this

3rd person feminine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

shâphaţ (טַפָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

to judge, to condemn, to punish; to defend [especially the poor and oppressed], to defend [one’s cause] and deliver him from his enemies; to rule, to govern

Qal active participle

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳êth (ת ֵע) [pronounced ģayth]

time, the right time, the proper time; opportunity

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #6256 BDB #773

hîy (אי.ה) [pronounced hee]

she, it; also used as a demonstrative pronoun: that, this

3rd person feminine singular, personal pronoun; demonstrative pronoun; with the definite article

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

 

Translation: ...was judging [or, governing] Israel at that time. You will notice that it seems as though we jump prematurely into Deborah and what she does, as we have gotten so used to thoughts being held together by and’s. An and is but a single line with a mark under it, not too unlike an underlined i. It is easy to see how that could be dropped out of the text. However, two early printed editions of the Massoretic text have an and prior to she. What Deborah is said to be doing is the Qal active participle of shâphaţ (ט ַפ ָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT], which means to judge, to govern. The point is that the very same word used of Othniel and Shamgar is also used of Deborah. Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047. What we need to examine now is the Doctrine of the Responsibilities and the Requirements of the Judges of Israel.


Barnes suggests that all of the Judges had some sort of direct communication with God. I should quality that. What we hear over and over again in books like Leviticus and Numbers is and God said. This is not what we hear in this book. The judges were certainly learned in Scripture and that, with the ministry of God the Holy Spirit, were able to render reasonable legal decisions, as well as lead Israel against the many oppressors of Israel. There is enough information in the canon of Scripture up until this time to understand that God has given Israel a particular plot of land and that He will fight on Israel’s behalf. There is also enough information given in Scripture to indicate that Israel would find herself in this continual cycle of oppression and relief—that is, God has promised Israel either cursing or blessing, depending upon Israel’s spiritual choices. We need to recognize those very choices stand before us. God gives us rich blessing and protection (much more than we realize) when our life lines up with His Word. When, as a saved believer, we turn away from Him and pursue something else—money, sex, approbation—this naturally puts us under discipline (just as touching a hot stove burns one’s hand). It is simply the natural progression of things that a believer cannot get away from. Footnote


And she was dwelling under a palm of Deborah between the Ramah and Beth-el in a hill country of Ephraim; and so went up unto her sons of Israel for the judgment.

Judges

4:5

And she held court [lit., was sitting] under a palm of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el, in the hill country of Ephraim. So sons of Israel came to her for judgment.

Deborah lived beneath a palm between Ramah and Beth-el in the hill country of Ephraim; and sons of Israel came to her for resolution of disputes and matters of judgment.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And she was dwelling under a palm of Deborah between the Ramah and Beth-el in a hill country of Ephraim; and so went up unto her sons of Israel for the judgment.

Septuagint                              And she sat under the palm–tree of Debbora between Rama and Baethel in mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel went up to her for judgement.

 

Significant differences:           None. The words which may appear to be different (dwelling/sat) are both legitimate translations of the Hebrew verb.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       She would sit under Deborah's Palm Tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, where Israelites would come and ask her to settle their legal cases.

The Message                         She held court under Deborah's Palm between Ramah and Bethel in the hills of Ephraim. The People of Israel went to her in matters of justice.

NJB                                        She used to sit under Deborah’s Palm between Ramah and Bethel in the highlands of Ephraim, and the Israelites would come to her for justice.

NLT                                        She would hold court under the Palm of Deborah, which stood between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to settle their disputes.

REB                                       It was her custom to sit under the Palm Tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill-country of Ephraim, and Israelites seeking a judgement went up to her.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         She used to sit under the Palm Tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. The people of Israel would come to her for legal decisions.

HCSB                                     It was her custom to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her for judgment.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And she lived under the palm tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel, in the hills of Ephraim. And the sons of Israel went up to her for judgment.

Young’s Updated LT             And she is dwelling under the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Beth-El, in the hill-country of Ephraim, and the sons of Israel go up unto her for judgment.


What is the gist of this verse? .


Judges 4:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hîy (אי.ה) [pronounced hee]

she, it; also used as a demonstrative pronoun: that, this

3rd person feminine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

inhabiting, staying, remaining, dwelling, sitting

Qal active participle

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

tachath (תַח ַ) [pronounced TAH-khahth]

underneath, below, under, beneath; instead of, in lieu of; in the place [in which one stands]; in exchange for; on the basis of

preposition of location or foundation

Strong’s #8478 BDB #1065

tâmâr (ר ָמ ָ) [pronounced taw-MAWR]

palm-tree, date-palm, Phoenix dactylifera; palms, palm trees

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8558 BDB #1071

Debôwrâh (הָרב ׃) [pronounced deb-voh-RAW],

bee; transliterated Deborah

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1683 BDB #184

bêyn (ןיֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

Râmâh (הָמָר) [pronounced raw-MAW]

height, high place; transliterated Ramah

feminine noun used primarily as a proper noun; with the directional hê

Strong’s #7414 (equivalent to Strong’s #7413) BDB #928

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bêyn (ןיֵ) [pronounced bane]

in the midst of, between, among; when found twice, it means between

preposition

Strong's #996 BDB #107

Bêyth-êl (ל̤אֿתי̤ב) [pronounced bayth-AYHL]

house of God; transliterated Bethel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1008 BDB #110

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

Epherayim (ם̣י -רפ ∵א) [pronounced ef-RAH-yim]

to bear fruit, to be fruitful; transliterated Ephraim

masculine proper noun; pausal form

Strong’s #669 BDB #68

 

Translation: And she held court [lit., was sitting] under a palm of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el, in the hill country of Ephraim,... The first verb is the Qal active participle of yâshabv (ב ַש ָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV] and it means to remain, sit, dwell. Strong's #3427 BDB #442. Deborah is located immediately due south of where Jabin and Sisera oppressed Israel. She herself appears unaffected by this oppression. What is interesting is the phrasing that she lived or dwelt beneath a palm (actually, under a palm of Deborah). We find similar phrasing in I Sam. 14:2a: And Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree which is in Migron; and I Sam. 22:6b: Now Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk tree. It reminds me of some very pleasant times that I spent at my first college outside the library, hanging with friends under the liquidambar tree.

 

This verse deals with Deborah’s customary action as a judge. We have the conjunction bayin (ן  ̣י ַ) [pronounced bah-YIN] or bêyn (ןי ֵ) [pronounced bane]. When found twice, as here, the preposition corresponds most closely with our word between. Strong's #996 BDB #107. Now, although she set up shop in Ephraim, this does not mean only Ephraimites came to her. A judge apparently served a fairly wide area.


Now, like everyone else, the first time I read this, I looked at the cities as if they weren’t even there. Benjamin is directly south of Ephraim. At the most northern border of Benjamin, between Benjamin and Ephraim, is the city of Beth-el. Ramah also properly belongs to Benjamin (Joshua 18:25, 28). This would place Deborah on the border between Ephraim and Benjamin, judging in an area belonging to Ephraim. Footnote This does not appear to be a city; it appears as though she was most comfortable sitting under a palm in the hill country of Ephraim.


Judges 4:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix`

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mîshepâţ (ט ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-PAWT]

judgement, justice, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence, a verdict, a judgement of the court

masculine singular noun

Strong's #4941 BDB #1048

Gesenius organizes the meanings as follows:

(1) a judgement; including:

(a) the act of judging; (b) the place of judgment; (c) a forensic cause, the setting forth of a cause, to appeal a judgment; (d) the sentence of a judge; (e) the fault or crime one is judged for;

(2) a right, that which is just, lawful according to law; which set of meanings would include:

(a) a law, a statute; a body of laws; (b) that which is lawfully due a person, a privilege, a legal privilege, the right of redemption, the right of primogeniture; (c) a manner, a custom; (d) a fashion, a kind, a plan.

We could possibly add the meanings for the plural: laws, responsibilities, privileges. From the standpoint of the one under judgment, mîshepâţ could mean appeal.


Translation: ...and sons of Israel came to her for judgment. Now here is a place where we need to separate responsibility from general practice. A judge had civil authority and people brought to the judges matters of dispute as well as possibly criminal cases. Their involvement with the military appears to be more of an outgrowth of their authority as judges, as opposed to an assigned function of judging. Deborah will only participate in the military campaign of Barak as a favor to him (vv. 8–9) and not because this was a part of her job description.


And so she sent and so she summoned Barak ben Abinoam from Kedesh-Naphtali and so she said unto him, “Has not commanded Yehowah, God of Israel, ‘Go and you will draw out in Mount of Tabor and you will take with you ten thousand men from sons of Naphtali and from sons of Zebulun.

Judges

4:6

She summoned Barak, son of Abinoam from Kedesh-Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not Yehowah, God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go and proceed to Mount Tabor and you will take with you 10,000 men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun.

And then she sent for and summoned Barak, the sons of Abinoam, from Kedesh-Naphtali. When he arrived, she said to him, “Didn’t Jehovah, the God of Israel, order you, ‘Go to Mount Tabor and gather 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun, and take them with you.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so she sent and so she summoned Barak ben Abinoam from Kedesh-Naphtali and so she said unto him, “Has not commanded Yehowah, God of Israel, ‘Go and you will draw out in Mount of Tabor and you will take with you ten thousand men from sons of Naphtali and from sons of Zebulun.

Septuagint                              And Debbora sent and called Barac the son of Abineem out of Cades Nephthali, and she said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded you? And you will depart to mount Thabor, and you will take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Nephthali and of the sons of Zabulon.

 

Significant differences:           The Greek begins with Deborah’s name; the Hebrew (and the Latin and the Syriac) simply use the feminine singular of the verb to send. Commanded in the Greek has a 3rd person masculine singular suffix, as does the Syriac and the Latin, apparently (or, so their English translations). Finally, the verb to go in the Hebrew is in the imperative; however, in the Greek, it is a future middle indicative, which could be understood as an imperative, but, strictly speaking, it is not. The Latin and Syriac both use the imperative here.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       One day, Barak the son of Abinoam was in Kedesh in Naphtali, and Deborah sent word for him to come and talk with her. When he arrived, she said: I have a message for you from the LORD God of Israel! You are to get together an army of ten thousand men from the Naphtali and Zebulun tribes and lead them to Mount Tabor.

The Message                         She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "It has become clear that GOD, the God of Israel, commands you: Go to Mount Tabor and prepare for battle. Take ten companies of soldiers from Naphtali and Zebulun.

NLT                                        One day, she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Assemble ten thousand warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Deborah summoned Barak, son of Abinoam, from Kedesh in Naphtali. She told him, "The LORD God of Israel has given you this order: 'Gather troops on Mount Tabor. Take 10,000 men from Naphtali and Zebulun with you.

HCSB                                     She summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "Hasn't the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded you: 'Go, deploy the troops on Mount Tabor, and take with you 10,000 men from the Naphtalites and Zebulunites?.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, "Has not the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded you, 'Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun.

NRSV                                     She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, ‘Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun.

Young’s Updated LT             And she sends and calles for Barak son of Abinoam, out of Kedesh-Naphtali, and says unto him, “Has not Jehovah, God of Israel, commanded? Go, and you have drawn towards mount Tabor, and have taken with you ten thousand men, out of the sons of Naphtali, and out of the sons of Zebulun.


What is the gist of this verse? .


Judges 4:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Bârâq (ק ָרָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]

lightening, lightening flash; transliterated Barak

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1301 BDB #140

There is no difference between this proper noun and the masculine singular noun, bârâq, which means lightening. Strong’s #1300 BDB #140.

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Ăbîynô׳am (ם-עֹני.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-noh-ĢAHM]

my father is a delight; father of pleasantness; transliterated Abinoam

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #42 BDB #4

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Qedesh (שד ק) [pronounced KEH-desh]

sanctuary; set apart; transliterated Kedesh

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #6943 BDB #873

Naphetâlîy (י.ל ָף-נ) [pronounced nahfe-taw-EE]

wrestling; possibly cord, thread; twisted; transliterated Naphtali

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5321 BDB #836

 

Translation: She summoned Barak, son of Abinoam from Kedesh-Naphtali,... Barak is properly bârâq (ק ָר ָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK], which is a proper name not related to blessing (bêrâkâh—Strong’s #1293 BDB #139), but to lightning or lightning flash (bârâq—Strong’s #1300 BDB #140). Strong’s #1301 BDB #140. Barak lived north, northeast of Deborah, near the Sea of Galilee (it was not called that then, although the district was Footnote ), in the territory of Naphtali.


Judges 4:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

Hă lô together expect an affirmative answer. In fact, these two words together present a question with an obvious, self-evident answer.

tsâvâh (ה ָו ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-VAW]

to commission, to mandate, to lay charge upon, to give charge to, charge, command, order

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong's #6680 BDB #845

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural construct

Strong's #430 BDB #43

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ,,,and said to him, “Has not Yehowah, God of Israel, commanded you,...

