The reactions and responses to Deborah's call to arms were about the same as one gets
today when a call goes forth for help in the kingdom of God.
Deborah, the first and only woman judge, was the wife of Lapidoth, who took the
leadership of Israel when they were down and out. They were down because they had forgotten God and sinned against him. They were out because God had allowed the Canaanites to overrun them and hold them in slavery for twenty years.
The people were forbidden to travel upon the highways and there was not a weapon of war
among 40,000 of them. There was not a building available for Deborah's administrative duties.She had to judge beneath a palm tree. There was no organized army to protect the frontiers, no police force to withstand the Canaanite thieves from taking the animals and crops, no chariots to use in transportation or combat, no high morale or dynamite faith. There was only a groaning cry from a downtrodden people.
Deborah wanted to fight. She sent away to the north and called upon Barak of
Kedesh-naphtali to come and lead an army which did not even exist. Barak was extremely cautious and had cause to be. He lived not too far from the factory and knew that the Canaanites had nine hundred chariots of iron. He knew that Jabin the king of Hazor controlled most of the Canaanite cities and that each city and village contributed men to swell the ranks of the mighty army that had headquarters in Harosheth, Barak knew that there were weapons for each foot soldier and charioteer in the enemy army. There were dangers. He knew it, but since Deborah called, he would go, yet he would not lead the men into battle without her presence.
The tribe of Reuben heard Deborah's call. They knew her cause was right and just. They
drove their sheep into the pen and, leaning against the fence, they talked long and seriously about the situation. But none took up arms. None responded to the call. None went to war. They only had great reasoning of heart, "We ought to, but..."
The inhabitants of Gilead pointed to the Jordan River as an excuse and the men of Dan
sailed their little ships up and down the seashore. They were pleasure mad and did not care to fight. The fishermen of Asher dragged their nets upon the seashore and into the creeks, hoping to make another catch, another fast buck. They all heard Deborah's call, but with one accord they rationalized an excuse.
"Curse ye, Meroz," said the angel of the Lord, "Curse ye bitterly, the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty."
Those were some of the negative responses, but there were others who heard and
responded. Ten thousand red-blooded men from Zebulun and Naphtali heard Deborah's call to arms and responded by climbing to the top of Mount Tabor. These were the men along with the govemors of Israel who willingly offered themselves. Their hands were soft and unskilled for battle, but they were willing.
God led them into battle according to the plan that He showed Deborah and that is why
she wrote her song.
IDENTIFY CHARACTERS AND EVENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS