Tag Archives: Judges 5

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 59/260: Deborah

Read Judges 4:1-5; 5:7-9

A Worthy Woman with Wisdom

Throughout the Scriptures, we see a great value in wisdom, and Deborah displayed great wisdom in her leadership as a judge in Israel. We are told in her song that the people “chose new gods” (Judges 5:8). What a sad state of affairs for a nation that had been so blessed by God, delivered through the prior judges. Time and time again the people turned away from the God who saved them.

Deborah was God’s chosen servant to again rescue His people after struggling under the oppression of Jabin, the king of Canaan, and the commander of his army, Sisera, for twenty years. The text identifies her as “a prophetess” and the one who “was judging Israel at that time” (Judges 4:4).

What was involved in “judging Israel”? In the accounts of the judges who served prior to Deborah, the focus was on military exploits. Yet here, before the battle begins, we see that “The children of Israel came up to her for judgment” (Judges 4:5). Evidently, the judges were not only military heroes, but also advised on civil matters.

Who better to rule over such matters than the wise woman Deborah. What does the book of Proverbs say about the “virtuous wife” (Proverbs 31:10)? “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Inspiration clearly shows that Deborah was wise and feared the Lord. She says in her song that she “arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). She cared for the people as a mother cares for her own children. Deborah serves as a wonderful example for all today.

There is also something noble about the men who followed her leadership. “My heart is with the rulers of Israel who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the Lord!” (Judges 5:9). When one considers how women were viewed by the people of the ancient world, it would not have been strange if the men had rejected her. Yet, they recognized her wisdom and followed, not by compulsion, but “willingly.” Are we prepared to follow those who demonstrate such wisdom today?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 58/260: Shamgar

Read Judges 3:31; 5:6

A Simple, Yet Effective Tool

We know less about Shamgar than any of the other judges who delivered Israel from oppressors. There are many theories about this man, his background, and his role in the book of Judges. Was he even an Israelite? Was he an ally or did he start out as an enemy? Why is there so little recorded?

Inspiration tells us that he was “the son of Anath,” he “killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad,” and “he also delivered Israel” (Judges 3:31). Later, in the song of Deborah, it is revealed that during his rule, “The highways were deserted, and the travelers walked along the byways” (Judges 5:6). That’s it. The name Shamgar appears nowhere else in the Biblical record.

What can we learn from Shamgar and this brief account of his life? First, God used him, and God can use us. No matter who we are or where we came from, God can use us. Search the Scriptures, learn His will, and look for opportunities to please the Father.

Second, Shamgar used what he had: an ox goad. This tool was a long pole, sometimes up to ten feet long, used to prod the livestock along, with a spike on one end and a knife on the other. Coffman writes, “The knife was used to clean the plowshares, and the spike was for the purpose of urging the oxen to greater efforts or for controlling their movements.” With this simple tool, Shamgar slaughtered six hundred Philistines.

We still have a simple tool to defeat the foes of God: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). We need to be trained to use it properly, and we need to practice wielding it often, but it is a simple yet effective tool to eradicate sin and error.

With the ox goad, Shamgar “delivered Israel.” With the Word of God, we can deliver those who are closest to us from the bondage of sin. “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:21-22). May we ever use the Spirit’s sword in our battles against Satan and his allies.