 

Barnes: Deborah refers to Jehovah as God of Israel to remind the Israelites, in the day of their distress, that He was ready to perform the mercy promised to their fathers, and to remember His holy Covenant. This title, too, would recall to their memories in an instant all His past acts in Egypt, at the Red Sea, in the wilderness, and in the conquest of Canaan. Footnote


Judges 4:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

go, come, depart, walk; advance

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mâshake (ַשָמ) [pronounced maw-SHAHKe]

 to draw out, to lure, to drag, to continue with something, to proceed to, to march to

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4900 BDB #604

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

Tâbôwr (רֹב ָ) [pronounced taw-BOHR]

mound; and is transliterated Tabor

Proper noun/location

Strong's #8396 BDB #1061

 

Translation:...‘Go and proceed to Mount Tabor... What God has apparently ordered him to do is first the Qal imperative of hâlake (׃ך ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe], which means go, come, depart, walk. Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229. The second thing he was suppose to do was the Qal perfect of mâshake ( ַש ָמ) [pronounced maw-SHAHKe], which means, in general, to draw out, to drag, to continue with something, to proceed to, to march to. This is a difficult verb and is translated variously gather (Owen); thou hast drawn towards (Young); draw towards (Rotherham); march to (NASB); lead the way to (NIV). Strong’s #4900 BDB #604.


What he was drawing toward himself in Mount Tabor was these 10,000 men. Mount Tabor is roughly 1300 feet high, just northeast of the battle site. Footnote

 

Barnes: The purpose of this was to effect a junction of the northern tribes with the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin, who were separated from them by the plain of Esdraelon, where Sisera’s chariots would naturally congregate and be more effective. Mount Tabor rises from the plain of Esdraelon, about 1,865 ft. above the sea, and its broad top of nearly a mile in circumference afforded a strong position, out of reach of Sisera’s chariots. Footnote


We have gone into much greater detail concerning Mount Tabor back in Joshua 19:22, where ZPEB also agrees with the higher figure, making me think that 1300 ft. found in the NIV Study Bible was a typo and should have been 1800 ft. This could also have referred to the actual height of the mountain with respect to the surrounding area, as opposed to its height above sea level.

 

Edersheim seems to agree with the latter understanding. About six or eight miles east of Nazareth rises abruptly a beautifully-shaped conical mountain, about 1000 feet high. This is Mount Table (“the height”), its sloping sides covered with trees, and affording from its summit one of the most extensive and beautiful prospects in Palestine. Footnote


In either case, we are not talking some great mountain, as this is roughly a third of a mile high (for comparison, keep in mind that Denver is the mile-high city. Now, the reason for Israel meeting here was simple; the chariots of Sisera would be useless against an army fighting on a wooded mountain. Their advantage would be found only in an open plain area. This would allow for the gathering of such a large group of people in opposition to Sisera.

 

Edersheim continues: Tidings soon reached the head-quarters of Sisera. His chariot could only of course fight to advantage in the valleys, and he naturally marched north-west to the plain of Jezreel or Esdraelon. This has ever been, and will prove in the final contest (Rev. 16:16), the great battle-field of Israel. It was now the first of many times that its fertile soil was to be watered with the blood of men. Footnote


Judges 4:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

׳asârâh (הָרָ-ע) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine numeral

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

ălâphîym (מי.פָלֲא) pronounced uh-law-FEEM]

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Naphetâlîy (י.ל ָף-נ) [pronounced nahfe-taw-EE]

wrestling; possibly cord, thread; twisted; transliterated Naphtali

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5321 BDB #836

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Zebûwlûn (ןֻלבז) [pronounced zeb-oo-LOON]

exalted, honored; transliterated Zebulun

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2074 BDB #259

 

Translation: ...and you will take with you 10,000 men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. The next verb is the Qal perfect of lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH] which means to take, to take from, to take in marriage, to seize. Strong’s #3947 BDB #542. This is followed by the preposition with. So, what God commanded him to do was to, “Go and you will drawn out in Mount of Tabor and you will take with you...” Apparently God had made a demand of Barak—a fairly simple and clear one that even Deborah was aware of—and that Barak had not fulfilled this command. At least, this is how this appeared to me the first few times that I read it. The original Qal imperative carries with it the same force of the other verbs; and the other verbs in the Qal perfect means that this should have been completed action by now.


Zodhiates presents a somewhat different picture here. He presents Barak as waiting for guidance from Deborah, which would be the prudent thing to do. He bases part of the upon the fact that Barak is mentioned in the mini-hall of faith in Heb. 11:32. Footnote Originally, I didn’t see it that way myself. In v. 6, it appears as though both Deborah and Barak already knew what God’s will was for Barak and that Barak was stalling. His request that Deborah accompany him (v. 8) could be interpreted as one who wanted to keep God’s will and guidance close by, but I think this was done more out of fear. Lightning won’t strike him while he is standing next to Deborah. Deborah’s prophecy in v. 9 will sound as though Barak will be robbed of some of the honor and glory of capturing and killing Sisera.


And I will draw out to you unto a river Kishon Sisera, a general of an army of Jabin and his chariots and his troops and I will give him into your hand. Footnote  ”

Judges

4:7

And I will lure [lit., draw out] Sisera, the general of the army of Jabin, to you, to the Kishon River. Furthermore, I will give his chariots and his troops into your hand.’ ”

And I will lure Sisera, the general of the army of Jabin, along with his chariots and his troops, to the Kishon River to you, and I will give him into your hand.’ ”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And I will draw out to you unto a river Kishon Sisera, a general of an army of Jabin and his chariots and his troops and I will give him into your hand.’ ”

 

eptuagint                                And I will bring to you, to the torrent of Kison, Sisara the captain of the host of Jabin, and his chariots, and his multitude, and I will deliver them into yours hands.

 

Significant differences:           In the Latin and Hebrew, this verse ends with the word hand; it is hands in the Septuagint, Peshitta and in two early printed editions.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The LORD will trick Sisera into coming out to fight you at the Kishon River. Sisera will be leading King Jabin's army as usual, and they will have their chariots, but the LORD has promised to help you defeat them.

The Message                         I'll take care of getting Sisera, the leader of Jabin's army, to the Kishon River with all his chariots and troops. And I'll make sure you win the battle."

NJB                                        I shall entice Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, to encounter you at the Torrent of Kishon with his chariots and troops; and I shall but him into your power”?’

NLT                                        I will lure Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         I will lead Sisera (the commander of Jabin's army), his chariots, and troops to you at the Kishon River. I will hand him over to you.'"

HCSB                                     Then I will lure Sisera commander of Jabin's forces, his chariots, and his army at the Wadi Kishon to fight against you, and I will hand him over to you.'"


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           And she sent and called for Barak son of Abinoam, out of Kadesh-naphtali,—and said to him—Hath not Yahweh God of Israel commanded,—Come and draw towards Mount Tabor, and bring with thee—ten thousand men, of the sons of Naphtali, and of the sons of Zebulun; and I will draw unto thee unto the torrent of Kishon, Sisera, prince of the host of Jabin, with his chariots, and with his multitude—and will deliver him unto thy hand?

ESV                                       And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand'?"

NASB                                     Now she sent and summoned Barak the sons of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Behold, the Lord, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. And I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon; and I will give him into your hand.’ ”

WEB                                      I will draw to you, to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into your hand.

Young’s Updated LT             And I have drawn unto you, unto the brook Kishon, Sisera, head of the host of Jabin, and his chariot, and his multitude, and have given him into your hand.”


What is the gist of this verse? .


Judges 4:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mâshake (ַשָמ) [pronounced maw-SHAHKe]

 to draw out, to lure; to drag, to continue with something, to proceed to, to march to

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4900 BDB #604

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

nachal (לַחַנ) [pronounced NAHKH-al]

brook, torrent

masculine singular noun

Strong's #5158 BDB #636

qîyshôwn (ןשי ̣ק) [pronounced kee-SHOWN]

winding, curving, twisted; torturous transliterated Kishon

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #7028 BDB #885

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Çîyçerâ (אָר סי .ס) [pronounced seese-RAW]

battle array [according to BDB]; and is transliterated Sisera

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5516 BDB #696

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ) [pronounced tsawb-VAW]

army, war, or warfare

masculine singular construct

Strong's #6635 DB #838

Yâbîyn (ןי.בָי) [pronounced yaw-BEEN]

intelligent; God [is] intelligent; whom God observes; transliterated Jabin

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #2985 BDB #108


Translation: “ ‘And I will lure [lit., draw out] Sisera, the general of the army of Jabin, to you, to the Kishon River.


Judges 4:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

It is possible what is meant here is...

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object)

Strong's #854 BDB #85

recheb (ב∵כ∵ר) [pronounced REH-khebv]

chariot, mill-stone, rider

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7393 BDB #939


Translation: ...his chariots...


Judges 4:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

It is possible what is meant here is...

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object)

Strong's #854 BDB #85

hâmôwn (ןמָה) [pronounced haw-MOHN

multitude, crowd, throng

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1995 BDB #242


Translation: ...and his troops into...


Judges 4:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

1st person singular, Qal perfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand means with you; through you, by you, by means of you; at your hand [i.e., before your, in your sight].


Translation: Furthermore, I will give...your hand.’ ”

This verse continues the quotation of Jehovah which Deborah is stating. Then she uses the verb mâshake again and in the Qal perfect. In most translations, you would have no clue that God has used the same verse twice. Note the chart below:


Translation

Judges 4:6

Judges 4:7

Translation

Judges 4:6

Judges 4:7

Amplified Bible

gather

I will draw out

NIV

lead the way to

I will lure

NASB

march to

I will draw out

NRSV

take position [at]

I will draw out

Rotherham

draw towards

draw [unto thee]

Young

thou hast drawn towards

I have drawn [unto thee]


I think that we can safely say that to draw out [or towards] would be the safest translation. In the first case, Barak is supposed to draw to himself in Mount Tabor the 10,000 men (or, he is support to draw toward Mount Tabor). What God will do is to see to it that Sisera is drawn towards Barak. Strong’s #4900 BDB #604. The key is the prepositional phrase which follows mâshake, which is unto you. This also justifies the variety of translations given by the same translator. At this juncture, most Bibles refer back to the Sea of Reeds when God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, drawing him and his troops after Moses, and to their final destruction in the Sea of Reeds (Ex. 14).


God has already give Barak the order to move toward Mount Tabor and to take with him 10,000 men; then God promises that He will draw Sisera toward Barak and his troops. God apparently gave these orders some time ago and Barak has not gotten around to following them. In fact, Deborah has to call him to her to set him straight. You might ask, how the hell did she know this? Furthermore, what business is it of hers? Good questions. I doubt that God came and spoke to Barak. Although we don’t get to know much about him other than through innuendo, my thinking is that his bravery is not going to go down in history side-by-side that of Moses, Joshua, or David. The most reasonable explanation here is that she personally prophesied his victory over Sisera and Jabin already and she called his butt in because he had not yet moved out.


The alternate theory is that she is calling Barak for the first time and he is hearing this for the first time. There is some merit in this theory, as one would think if she had called him before (or, if anyone else had spoken to Barak, including God directly), that this would have been recorded in God’s Word. What might help is if you read through some of the more accurate translations. What I should point out is there is no past, present and future tense in the Hebrew as we have in the English. The tenses which we do have are perfect (completed action) and the imperfect (incomplete action). Unfortunately, that is an over-simplification.


The traditional view of the imperfect tense is that it is a reference to an incomplete or to a future action. This is true, to some extent. Sometimes the imperfect tense views just a portion of an event—i.e., it focuses in on a specific portion of an event and it does not concern itself with the event having already occurred or not. This is often used for on-going action, contingent action, and it can be used to convey capability, possibility and obligation, making it similar to the subjunctive and optative moods in the Greek. Footnote The imperfect is a tense of continuous action or uncompleted action, but there is no reference to time. It is referred to by some lexicons as the future tense, although that is an improper designation. This is because the imperfect tense can refer to continuous action in past time, present time or in future time.


The traditional view of the perfect tense is that it is a completed action. However, the perfect looks at the action of the verb as a whole, without an thought to the duration of the events or to their completeness. Zodhiates says that the perfect tense can stand for some action which has begun in the past (or the present) and continues into the present (or the future). It is a tense which examines the action of the verb as a whole, whether the action is still ongoing or not. Context tells us whether we are viewing the action of the verb from its inception, progression or completion. I mention this because God commanding [Barak] is a verb which is in the perfect tense. In most English versions, it sounds as though God had commanded Barak some time ago and that he had just not gotten around to doing anything about it.


judges041.gifTaken from http://www.anova.org/sev/atlas/htm/044.htm. The Kishon River is in the Jezreel Valley.

I must admit that when I first read this, it struck me as though Deborah (or someone else) had already prophesied to Barak concerning his victory of Sisera and that he had not gone through with what God had for him to do. However, in the light of the text and a better understanding of the perfect and imperfect tenses, I can see that this very well could be the first time that Barak has heard of this.

