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Nitida ' Trade : Methodological Considerations. Although kola was indigenous to the whole forest area of West Africa only certain parts have been important historically in the production of nitida Kola trees can grow in the forest-savanna fringe south of approximately 10 latitude but the main area for nitida which is the variety discussed in the rest of this article unless otherwise indicated has been between and from the Volta to the rivers of the Upper Guinea coast Proximity to the savanna was significant in determining potential output the most productive region beginning from to.

This conclusion must be considered tentative however since other linguistic data are lacking. Most of the people west of the Bandama river who have been major kola producers claim savanna origin They include the Kisi who speak West Atlantic language as well as all the Mande groups who now live in the forests of Guinea Sierra Leone Liberia and the Ivory Coast The fact that the Gerze Toma and others who speak Mande languages were not indigenous to the forest helps confirm the hypothesis that kola cultivation has West Atlantic Mel source but that immigrants from the savanna expelled or assimilated those people initially involved in the kola trade Traditions collected by Person establish that ethnic boundaries became relatively stable only in the early i7th century Even then the Gola and others who had previously been displaced contin ued to expand southward.

Also see Person also It was in this period that Juula towns were founded to the north of the forest immigrants maintaining connections essential in the development of trade This later commercial development has somewhat obscured earlier patterns of trade just as the movement of the Ki Gerze Toma and others into the kola forests makes it difficult to uncover earlier patterns of production Nonetheless scattered information suggests that there was kola trade well before the i6th century.

The Trade with the Savanna. The kola trade with the savanna is at least seven centuries old and probably much older. In Mauny They came from Mali and were probably of the species which the al-Maqqari brothers reported being exported from Walata to Tiemcen in the i3th century ibid Ibn al-Mukhtar writing in the i7th century also identifies kola with the Mali Empire he records prosperous trade during the reign of Kankan Musa from to Ses habitants sont riches et vivent largement il suf it pour se rendre compte de citer les mines or et les plantations de gouro kola on trouve et dont les pareilles ne se rencontrent pas dans tout Tekrour sauf au pays de Bergo in Mahmud Kati 67 The centre of the Mali Empire was just north of Worodugu the land of kola while the gold deposits were located at Bure to the west This.

Kola Production in the Akan Forests. Black believes that the other colors want to change the world into something it isn't. Black's ambitions are not for the world, but for black itself. Death and undeath are powerful magical forces that most other colors avoid because of taboos.


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Black doesn't care about social acceptability; it cares about results. Other colors wouldn't dare embrace amorality, fear, torture, disease, and decay in good conscience—black feels compelled to. Black is willing to go so far as to inflict pain upon itself for the sake of some advantage.

It's important for everyone to understand that black didn't make the world greedy. The world was already greedy; black has just learned how to thrive within it. Black has two big things on its side. One, it understands and accepts the system better than anyone else. And two, black doesn't place any restrictions on itself that might make its success more difficult.

The philosophy of black is summed up well by the flavor text on one of the color's most iconic although not Standard-legal cards. These are some of the best black cards in today's competitive Standard. Let's discuss what makes these so powerful. Grasp of Darkness may be pound-for-pound the best removal spell in Standard. It's good because just about every deck plays cards that it trades with favorably. In fact, there are few, if any, common threats that cost two mana or less that can't be dealt with by way of Grasp of Darkness.

To make things even better, Grasp of Darkness is an instant, meaning that we can accrue big advantages by using it during combat or simply find other ways to put our mana to work when that killable threat on the other side of the table just hasn't been played yet. The card is especially strong against decks that use Archangel Avacyn.

The ability to kill an opposing five-mana creature for two mana is often a big enough tempo advantage to get ahead of those types of decks and establish control over the game. It's probably correct to play four copies of Grasp of Darkness in just about any deck that can reliably cast the card on the second turn. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is one of the most powerful creatures in Standard. Kalitas wins races with lifelink and makes our kill spells better by rewarding us with a horde of Zombies.

