Israel again revolts, and is oppressed by Jabin. (1-3) Deborah
concerts their deliverance with Barak. (4-9) Sisera defeated.
(10-16) Sisera put to death by Jael. (17-24)
1-3. The land had rest for eighty years, which should have
confirmed them in their religion; but it made them secure, and
indulge their lusts. Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them.
Jabin and his general Sisera, mightily oppressed Israel. This
enemy was nearer than any of the former. Israel cried unto the
Lord, when distress drove them to him, and they saw no other way
of relief. Those who slight God in prosperity, will find
themselves under a necessity of seeking him in trouble.
Deborah was a prophetess; one instructed in Divine
knowledge by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. She judged
Israel as God's mouth to them; correcting abuses, and redressing
grievances. By God's direction, she ordered Barak to raise an
army, and engage Jabin's forces. Barak insisted much upon her
presence. Deborah promised to go with him. She would not send
him where she would not go herself. Those who in God's name call
others to their duty, should be ready to assist them in it.
Barak values the satisfaction of his mind, and the good success
of his enterprise, more than mere honour.
10-16. Siser's confidence was chiefly in his chariots. But if
we have ground to hope that God goes before us, we may go on
with courage and cheerfulness. Be not dismayed at the
difficulties thou meetest with in resisting Satan, in serving
God, or suffering for him; for is not the Lord gone before thee?
Follow him then fully. Barak went down, though upon the plain
the iron chariots would have advantage against him: he quitted
the mountain in dependence on the Divine power; for in the Lord
alone is the salvation of his people,
. He was not
deceived in his confidence. When God goes before us in our
spiritual conflicts, we must bestir ourselves; and when, by his
grace, he gives us some success against the enemies of our
souls, we must improve it by watchfulness and resolution.
Sisera's chariots had been his pride and his confidence.
Thus are those disappointed who rest on the creature; like a
broken reed, it not only breaks under them, but pierces them
with many sorrows. The idol may quickly become a burden, Isa
46:1; what we were sick for, God can make us sick of. It is
probable that Jael really intended kindness to Sisera; but by a
Divine impulse she was afterwards led to consider him as the
determined enemy of the Lord and of his people, and to destroy
him. All our connexions with God's enemies must be broken off,
if we would have the Lord for our God, and his people for our
people. He that had thought to have destroyed Israel with his
many iron chariots, is himself destroyed with one iron nail.
Thus the weak things of the world confound the mighty. The
Israelites would have prevented much mischief, if they had
sooner destroyed the Canaanites, as God commanded and enabled
them: but better be wise late, and buy wisdom by experience,
than never be wise.