Deborah and Barak


Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. 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. 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’?” 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.” And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him. Judges 4:4-10.

Barak sometimes gets some flak for not wanting to fight Sisera unless Deborah went with him. I always thought Barak wanted to make sure that the person who gave the word to fight was as invested as the person who did the fighting. Besides, Hebrews 11:32 records Barak as a man of faith, listed alongside Gideon, Samson, Samuel and David.

For his uncertainty about her word to fight Sisera, Deborah tells him that Sisera would be delivered to a woman. He probably thought she was talking about herself, but it turned out to be Jael, who killed Sisera whole he slept.

In the final analysis, it is not unreasonable to want the prophet to be at risk for his or her declarations.

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