Kalitas's 4 toughness is a lot against the mostly white and red decks in Standard, and that makes it easy to protect in those matchups. It usually feels like it's hard to lose once you untap with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet in play. In fact, the card's presence on the battlefield is so profound that players often want to play cards like Blossoming Defense to protect it from opposing removal spells. Another way to get the maximum benefit from Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is to play it in a deck with a lot of kill spells and save a kill spell to play alongside it on the sixth or seventh turn to hopefully take over a game.

Liliana, the Last Hope has back-breaking potential at just three mana. Sometimes the opponent has a 1-toughness creature in play and we get to play Liliana as a removal spell that represents a very big advantage over the course of a few turns. Liliana fills our graveyard to help us attain delirium or turn up the pressure with cards like Scrapheap Scrounger , Haunted Dead , and Prized Amalgam. Liliana gives us longevity by filling our hand with creatures so we can recklessly apply pressure without worrying about running out of resources.

Even though the Israelites had defeated some of the Canaanites in various battles during Joshua's day, significant groups within the Canaanite tribes remained in the land vv. The Israelites then proceeded to intermarry with them and to worship with them v.

From "the people served the L ORD " , they had degenerated to the point that they "served their [the Canaanites'] gods" Each step is a natural one leading on to the next. Judges begins not with a command that expects obedience but with a test that expects disobedience. Joshua begins with a nation expecting to drive out the peoples of the land. Judges begins with the people settled down among those same peoples, its tribes unable to drive them out of the land. Rather than enemies in holy war, we now find one big happy clan, all giving and receiving one another's children in marriage to cement the clan ties.

The lesson?

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Self-assertion and idolatry produce deadly consequences. From this perspective, the book of Judges is, like all the books of the Former and Latter Prophets, a call to covenant loyalty—a call to repent of self-assertion and idolatry and a call to honor, worship, and serve God alone. The total number of judges cited is By selecting 12 judges, the writer may have been suggesting that all 12 tribes of Israel had apostatized. One writer argued that these 12 judges each did their work in a different month of the Hebrew calendar, thus adding another impression of completeness to the record.

This sevenfold scheme gives the impression of totality to Israel's degeneration. This suggests that the writer may have viewed these disasters as fulfillments of the curses in Leviticus 26, where the number "seven" occurs four times Lev. Certain "formulaic expressions" appear in , and then recur in the record of Israel's apostasy — However, as noted in the table below, they appear with less frequency as the narrative proceeds. Having established the pattern, the writer did not feel compelled to repeat these expressions as frequently, since the reader learns to anticipate them as the narrative unfolds.

The breakdown of these expressions is a rhetorical device that parallels and reflects, as a whole, the general moral and spiritual disintegration in Israel. The Israelites did evil Yahweh gave them over The Israelites cried out , Yahweh raised up a deliverer , Yahweh gave the oppressor to the deliverer The land had rest. The first of six periods of oppression by Israel's enemies began while Othniel, Caleb's younger brother or nephew , was still alive and strong cf. Was Othniel Caleb's nephew—that is, the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother—or was he simply Caleb's younger brother?

As far as the text is concerned, either interpretation is possible. Thus, Othniel would have been Caleb's half-brother. The writer identified each of these six periods of oppression with the phrase "the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the L ORD " , 12; ; ; ; The Nelson Study Bible summarized the five major Canaanite deities [] : 1 "El" was the chief god, who supposedly fathered all other gods and mortals, though he was not the most powerful god. She also had some association with the stars. Many scholars now identify "Asheroth" plural, v.

It pictures His anger most graphically. The king of Mesopotamia's actual name proper was "Cushan" v. The last part of the hyphenated nickname "Cushan-rishathaim," i. Sin leads to slavery cf.


