Judges 5: 6-7, 12
(But read Judges 4-5 if you want the background to the whole story)
Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to
yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.
Several characters appear in this
incident in the Book of Judges.
Deborah was one of the twelve judges of Israel. She was the only woman and the only prophetess. She prophesied Israel’s victory over their captives at the hand of a woman.
Barak was the man who led Israel against their oppressors (but only agreed to do so if Deborah would accompany him). The status of these two as leaders of their people is shown when they are described as riding on white donkeys.
Jabin was the king of an area of Canaan called Hazor. Whilst there are other kings of the same
name in the area over time, excavations have indicated that many of the kings of this area carried that name.
Sisera was the leader of Jabin’s army. But he was fighting God when he came against the
Israelites and, in the end, was the only one of his troops left standing as he fled the battle field and sought refuge in the tent of one whom he thought was an ally. Going to a woman’s tent, he
was less likely to be found by the pursuing army. Jael was a woman whose husband had sympathies with Jabin. Her assassination of Sisera would have been seen as a horrendous crime for two reasons. Not only was her family at peace with Jabin; but she defied the rules of hospitality by inviting him into her tent and then killing him
There are two accounts of the battle that ensued. Judges 4 is the news bulletin which describes
the actual battle. Judges 5, on the other hand, is a poetic account of the same battle. It was not
uncommon for battles and other significant events to be commemorated as a poem.
Archeological excavations have revealed evidence that there was a large battle causing mass
destruction in the area at this time. The nearby city was not rebuilt until many years later in the
time of Solomon.
The story of Deborah would have occurred during the second half of the thirteenth century BC.
The Israelites had been sold as slaves to Jabin. The extent of the destruction of the Israelites’ day to day life is evident when it was recorded that people were too afraid to travel on the main
roads. Israel was helpless. However, after the battle, Judges 5:31 states that the land had forty
years of peace.
NB: The issues to be discussed can be challenging and emotional this week. Stop when you need to in order to pray for one another. Listen and hear what is said and what is shown through words and body language. Be sensitive and consider everything that is discussed as confidential. Have healing oil for anointing available and use it as necessary.
Who is the most courageous woman you know? Why do you choose her? (Name a
woman you know rather than one you have read about or have seen on a news feed.)
- The second Sunday of the month is a time of healing. What is the greatest grief/pain you
are carrying at the moment? Share briefly with one another as much as you are able.
Remember, being vulnerable in one another’s presence contributes to the sense of
community between you. Such vulnerability invites you to hold one another gently in
- What role is God calling you to play at this time? Each one of us has an area of influence
where we can lead, encourage, support, and comfort others. What is your role and who
can you help?
- What stands in your way, holding you back from becoming the person God wants you to
be? Who is that person? And who are you today?
- How has your faith changed in the last 18 months? Has it deepened or weakened? What
do you find changes the level of your faith? How can you put into practice activities
that deepen your faith?
- What legacy would you like to leave? How do you want people to remember you? If you
were to use one word to describe this legacy, what would it be?
- Jesus Christ died that we may be set free from the shackles of sin that bind us. What
freedom are you experiencing at this time as a result?
- How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?
You may have prayed during the session as people have named their struggles. Even so, pray
again for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time,
and in regard to other needs of the group.
End your prayer time with these words:
Abba, even as we have looked at ourselves we are aware there are so many people who are
struggling with abuse, oppression and gender-based violence. You have promised restoration. So
we pray together today that you will restore the broken-hearted, the abused, and the oppressed;
heal their wounds, their grief and their pain. And do the same for us, Abba, where there is a need.
Hear our prayers and give us the humility, love and compassion we need to care for one another
and the courage to fulfill the role you have given to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
You have spoken of who God wants you to be and who you are at this time. Whether you have
heard God or not during this discussion, spend time this coming week with Him asking Him to
show you the person He wants you to become. As He reveals this to you take one step and reach
out to someone in response to His leading.
Adeyomo, Tokunhoh, et al. Africa Bible Commentary. WordAlive Publishers, Nairoi, Kenya, 2006
NIV Archaeological Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005