 

One of the next things that we should examine is the Kishon River and the general geography involved. As you can see on the map, Mount Tabor is between the Sea of Chinnereth (what we know as the Sea of Galilee) and the Kishon River. The Kishon is actually a rather short river, 25 miles in length. The Hebrew word is qîyshôwn (ןשי ̣ק) [pronounced kee-SHOWN], which has been transliterated Kishon. ZPEB says it means curving, but I could not confirm that in my Hebrew Lexicon. This river is mentioned surprisingly few times in Scripture: it is mentioned with regards to this battle (Judges 4:7, 13 5:21 Psalm 83:9) and then once again during the time of Elijah (I Kings 18:40). During the spring and the spring rains, this is apparently a difficult barrier for military operations, although when there has been little rain, this torrent settles down into a stream and is often even dry.

 

Barnes gives us a marvelous description: The brook of stream Kishon...so called from its winding course, caused by the dead level of the plain of Esdraelon through which it flows, rises, in respect to one of its sources or feeders, in Mount Tabor, and flows nearly due west through the plain, under Mount Carmel, and into the Bay of Acre. In the early or eastern part of its course, before it is recruited by the springs on Carmel, it is nothing but a torrent, often dry, but liable to swell very suddenly and dangerously, and to overflow its banks in early spring, after rain or the melting of snow. The ground on the banks of the Kishon near Megiddo...becomes an impassable morass under the same circumstances, and would be particularly dangerous to a large number of chariots. Footnote


judges042.gifThis is a modern areal view of the same area. Taken from http://www.bible.org/assets/netbible/map1.jpg

For this battle, the Israelites had gathered at Mount Tabor and Sisera and his army were somewhere along the Kishon. To put his in perspective, Deborah would be found about 80 miles south of Mount Tabor—she would actually be off of our map. Barak was actually located about 25 miles north-northeast of Mount Tabor in Kedesh, Naphtali. In order to get to Deborah, he would have had to have traveled quite a distance to begin with—in fact, he would have to travel through Hazor (or around Hazor), where Jabin ruled from (which was midway between Kedesh and the Lake Chinnereth. Then Barak would have to travel most of the distance back. How they knew of one another (if they did) is not known and why God chose Barak is also unknown. Obviously, he had some leadership capabilities, which accounts for him being able to muster Israelites resistance troops in such short order.

 

The NIV Study Bible offers the reasoning behind choosing this area: With the Israelites encamped on the slopes of Mount Tabor, safe from chariot attack, the Lord’s strategy was to draw Sisera into a trap. For the battle site, Sisera cleverly chose the Valley of Jezreel Footnote along the Kishon River, where his chariot forces would have ample maneuvering space to range the battlefield and attack in numbers from any quarter. But that was his undoing, for he did not know the power of the Lord, who would fight from heaven for Israel with storm and flood (see Judges 5:20–21), as he had done in the days of Joshua (Judges 10:11–14). Even in modern times storms have rendered the plain along the Kishon virtually impassable. In April of 1799 the flooded Kishon River aided Napoleon’s victory over a Turkish army. Footnote


And so said unto her Barak, “If you will go with me and I will go and if you will not go with me, I will not go.”

Judges

4:8

Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; and if you will not go with me, [then] I will not go.”

Then Barak said to her, “If you go with me, then I’ll go; but if you won’t go with me, then I won’t go.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said unto her Barak, “If you will go with me and I will go and if you will not go with me, I will not go.”

Septuagint                              And Barac said to her, If you go with me, I will go; and if you wilt not go with me, I will not go; for I know not the day on which the Lord prospers his messenger with me.

 

Significant differences:           The LXX adds the fairly long phrase: ...for I know not the day on which the Lord prospers his messenger with me. This sentence is not found in the Latin, Hebrew or Syriac. Logically, the Greek translators found this in their Hebrew manuscripts, but we do not find it in ours. It is not unheard of for a sentence to get dropped out of the Hebrew text due to a poor manuscript or a copyist’s error.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       "I'm not going unless you go!" Barak told her.

NJB                                        Barak replied, ‘If you come with me, I shall go; if you will not come, I shall not go, for I do not know how to choose the day when the angel of Yahweh will grant me success.’ This final phrase is taken from the LXX, and it gives the sense that, Barak did not need Deborah to fight at his side, but to guide his actions, inasmuch as he would be even uncertain as to what day he should attack.

NLT                                        Barak told her, “I will go, but only if you go with me!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I'll go. But if you don't go with me, I won't go."

HCSB                                     Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, I will go. But if you will not go with me, I will not go."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go."

Young’s Updated LT             And Barak says unto her, “If you go with me, then I have gone; and if you do not go with me, I will not go.”


What is the gist of this verse? Barak tells Deborah that he is only going up against the Canaanites if she goes with him.


Judges 4:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Bârâq (ק ָרָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]

lightening, lightening flash; transliterated Barak

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1301 BDB #140

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

2nd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229


Translation: Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go;... Barak does not completely trust the Word of God, and asks for Deborah to put her money where her mouth is. The idea is, if she will accompany him, risk her life, and guide him in any way possible, that he will feel comfortable enough to follow God’s directives.


Judges 4:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

Together, îm lô (אֹל ם ̣א) [pronounced eem low] act as an emphatic affirmative and they mean if not, surely, unless. However, here, the negative is properly applied to the verb.

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

2nd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229


Translation: ...and if you will not go with me, [then] I will not go.” Barak uses the same verb four times. He is obviously afraid and has little or no faith in God’s deliverance. Now, Barak’s almost stuttered response to her also indicates that he could be hearing this for the very first time. Now, we have spoken about women prophets and how rare they were. Here is one telling Barak that God has spoken and this is what he has to do. His response to her, in essence, is, put your money where your mouth is. At first I thought that Barak was simply afraid to step up to the plate (which is certainly a likely partial truth). However, he must also have his suspicions about this lady prophet. Therefore, what he wants is he wants Deborah to go along. If she is messtup and not giving him God’s Word, then she will die too.

 

McGee writes: If there ever was a general who was a sissy, it was Barak. He should have been out in the thick of the battle, but here he is hiding behind a woman’s skirt. Barak will not go into battle unless Deborah goes along. If this prophetess went with him, he felt he would be successful in battle. No wonder God had to use a woman in that day!  Footnote


Barnes is quite a bit more charitable here, pointing out that several great saints showed initial reluctance, e.g., Abraham (Gen. 15:2–3 17:18), Moses (Ex. 4:10, 13), Peter (Matt. 14:30–31). Given the fact that God never had direct contact with Barak (which is not the case of the three saints mentioned), we can’t be too hard on him for this. The fact that he suffered a few missteps should give us encouragement in our own spiritual lives. On the other hand, Barak did have direct contact with Deborah, and she was a well-known prophetess; so, even though he did not have direct contact with God, he had direct contact with a woman of God.


It is possible that Barak’s reasoning is, Deborah’s present might lend credence to his leadership before his soldiers; and that she would be there to guide him through any uncertainty or questions. However, on the negative side; she is a prophetess of God, and, if her presence were necessary, then she would have already offered to accompany him.


You must be careful about your application here. Of course, you should believe God; of course, you should exhibit stronger faith in God than you do—that should be clear and obvious. However, be careful in this regard. If you have some mystical experience, e.g., speaking in tongues, hearing voices, hearing God speak to you, seeing Jesus; do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits (1John 4:1). They must be in accordance with Bible doctrine (John then gives the example that, they must line up with the doctrine that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh Footnote ). Do not put your faith in supernatural phenomenon, put your faith in the Word of God. Do not attempt to strengthen your faith with regards to extra-Biblical phenomenon; strengthen your faith based in the Word of God.


There have been many believers who struggled with faith in God’s Word: Gideon (Judges 6:15, 36, 40), Abraham (Gen. 15:2–3 17:18), Moses (Ex. 4:10, 13), and Peter (Matt. 14:30–31). So, when you are weak in faith, you will be in good company. However, God will offer you tests and trials in order to strengthen your faith. When you do not trust God in this or that thing, God will either provide you more Scriptural clarification or He will provide you a test in that regard. Often, it is a matter of, do you want to learn the hard way or the easy way?


The following ending to v. 8 is found in the Septuagint only:


[...I will not go]; for I have not seen the day in this grants a Lord the angel with me.”

Judges

4:8c

[...then I will not go]; for I do not know the day in which the Lord will lead [me] by the Angel.”

[...then I won’t go]; because I do not know on which day the Angel of the Lord will lead me [into battle].”


Very few translated this portion of this verse:

 

Brenton                                            ...for I know not the day on which the Lord prospers his messenger with me.

Clarke                                              ...because I know not the day in which the Lord will send his angel to give me success.”

Clarke (paraphrased)                      “I do not know,” says he, “The Day in which God will send his angel to give me prosperity: come with we that you may direct me in this respect.”

NJB                                                 ...for I do not know how to choose the day when the angel of Yahweh will grant me success.’

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge   “Because I know not the day in which God will send his angel to give me prosperity.”


What is the gist of this verse? Barak explains to Deborah that he does not even know in which day he should be led by God to attack.


The Septuagint adds an explanatory phrase at the end of this verse. This does not mean that a translator working on the Septuagint suddenly decided, “Let me see if I can better explain this.” This means, the manuscript that the translator worked with had this phrase in it, which he translated into the Greek. Now, in my opinion, this little phrase pulls this chapter together, and gives greater sense to vv. 14 and 23.


Judges 4:8c Text from the Greek Septuagint (not found in MT)

Greek/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

Strong’s Number

hóti (ὅτι) [pronounced HOH-tee]

that, because, since; as concerning that; as though

demonstrative or causal conjunction

Strong’s #3754

ouk (οὐκ) [pronounced ook]

no, not, nothing, none, no one

negation; this form is used before a vowel

Strong’s #3756

eidô (εἴδω) [pronounced Ī-doh]

to see, to perceive, to discern, to know

1st person singular, perfect active indicative

Strong’s #1492

tên (τὴν) [pronounced tayn]

the

feminine singular definite article; accusative case

Strong’s #3588

hêmera (ἡμάρα) [pronounced hay-MEH-raw]

day, daytime; 24-hour day; period of time

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #2250

en (ἐν) [pronounced en]

in, by means of, with; among

preposition with the locative, dative and instrumental cases

Strong’s #1722

hê (ἡ) [pronounced hey]

the; this, that; these

feminine singular definite article; nominative and vocative cases

Strong’s #3588

The online Bible lists this as a feminine singular dative.

euodoô (εὐοδόω) [pronounced you-oh-DOH-oh]

Thayer: to grant a prosperous and expeditious journey, to lead by a direct and easy way; to grant a successful issue, to cause to prosper; to prosper, be successful

3rd person singular, present active indicative

Strong’s #2137

kurios (κύριος) [pronounced KOO-ree-oss]

lord, master; Lord; he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; the possessor and disposer of a thing; the owner; one who has control of the person; prince, chief, sovereign

masculine singular noun; nominative case

Strong's #2962

ton (τόν) [pronounced tahn]

the

masculine singular definite article in the accusative case

Strong’s #3588

aggelos (ἄὐὐελος) [pronounced AHN-geh-loss]

Thayer: a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God

masculine singular noun; accusative case

Strong’s #32

meta (μετά) [pronounced meht-AH]

with, among, in the company of, in the midst of

preposition with the genitive

Strong’s #3326

emou (ἐμο) [pronounced eh-MOO]; mou (μου) [pronounced moo]

me; of me; from me; my, mine

1st person singular pronoun, genitive/ablative case

Strong’s #1473 (also, this is known as Strong’s #3450; the simpler form of Strong’s #1700)


Translation: Literally: ...for I do not know the day in this the Lord grants the angel with me. Less literally: ...for I will not know that day that the Lord will lead me by an angel.


The general idea is this: Barak knows that God has called upon him to lead Israel to victory against Jabin—he will buy into that—however, he has no idea when to attack, what to do, on which day he should move out; on which day he should hold up. He either is saying that he does not know when the Angel of the Lord will lead him and grant him success; or he does not know in what day he will be given the angel from Jehovah to lead him. I think the key to this verse is the idea that Barak simply does not know the time table; he does not know the day that God has assigned to him to move out against the Canaanites.


I believe that this portion of the verse is legitimate; that it was in the original manuscript, and lost over time. The Greek is not inspired text, per se, so we don’t know how close the LXX translators got here, however, for the most part, their translation has been extremely accurate. My thinking is that this verse was barely readable, and that the translator did the best that he could with it. Assuming that, and assuming that I have properly interpreting this verse, it really helps this chapter to hang together. Here, Barak tells Deborah, “I do not know what day the angel of Jehovah will lead me [into battle]. Therefore, you must go with me” So Deborah will go with Barak. Barak gathers the troops, and then Deborah, when they are all together, ready to move out, she says, “Now this is the day that the Lord gives Jabin into your hands.” And the chapter ends with, And this day, Jehovah subdued Jabin before all Israel. In some ways, quite frankly, it is somewhat humorous.


On the opposing side: what if a translator just decided to stick this sentence in here, to make everything hold together nicely? We have several reasons why this is unlikely. (1) So far, for the most part, the Greek translation of the book of Judges is quite in line with the Masoretic text. It would be completely out of character for a translator to simply add a sentence to form a nice, literary whole. (2) The result of a translator simply adding a sentence would have been a very clear, easy to understand, Greek sentence, and not as confusing as this particular one. (3) The difficulty of this sentence points toward the more likely scenario of a translator doing the best that he can with a corrupted manuscript (where this portion is very difficult to read).