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  • In response to His people's cries for deliverance cf. Throughout Judges, we read that God "delivered" the Israelites "when" as soon as they called out to Him for salvation from their desperate situations cf. The L ORD did not wait until they cleaned up their lives internal revival , the popular misunderstanding of biblical "repentance. Joel ; Acts ; Rom. If anything, he was responding to their misery rather than to their sorrow, to their pain rather than to their penitence.

    Othniel was already a prominent warrior in Israel, and had been living in Debir, in Judah, for many years Josh. Note again the early primacy of the tribe of Judah cf. Having proved faithful earlier, Othniel was selected by God for more important service here. The gift of the Spirit did not in itself guarantee success. There had to be cooperation with the Spirit for that, and there was increasingly less—of both cooperation and success—as judge followed judge cf. The communication of this Spirit under the Old Testament was generally made in the form of extraordinary and supernatural influence upon the human spirit.

    Evidently Cushan controlled most, if not all, of Israel. This assumption rests on the fact that Mesopotamia Heb. Aram was situated northeast of Canaan, but Othniel lived in the southwest part of Canaan. In the cases of the other judges, God normally raised up persons who lived in the areas in Israel that were closest to Israel's oppressing enemies. Cushan was apparently the most powerful king that oppressed the Israelites during the Judges Period.

    By beginning with the record of his defeat, the writer announced that, since Yahweh could deliver Israel from this powerful "emperor," He could surely rescue them from any foe. After the "war" with the Mesopotamians Arameans, v. During this time, Othniel probably continued to judge Israel until he died. Verse 11 probably indicates that Ehud followed Othniel chronologically. Since the "years of peace" that followed four deliverances numbered "40" ; ; and "80" , some scholars believe these are rounded numbers indicating one and two generations.

    However, other lengths of oppressions and judgeships are not round numbers , 14; ; , 3, 8; [? Note, too, that the reports of Israel enjoying "rest" from war end with Gideon's judgeship; after that there was no more rest. There never is another Joshua, a survivor of a faithless generation, and there never is another Othniel, a survivor of a faithful generation.

    This is intentional. The prologue has prepared the reader to expect a progressive degeneration in the moral and spiritual fiber of the nation. As the embodiment of the people, the leaders whom Yahweh raises in the nation's defense exhibit the same pattern. Contrast the character of Samson, the last judge in the book. The most important factor in the story of Othniel, I believe, was the fact that God's Spirit empowered him v. This was true of all the judges, though the writer did not always mention it. No one can accomplish anything spiritually significant without the Holy Spirit's enablement cf.

    However, with His assistance, His people can be the agents of supernatural change and can carry out God's will. The "minor judges" filled the same role in Israel as the "major judges" Gideon, Samson, et al. That is, the accounts which are longer present those stories which provide the most helpful guidelines for the Christian life.

    This simple account of Othniel's judgeship makes crystal clear the most important points that the writer wanted to make in his record of Israel's judges. As time went by, Israel's departure from God progressed. The writer reflected this by showing that Israel next suffered under two oppressing powers at the same time: the Moabites and the Philistines. Oppression under the Moabites and deliverance through Ehud The Moabites and Ammonites were not only neighboring peoples who both lived to the southeast of Canaan, but they were also descendants of the same ancestor, Lot. The Amalekites lived on Israel's southern border and were descendants of Esau.

    They had evidently rebuilt it since Joshua's conquest. Jericho was in Benjamin's territory, so it was not unusual that God would raise up a judge from that tribe to lead Israel against the Moabites. We learn later that the Benjamites at this time were far from admirable on the whole chs. Yet God raised up a "faithful" man from this tribe to do His will 'faithful' in the sense that God could use him, not that he was 'spiritual' per se. The English text's description of Ehud as "left-handed" v.

    The Hebrew expression translated "a left-handed man" probably means "a man restricted as to his right hand. Ehud may not have been able to use his right hand nearly as well as his left. In spite of this abnormality, God used him to bring a great victory to Israel. Most commentators regarded Ehud's methods as entirely legitimate. The treacherous assassination of a hostile king is not to be regarded as an act of the Spirit of God, and therefore is not set before us as an example to be imitated.

