Deborah Judges Israel

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Judges 4:1-24, Judges 5:1-31, Zephaniah 3:14-17, Luke 1:68-75

In my soccer-loving family, one of our post-game rituals on the ride home is the conversation and commentary about the game—replaying it in our heads and celebrating a win. All of that occurs over milkshakes, of course. 

In today’s Scripture passage, we get a front-row seat for a similar ritual. We first read of God’s triumph through Deborah and Barak and then delight in the post-battle song celebrating God’s victory.

When chapter 4 begins, we learn that Israel has been under King Jabin’s harsh oppression for twenty long, hard years. Deborah commissions Barak to go to battle against him and conveys a promise from the Lord that God would hand over Sisera, the commander of King Jabin’s army, to Barak (Judges 4:6–7). Even when Barak hesitated (v.8) and God determined that a woman would instead defeat Sisera, His promise of deliverance stood firm. 

A guaranteed triumph waited. Let’s look at how God’s perfect battle plan came together. 

First, God showed His perfect timing. After Barak and Deborah journey to Mount Tabor to prepare for battle, God directs Deborah to tell Barak the exact time to go after Sisera: “Go! This is the day….Hasn’t the LORD gone before you?” (v.14). 

Then, in God’s perfect, pre-battle plan, while Barak is still making his way to the river Kishon, God begins the battle: “The LORD threw Sisera, all his charioteers, and all his army into a panic before Barak’s assault” (v.15).

As the battle transpires, God sends a perfect storm that floods the plains and disables the army’s chariots. “The skies poured rain, and the clouds poured water” (Judges 5:4); “the earth trembled,” and “the mountains melted” (vv.4,5); “the stars fought from the heavens,” and “the river Kishon swept them away” (vv.20–21). 

Though the Israelites pushed the enemy back, landing Barak in the hall of faith (Hebrews 11:32–34), we find two women at either end of this victory, appointed and empowered by God. In the beginning, it’s Deborah’s God-inspired urging that spurs the battle (Judges 4:6,14) and at the end, it’s Jael who quietly ties up the battle with a tent peg (v.21).

The battle is always His (Exodus 14:14). Regardless of Barak’s military experience or Deborah’s wisdom, God is the One who gave the wisdom and expertise in the first place. He goes before us (Judges 4:14) and He turns back our enemy (Zephaniah 3:14). We can count on His deliverance, for He has raised up the horn of salvation for us all (Luke 1:68-69). 

Thank you, Lord, that you are mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17). 

(47) Comments

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47 thoughts on "Deborah Judges Israel"

  1. Drew Warren says:


  2. Juliana Gall says:


  3. Kassady Ledet says:


  4. Rahjanique Locklear says:

    “The battle is always his”

  5. Tess B says:


  6. Maria Baer says:

    As a retired Army officer I LOVE this story because it is very rare we see women in the Bible leading armies. As a Christian I LOVE this story because it shows that our God is in control and He will use the least expected for great things in the name of His glory. You are mighty to save indeed!

  7. Adrien Petersen says:

    I’ve always loved this story! “The battle is always His.”❤️ just the reminder I needed today!

  8. Deborah Haynes says:

    Just proof that God goes to battle for us! The victory is always His!

  9. Jennifer says:

    I’ve been following these studies for a while now and I don’t usually comment, but I felt the need to today! This story always makes me think back to the prophesy given to Adam and Eve in the garden about the serpant having his head crushed by the offspring of the woman. I truly believe this story is a small foreshadowing to the story of our Redeemer who crushed our enemy’s head! Thank you Jesus for your victory ❤️

  10. Kristin Porter says:

    Thank you

  11. Jenny Stubbs says:


  12. Annie Morel says:

    So much here! Wow

  13. Erica Chiarelli says:

    Our God has the battle! It is His, and He is mighty to save !

  14. Lorena Wance says:


  15. Sandra Myers says:

    Just some thoughts: I dug into this a bit, and the tradition of nomadic peoples in this region was of renown hospitality. When Sisera asked for water, it would have been her people’s custom to go over and above what was asked to give him better, milk. Moreover, in Middle Eastern cultures the milk would have been warm…what better way to lull an exhausted, war-weary man to sleep.

  16. Sandra Myers says:

    I read over this Chapter again this morning, and I’m puzzled…why is Barak not a “judge?” He was “commanded” by “the Lord” and rescued and delivered Israel, “I will hand him over to you.” (v. 6-7)

  17. Allison Bentley says:

    The battle is always His!!! Amen and Amen!!! Lord help me to remember this very important fact about You!

  18. Mackenzie Firestein says:


  19. Searching says:

    Obedience and disobedience…blessings and consequences. Brave women and men, seeking the Lord, following His directions, trusting His plan. Reminds me of the song Trust and Obey – the last lines are “What He says we will do; Where He sends, we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey.”