Let’s take another position: let’s assume that the translator was dealing with a manuscript where a copyist added this sentence for literary effect. This is also unlikely, and for very similar reasons: (1) More so than any ancient literature available to us, copyists were less likely to mess the Old Testament text. They revered this as the Word of God, and did not treat it lightly. Although we do find additions now and again which were made to original manuscripts (Mark 16:9–20 is a conspicuous example), this is quite rare; and adding an innocuous phrase is even less likely (i.e., a phrase without any doctrinal impact). (2) If this sentence had been added, it would have made more sense, and the translation of this sentence would have made more sense. Again, the most likely scenario is, this sentence was very difficult to read—there may have been just a couple of letters which were difficult to make out—and that would be enough to where the essential portions of this verse were translated, and the translator took his best, educated guess with what he could not read, resulting in a very difficult and clumsy sentence.


Let me point out one more thing: 99% of you reading this would have no idea that this is even an issue. The NKJV, the Emphasized Bible, and the NRSV are the best Bibles when it comes to offering up the alternate readings—not one of these Bibles footnotes this verse to offer up this sentence. The Book of the Judges in the Dead Sea Scrolls is very incomplete, and there is no text until Judges 6, so it is not found in there either. Footnote I am not even aware of any commentators other than Clarke who offer up a comment here. Footnote I am curious as to whether the Alexandrian Septuagint has this sentence in it. As is often the case, the Peshitta and Latin Vulgate are in agreement with the Masoretic text.

 

Clarke is one of the few commentators who speaks to this addition: ...he appears to mean, that although he was certain of a Divine call to this work, yet, as he knew not the time in which it would be proper for him to make the attack, he wishes that Deborah, on whom the Divine Spirit constantly rested, would accompany him to let him know when to strike that blow, which he knew would be decisive. This was quite natural, and quite reasonable, and is no impeachment whatever of Barak’s faith. St. Ambrose and St. Augustine have the same reading; but it is found in no manuscript nor in any other of the versions. Footnote However, I beg to differ with Clarke on the impeachment of faith, as Deborah will below indicate that his glory would be supplanted by a woman. If what Barak was requesting was fine, then there would be no reason for her to add this.


In any case, despite Barak’s original faltering here, he is still listed as one of the great men of the faith in Heb. 11:32–34: And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.


Application: I don’t want to come down too hard on Barak, considering that I doubt that I could do any better; however, I do want to make this point: there are some events which occur once, and there are no do-overs. This is one of those events. Barak will throw off the reigns of Jabin just this once—he could trust God completely or very nearly completely. My point being, now and again, you are going to come to places in your life where you’ve got one shot at getting it right. There will be do-overs now and again (which is part of the reason we are tested); but there will also come circumstances and events in our lives where we have one shot to get it right.


Application: We may wonder from time to time, why are we tested? What is the meaning of that? In the Spirit, when we respond to God’s testing, that counts as divine good. Sometimes, there are people who observe this in us; and always, there are angels who observe us. That counts as divine good. However, as we find in this situation, there are going to be one-time events to which we must respond, and only through previous testing and guidance will we know what to do. We don’t know anything about Barak’s past (or Deborah’s for that matter); but there is no reason to assume that Barak is some arbitrary person that walked by Deborah, and she decides, “Okay, let’s go with this guy; he’ll probably do okay.” Doubtless, God has worked in Barak’s life up until this point in time, preparing him for this day. Had Deborah walked up to you or me and proposed such a thing, we might have acted as if we did not hear her and hurried on. However, Barak, despite this one shortcoming, is up to God’s calling.


What’s wrong with this picture? What is wrong with Barak asking Deborah to go with him to provide further guidance? After all, she is a prophetess, and Barak would not know he is to deliver Israel apart from her.

What is Wrong with Barak Asking Deborah to Accompany him in Battle?

1.      Deborah is the prophetess of God; if God needed for her to be with Barak, that would have been part of her instructions to Barak. She would have said, “Oh, by the way, Barak, I am going to go with you when you go to war against the Canaanites.”

2.      Barak is confused as to his function and Deborah’s function. Deborah has responsibilities right where she is. She is a judge in Israel and she is a prophetess of God. She needs to tend to the things which God has given to her.

3.      Deborah has given Barak the big picture already: “Gather 10,000 men from Naphtali and Zebulun and go march to Mount Tabor.” This is all the guidance he needs. He will not micro manage those who are below him; and he should not expect Deborah to micro manage him.

4.      Barak is a general; he will gather up 10,000 men from 2 tribes, indicating that he has leadership ability and stature. You will note that Barak does not ask Deborah to tell him which men to bring; he does not ask Deborah what weapons each man should bring; he does not ask Deborah if everyone should wear a purple tee-shirt reading, “Go Israel” on it. Being a military man, Barak makes normal military decisions.

5.      Barak knows how to go to Naphtali and Zebulun and he knows what to do when it comes to gathering troops. He obviously has some sort of a chain of command in place, and he does not micro-manage. He does not personally interview each of these 10,000 soldiers.

6.      Barak is making military decisions and he is allowing those below him on the chain of command to make military decisions in preparation for battle. None of this requires Deborah to weigh in on. She is not needed for these military decisions.

7.      Deborah is a woman; there is no need to expose her to the bloodshed of a war; there is no reason to expose her to the danger of a battle. This is not her place.

8.      Barak probably has to assign a few of his men to stand guard over Deborah during the battle.

9.      When Barak should attack is a military decision; he should have been able to make a military decision, since everything which takes him to this point is based upon military decisions.

10.    As a prophetess, Deborah is to relay to Barak God’s commands to him; as a general over the Israeli army, Barak is to make all of the military decisions which takes him from point A (where Deborah and he speak) to point B (Mount Tabor with 10,000 men). Deborah has given him all the information that he needs.

11.    Essentially, Barak is showing that he has doubts about Deborah, doubts about God; and, if he dies in this resistance to Canaan, he does not want to die alone.

12.    Reading between the lines, Barak is really saying, “Okay, if you are so sure about this, then you go with me to Mount Tabor.”

 


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


And so she said, “Going, I will go with you. Nevertheless, it will not be your glory upon the way which you, [even] you are going; for into a hand of a woman will sell Yehowah Sisera.” And so arose Deborah and so she went with Barak [to] Kedesh.

Judges

4:9

Then she said, “I will definitely go with you. However, it will not be your glory on the way that you, [even] you are going; for, Yehowah will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and she went with Barak [to] Kedesh.

So she answered, “I will consent to go with you; however, you will not be fully honored for your actions, as Jehovah will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                          She said to him: I will go, indeed, with you, but at this time the victory shall not be attributed to you, because Sisara shall be delivered into the hand of a woman. Debbora therefore arose, and went with Barac to Cedes.

Masoretic Text                       And so she said, “Going, I will go with you. Nevertheless, it will not be your glory upon the way which you, [even] you are going; for into a hand of a woman will sell Yehowah Sisera.” And so arose Deborah and so she went with Barak [to] Kedesh.

Peshitta                                  And she said, “I will surely go with you; however, you will not glory on account of the journey which you are taking, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Rakim.

Septuagint                              And she said, I will surely go with you; but know that your honour will not attend on the expedition on which you go, for the Lord will sell Sisara into the hands of a women: and Debbora arose, and went with Barac out of Cades.

 

Significant differences:           Some of the phrasing in the middle is difficult, both in the Hebrew and the Greek. There appear to be no significant differences here.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       "All right, I'll go!" she replied. "But I'm warning you that the LORD is going to let a woman defeat Sisera, and no one will honor you for winning the battle." Deborah and Barak left for Kedesh.

The Message                         She said, "Of course I'll go with you. But understand that with an attitude like that, there'll be no glory in it for you. GOD will use a woman's hand to take care of Sisera." Deborah got ready and went with Barak to Kedesh.

NLT                                        “Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But since you have made this choice, you will receive no honor. For the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.”

REB                                       ‘Certainly I shall go with you,’ she said, ‘but this venture will bring you no glory, because the Lord will leave Sisera to fall into the hands of a woman.’

TEV                                        She answered, “All right, I will go with you, but you won’t get any credit for the victory, because the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Deborah replied, "Certainly, I'll go with you. But you won't win any honors for the way you're going about this, because the LORD will use a woman to defeat Sisera." So Deborah started out for Kedesh with Barak.

HCSB                                     "I will go with you," she said, "but you will receive no honor on the road you are about to take, because the LORD will sell Sisera into a woman's hand." So Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                                      She said, I will surely go with you: notwithstanding, the journey that you take shall not be for your honor; for Yahweh will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

Young’s Updated LT             And she says, “I do certainly go with you; only, surely your glory is not on the way which you are going, for into the hand of a woman does Jehovah sell Sisera;” and Deborah rises and goes with Barak to Kedesh.


What is the gist of this verse? Deborah agrees to accompany Barak; but warns him that his glory would be usurped by a woman (which is, apparently, a prophetic warning).


Judges 4:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

The infinitive absolute can act as a noun, a verb or an adverb. It takes the part of a noun, but with another verb (which may or may not be in the same stem), and it intensifies the verb’s meaning, where it functions either as a complement of affirmation, and therefore translated surely or indeed; or it may act as a complement of condition, and therefore be translated at all, freely or indeed. Footnote It’s primary use when found before its verb is to strengthen or emphasize. Its use does not simply intensify the meaning of a verb, as would a Piel, but applies an intensification to the entire phrase. Therefore, the infinitive absolute strengthens the note of certain in affirmations and in promises or threats, and of contrast in adversative or concessionary statements, while it reinforces any sense of supposition or doubt or volition present in conditional clauses or questions or wishes. For this reason, it is a characteristic of grammar generally not found in the narrative. This would be used in speech and in letters in order to make a point. The use of the English adverbs indeed, surely, of course, even, really, at all or by the addition of the modals should, could, must, may might catch the nuance, but actually are often unnecessarily strong. Footnote

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767


Translation: Then she said, “I will definitely go with you. Though she is willing to accompany Barak, this does not mean that Deborah has a high opinion of Barak, but rather, her trust is in the Word of God, which she received.


Judges 4:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

epheç (ספא) [pronounced EH-fes]

ends, extremities, extremity, extreme limits; ceasing

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #657 BDB #67

kîy (י  ̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

Epheç followed by the kîy conjunction mean only that, simply; however, nevertheless; save that, however.

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

tîphe’ârâh (הָרָא׃פ  ̣) [pronounced tif-aw-RAW]

splendor, beauty, ornament; glory, glorying

feminine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8597 BDB #802

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752

dereke (ר) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, path; journey, course; direction, towards; manner, habit, way [of life]; of moral character

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1870 BDB #202

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Qal active participle

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229


Translation: However, it will not be your glory on the way that you, [even] you are going;... Deborah did not suggest that she come along with Barak; that is his insistence. She warns him here, this lack of trust in God’s Word means he will not receive the honor which would be due him for such an heroic act.


Judges 4:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י  ̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand literally means in [the] hand of; and can be rendered in the power of; by the power of; with; through, by, by means of; before, in the sight of.

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun

Strong's #802 BDB #61

mâkar (ר-כ ָמ) [pronounced maw-KAHR]

to sell, to sell [betroth] [a daughter]; to sell [deliver over] [a people]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #4376 BDB #569

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Çîyçerâ (אָר סי .ס) [pronounced seese-RAW]

battle array [according to BDB]; and is transliterated Sisera

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5516 BDB #696


Translation: ...for, Yehowah will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Here is what is going to happen: Barak and his army will be defeating Jabin and Sisera; Sisera will escape and later be killed by a woman, Jael. What I believe Deborah means here is, had Barak simply believed her and just gone ahead and did as she said, then all Israel, during his generation, would venerate him for this deed; however, what is going to be the talk of the town is how this woman, Jael, tricks Sisera, the most feared general in Israel, and kills him. You see, Barak is listed among the heroes of the faith (Heb. 11:32)—so he has eternal reward and honor; however, during his own life, his defeat of Jabin will be eclipsed by Jael’s killing of Sisera.


I recall hearing a story on Paul Harvey’s the rest of the story; but I could not find it on the web, so I may get the details wrong. Paul Harvey told about an athlete who trained hard, went to the Olympics, and broke the record for his event; however, no one remembers who this man was, because he came in second place. First place was Jesse Owens, who eclipsed this record-breaker by doing even better. Having the exact facts here would probably drive this point home; but, the general idea is, Barak’s contemporaries would look back on this time in history, and what they would recall would be Jael, this woman who kills the most feared general of their time; Barak’s victory over Jabin and Sisera will be a veritable footnote.


Judges 4:9d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to get up; to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

Debôwrâh (הָרב ׃) [pronounced deb-voh-RAW],

bee; transliterated Deborah

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1683 BDB #184


Translation: Then Deborah arose... Deborah will go with Barak. However, bear in mind that this is God’s second best. That is, Deborah consents to go with Barak; but this is not God’s directive will—otherwise she would have offered.


