Barak couldn’t believe his ears! So this is why the judge had summoned him! Maybe he should be flattered that out of thousands of men she had selected him, but her proposal was preposterous. He didn’t want anything to do with it. What was she thinking? Their nation didn’t have the resources to win that war!
General Sisera had nine hundred iron chariots at his disposal. And how many did they have? Exactly none. Even if he could muster an army, the campaign was doomed to defeat! For twenty years King Jabin had tyrannized them. They couldn’t rid themselves of him now. Not with that savage general at his command and those invincible war machines.
What Deborah suggested didn’t make sense. But then . . . it was the product of a woman’s brain.
The second he thought it, Barak felt a stab of shame. He wasn’t being fair. Deborah had taken the job that a man wouldn’t. Everyone–himself included– respected her for her levelheadedness and wisdom in settling their disputes. But why would she come up with this cockamamie idea that they could be free from foreign oppression?
Yes, there was that part where she said the message had come to her from the LORD God of Israel. He couldn’t dismiss that. It was common knowledge that Deborah, unlike her three male predecessors, had the gift of prophecy. Well, we’d see just how much she believed in this foolhardy venture. He’d put her to the test: “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go” (Judges 4:8 NIV).
Her reply was as sure and quick as a well-spent arrow: “‘Certainly I will go with you,’ said Deborah. ‘But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman’” (Judges 4:9 NIV).
That was fine with him. He was man enough to let her get the credit (if there was going to be any). After all, she wasn’t just any woman. Deborah was already a highly respected leader. What did he care if she got another accolade?
But Barak had miscalculated. Deborah was not prophesying of herself. Another woman would kill the terrifying General Sisera:
Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead (Judges 4:22 NIV).
Now you know how Jael was the other woman in the rest of the story (What’s Up with the Right Hand?).