Deborah, Barak, and Jael

John Koedyker

READ : Judges 4:4-24

Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me,

I will not go.” (v. 8)

I once heard the visitation of the Magi described as “Three Men and a Baby.” Judges 4
could be described as “Two Women and a Wimp.” The women were the courageous Deborah and
the bold Jael. The wimp was Barak, Israel’s commanding general.

Barak reminds me of President Lincoln’s top commander at the beginning of the Civil
War. General George McClellan was continually giving Lincoln all kinds of excuses why the
Union Army should take their time and use extra precaution. This tried Lincoln’s patience
time and again till finally the President made the decision to remove McClellan. Lincoln
was quoted as saying, “My dear McClellan: If you don’t want to use the Army, I should like
to borrow it for a while.” Eventually Lincoln found the right leader for his army.

For Israel the leadership came from two women. Deborah and Jael were both somewhat
reluctant participants, but when they saw a job that had to be done, they did it. It was
unusual in those days for women to wield such power. But Deborah knew how to lead, and
Jael knew how to strike! Their leadership began with a strong relationship of trust in the


Lord, help us to trust you for strength and guidance. Amen.