Application: We all have different spiritual gifts. We all play different positions on the team. What I do and what Charlie Brown does may seem entirely unrelated, but we are different parts of the same body functioning, ideally, as God would want. In our example, Deborah has a position in Israel—she is a judge and a prophetess, and that is where she belongs. She does not belong with Barak chasing down Jabin or Sisera. It is not that her life is in danger, but that God has other things for her to do. Barak is taking her from that.


Application: What personally interests me is a careful examination of the Old Testament. I enjoy doing that. I know a friend of a brother of mine who can give the gospel, person to person, without being offensive or off-putting. Personally, I have a very difficult time doing that, and, sometimes, I am a little jealous of this gift. I don’t always interact well with other people; and I often give off an attitude. I’ve been told this by others. However, luckily, not all of us are called to be evangelists; not all of us are called to be exegetes; not all are called to be pastor-teachers. We all have our gifts; and God has placed us where these gifts will function. We do not need to be concerned that we have this gift and not that gift; we do not have to be concerned when we see another believer do something so much better than we can.


In our illustration here, Deborah belongs where she belongs—judging and speaking the Word of God. Barak belongs on the battlefield. They intersect here, but this should be the end of it. However, Barak can’t handle that himself. He thinks that he needs to pull Deborah away from her responsibilities to guide him. However, after receiving his marching orders, Barak needs nothing else from Deborah. Let’s say, for instance, that Barak really needs to know on which day he should attack; Deborah is right there in front of him; so all he needs to do is ask. She does not need to go with him.


Judges 4:9e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Bârâq (ק ָרָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]

lightening, lightening flash; transliterated Barak

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1301 BDB #140

Qedesh (שד ק) [pronounced KEH-desh]

sanctuary; set apart; transliterated Kedesh

masculine singular, proper noun; with the directional hê

Strong’s #6943 BDB #873


Translation: ...and she went with Barak [to] Kedesh. The last two words are Barak and Kedesh. Most translations render this as went with Barak to Kedesh (KJV, NKJV, NASB, the NIV). However, there is no intervening preposition. We can deduce that this is what is meant by the next verse (otherwise, this could have been Barak of Kedesh).


Now, we have discussed Barak’s possible motivation for his actions. There will be no reward and no glory heaped upon Barak. He has been given a direct order by God and he will not go ahead with it apart from Deborah going with him. It’s not like she’s his babe and he thinks that they should spend time together at work. She is displeased with him and the only reason that she does not leave him behind is that God ordered him to go. His chosen path is not one that will give him any immediate honor or glory; and the reason for this is that God will give the notoriety to a woman; and that woman will not be Deborah. Up until this time, all warfare has been fought by men; and suddenly, this man is so totally wimpified, that he requires a woman to go along to give him enough nerve to obey God’s direct command.


Now, we may poke fun at the general wimpiness of Barak, but how many commands of God have you ignored or disobeyed? When it comes to giving, to not lusting in your heart, to delaying sex until marriage, to gossip, to mental attitude sins like fear and hatred—how many of these have you given into yourself. Barak has an area of weakness, yet God chose him above all other men of his generation to lead the army of Israel. That he had to take Deborah along? Pitiful; but don’t get self-righteous about it. If we could observe your life story, pitiful might be one of the kindest adjectives that we could apply.


Barak should have clung to this promise: “When you go out to battle against your enemies and you see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for Jehovah your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.” (Deut. 20:1). It is God who will give Barak the victory; not Deborah.


And so called Barak Zebulun and Naphtali [to] Kedesh and so he went up at his feet ten of a thousand men and so went up with him Deborah.

Judges

4:10

Then Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali [to] Kedesh, so he went up [with] 10,000 men at his feet; and Deborah went up with him.

Barak assembled the sons of Zebulun and Naphtali in Kedesh. 10,000 men followed him and Deborah went with him as well.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so called Barak Zebulun and Naphtali [to] Kedesh and so he went up at his feet ten of a thousand men and so went up with him Deborah.

 

eptuagint                                And Barac called Zabulon and Nephthali into of Cades, and there went up at his feet ten thousand men, and Debbora went up with him.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...where Barak called together the troops from Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand soldiers gathered there, and Barak led them out from Kedesh. Deborah went too.

NLT                                        At Kedesh, Barak called together the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand warriors matched up with him. Deborah also march with them.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Barak called the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali together at Kedesh. Ten thousand men went to fight under his command. Deborah also went along with him.

HCSB                                     Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; 10,000 men followed him, and Deborah also went with him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.

Young’s Updated LT             And Barak calls Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and he goes up—at his feet are ten thousand men—and Deborah goes up with him.


What is the gist of this verse? Barak goes to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali and musters 10,000 troops to go with him; Deborah accompanies him as well, as per his request.


Judges 4:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

zâ׳aq (ק ַע ָז) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

to cry out; to occasion a cry, to proclaim; to call, to call upon; to call together, to assemble

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

Bârâq (ק ָרָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]

lightening, lightening flash; transliterated Barak

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1301 BDB #140

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Zebûwlûn (ןֻלבז) [pronounced zeb-oo-LOON]

exalted, honored; transliterated Zebulun

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #2074 BDB #259

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Naphetâlîy (י.ל ָף-נ) [pronounced nahfe-taw-EE]

wrestling; possibly cord, thread; twisted; transliterated Naphtali

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5321 BDB #836

Qedesh (שד ק) [pronounced KEH-desh]

sanctuary; set apart; transliterated Kedesh

masculine singular, proper noun; with the directional hê

Strong’s #6943 BDB #873


Translation: Then Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali [to] Kedesh,... Barak is apparently a commanding figure. Who else could draw to himself 10,000 men? This indicates to me that he is well-known and has some military background.


We do not know the exact mechanics here—whether Barak sounded a trumpet to bring out the troops, or whether he sent messengers throughout these two tribes to gather this army.


Actually, several tribes are mentioned with regards to this advance against Sisera: Zebulun and Naphtali (Judges 4:10 5:14, 18); Ephraim and Benjamin (Judges 5:14); and Issachar (Judges 5:15). Just as notable, several tribes did not participate: Dan, Asher, Gad and East Manasseh (Judges 5:17; the latter two tribes being called Gilead in this passage); and it appears as though Reuben did not participate (Judges 5:15). Now, you might be wondering if whether we don’t have some sort of a contradiction here—that is, in v. 10, we have Barak organizing Zebulun and Naphtali, but in chapter 5 we have all of these additional tribes. The first, and least satisfying explanation is that, the calling of Zebulun and Naphtali did not preclude the calling of the other tribes. My problem with this explanation is, Deborah told Barak to gather men from these two tribes (Judges 4:6); so it seems unlikely that Barak would have gone to the other tribes as well—not initially. The more reasonable explanation is that this is the battle which broke the back of Jabin and set into motion the death of Sisera. There were only two tribes involved, and those were Naphtali and Zebulun. However, the campaign against Jabin continued, as is clearly stated in the final verse of this chapter. This is where the involvement of the other tribes would occur. The momentum was begun at the battle between Barak and Sisera, and the other tribes, inspired by this, added themselves to the battle against Jabin and the remainder of his forces (surely Sisera was not his only general and his only army). Sisera was the most prominent general of Jabin.


Judges 4:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

regel (ל ג ר) [pronounced REH-gel]

foot, feet

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7272 BDB #919

׳asârâh (הָרָ-ע) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine numeral

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

ălâphîym (מי.פָלֲא) pronounced uh-law-FEEM]

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: ...so he went up [with] 10,000 men at his feet;... None of the ten thousand suspect what a wimp Barak is. None of them realize that Deborah is there because he wouldn’t go without her. We know this by Scripture, but Barak’s men did not know this. They are assuming that Deborah is here because that is how she wants things done as a prophetess. They don’t know the back story and probably never will, in their lifetimes, anyway.


Barak’s army is 100% infantry; there are no chariots in Israel’s army. These men follow Barak at his feet, indicating that he is on foot, as are they.


Judges 4:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

Debôwrâh (הָרב ׃) [pronounced deb-voh-RAW],

bee; transliterated Deborah

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1683 BDB #184


Translation: ...and Deborah went up with him. Do you see the irony in this? Barak is leading this great army of 10,000, as per the will of God; but he has there as backup, Deborah the prophetess. When the soldiers of Israel observed this, I wonder what remarks they quietly made to one another. As mentioned above, perhaps they just assumed that this was what God directed her to do.


We don’t get a complete view of the many judges that we come across in this book. We know little about Barak, except that he is simultaneously somewhat of a wimp, yet he had the charisma to call together several of the tribes of Israel against an army which had suppressed Israel for 20 years. We read this and take it for granted—and I even throw in a few disparaging remarks here and there—but, quite frankly, few men would have had the ability to lead several tribes of Israel into battle. Recall from chapter 1 that at least one generation of Israel fell down on the job with regards to taking the land given them by God. That is, Judah and Simeon proceeded with this process; but the other tribes did not. Therefore, for Barak to organize this movement is quite spectacular.


Application: Sometimes, it takes pressures and difficulties to bring out the best in people. I live in a neighborhood where many of my neighbors live like kings, materially speaking. One of the great issues before them is what will they do about a boat dock and how can they best enjoy it. However, rather than these neighbors being happy, friendly and kind, given their great blessings; I have found many of them to be angry, jealous, vicious, vindictive; and eager to spread rumors. The basic problem is, every single person has, from birth, exactly one old sin nature. Therefore, even though we think that life would be better if we had this or that luxury, we are no more happy with these things than without. And, when the old sin nature has full reign—in the case of the believer who is constantly out of fellowship, or the unbeliever—the actions, thoughts and words of such a one can indicate a soul in great crisis.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


Heber the Kenite


And so Heber the Kenite separated from [the] Kenite from sons of Hobab, father-in-law of Moses and so he pitched his tent as far as an oak in Zaanannim that [was near] Kedesh.

Judges

4:11

Heber the Kenite was separated from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses. He pitched his tent as far as the oak in Zaanannim that [was near] Kedesh.

At this time, there was a Kenite named Heber who had separated himself from the other Kenites (the sons of Hobab, who was the father-in-law of Moses). He had pitched his tent near Kedesh by an oak in Zaanannim.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so Heber the Kenite separated from [the] Kenite from sons of Hobab, father-in-law of Moses and so he pitched his tent as far as an oak in Zaanannim that [was near] Kedesh.

Septuagint                              And Chaber the Kenite had removed from Caina, from the sons of Jobab the father–in–law of Moses, and pitched his tent by the oak of the covetous ones, which is near Kedes.

 

Significant differences:           Zaanannim is the transliteration; covetous ones is the translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       At this time, Heber of the Kenite clan was living near the village of Oak in Zaanannim, not far from Kedesh. The Kenites were descendants of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses, but Heber had moved and had set up his tents away from the rest of the clan.

The Message                         It happened that Heber the Kenite had parted company with the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses' in-law. He was now living at Zaanannim Oak near Kedesh.

NLT                                        Now Heber the Kenite, a descendant of Moses’ brother-in-law Hobab, had moved away from the other members of his tribe and pitched his tent by the Oak of Zaanannim, near Kedesh.

TEV                                        In the meantime Heber the Kenite had set p his tent close to Kedesh near the oak tree at Zanannim. He had moved away from the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, the brother-in-law of Moses.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Heber the Kenite had separated from the other Kenites (the descendants of Hobab, Moses' father-in-law). Heber went as far away as the oak tree at Zaanannim near Kedesh and set up his tent.

HCSB                                     Now Heber the Kenite had moved away from the Kenites, the sons of Hobab, Moses' father-in-law, and pitched his tent beside the oak tree of Zaanannim, which was near Kedesh.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

Young’s Updated LT             And Heber the Kenite has been separated from the Kenite, from the sons of Hobab father-in-law of Moses, and he stretches out his tent unto the oak in Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.


What is the gist of this verse? To explain Sisera’s actions, we are told about Heber the Kenite, who lives by Kedesh, separate from the other Kenites.


Judges 4:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

Cheber (ר∵ב∵ח) [pronounced KHEHB-ver]

comrade; company, association; transliterated Heber, Cheber

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #2268 BDB #288

Qêynîy (י ̣ני ֵק) [pronounced kay-NEE]

to acquire and is transliterated Kenite

gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #7017 BDB #884

pârad (דַרָ) [pronounced paw-RAHD]

to divide, to separate; to be divided, to be separated

Niphal participle

Strong’s #6504 BDB #825

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Qêynîy (י ̣ני ֵק) [pronounced kay-NEE]

to acquire and is transliterated Kenite

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #7017 BDB #884

The vowel point here is an a rather than a long ê.

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Chôbâb (בָבֹח) [pronounced khoh-BAWBV]

cherished, love, loved; transliterated Hobab

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #2246 BDB #285

chôthên (ן ֵתֹח) [pronounced khoh-THAIN]

father-in-law

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2859 BDB #368

The relationship between Moses and Hobab is given by the masculine singular construct of chôthên (ן ֵתֹח) [pronounced khoh-THAIN], which means father-in-law. Owen calls this a masculine singular construct and The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament calls it a verb—in particular, the Qal participle of the verb. It also gives the Hithpael infinitive of the same word as meaning son-in-law. Strong’s #2859 BDB #368.