    As others have mentioned, I can’t read these scriptures without thinking about current events. Praying for Israel, Ukraine, the innocent and the lost.

    MERCY – So true.

    RHONDA J – praying for the ladies in your jail ministry


    CEE GEE and TRACI GENDRON – yes, Judges 5:31, like the rising of the sun in its strength. We should be spreading His light to the world each day.

    GRAMSIESUE – agree!

    MARIA GORKUNOVA – praying for family in Israel

  20. Cindy Hanna says:

    @ Sarah Carmona. I confess the milk/cream incident made me curious too. To make matters worse my study notes in the NIV goes into an explanation about “curdled” milk which didn’t seem to apply and made no sense to me at all.

  21. Alayna P. says:

    As people keep disobeying, it becomes harder to trust in humanity, but at the same time, I become more amazed by God’s mercy and grace. Even though Israel kept turning away from Him, God kept working with them.

  22. Mercy says:

    The reading of today reminds me of a funny meme that says, “When I say I want a biblical wife, what people think I mean: I want a wife who is passive and subservient, but what I really mean: I want a wife who is totally willing to drive a tent spike into a tyrant’s head should the opportunity arise”. What a courageous warrior Jael is. I am just so amazed that God has built up His people, and set them up at the right time, right place for a job like this. Did she know that morning when she woke up she would do such a daring task for generations to oohh and ahhh? How incredible that God would train his children to conquer. And thank you to our she’s in yesterday comments that mentioned God trained the young generations for the art of war, for we are always in a spiritual warfare translating to earthly warfare, even women need to war as well. Jael clearly identified well and discerned God’s will. There is a time to kill, a time to wage war, and a time to do the exact opposite. May we learn to discern the time. There are media protests against Israel saying they should not fight back against their enemies, how totally unacceptable this is, but look at Jael, she tricked her enemy telling him, come in and don’t be afraid, with milk and cozy blanket to lull, and bam, hammer. And the Bible calls her MOST blessed (“Most blessed of women be Jael”-Judges 5:24). God’s ways are very different than people’s ways. Jael was probably called all kinds of evil names in the news and social media report of the other side. But may God’s word trump all, over the worldview of men. May we learn from this lesson and discern, when to love the enemies, and when to grab a tent peg. Be blessed dear sisters.

  23. Teresa Donley says:

    MARIA GORKUNOVA – I’m sure you are concerned about your grandfather’s family in Israel. I am praying for God’s protection and safety over them.
    RHONDA J. – my heart goes out to the ladies in your prison Bible study group. I’m glad you were able to share with them that God will fight their battles. I’m praying for the bullies to back off, for these ladies’ safety, and for your prison ministry to bring God’s word to women in this situation.
    SHARON JERSEY GIRL – your reminder that even our enemies have mothers who love them is very timely. When I see the pictures and videos of the crying, injured children in both Israel and Gaza, I am so moved to pray for the innocents in this war. Our reading today is certainly timely. I’m praying for God’s protection and for Israel to be able to destroy Hamas without also destroying innocent civilians and children.
    Praying for God’s blessings on all of you wonderful ladies. I enjoy studying with you so much.

  24. Claire B says:


  25. Mary henderson says:

    Such an encouraging story of these 2 women, Deborah and Jael. May we always be ready to follow God’s leading in this spiritual battle on earth.

  26. Sharon Jersey Girl says:

    All through this story we see God leading, protecting & winning the battle over the enemy. It is the same for us today. It is God who goes before us everyday in every situation. He leads – we are to follow. When we follow Him we are safe, protected and we can know that He will fight (and win!) our battles for us. He delights in us and sings over us – wow! How blessed we are to be daughters of the King!

    One sad note stood out to me though, in Judges 5:28-30 when Sisera’s mother stands at the window watching and waiting for her son to return…Even our enemies have moms that love their children & want them safely to return. In my praying I try to remember the family members of those who have greatly wronged others – they need Christ too, & He died for all, even the vilest sinner.

    May God go before each of us today – hemming us in, before and behind! Blessings sisters!

  27. Traci Gendron says:

    A few verses stood out to me. Judges 5:31 “But may those who love him be like the rising of the sun in its strength.” Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will be quiet in his love. He will delight in you with singing.” And Luke 1:73 “to grant that we having been rescued from the hand of our enemies, would serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness in his presence all our days.”

  28. Cee Gee says:

    I, too, love Zephaniah 3:17, but this verse stood out to me today.: Judges 5:31b
    .. “may those who love him
    be like the rising of the sun in its strength.”
    Agreeing with your prayer, TAYLOR, and remembering each of you and your requests.

  29. Cheryl Blow says:

    I love this verse in Zephaniah!

    17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
    he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
    he will exult over you with loud singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

    It truly is the Lord who saves and goes before us! We just have to be obedient when He tells us to get up and go!

