After leading Jehovah’s people for many years, Joshua died at the age of 110. As long as he was alive, the Israelites worshipped Jehovah. But after Joshua died, they began to worship idols, as the Canaanites did. Because the Israelites did not keep following him, Jehovah allowed a Canaanite king named Jabin to make life hard for them. The people begged Jehovah for help. So Jehovah gave them a new leader, Barak. He would help the people return to Jehovah.
Deborah, a prophetess, sent for Barak. She had a message for him from Jehovah: ‘Take 10,000 men, and go meet Jabin’s army at the stream of Kishon. There you will defeat Sisera, the chief of Jabin’s army.’ Barak told Deborah: ‘I will go but only if you come with me.’ She said: ‘I will go with you. But know that you are not the one who will kill Sisera. Jehovah has said that a woman will kill him.’
Deborah went with Barak and his army up to Mount Tabor to prepare for battle. As soon as Sisera heard about this, he gathered his war chariots and troops in the valley below. Deborah said to Barak: ‘Today is the day that Jehovah will give you victory.’ Barak and his 10,000 men charged down the mountain to meet Sisera’s powerful army.
Jehovah then caused the stream of Kishon to flood. Sisera’s war chariots got stuck in the mud. Sisera left his chariot and began running. Barak and his soldiers defeated Sisera’s army, but Sisera escaped! He ran away and hid in the tent of a woman named Jael. She gave him milk to drink and then covered him with a blanket. The tired warrior fell asleep. Then Jael quietly crept toward him and drove a tent pin into his head. He died.
Barak came looking for Sisera. Jael stepped out of her tent and said: ‘Come inside. I will show you the man you are looking for.’ Barak went inside and saw Sisera lying there dead. Barak and Deborah praised Jehovah in song for giving the Israelites victory over their enemies. For the next 40 years, Israel had peace.
“The women proclaiming the good news are a large army.”—Psalm 68:11
What can the Bible’s account of Deborah teach us about faith and courage?