Mosheh (ה∵שֹמ) [pronounced moh-SHEH]

to draw out [of the water] and is transliterated Moses

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #4872 BDB #602


Translation: Heber the Kenite was separated from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses. Here is quite the interesting meanwhile, back at the ranch kind of verses. Just flat out of nowhere, we begin talking about Heber, a Kenite, who seems to live out in the middle of nowhere and we don’t know why. We will find out soon enough why he is mentioned, and this is certainly known to the author of this chapter of the book of the Judges; but it seems to come out of left field as we are just reading along. Now, we examined the Doctrine of the Kenites recently, back in Judges 1:16. We concluded that the Kenites were a loose group of nomadic peoples who probably worked with metals and were originally associated with and possibly related to the Midianites (with respect to Moses’ father-in-law, we may assume he comes from Kenites and Midianites both—Ex. 3:1 Num. 10:29 Judges 1:16).


Although the Kenites first settled in Midian (insofar as we know), some of them moved into Judah and then later into the Galilee area; and many of them became scribes. Their relations with Israel appear to have always been peaceful and congenial; and that this relationship went back as Abraham and Moses. Therefore, when God gives the Kenites into the hands of the descendants of Abraham, we should understand that Abraham’s descendants would become predominant, but not necessarily that they militarily conquer the Kenites, as we have no indication of that in Scripture.


Heber is not a part of these 10,000 men, although he and his family are close enough to observe what is going on. Up until this time, he has maintained a position of neutrality, which was apparently respected by both the Israelites and the Canaanites. Heber lives close to where Barak and Deborah will go to begin organizing an army against Sisera. Given this proximity, Heber and his family will certainly know about what is going on.


Judges 4:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

nâţâh (ה ָט ָנ) [pronounced naw-TAWH]

to stretch out, to spread out, to bow, to extend, to incline, to turn

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5186 BDB #639

ohel (ל הֹא) [pronounced OH-hel]

tent, tabernacle, house, temporary dwelling

masculine singular noun with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #168 BDB #13

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

êlôwn (ןל̤א) [pronounced AY-loan]

oak, terebinth, Footnote tall tree, a strong and hardy tree

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #436 BDB #18

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Tsa׳ănannîym (םי.-נֲע-צ) [pronounced tsah-guh-nahn-NEEM]

removals, things removed; wanderers transliterated Zaanannim, Zaanaim

masculine plural, proper noun/location

Strong’s #6815 BDB #858

The translation oaks of the wanderers is given by Easton; but not suggested by BDB or Gesenius. Furthermore, we do not have a construct here, but a preposition instead. For this reason, I believe that Zaanaim should be seen as a proper noun, referring to a city or an area; and the oak in Zaanannim as a specific location in that area or city.

Some suggest that the proper noun here includes the preposition, giving us oak of Bitzanaim (according to Easton Footnote ).

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

Together, ăsher êth literally mean which [is] with. I’m not sure if there is a more specialized meaning. Other translations give the meanings that [was] beside [it]; beside [it]; in [it]; along with [it].

Owen lists this as the relative pronoun + the direct object (which reads exactly the same).

Qedesh (שד ק) [pronounced KEH-desh]

sanctuary; set apart; transliterated Kedesh

masculine singular, proper noun; with the directional hê

Strong’s #6943 BDB #873


Translation: He pitched his tent as far as the oak in Zaanannim that [was near] Kedesh. This must have been a magnificent oak, as it is mentioned in the border of Naphtali in Joshua 19:33 (since the singular is often used to stand for a large cluster of the same, it is possible that this was a huge field of oak trees).


There are varying opinions about the oak in Zaanannim. Some hold to the latter as a place or a city (a proper noun) and that oak probably refers to an area where there are a great many oaks (rather than one particular, spectacular oak). We find the singular used in this way a lot throughout the Old Testament.


Another opinion is that the bêyth preposition is not really a preposition, but a part of the proper noun, giving us oak of Bitzanaim, a place associated with the ruins of Bessum, found between Tiberius and Mount Tabor. Footnote Part of the problem of locating it is, determining where Kedesh is. Recall that, some place Kedesh very near the Sea of Galilee (actually, Lake Huleh at this time); which is actually a place between the two different Kedesh’s found in this passage.


In the reading which I have done, I doubt that anyone is going to be able to place this place with any degree of precision; even determining its proper name is probably impossible at this time. What we do know is, this is within walking/running distance from the Kishon River in the area of Mount Tabor. This is where Sisera’s army will be soundly defeated, apparently, as much by God as by Barak.


All of this takes place near Kedesh, near Mount Tabor, around the Kishon River. Therefore, a map might be in order. This map, by the way, is not in the normal north south orientation. The Mediterranean Sea is in the upper right hand corner.

The Kishon River and Mount Tabor

The Kishon is a winding, a winter torrent of Central Palestine, which rises about the roots of Tabor and Gilboa, and passing in a northerly direction through the plains of Esdraelon and Acre, falls into the Mediterranean at the north-eastern corner of the bay of Acre, at the foot of Carmel. It is the drain by which the waters of the plain of Esdraelon and of the mountains that surround it find their way to the sea. It bears the modern name of Nahr el-Mokattah, i.e., "the river of slaughter" (comp. 1 Kings 18:40). In the triumphal song of Deborah (Judg. 5:21) it is spoken of as "that ancient river," either (1) because it had flowed on for ages, or (2), according to the Targum, because it was "the torrent in which were shown signs and wonders to Israel of old;" or (3) probably the reference is to the exploits in that region among the ancient Canaanites, for the adjoining plain of Esdraelon was the great battle-field of Palestine.

This was the scene of the defeat of Sisera (Judges 4:7, 13), and of the destruction of the prophets of Baal by Elijah (1 Kings 18:40). "When the Kishon was at its height, it would be, partly on account of its quicksands, as impassable as the ocean itself to a retreating army."

Beyond the Mount, it led by a rapid descent into a plain covered with corn and verdure, and extending in a width of some thirty miles, by a series of undulations, to the foot of Tabor, where it came to an end. Two side ranges running almost parallel—little Hermon and Gilboa—disposed in a line from east to west, and united by an almost imperceptibly rising ground, serve rather to connect the plain of Megiddo with the valley of the Jordan than to separate them. A single river, the Kishon, cuts the route diagonally—or, to speak more correctly, a single river-bed, which is almost waterless for nine months of the year, and becomes swollen only during the winter rains with the numerous torrents bursting from the hillsides. As the flood approaches the sea it becomes of more manageable proportions, and finally distributes its waters among the desolate lagoons formed behind the sand-banks of the open and wind-swept bay, towered over by the sacred summit of Carmel.

judges043.gif

 

The first 2 paragraphs of text is taken from http://dev.bible.org/netbible6b/dictionary.php?word=Kishon

The 3rd paragraph of text comes from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17324/17324-h/v4b.htm (I think you have to actually download the book or go to the download site in order to get this). The text itself comes from the book The History of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 4 (of 12), written by Maspero, Gaston Camille Charles, 1846-1916.

This is a portion of a map taken from http://www.bible.org/assets/netbible/map2.jpg


Even through to the end of this chapter, there are several unanswered questions concerning Heber. Although he appears to be independent and neutral, the history of the Kenites has always been a close and warm one with Israel. Moses, as we have pointed out in studying Exodus and Numbers, appeared to get along better with his father-in-law than he did with his wife. And throughout Scripture, there have never been any recorded animosities between Israel and the Kenites. On the other hand, we tend to associate the Kenites with metal-working and we have the 900 chariots of Sisera. We don’t know if there was some kind of a connection here or not. That is, we don’t know if Heber had some sort of a contract with the Canaanites to build chariots for them. The NIV Study Bible suggests that Heber is the one who told Sisera about the preparations that Israel was making. Barnes also suggests that one of the Kenites Footnote tells Sisera of Israel’s military organization. The basis for this is the next verse. This also gives this verse a little more cohesiveness with regards to its place in this chapter. For this reason, we can possibly conclude that some of the Kenites (not necessarily Heber or his wife) inform Sisera of Israel’s imminent attack; and we can infer that the Kenites were at least partially involved in the construction of the chariots which belonged to Sisera’s army. The alternative is, Sisera’s eyes and ears in this land observed Israel’s gathering army and told Sisera.


The full explanation is, in my opinion, is, there are a few Kenites living in northern Israel, near Kedesh (Judges 4:11). They had moved here from the city of palms (Judges 1:16). When Jabin and Sisera impose their will over the Israelites, the Kenites took sides; and some remained neutral. This is how a group of people would normally react. Over time, Heber the Kenite had established a neutral position with regards to Jabin and Sisera. When Israel began gathering troops in Kedesh, some Kenites who supported the Canaanites, told Jabin. In fact, there may have been a previously established agreement in this regard. Over time, despite Heber’s neutral position, he began to side more and more with Israel, after observing the oppression of the Canaanites. It is even possible that Heber separates from the Kenites in that area because of their political disagreements. This is all conjecture, but offers a complete back story to the events of this chapter.


To sum up, why are we told that Heber the Kenite is here?

Why Does the Bible Tell Us that Heber the Kenite Lives Here?

1.      We first have to know what a Kenite is doing in this area. We find them in Judah and with the Midianites; but this is pretty far away. Bear in mind that, the Bible does not always tells us when this or that branch of this or that people leaves one place and goes to another. Sometimes, that is taken for granted.

2.      We will need to understand how Sisera could be willing to go into the tent of Jael.

3.      This verse sets us up for what will happen next, and implies that Kenites told Sisera that Barak was gathering his troops at Mount Tabor.

4.      We can reasonably infer from the text that, even in ancient times, a group of people did not always fall lock-step into line. That is, the Kenites, as a whole, support Israel; however, Heber the Kenite seemed to, at least at first, take a neutral position with respect to Israel and the Canaanites.

Now, I am not sure whether there is some great spiritual lesson to be learned in all of this; sometimes, in Scripture, information is included simply to hold the narrative together. That is, there is no reason to think that you can take each and every verse out of the Bible and somehow apply it to your life and lead your life by copying this verse. As we go through this chapter, we will find various areas of application; however, we cannot expect that with each and every verse.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


And so they made known to Sisera that went up Barak ben Abinoam [to] a mountain of Tabor.

Judges

4:12

Sisera was informed [lit., then they made (it) known to Sisera] that Barak ben Abinoam went up [to] Mount Tabor.

Sisera had been informed that Barak, the son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they made known to Sisera that went up Barak ben Abinoam [to] a mountain of Tabor.

Septuagint                              And it was told Sisara that Barac the son of Abineem was gone up to mount Thabor.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       When Sisera learned that Barak had led an army to Mount Tabor,...

NLT                                        When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor,...

TEV                                        When Sisera learned that Barak head gone up to Mount Tabor,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The report reached Sisera that Barak, son of Abinoam, had come to fight at Mount Tabor.

HCSB                                     It was reported to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up Mount Tabor.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       When Sisera was told that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor,...

WEB                                      They told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to Mount Tabor.

Young’s Updated LT             And they declare to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam has gone up to mount Tabor.


What is the gist of this verse? Sisera is told that Barak has gathered Israeli troops up in Mount Tabor.


Judges 4:12

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Çîyçerâ (אָר סי .ס) [pronounced seese-RAW]

battle array [according to BDB]; and is transliterated Sisera

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5516 BDB #696

kîy (י  ̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

Bârâq (ק ָרָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]

lightening, lightening flash; transliterated Barak

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1301 BDB #140

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Ăbîynô׳am (ם-עֹני.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-noh-ĢAHM]

my father is a delight; father of pleasantness; transliterated Abinoam

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #42 BDB #4

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

Tâbôwr (רֹב ָ) [pronounced taw-BOHR]

mound; and is transliterated Tabor

Proper noun/location

Strong's #8396 BDB #1061


Translation: Sisera was informed [lit., then they made (it) known to Sisera] that Barak ben Abinoam went up [to] Mount Tabor. The first verb in this verse is the 3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect of to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to declare, to inform, to make it pitifully obvious that. The plural would indicate that several Kenites told Sisera what was going on with Israel (this would be my theory). So Sisera has his forces off in Harosheth-hagoyim and he was told that Barak had taken a substantial force to Mount Tabor, which was on the border of the tribe of Issachar (Joshua 19:22).


Mount Tabor

The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge reads: Mount Tabor, called by the Arabs Djebel Tour, is almost entirely insulated, and rises up in the plain of Esdraelon, about six miles from Nazareth, in a conical form, somewhat like a sugar-loaf. Josephus states its height to be thirty stadia, with a plain of 26 stadia in circumference on its top, on which was formerly a city, which was used as a military post. It is described as an exceedingly beautiful mountain, having a rich soil, producing excellent herbage, and adorned with groves and clumps of trees.1

tabor_from_esdr.jpg

 

1 Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge; by Canne, Browne, Blayney, Scott, and others about 1880, with introduction by R. A. Torrey; courtesy of E-sword, Judges 4:14.