  30. Karen Sumpter says:

    The passage from Luke 1… what a time to pray that word for the Israelis!

  31. Jane K says:

    Praying for Israel this morning and the oppression and heartache that is taking place there. May God intercede on their behalf and turn His peoples’ eyes towards Jesus the Messiah! I love reading about Deborah and how God used this woman of God to lead her people.

  32. GramsieSue says:

    The battle at Megiddo was more than just a conflict between opposing armies. It was a conflict between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. We either love Christ and walk in the light, or we are His enemy and perish in the darkness. – Wiersbe

    Praying we all continue to walk in the light.
    Hugs to all ❤️

  33. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Good morning she’s! I ordered the study books for the first time yesterday because I really want the maps (Kelly!). Lucky to be here with you all again.

  34. Jessica H says:

    I’ve read this story many times. The thing that stood out to me new today was that they had been oppressed for twenty years. Twenty years of being subject to an oppressive foreign king! But then God changed it all in one day! Yes, they had time to prepare and there was a time of waiting before the battle, but in one day God changed everything for this generation of Israelites. That gives me such hope. Even if the oppression feels long, God can turn everything around in His power. Praying that day comes quickly for this of us that have felt oppressed by something for a long time.

  35. Maria Gorkunova says:

    Reading the book of Judges at the time when a real war broke out in Israel is both challenging and relieving. My grandfather’s family lives there. Praying for them. I loved how today’s devotional ended with a reminder of who God is ,what He did in the past and is doing for his people now. Ultimately, He is the one in control no matter what. That brings great comfort and hope.

  36. Rhonda J. says:

    Good Morning

    This reading reminds me of Phil Wickham’s song “The Battle Belongs to You!” Big or small. We really emphasized this to a couple of sweet, struggling ladies that come to our weekly meeting at jail. They usually are upbeat, but they say the atmosphere is so toxic and they are getting bullied as well. We told them that God fights their battles, to pray and trust. I know that it must be hard when you/we are stuck and surrounded by giants around you/us. The Lord can turn things around, move mountains, and bring us out of the fire. Praise God, that we can put our faith in Him in our fear and anxiousness.

  37. Adrienne says:

    Luke 1:71… That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us… My heart breaks for Israel right now. Lord, save them from their enemies! The battle is Yours.

    The story of Jael baffled me this morning. I had to dive deep into the notes of my study Bible. Why would Jael kill Sisera, when her hubby was his ally? My notes told me that she ultimately had greater allegiance to her country than to her husband… and that we must obey God, rather than men, (That part helped me immensely.)

    Be blessed today, sweet sisters. He is on YOUR side!

    And P.S. I DID read late morning/afternoon/evening comments last night rather than this am… game changer!

  38. Brenda Boss says:

    She gives him more than he asks for. Making him feel safe. Also milk has a hypnagogic effect to make him sleepy. Full tummy covered in blankets he slept

  39. Stephanie Lasley says:

    Thank God for his protection and his promise that we are never alone in our struggles in life…he is right with us, going ahead of us on our behalf…thank you God! When I read about Deborah this morning it made me think about Harriet Tubman. These two wise women of God and their obedience to God is what lead many to freedom.

  40. Sarah Carmona says:

    One thing that made me curious… Is there a significance behind Jael giving Sisera milk over water? They even celebrate this in Deborah’s song saying she gave him a bowl full of cream. Does this mean anything?

  41. Taylor says:

    Praying the Lord’s sovereignty, grace, mercy, and peace over the real-life battles happening in our world. Praying that we have eyes to see God moving in the figurative battles in our own lives. Lifting up the prayer requests <3

  42. Diana Yelverton says:


  43. Elaine Morgan says:

    Thank you, Lord, that you are mighty to save! I love it!!

  44. Aimee D-R says:

    What a reminder that the battle and the victory are the Lords! Amen

  45. Caroline Hovey says:

    Zephaniah 3:17 is my all time favorite verse! Loved reading it this morning!

  46. Kelly (NEO) says:

    TINA – :-/

    Every reading this week, I wished I had a map to see where things were happening. That’s the Bible geek coming out :-)

    ALEIDA – praying the visit with Victor is going well.

    LYNN FROM AL – praying the Lord is encouraging you as you care for Jack

    Prayers for all you Shes today.

  47. Tina says:

    Wrote a whole lot of thoughts down, moving a bit of fluff off my screen, press the turn back button… All is lost!!

    So, here it is in short, I have never been in a battle, but, so very thankful that should I ever have to be in one, that the battle is always His. That I need only look to Him, hold fast to Him, trust Him.

    My hope is built on nothing less..

    BUT GOD..


    Happy Thursday beautiful women of God, so absolutely wrapped in love and hugs and prayers..❤