The battle between the Israelites and the Canaanites happened exactly as Deborah prophesied it would. Barak and Deborah moved in with their army of 10,000. Their opponent Sisera gathered his 900 iron chariots and all of his men to fend them off.
Then Deborah gave Barak the signal: “charge!” Certainly, this was a dramatic moment as both sides charged forward hoping that their strength would win the battle. But God was calling the shots. Both Deborah and the author proclaim His control: “This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” (v. 14). “At Barak’s advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword” (v. 15).
What happens next is surprising and a fitting finish to the conflict. Sisera ran away and tried to hide in the tent of Heber, thinking they were friends. But Heber’s wife Jael had a plan. She invited Sisera in and— ironically—told him not to be afraid. Then she covered him up, as if to hide him. Sisera asked for a drink of water, but Jael offered him milk, perhaps to encourage sleep. As soon as he fell asleep, Jael drove a tent peg through his temple.
When Barak finally arrived, Jael showed him what she has done. And thus, Deborah’s prophesy from Judges 4:9 came true. The honor and glory for this victory went to a woman, and not even to Deborah as we might have imagined.
Before we give the glory to Jael, the author reminds us—again, in verse 23—that it is really God who had victory over the Canaanite king. It was God who cared for His people. It is always God who holds the ultimate power.
>> This is still a remarkably relevant truth for us today. In the midst of our global, national, and personal problems, we can cling to the truth that God alone holds the power. May we look to Him above all others for protection, comfort, wisdom, and care.
Nothing is in our control, but everything is under Your control, God of Power. “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)