2 The picture comes from http://www.jnf-canada.org/EDUCATIONSITE/jnf/galil/bible/bibgeography.htm


We are getting a lot of geography here, and you may wonder why; or, more likely, you may not care. The relative positions of Barak, his army; and Sisera actually play an important part in this battle. Barak begins on Mount Tabor with his army (see the picture to the right). Sisera will bring his 900 chariots to the valley below, near the Torrent of Kishon (sometimes called the Brook Kishon). As previously described, Kishon is this winding river which begins in about this area, and is called everything from a brook to a torrent, depending upon the time of the year. A sudden rain on Mount Tabor or in the valley, or to any place which feeds the Kishon could change things considerably. On a dry valley, Sisera and his chariots will be victorious over an army on foot. However, if the ground turns to mush, if the chariots are immobilized; if the banks of the Kishon overflow, then we have a completely different story.


By the way, we will only be given the barest of details in this chapter about the battle between Barak and Sisera; most of the rest of the chapter will focus on Jael and Sisera. However, we will be told that Jehovah will route Sisera’s army; in the next chapter, we will be told that this was done by an earthquake and a rainstorm (Judges 5:4–5). This would have been a fascinating battle to observe!


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


The Battle Between Barak and Sisera

Judges 5:19–24


And so called Sisera all of his chariots—nine hundred chariots of iron—and all the people who [were] with him from Harosheth-hagoiim unto a brook of Kishon.

Judges

4:13

Therefore Sisera called all his chariots—nine hundred chariots of iron—and all the people who [were] with him from Harosheth-hagoiim to the brook Kishon.

So Sisera summoned all of his 900 iron chariots along with all the soldiers who were with him from Harosheth-hagoiim and they gathered at the torrent Kishon.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so called Sisera all of his chariots—nine hundred chariots of iron—and all the people who [were] with him from Harosheth-hagoiim unto a brook of Kishon.

Septuagint                              And Sisara called all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron and all the people with him, from Arisoth of the Gentiles to the brook of Kison.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences—hagoiim is the transliteration; the Gentiles is the translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...he called his troops together and got all nine hundred iron chariots ready. Then he led his army away from Harosheth-Ha-Goiim to the Kishon River.

NLT                                        ...he called for all nine hundred of his iron chariots and all of his warriors, and they marched from Harosheth-hagoyim to the Kishon River.

TEV                                        ...he called out his nine hundred iron chariots and all his men, and sent them from Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles to the Kishon River.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So Sisera summoned all his chariots (900 chariots made of iron) and all his troops from Harosheth Haggoyim to come to the Kishon River.

HCSB                                     Sisera summoned all his 900 iron chariots and all the people who were with him from Harosheth of the Nations to the Wadi Kishon.

JPS (Tanakh)                         So Sisera ordered all his chariots—nine hundred iron chariots—and all the troops he had to move from Harosheth-goiim to the Wadi Kishon.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Sisera called out all his chariots, 900 chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon.

WEB                                      Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles, to the river Kishon.

Young’s Updated LT             And Sisera calls all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who are with him, from Haroshes of the Goyim, unto the brook Kishon.


What is the gist of this verse? Sisera gathers his army and his 900 chariots, and he goes out to the river Kishon, which would be below Mount Tabor.


Judges 4:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

zâ׳aq (ק ַע ָז) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

to cry out; to occasion a cry, to proclaim; to call, to call upon; to call together, to assemble

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

Çîyçerâ (אָר סי .ס) [pronounced seese-RAW]

battle array [according to BDB]; and is transliterated Sisera

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5516 BDB #696

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

recheb (ב∵כ∵ר) [pronounced REH-khebv]

chariot, mill-stone, rider

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7393 BDB #939

têsha׳ (ע-ש̤) [pronounced TAY-shahģ]

nine, ninth

masculine singular noun; ordinal or cardinal numeral

Strong’s #8672 BDB #1077

mêôwth (תא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

hundreds

feminine plural numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

recheb (ב∵כ∵ר) [pronounced REH-khebv]

chariot, mill-stone, rider

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #7393 BDB #939

barezel (לז׃רַ) [pronounced bare-ZEL]

iron

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1270 BDB #137


Translation: Therefore, Sisera called all his chariots—nine hundred chariots of iron—... Sisera calls, of course, not the chariots themselves, but the men who rode in the chariots.

 

Matthew Henry tells us a little about these chariots: Sisera's confidence was chiefly in his chariots; therefore particular notice is taken of them, 900 chariots of iron, which, with the scythes fastened to their axle-trees, when they were driven into an army of footmen, did terrible execution. So ingenious have men been in inventing methods of destroying one another, to gratify those lusts from which come wars and fightings. Footnote The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge gives us roughly the same description: Probably chariots armed with iron scythes, projecting from the axle on each side, by which the infantry might be easily cut down or thrown into confusion. The ancient Britons are said to have had such chariots. Footnote


Judges 4:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

Together, ăsher êth literally mean which [is] with. I’m not sure if there is a more specialized meaning. Other translations give the meanings that [was] beside [it]; beside [it]; in [it]; along with [it].

Owen lists this as the relative pronoun + the direct object (which reads exactly the same).

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Chărôsheth (ת∵שֹרֲח) [pronounced khuh-roh-SHETH]

woodland; magic drug, magic art; transliterated Harosheth

proper singular noun/location

Strong’s #2800 BDB #361

gôwyîm (ם̣י) [pronounced goh-YEEM]

Gentiles, [Gentile] nation, people, peoples, nations

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1471 BDB #156

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

nachal (לַחַנ) [pronounced NAHKH-al]

brook, torrent

masculine singular noun

Strong's #5158 BDB #636

Qîyshôwn (ןשי ̣ק) [pronounced kee-SHOWN]

winding, curving, twisted; torturous transliterated Kishon

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #7028 BDB #885


Translation: ...and all the people who [were] with him from Harosheth-hagoiim to the brook Kishon. The use of one noun to stand in for another is called a metonym. The second group that he called was the masculine singular of people. Josephus tells us that there are 300,000 troops with Sisera. Footnote We do not know if that is true; but, no doubt, he had a very large army in addition to these chariots.

 

The word which precedes Kishon is the masculine construct of nachal (ל ַח ַנ) [pronounced NAHKH-al], which means brook, torrent. Now, it is quite obvious that a brook is much different from a torrent. No one would think twice about attempting to cross over a lazy brook; however, a torrent is quite a different matter. The same word is used for both because the Kishon River could be either. Strong's #5158 BDB #636.


Harosheth-hagoiim is mentioned only here and in v. 16. It is a Canaanite town which sprung up after the capture of the Land of promise by Israel. This is where Sisera organized his men from, and it was probably in the valley beneath Mount Carmel, not too far from the sea. He will advance his troops along the Kishon river, along the valley, to where the waters of Megiddo are, which feed into the Kishon River. Israel will eventually force him back to this point of origin (v. 16).


This great valley between the Kishon River and Mount Tabor was an ideal place for Sisera to war from, considering his 900 chariots—ideal for a dry day. As God had promised, He had lured Sisera to Barak and his troops. What seems to be implied, but never outright stated, is that during the battle or immediately previous to the battle, there is a terrific rainstorm. My thinking is, this storm began just as the battle began. Keep that in mind as we go through the next few verses.


And so said Deborah unto Barak, “Rise up for this the day which has given Yehowah Sisera into your hand. Does not Yehowah go out before your faces?” And so went down Barak from a mountain of Tabor and ten of thousands of men after him.

Judges

4:14

Then Deborah said to Barak, “Rise up for this [is] the day [in] which Yehowah has given Sisera into your hand. Does not Yehowah go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him.

Then Deborah ordered Barak, “Now rise up and take a stand, for this is the day in which Jehovah has given Sisera into your hand. Hasn’t Jehovah already gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men after him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said Deborah unto Barak, “Rise up for this the day which has given Yehowah Sisera into your hand. Does not Yehowah go out before your faces?” And so went down Barak from a mountain of Tabor and ten of thousands of men after him.

Septuagint                              And Debbora said to Barac, “Rise up, for this is the day on which the Lord has delivered Sisara into your hand. Behold, does not the Lord go forth before you?” And Barac went down from mount Thabor, and ten thousand men after him.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences; before your faces in the Hebrew can be reasonably shortened to before you.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Deborah shouted, "Barak, it's time to attack Sisera! Because today the LORD is going to help you defeat him. In fact, the LORD has already gone on ahead to fight for you." Barak led his ten thousand troops down from Mount Tabor.

The Message                         Deborah said to Barak, "Charge! This very day GOD has given you victory over Sisera. Isn't GOD marching before you?" Barak charged down the slopes of Mount Tabor, his ten companies following him.

NLT                                        Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! Today the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” so Barak led his ten thousand warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then Deborah said to Barak, "Attack! This is the day the LORD will hand Sisera over to you. The LORD will go ahead of you." So Barak came down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men behind him.

HCSB                                     Then Deborah said to Barak, "Move on, for this is the day the LORD has handed Sisera over to you. Hasn't the LORD gone before you?" So Barak came down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And Deborah said to Barak, "Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the LORD go out before you?" So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him.

LTHB                                     And Deborah said to Barak, Rise up, for this is the day in which Jehovah has given Sisera into your hand. Has not Jehovah gone out before you? And Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.

Young’s Updated LT             And Deborah says unto Barak, “Rise, for this is the day in which Jehovah has given Sisera into your hand; has not Jehovah gone out before you?” And Barak goes down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.


What is the gist of this verse? Deborah tells Barak, “This is the day in which Jehovah has given Sisera into your hand.” Barak leads his men from Mount Tabor to go to meet Sisera.


Judges 4:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Debôwrâh (הָרב ׃) [pronounced deb-voh-RAW],

bee; transliterated Deborah

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1683 BDB #184

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Bârâq (ק ָרָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]

lightening, lightening flash; transliterated Barak

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1301 BDB #140

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to get up; to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877


Translation: Then Deborah said to Barak, “Rise up... Then Deborah says to Barak, stand, rise up, take a stand. This has nothing to do with moving to a higher elevation or with going north on a map. Barak is the general of the Israeli forces; however, it is Deborah who is giving him the orders.


Judges 4:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י  ̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, this one; thus; possibly another

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Çîyçerâ (אָר סי .ס) [pronounced seese-RAW]

battle array [according to BDB]; and is transliterated Sisera

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5516 BDB #696

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun, pausal form; with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand means with you; through you, by you, by means of you; at your hand [i.e., before your, in your sight].


Translation: ...for this [is] the day [in] which Yehowah has given Sisera into your hand. Sisera has just gathered his troops below, in the valley of the Kishon River; Barak is with his troops on Mount Tabor. Deborah is there for the expressed purpose of telling him which day he should attack. So, she looks at Sisera and his army, just gathered below; back up to Barak and his nervous troops; and she tells him, “This is the day.”


Let’s put this into perspective:

Deborah says, “This is the Day!”

Scripture

Incident

Judges 4:8c

After Israel has been oppressed by the Canaanites for 20 years by Jabin and his general Sistera, Deborah, a prophetess, calls Barak and tells him that God has commanded him to take an army from the tribes and Naphtali and Zebulun and march to Mount Tabor, where God would give Sisera and the Canaanite army into his hand. Barak agrees to this, but only if Deborah accompanies him. He tells her, “I do not know which day God will lead me by the Angel.”

Judges 4:14b

Barak has gathered his troops on Mount Tabor; Sisera and his army are gathered below in the valley of the brook Kishon. Deborah turns to Barak and says, This is the day in which Jehovah has given Sisera into your hand.” In essence, Deborah is saying, “Both of your armies have been gathered; that means it is time to go into battle.”

Judges 4:23

Barak’s men are victorious that day over Sisera’s army, and just in case he was not 100% certain as to which day this occurred, God the Holy Spirit, inspired the author of this chapter to conclude: So God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan on that day.

When you see these 3 verses together, it is almost presented tongue-in-cheek. The proper day which God set for this—the day which Barak was confused about—is clearly presented to us and to Barak.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The verb has given is in the Qal perfect tense; Rotherham calls this the prophetic perfect tense; that is, it is spoken of as completed action, as, from God’s vantage point, it has been completed. Footnote Barak clearly takes his orders from Deborah. Note that she does not appear to be participating in the fighting, nor would we expect her to. In fact, Barak probably will assign a couple of men to guard her during this battle.


Judges 4:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean before you, before your face, in your presence, in your sight, in front of you. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in Your judgment.


Translation: Does not Yehowah go out before you?” God has already gone out on behalf of Barak and on behalf of Israel. It’s a done deal. All Barak has to do is to go out and tidy up the details. “It will be that Jehovah your God will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you and you will dispossess them.” (Deut. 31:3a). Or, “Listen all of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says Jehovah to you: ‘Do not fear or become disheartened because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2Chron. 20:15; see also Deut. 9:3 Joshua 10:10–11 Psalm 68:7 2Sam. 5:24 2Chron. 20:16ff).


