Old Testament

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What did Deborah, the only female judge, do?

During Deborah’s time as judge, the Israelites won a major battle that began a forty-year time of peace. Before this battle, the Israelites were subject to King Jabin of Canaan. Sisera was the commander of King Jabin’s army. Deborah summoned the warrior Barak, and told him God would give him success if he drew out Sisera. Barak said he would do it if Deborah went with him. So Barak and Deborah drew out Sisera and his army. God caused Sisera’s army to panic. The Israelites killed every single man in Sisera’s army. Sisera, however, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. There was peace between the Kenites and the Canaanites, so Sisera thought his escape plan was good. If ever a man was wrong, it was Sisera. Jael fed Sisera and gave him a place to rest. While Sisera slept, Jael “picked up a tent peg and a hammer, and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.” (NIV, Judges 4:21) Jael was not an Israelite. The Bible does not say why she acted on behalf of the Israelites. Perhaps, like Rahab, Jael knew the wonders God had worked through the Israelites, and recognized him as the one true God.


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