A record of two valiant sisters

1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of Yahweh, when Ehud was dead.

The time of the judges was a time when Israel had deserted the pioneers (Joshua and Othniel) and turned to the heathen worldliness in about three generations (Jud 2: 10-13). This falling away was characterised as "every man doing that which is right in his own eyes" 17: 6,21,25). In other words a Sardian type of apostasy had set in, so Yahweh allowed their enemies to overrun them (Deut 28).

There was then a need for faithful brethren, who were not afraid to stand apart, to fight both the corrupt tolerant spiritual standards, but also to fight and defeat the enemy without.

This is the spiritual warfare against diabolos within and without, in a word the Antipas - "against all" witness (Rev 2: 13, 2Cor 10:4-6). This is what we see in Deborah (bee) and Barak (lightning).

The Apocalyptic Messenger, May 2019.

5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Devorah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Deborah was judge, a mother in Israel, yet in spite of gentle maternal qualilties, she had great courage and clear sight above that of brethren (rather like Golda Meir when modern Israel was faced with similar threats of annihilation by superior numbers and armies).

Where were the faithful brethren to take on diabolos the enemy?

Deborah lived under a palm tree (symbol of victory through suffering) between Ramah (height, high place and Bethel (House of El). Deborah chose the high places of God rather than the high places of Baal worship or centre of apostacy.

This is a choice all in Christ have to make. To be loyal to the Truth or follow the path of compromise and deceit.

The Apocalyptic Messenger, May 2019.

6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not Yahweh Elohim of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee 10 000 men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?

7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.

8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.

Barak needed the support of Deborah to undertake the warfare against diabolos, revealling his shaky faith and fear. This support she willingly gives. But there is a consequence...Yahweh would sell Sisera into the hand, not of Barak, but of Jael.

9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for Yahweh shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Devorah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

The Apocalyptic Messenger, May 2019. 

11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.

Heber the Kenite pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim

This is on the furthest north border of the land, above the Waters of Merom, near the Dan settlement at Laish. Heber had moved from the extreme south to the extreme north, still on the open border. Again we see the characteristics of this people, choosing the less frequented border areas. And we note his dwelling is a tent, though Israel were now long settled in cities and houses.

The occasion is that of Deborah and Barak against Sisera and Jabin king of Hazor. In verse 17 we learn-

"There was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite."

It may seem strange that there should be peace between this cruel Canaanite oppressor of Israel and a member of the Kenites who had always been on such close and sympathetic terms with Israel. But it was just peace: not a league or alli-ance. It is in complete harmony with the general history of the Kenites who appear at peace with many discordant elements.

Certainly there is no doubt where Jael's sympathies lay in the conflict, and it would be unnatural to assume she was acting contrary to the sentiments of her husband Heber. She was not betraying an alliance: she was merely bringing to justice a vicious criminal.

Generally the Kenites seemed to dwell apart from the conflicts and rivalries of their more powerful and settled neighbours, but on two significant occasions in Israel's history, of which this was one, they struck a decisive blow for the people of God.

Many times it would have been inappropriate for them to intervene, for God was frequently deservedly punishing Israel. On the two occasions they are recorded as intervening, it was in support of a man God had demonstrably raised up and was working with against current evils.

Bro Growcott - BYT 2. 4