Application: Now I know what you’re thinking right now...enough of Sisera, Deborah and Barak, let’s talk about ME! Every single day, you face trials and tribulations and problems and difficulties. For most of you, these problems are things which you originated and are mostly your fault. However, you will face a certain number of problems and difficulties which were not your doing. You will be persecuted, you will meet with animosity, you will get the short end of the stick, and, once and awhile, it is clearly out of the blue—it was not your fault. In these instances, bear in mind that God has gone before you; God has already fought the battle. God has taken care of all of your problems already. He knew about them in eternity past and He took care of them at that time. There will never be a problem, a difficulty, a trial, a battle, or anything which will occur in your life which catches God off-guard. Not one time will He look down from heaven at your life and remark, “What the hell? Who woulda thought that would happen? Now what the hell am I going to do about this?” God is not caught by surprise by our lives or anything which happens in our lives. Now, what we are to do in every circumstance varies. There is a time to fight, as we have here, and there is a time to flee, as we have in Matt 24:15–28 during the second half of the Great Tribulation. God has taken care of all of that and, generally speaking, He has provided clear indications as to what tact we are to take. So, now you’re thinking, no He hasn’t; I haven’t a clue. This is where the filling of the Spirit (not a holy roller experience), Bible doctrine and obedience to His Word come into play. These are the most basic guidance factors in the believer’s life. You are either out of fellowship or you are in fellowship. You get out of fellowship by sinning (which you will do—I John 1:8, 10) and you get back into fellowship by naming your sins to God (1Cor. 11:31 1John 1:9). This is the difference between being filled with the Spirt and not filled; that is the key to being in or out of fellowship (John 16:13 2Cor. 13:14 1John 1:7). God’s Word, not your feelings or some ecstatic experience, is your guidance. People who are guided by some experience or some feeling go off in a thousand different directions. You need objective teaching of the Word of God to guide you. Finally, don’t think you can ignore God’s directives in the big things and that not have an effect on the little things. There are clear directives give to us concerning drunkenness, sex outside of marriage, gossip, slander, and maligning. If we constantly disobey God in these major areas, how on earth do we expect guidance in the subtleties of life?


Application: Personally, I have made decisions concerning where I live (Texas instead of California), where I work (I’ve changed jobs from time to time); I’ve changed homes from time to time; and I have made decisions involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Very rarely have I ever sweated out a decision. Very rarely have I spent days on end worrying about this or that decision; and then, after the fact, wondering whether or not I made the right decision. When you learn some doctrine; when you are filled with God the Holy Spirit; when you exhibit some obedience to God’s mandates, making decisions in this life is pretty much a snap.


Application: These basics of the Christian life must be a part of your life. The result pervades your entire life. I must admit that, there are times when I am concerned because I don’t have the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart; that is, I am not overly excited or overly happy. I’m not unhappy; but I certain do not live a life in ecstatics. However, when I come face to face with other people, I begin to recognize just how unhappy others are compared to me. I have one neighbor who threw a rock with a burning rag through the window of another neighbor—obviously, this person has to be extremely upset, emotional and unhappy to do such a thing. I could not imagine myself being so unhappy as to damage something which belongs to someone else; and certainly not to do something which puts lives at risk. To me this is insanity. I have a next door neighbor who, when improvements were being made on my house, came over and got in a swearing fit with my workmen. The changes in my house will increase the value of my house; improve the looks of my house; and, thereby, increase the value of her house, as well as the houses of everyone on my street. You would think, with this in mind, that she would be happy about all of this. She isn’t; she is miserable. She has apparently spent the last few weeks spreading lies and rumors about me (or has believed various lies and rumors about me). Because I know that man is fallen, I am not completely surprised by these things. However, it does cause me to realize how much more content I am than many of my neighbors. By the way, my neighbors probably lead lives which would put them in the top 1 or 2% of the world, based on materialism; and yet, they aren’t happy. They are not content. The old maxim, money can’t buy happiness is absolutely true. These people have money, but they are not happy. They think that there is something which I can do; or something that someone else on the street can do; or someone else in the neighborhood can do, that will turn their frown upside down; but they are wrong.


Application: I had a close acquaintance many years ago who felt that, if she could just get a car and a house in a good neighborhood, that she would begin to be happy and feel fulfilled. Once she got those things, she was more unhappy than ever before. Your focus as a believer has to be on the Word of God; on the mandates of God; on getting into fellowship and staying there. There is no lasting happiness to be found in things; and there is no lasting happiness to be found in seeking personal pleasure.


I’ve gone pretty far afield here; let’s get back into the battle:


Judges 4:14d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

Bârâq (ק ָרָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]

lightening, lightening flash; transliterated Barak

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1301 BDB #140

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

Tâbôwr (רֹב ָ) [pronounced taw-BOHR]

mound; and is transliterated Tabor

Proper noun/location

Strong's #8396 BDB #1061


Translation: So Barak went down from Mount Tabor... This entire battle is going to be described by narrative in about 2½ verses. We will get more details of the battle in the next chapter, where Deborah takes a poetic look back on these events.


We begin the battle with Barak coming down from Mount Tabor. I suspect that, by this time, it began to rain; and that there had been a terrific storm perhaps on the other side of Mount Tabor, which would find its way into the Brook Kishon, changing it into the Torrent Kishon.


Judges 4:14e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳asârâh (הָרָ-ע) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine numeral

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

ălâphîym (מי.פָלֲא) pronounced uh-law-FEEM]

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun (sometimes found where we would use a plural)

Strong's #376 BDB #35

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #310 BDB #29


Translation: ...with 10,000 men following him. It is interesting how war and battle have changed; Barak leads his men into battle. Now, I have given Barak a hard time up until this point; however, you must admire his bravery at this point, to charge the Canaanites, who are far superior to him with their chariots and possibly superior to him in manpower.


With Sisera and his army gathered below, there is no telling how long it would have taken them to form a strategy and to act on it. At this point, we simply have the gathering of the two armies and Barak chooses a head on attack. This certainly indicates some trust on the part of Barak, to charge as he has, as he may have had a better advantage from the hill. However, there is no telling how many troops Sisera had or if Sisera had additional troops on the way.


And so routed Yehowah Sisera and all of the chariots and all of the army to a mouth of a sword before faces of Barak and so Sisera got down from upon the chariot and he fled by his feet.

Judges

4:15

Yehowah routed Sisera and all of the chariots and all of the army with [lit., by] the edge of the sword before Barak. Sisera then got down from [his] chariot and he fled on foot [lit., by his feet].

Jehovah routed Sisera and his chariots and all of his armed forces with the edge of the sword before Barak. Then Sisera got out of his chariot and fled on foot.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so routed Yehowah Sisera and all of the chariots and all of the army to a mouth of a sword before faces of Barak and so Sisera got down from upon the chariot and he fled by his feet.

Septuagint                              And the Lord displaced Sisara, and all his chariots, and all his army, with the edge of the sword before Barac: and Sisara descended from off his chariot, and fled on his feet.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences; any apparent differences are simply a matter of translation from the original language into the English. The original Greek and Hebrew words are equivalent.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       And during the battle, the LORD confused Sisera, his chariot drivers, and his whole army. Everyone was so afraid of Barak and his army, that even Sisera jumped down from his chariot and tried to escape.

NLT                                        When Barak attacked, the Lord threw Sisera and all his charioteers and warriors into a panic. Then Sisera leaped down from his chariot and escaped on foot.

TEV                                        When Barak attacked with his army, the Lord threw Sisera into confusion together with all his chariots and men. Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The LORD threw Sisera, all his chariots, and his whole army into a panic in front of Barak's deadly assault. Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.

HCSB                                     The LORD threw Sisera, all his charioteers, and all his army into confusion with the sword before Barak. Sisera left his chariot and fled on foot.

JPS (Tanakh)                         ...and the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and army into a panic before the onslaught of Barak [lit, “at the edge of the sword before Barak.”]. Sisera leaped from his chariot and fled on foot...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot.

MKJV                                     And Jehovah struck Sisera, and all the chariots, and all the army, with the edge of the sword in front of Barak, so that Sisera got down from the chariot and fled on his feet.

WEB                                      Yahweh confused Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his army, with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot, and fled away on his feet.

Young’s Updated LT             And Jehovah destroys Sisera, and all the chariots, and all the camp, by the mouth of the sword, before Barak, and Sisera comes down from off the chariot, and flees on his feet.


What is the gist of this verse? God is victorious over Sisera and his chariots. Sisera escapes on foot.


Judges 4:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

châmam (םַמָח) [pronounced chaw-MAHM]

to put to flight, to route; to put into a commotion; to make a noise, to move noisily, to confuse, to discomfit, to destroy utterly, to make extinct (taking all of the meanings given by BDB and Gesenius)

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2000 BDB #243

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Çîyçerâ (אָר סי .ס) [pronounced seese-RAW]

battle array [according to BDB]; and is transliterated Sisera

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5516 BDB #696

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

recheb (ב∵כ∵ר) [pronounced REH-khebv]

chariot, mill-stone, rider

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7393 BDB #939

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

machăneh (ה נ ֲח ַמ) [pronounced mah-khuh-NEH]

camp, encampment; an army camp; those who are camped [army, company, people]; the courts [of Jehovah]; the heavenly host

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4264 BDB #334

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

peh (ה) [pronounced peh]

mouth [of man, animal; as an organ of speech]; opening, orifice [of a river, well, etc.]; edge; extremity, end

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6310 BDB #804

chereb (ברח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (םי.נָפל) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

Bârâq (ק ָרָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]

lightening, lightening flash; transliterated Barak

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #1301 BDB #140


Translation: Yehowah routed Sisera and all of the chariots and all of the army with [lit., by] the edge of the sword before Barak. We will wait to examine the battle itself in more detail in Judges 5. However, you would think, in normal weather, if Sisera was making an escape, that he would stay in his chariot, get as far away as possible, and then get out near some woods. Here, Jehovah has routed Sisera and his chariots—although it says it was with the mouth (or, edge) of the sword, there are parts of Judges 5 which make us think that. The torrent of Kishon swept them away, the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. O my soul, march on with strength (Judges 5:21).


The first verb is the Qal imperfect of to rout, to make a noise, to move noisily, to confuse, to discomfit, to put to flight, to put into a commotion, to destroy utterly, to make extinct. This is the same word used of the panic experienced by the Egyptians at the Sea of Reeds (Ex. 14:24) and we will see that same word used of the Philistines at Mizpah during the days of Samuel (I Sam. 7:10).

 

Keil and Delitzsch discuss this verb: As in Ex. 14:24 and Joshua 10:10, [this verb] denotes the confounding of the hostile army by a miracle of God, mostly by some miraculous phenomenon of nature (also see Ex. 14:24 2Sam. 22:15 Psalm 18:15 144:6). Footnote


Every commentator has an opinion as to what happened in this battle:

Commentators on the Battle between Barak and Sisera

Commentator

Description

Arbinel

Frightened them, as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, or disturbed them with a noise and tumult, as the word signifies; with a noise in the heavens, which were in their ears, as Abarbinel observes, like the noise of a large army, as was the case of the Syrians (2Kings 7:6); and they saw, he says, horses and chariots of fire, and the like, which terrified them; and all this he supposes was done before Barak descended from the mountain, so that he had nothing to do when he came but to pursue and kill, whereby it plainly appeared it was the Lord's doing. Footnote

Barnes

What with the overflowing of the Kishon (Judges 5:21), by which numbers were drowned, and the panic which had seized the defeated army, and made them an easy prey to the sword of the pursuing Israelites, Sisera’s whole force was cut to pieces and broken up. Footnote

Clarke

The Lord Confounded: [He] threw them all into confusion, drove them pell-mell - caused chariots to break and overthrow chariots, and threw universal disorder into all their ranks. In this case Barak and his men had little to do but kill and pursue, and Sisera in order to escape, was obliged to abandon his chariot. There is no doubt all this was done by supernatural agency; God sent his angel and confounded them. Footnote

Henry

God himself routs the enemy's army (Judges 4:15). Barak, in obedience to Deborah's orders, went down into the valley, though there upon the plain the iron chariots would have so much the more advantage against him, quitting his fastnesses upon the mountain in dependence upon the divine power; for in vain is salvation hoped for from hills and mountains; in the Lord alone is the salvation of his people, Jer. 3:23. And he was not deceived in his confidence: The Lord discomfited Sisera. It was not so much the bold and surprising alarm which Barak gave their camp that dispirited and dispersed them, but God's terror seized their spirits and put them into an unaccountable confusion. The stars, it seems, fought against them (Judges 5:20). Josephus says that a violent storm of hail which beat in their faces gave them this rout, disabled them, and drove them back; so that they became a very easy prey to the army of Israel, and Deborah's words were made good: “The Lord has delivered them into your hand; it is now in your power to do what you will with them.” Footnote

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown

Broken and routed, the main body of Sisera's army fled northward; others were forced into the Kishon and drowned (see on Judges 5:21). Footnote

Josephus

Josephus says there was a great tempest of rain and hail, and the wind blew the rain in their faces, which so blinded their eyes, that their slings and arrows were of no use to them; and they that bore armour were so benumbed, that they could not hold their swords. Something of this kind is intimated by Deborah in her song (Judges 5:20); and this was accompanied or followed by a slaughter. Footnote

 


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The preposition which precedes mouth is the prefixed lâmed, which generally means to, for, before. Lâmed properly notes motion, or, at least direction, and a turning towards something. It has a myriad of meanings:  one use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. No Strong’s # BDB #510.


Judges 4:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology