Judges part 3 Chapter 4-8

 

Tonight we are continuing on in our study of the book of Judges. Tonight we will look at the Deborah and Gideon from chapter 4 throughchapter 8. Lets begin in Chapter 4.

 

Judges 4:1 When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD.2 So the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth Hagoyim.3 And the children of Israel cried out to the LORD; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he harshly oppressed the children of Israel.4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.

 

Once again we see when the judge Ehud died they children of Israel sin against God and once again oppressed by their enemy for 20 years. This was very strong enemy because they possessed these 900 chariots of iron which to most people back then made them seem invincible. Now for the very first time we see a women appointed as a judge she also called a mother of Israel in Judges 5:7. Apparently during this time there wasnít any men up to the task of being a Judge so God uses Deborah as his voice.

 

Judges 4:5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.6 Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, "Has not the LORD God of Israel commanded, 'Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun;7 'and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand'?"

 

Here we see her doing the work of a Judge the people come toher with their questions of the law or disputes that needto be settled and she would tell them God judgment on these matters. She also had message for Barak that God has commanded him to take his men and go destroy Jabinís army. But notice Barak response,

 

Judges 4:8 And Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!"9 So she said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.

 

Now some might ask why did he want to bring her along. To me it seems he wanted to bring her along because he knew that she a judge for God and he it would make him feel more confident knowing he had a messenger of God with him.Now sheagrees to go. Now there are 2 different views on what she meant when she says nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman."

1. Some believe that she is saying that if you take me you will not receive any glory for this battle because it will attributed to me.

2. Deborah is simply prophesying of how the women Jael would kill Sisera the commander of Jabins army with her own hands. I personally believe this second view is the correct one and it also the most popular one.

 

In either case we can know that God is going to have a hand in this battle are really and truly the honor should go to him.

 

Judges 4:10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.12 And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor.13 So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon.14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the LORD gone out before you?" So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.15 And the LORD routed 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 foot.16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth Hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.

 

So Barak gathers up hismen and lead them into battle by the word of Deborah. Now remember the children of Israel are on foot and they donít have any chariots of iron but they do have God on their side. Notice again verse 15 15 And the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak.

Notice it was the Lord who confused this might army and they became like scared rabbits and tried flee but Barak and his men chased them and destroyed every last one of them except for their commander Sisera.

 

Judges 4: 17 However, Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, "Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear." And when he had turned aside with her into the tent, she covered him with a blanket.19 Then he said to her, "Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty." So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him.20 And he said to her, "Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes and inquires of you, and says, 'Is there any man here?' you shall say, 'No.' "21 Then Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.22 And then, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, "Come, I will show you the man whom you seek." And when he went into her tent, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple.23 So on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel.24 And the hand of the children of Israel grew stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

 

Here Sisera thought he was safe and Jael made him feel safe but then while he was sleeping she ran a tent stake through his head. Now according to historians the women of that period usually were the ones thatdrove the tents stakes into the ground as the tent was being set up so this would tells us the she was very skilled at using a hammer and a tent stake. Again this seems to be what Deborahhad in mind when she said that God would sell Sisera into the hand of a women. As the text goes we see the children of Israel continue to get stronger and stronger until the completely defeat their enemy. In Chapter 5 Deborah and Barak sing a song about the battle they had went through and at the end of this chapter it says they had rest for 40 years.

 

Now some people today try use Deborah to justify women preachers today. However, thiscannot be done. First of all this was OT event and as we know our authority comes from the NT only. Just that alone would show that you cant use Deborah to justify women preacher today. Second of all you donít Deborah preaching to the masses instead the people came to her for judgment and even in the case with Barak she didnít she didnít try to take the leadership role instead she tried to encourage him to take the lead of his army and that is exactly what he did. In chapter 4:10 states that his army was under his command and that he brought along Deborah with him. So there is no justification from the story of Deborah which gives women the right to preach to mixed assemblies today.

 

The rest of our lesson will be focused in on our next judge Gideon. Now in chapter 6:1-10 we find out that the children of Israel turn their back on God again and now they are oppressed by Midianites for 7 years and in verse 7 they children of Israel cry out to God and he sends a prophet to them telling them not to worry he would soon deliver them from their enemy.

 

Judges 6:11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!" 13 Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?"

 

Here we see God is going to use Gideon to save the children of Israel. I like how Gideon ask why have forsake us where are miracles why arenít you helping us? Notice Gideon response when he finds out that God wants him to be the solution to problem and save Israel.

Judges 6:15 So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."16 And the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man."

 

You sometimes when you ask a question you may not like the answer. Gideon like who me but I to weak what can I possible do. There are many us who think like Gideon today. We can recognize a problemthat needs to be taken care of and we might even complain to others well why isnít that being done? Well perhaps if you recognize something needs to be done why donít you take care of it instead of relying uponsomeone else to do it. Donít be like Gideon in this particular instance and just complain about a problem or think that you are to weak to do it instead realize that God is on your side and that you can do anything that you will put your mind to and allow to God to help you accomplish it.

 

In verse 17-24 Gideon want sign from the angel of the Lord to make sure that the message is true so goes and brings back meat and bread and the angle of the Lord causes them to be consumed by fire. He now has his sign and now notice Gideonís first task.

 

Judges 6:25 Now it came to pass the same night that the LORD said to him, "Take your father's young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it;26 "and build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down."27 So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the LORD had said to him. But because he feared his father's household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.

 

So Gideon follows these orders and next morning when they found out who did this they said he should be killed. But Gideonís fathers eyes had been opened and he said no if someone wants to plead for Baal let them be put to death or let Baal himself strike my son dead. I think the great wake up call for them and they realized that if Baal was a trueGod he would have prevented Gideon from tearing down his alter in the first place. They give Gideon the name Jerubbaal which literally means ďlet Baal pleadĒ. Now the rest of the chapter is where Gideon wants another sign to prove that he truly is the one to save Israel. In fact he asks for 2 sings first he wants the fleece of wool to be wet and the ground dry and the second time he wants the fleece of wool dry and ground wet. Well God shows him these signs and that brings us to chapter 7.

 

Judges 7:11 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.2 And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'3 "Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.' " And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' the same shall not go."5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink."6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water.7 Then the LORD said to Gideon, "By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place."8 So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent, and retained those three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

 

You see God didnít want these men to think that they were defeating this enemy by their own strength. So first he weeds out the fearful which took care of 22,000 of these men leaving 10,000. But God said this is to many so he narrowed down by only choosing those who took a drink of water from their hand instead of straight from the stream. This narrowed it down to 300 men. Please keep in mind that they would battling approximately 135,000 Midianites but this was how God wanted it so that there would be no doubt that God was the one in control of this battle.

 

Judges 7:9 It happened on the same night that the LORD said to him, "Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand.10 "But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant,11 "and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp." Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp.12 Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.

 

Now really interesting to me. Notice God tells them if the afraid go down and to your enemies camp and hear what they have to say. Obviously Gideon was scared because he went down to the camp but think about what they saw. They seen this huge army with so many camels they couldnít even count them. Now think how scary that would be know their there was just 300 of you. Now God didnít just send them down there to see their camp he wanted them to hear what they were saying and what they heard is what would not make them beafraid.

 

Judges 7:13 And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, "I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed."14 Then his companion answered and said, "This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp."15 And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, "Arise, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand."

 

You see even their enemies knew that God was going to strike them by hand of Gideon and this gave them Gideon the confidence that he would need to face this huge army. Lets now read about the battle.

 

Judges 7:16 Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers.17 And he said to them, "Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do:18 "When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, 'The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!' "19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands.20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers -- they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing -- and they cried, "The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!"21 And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled.22 When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.23 And the men of Israel gathered together from Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh, and pursued the Midianites.

 

This a great battle tactic that wouldconfuse their enemy into thinking that there was a huge army surrounding them as theyheard all the trumpets and people yelling out the sword of the Lord and Gideon. All of this took place in the middle of the night causing even more confusion. According to verse 22 God used this confusion against them and it says that they killing each other and then those who survived were running for their lives and the Children of Israel pursued them and this pursuit continues on in Chapter 8 and we learn that not one single person of the children of Israel had lost their life. In chapter 8 while they were continuing their battle they asked several places for food and they refused and Gideon told them they would pay for not feeding them and sure enough they did and so ends the battle in verse 21. Now lets see what happens in,

 

Judges 8:22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian."23 But Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you."

 

I love Gideonís answer here, he lets them know I am not your ruler I am not your king God is and he will rule over you.

 

Judges 8:24 Then Gideon said to them, "I would like to make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder." For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.25 So they answered, "We will gladly give them." And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder.26 Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels' necks.27 Then Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house.

 

Here Gideon probably had good intention but it seems every time something is made from Gold and the like the children of Israel turn it into an idol. That exactly what had done with this ephod and notice it became a snare to Gideon and his house. We need to be careful that we donít allow or material things to become an idol to us where we put more emphasis on an object instead of on God. In last part of this chapter we learn that Gideon lived to a ripe old age and he multiple wives and 70 sons and as soon as he died Israel sins against God once again.