    Although Jehovah raised up Ehud as a deliverer to His people when oppressed by Eglon, it is not stated and this ought particularly to be observed that the Spirit of Jehovah came upon Ehud, and still less that Ehud assassinated the hostile king under the impulse of that Spirit.

    Ehud proved himself to have been raised up by the Lord as the deliverer of Israel, simply by the fact that he actually delivered his people from the bondage of the Moabites, and it by no means follows that the means which he selected were either commanded or approved by Jehovah. The two facts, that Ehud did what he did as an act of war, and that God nowhere condemned him for it, have led most interpreters to believe he was justified in assassinating King Eglon lit. God used other tricksters e.

    Note that Ehud possibly "Loner" [] had no other Israelites with him when he confronted Eglon. He stood alone for God. It seems that first Ehud delivered the Israelites' taxes "tribute" —Josephus called them "presents" [] —to King Eglon, next, left Eglon, passed the "idols" lit.

    Ironically, this may have been a "Gilgal" on the border between Benjamin and Judah, west of Jericho, rather than the one northeast of Jericho cf. But Ehud had prepared to execute Eglon before going to Jericho he had "made himself a sword" and had hidden it "under his cloak". So why did he appear to delay or "cancel" the assassination on his first meeting with Eglon, and then, only later, reconsider and go back a second time? Did he lose heart at first when he left Jericho? Did he receive fresh motivation to kill the king when he passed the Canaanite objects of worship at Gilgal, and then return to Jericho to finish the job?

    This seems to be what happened. The room in which Ehud met Eglon "cool roof chamber," Heb. Josephus wrote that Ehud claimed to have had a dream that God wanted him to give to King Eglon "I have a message from God for you". Evidently Eglon was caught by surprise, because he did not expect Ehud to suddenly draw out a hidden sword, and with his left hand. He probably did not even know that he could do so.

    This was part of Ehud's strategy. The sword was "a short cubit" in length, about 16 inches. This is the only place in the Old Testament where this Hebrew word describes a cubit. The "short cubit" was as long as the distance between the elbow and the knuckles of a fist.

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    Ehud's sword went all the way through the fat layers of Eglon's fat body. It apparently contained no crosspiece hilt between the handle and the blade. The handle lodged in the fat, and the point opened a hole in his lower back where his excrement oozed out. Such a grotesque occurrence would have been precisely the kind of detail that a story of this sort would have delighted in recounting and would be unlikely to omit.

    Although it no doubt strikes modern readers as vulgar and distasteful, in the context of the story it adds a note of extreme humiliation with respect to the Moabite king that would have delighted an Israelite audience, especially as it takes place at the very height of the drama: the national hero not only dispatched the enemy king with much cunning but in the process caused him to become besmirched with feces. The writer may have recorded this last disgusting detail in order to draw a parallel with the unclean Moabites' departure from the land following Ehud's victory.

    Notice the cool way Ehud behaved after he slew the king in his "cool" room "went out … shut the doors … and locked them," v. Perhaps it was the odor of Eglon's excrement, in addition to the locked doors, that led the servants to conclude that the king was relieving himself v. Josephus believed that the servants thought that Eglon was asleep. Their agendas were generally theological and polemical, and few texts are as overt in the latter respect as ours. Archaeologists have not yet identified the town of "Seirah" v.

    The Moabites, who at this time were living west of the Jordan River, would have fled back home eastward to their native country. For this reason the Israelites "seized the fording place fords " v. Verse 29 is difficult to interpret for two reasons. First, the word translated "thousand" can also mean "military unit" cf. Second, it is not clear whether the Israelites killed these Moabites as they tried to cross the Jordan on this occasion.

