Judges Chapters 4 -5
Deborah was a prophet, a leader (otherwise known as a Judge) in Israel as well as the wife of Lappidoth (Judges 4:4).
In Deborah's day Israel had no overall leader. Everyone did whatever they pleased and the nation fell into sin and were oppressed by the Canaanites (Judges 21:25).
Jabin was the Canaanite king during the era of Deborah. Sisera was the commander of Jabin's army. The Canaanite army was the super-power of the day. It could boast of nine hundred iron chariots. Jabin literally ruled the people of Israel with cruelty and violence for twenty years. This is the situation Deborah found herself.
As a woman Deborah was not the only prophetess in the Old Testament. There were several - Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), Noadiah (Nehemiah 6:14;) and Isaiah's unnamed wife (Isaiah 8:3). Despite the male dominated nature of the culture of those days, women still played a major role in the spiritual life of the nation. They still do today.
Deborah was a Judge (leader) in Israel. The people came to her to have their disputes settled (Judges 4:4). This again shows the status, wisdom and respect she commanded in the community. Although we know little about her husband, we are told she was married. Marriage was never designed to be a hindrance to woman but rather a blessing.
Israel's deliverance from the oppression of the Canaanites began when Deborah summoned Barak. Speaking as a prophet, she told him to assemble 10,000 troops from some of the tribes of Israel. She prophesied that Sisera would come and attack barak and his army and that Sisera would be defeated.
In the natural it would have been a stupid thing for Barak to do. Firstly, Barak's fighters were not professional soldiers. They were simple tribesmen. Secondly, Sisera, as we have already mentioned, had a well equipped army with iron chariots. It all sounded like a suicide mission for Barak.
It is not surprising then that Barak insisted that Deborah come along with him (Judges 4:8-10). Her presence would encourage the hastily picked troops he was to assemble. Even he knew that confidence and faith in God's promise is vital for victory.
Deborah did not allow the fact that she was a woman living in a patriarchy hinder her ministry. She was the first (and only) woman Judge of Israel. Despite the fact that she lived in a time when men seemed to dominate everything she did not allow this to hinder her.
Although Deborah did not lack confidence nor did she allow pride to taint her. In the heat of the battle she clearly identified that 'Does not the Lord go out before you?” (Judges 4:14)' She never got carried away with her own significance. It is a godly attitude that promotes a person. People will respect and heed to your ministry once they see the love and character of God flowing out from you. Women of God please take note.
Once the fighting starts Deborah is no longer in the picture. Rather another woman called Jael comes on the scene.
Jael means mountain goat. Indeed Jael was a free ranger.
Jael is an intriguing character. She was the wife of Heber the Kenite. The Kenites were the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses. They had made peace with Jabin, the King of the Canaanites (Judges 4:17-18). Sisera in fleeing Barak rightly thought he could find protection in Jael's tent. She ended up killing him (Judges 4:17-24).
Deborah's reign brought forty years of peace to Israel (Judges 5:31). Forty years is a long time. A whole generation had peace because of the godly behaviour of one woman. Now it’s your time.