June 26, 2010

Examining The Scripture XXXIX: Fighting Women 1.0 & 2.0

In the pattern of Israel apostatizing and God raising up a judge, this would be Israel’s 3rd apostasy out of 7 in the book of Judges (McGee 45). The root of the spiritual apostasy was the worship of Baal and Ashtaroth (Judges 2:3) because the Israelites had not driven out all those that were in the land before them (Judges 1). Every time the Israelites called on God even though they had backslid, He had mercy on them. He sent the Judges. What we have in Judges 4 & 5 are two different versions of Deborah and Barak’s (king of Kadesh) victory at Kishon and Taanach over Jabin king of Canaan and his men. The victory should rightly be consider Deborah’s because Barak seems reluctant to be involved and is commanded by Deborah. When told to deploy troops Barak basically refuses unless Deborah accompanies him (v. 8-10). Deborah solely being a woman of God for God shunned or is ambivalent towards the accolades for victory.

Version 1.0

Chapter 4 appears to be the actual present tense or shortly thereafter eyewitness historic account whereas Chapter 5 is clearly a recounting of the confrontation and victory at the Battles of at Kishon and Taanach over Jabin / Sisera, after the fact in a psalm form (see more on this below). Because of the apostate situation in Israel and the dire straits they are in, Chapter 4 takes on a dark tone. Having secured a victory in Chapter 5 the overall tone turns a little positive and upbeat for a while until Chapter 6.

Version 2.0:

Chapter 5 is Deborah and Barak’s victory song or more properly “The Song of Deborah” it is written as a psalm (or song/poem) of triumph sung to God. It is also the one of the earliest psalms to occur in the Bible (Auld 155). It celebrates the works of God but it was not intended for the sanctuary as the actual Psalms are collected together in the Psalms. Chapter 5 sings of the People of the Lord triumphing over the kings of Canaan. Against the Lord the kings do not stand a chance verse 31,” "So may all your enemies perish, O LORD!” (Auld 151-159) By Chapter 6 in Judges it is starting to feel like a roller coaster of apostasy.
After the battle(s) Deborah did not claim the honor of the victory. Her song is a psalm/song of prasie to God. She takes little or not credit for the victories. She manifested the greatest faith, but the honor of slaying the enemy captain was to go to another woman, Jael who drove a tent peg through Sisera's skull with a mallet, and not to Deborah. Deborah’s faith was in the LORD alone, while Barak’s faith was partly in the LORD and partly in Deborah’s faith.

In the end, unfortuntely, Israel would again backslide because...

"In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Judges 21:25

God would raise a few more Judges until Samson. Then we would see the entry into the proto-kingdom with Saul. The transition and change would begin the arrival of Samuel who becomes the bridge between the era of the Judges and the Kings/Kingdoms. Samuel was a little bit Judge and a little bit Prophet but no nonsense.

Auld, A. Graeme. "Moses Is Dead-Long Live Joshua." Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (OT Daily Study Bible Series). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006. 151-159. Print.

Mcgee, J. Vernon. "Contact of Spies with Rahab." Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee Vol 2 Joshua - Psalms. New York: Thomas Nelson/ Thru The Bible Radio, 1983. 45. Print.

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