    Perhaps this was the total Moabite force that the Israelites killed in their war with Moab. In either case, this was a great victory for Israel. The writer's primary emphasis, in this pericope, seems to be that God used a man whom others would have regarded as unusual, because he was left-handed, to effect a great victory. Again, Ehud did not excuse himself from doing God's will, just because he was different, as many Christians do. He stepped out in faith in spite of his physical peculiarity. Israel too had physical abnormalities, but when she stepped out in trust and obedience, God blessed her with success.

    Oppression under the Philistines and deliverance through Shamgar Several factors suggest that Shamgar's victory took place sometime during the 98 years described in the previous section vv. First, refers to Ehud, not Shamgar. Second, there is no reference to Israel doing evil in Yahweh's sight in this verse. Third, the length of the Philistine oppression was long.

    Fourth, the writer did not mention, after Shamgar's victory, a number of years that the land enjoyed rest. Evidently during this year period the Philistines also oppressed Israel. David Washburn argued that the phrase "after him" may indicate the beginning of a new episode. If this is so, we should place Shamgar contemporary with Deborah rather than Ehud cf. He acknowledged, however, that it is impossible to determine exactly when Shamgar slew the Philistines. The Philistines had been in Canaan at least since Abraham's day Gen. However, during the Judges Period, a major migration of the Sea Peoples from the Aegean area brought many new inhabitants into Canaan, perhaps about B.

    These peoples settled in the coastal areas of Canaan, especially in the South. They became the infamous "Philistines," who opposed and fought the Israelites until David finally brought them under Israel's control.

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    This does not automatically infer that he was a Canaanite, although this is possible; it may witness to the intermingling of the Israelites with the native population. In any case his actions benefited Israel. Peter Craigie believed that Shamgar may have been a Hurrian mercenary soldier, rather than a Hebrew.

    His name, "ben son of Anath," suggests that he might have been a religious Canaanite, since "Anath" was a Canaanite goddess. Another suggestion is that "son of Anath" indicated that Shamgar was like Anath, namely, of a warlike character. Perhaps he was a proselyte to Yahweh worship. Whatever his background, and whomever he may have served, his destruction of Philistines accomplished God's will, specifically the destruction of the non-Israelite occupants of the land.

    The writer did not record Shamgar's hometown, but some commentators connect "Beth-Anath" lit. Most assume Anath was the name of Shamgar's father. An "oxgoad" was a stout stick, 8 to 10 feet long, used to train and drive oxen. An ox-goad, when God pleases, shall do more than Goliath's sword. Evidently Shamgar seized an opportunity to kill " Philistines" with this unusual tool that he used as a weapon cf.

    The text does not say how quickly he did this, whether all at once, or one by one in guerrilla type warfare. Josephus wrote that Shamgar "… was elected for their governor, but died in the first year of his government. Though the writer did not call Shamgar a "judge" in the text, he was one of Israel's heroic deliverers cf. Few students of the book exclude him from the list of judges, even though he may not have functioned like a typical judge in the nation. Like Shamgar, Samson also fought the Philistines. The writer devoted four chapters to Samson, but Samson did not accomplish in four chapters what Shamgar did in one verse.

    Samson did not "deliver save or rescue Israel. The major lesson we should learn from Shamgar, is that a shady personal background and or a lack of proper equipment do not keep God from working through people who commit to doing His will. Many Christians think that because they do not have a good background or the best tools, they cannot serve God. But if we commit ourselves to executing God's will, and use whatever background and equipment we have, God can accomplish a great deal through us.

    In this third chapter, we have seen that God raised up some very unusual people, and empowered them to do great acts for His glory. Often very distinguished people rise from humble backgrounds, as these judges did. Jesus' disciples are similar illustrations. A single individual, committed to executing God's revealed will, is all He needs. He uses all types of people, but only those who are committed to His will, and who step out in faith.

    In the case of the judges, the will of God was the extermination of Israel's enemies. Chapters 4 and 5 are complementary versions of the victory God gave Israel over the Canaanites: chapter 4 in prose, and chapter 5 in poetry cf. However, after he died, God's people again "did evil," and turned from the Lord. In discipline, God allowed the Canaanites in the North to gain strength and dominate the Israelites for 20 years.

