God left several nations in place to test the Israelites faith and see if they would stray from the Law. Of course they strayed, but God also allowed people to rise up and intercede. The first time they strayed, Othniel was sent to save them from 8 years of slavery. The second time, Ehud was sent to save them from 18 years of oppression from a local king. Ehud actually gets the king alone and plunged a sword into his extremely fat belly...the Bible says that he was so fat the fat closed around the hilt of the sword...GROSS!
After Ehud was Shamgar, followed by Deborah (a normal name... finally!) Deb was serving as a judge of the Israelites at the time and heard the cries of them after being oppressed for 20 years by king Jabin. Deb worked out a plan with a man named Barak to take over the army of king Jabin led by a man named Sisera. I know its a lot of names, but the story makes more sense with names! Barak told Deb he would only do this plan if she came with him...because he wanted her to basically old his hand throughout the whole thing, she explained that the glory of defeating Sisera would not belong to him, but to a woman. Of course I'm thinking that by woman, she meant herself, but its not so! The plan works and Barak conquers all of Jabin's army, but Sisera gets away. He goes to the house of someone with whom he has friendly relations and is taken in by the man's wife-Jael. Jael gives him food and drink and after he falls asleep she rams a tent peg through his temple. When Barak comes looking for Sisera, Jael informs him she's already killed him--just like Deb said :) With Sisera dead, its only a matter of time before Jabin falls to the Israelites and peace is restored.
I just love the reoccurring theme that shows that doing things your own way are not the way to prosper! God meticulously lays things out for the people and whenever they stray from the plan, they either end up dead, enslaved or forgotten. Deborah seems like a rockin woman who knew her God well and wasn't afraid to stand up for what she believed in.
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