Study Guide

Book of Judges Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Girl Power: Deborah The Prophetess, Meet Jael The Head-Smasher

  • Ehud dies and—yep, you guessed it—Israel turns away from God again.
  • This time they're conquered by Jabin, the king of Canaan.
  • Israel cries unto the Lord. Wait—haven't we seen this episode before?
  • Luckily for them, God raises up an awesome judge: Deborah, a prophetess and the only female judge in the book. Girl power!
  • Deborah tells Barak, an Israelite general, that God commands him to take 10,000 soldiers from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and attack Jabin's army. She promises that God will give them victory.
  • Barak says he'll only go to battle if Deborah comes, and she does, but lets him know that it won't be him who kills Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army—it'll be a woman!
  • Barak leads his 10,000 men against Sisera's army, including 900 chariots of iron.
  • Barak's army kills every last one of Sisera's men—except for Sisera. He's hiding at his friend Heber's tent. Looks like things are about to get really in-tents.
  • Heber's wife, Jael, goes out to meet Sisera, "and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not" (KJV 4:18). If your friend's wife ever says these words to you, run away.
  • Sisera tells Jael not to tell anyone he's in the tent. "Sure, Siss. No problem," she says, tucking him into bed with some milk.
  • After he drifts off to sleep, Jael "took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground" (KJV 4:21).
  • And with that, Jabin was defeated. Ladies for the win!

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