    The earlier oppressions were from outside Canaan, but now a leader within Canaan led an uprising against the Israelites. It had formerly organized a coalition of forces to fight against Joshua cf. Hazor's king was "Jabin" "The Discerning," lit.

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    This titulary has a sarcastic ring, however, since he would learn that Yahweh opposes oppressors of His people. Jabin's commander-in-chief, "Sisera," lived several miles to the southwest of Hazor in "Harosheth-hagoyim" lit. This may have been a term that described the entire northern Galilee region. Though the location or area size of "Harosheth-hagoyim" is uncertain, it apparently was situated around the western end of the Jezreel Valley. The Canaanites' " iron [war] chariots" gave them complete control of the flatter and dryer portions of this area. The Israelites were forced to live in the hills.

    These "chariots" were state-of-the-art weapons at this time. Compare Pharaoh's chariots in the Exodus account. Chapter 5 also recalls the Exodus. Josephus wrote that Jabin had at his command: , infantrymen, 10, cavalrymen, and no fewer than 3, chariots. Deborah was also one of the judges "was judging Israel … the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment"; v. Another translation of "wife of Lappidoth" is "woman of torches. Deborah lived in "the hill country of Ephraim" v. Her name means "Bee," and she did what often typifies a bee.

    She stung defeated the enemy, and she brought sweet refreshment as honey refreshes one's spirit and strength to her people. However, her name also suggests her prophetic role as she spoke to Barak, since the consonants in her name are the same as those in the Hebrew word translated "speak" and "word. There are scores of Rams, Ramahs, Ram-allahs, etc. Deborah's "Ramah," however, was located "in the hill country of Ephraim" v. He lived in far north Israel, in Kedesh of Naphtali "Kedesh-naphtali," v.

    It stood at the southwest corner of the Sea of Chinnereth, [] though some scholars favor a Kadesh Kedesh location north of Lake Huleh. As a prophetess, Deborah sent orders to Barak to assemble 10, soldiers, or possibly 10 units of soldiers, at "Mount Tabor," southwest of the Sea of Chinnereth Galilee. Note that God's command to Barak was clear: he was to "Go" "and march"; Heb. God said that He would "draw out" Sisera to advance against Barak.

    Barak was then to move west and deploy his army against Sisera's forces at the Kishon River, just north of the Carmel mountain range, which stood on the south side of the Jezreel Valley. You will find the source in the vast fountains called Sa'adiyeh, not more than three miles east of Haifa. They flow out from the very roots of Carmel, almost on a level with the sea, and the water is brackish.

    On this occasion, Israel's forces were very numerous. They had perhaps a 10 to one advantage over the Canaanites. Gideon's later battle with the Midianites would be the opposite, with Israel's forces in the minority. God promised to "give" the Canaanites "into" Barak's "hand" v. Barak's refusal to go on this mission without Deborah raises questions. He may have been afraid to go into battle without Deborah's comforting company. Probably he wanted to have this prophetess with him, so that he could obtain God's guidance through her if he needed to do so.

    A third explanation follows:. He wanted divine enthusiasm for the conflict, and this the presence of the prophetess was to infuse into both Barak and the army that was to be gathered around him. However, in most instances of dire need, the leaders of God's people called on God for help, but in this one Barak called on Deborah for help v. Also, instead of God providing assurance of success, as was often the case, in this one Deborah provided that assurance v. Whatever his motivation may have been, Barak put a condition on obeying God.

    The will of God was clear. He even had God's promise of victory. Nevertheless he refused to obey unless Deborah accompanied him. Barak would defeat the Canaanites, but "a woman" would get the credit "honor" for defeating the commander, "Sisera. Barak probably assumed that the prediction in verse 9 referred to Deborah, but, as things turned out, "Jael" the "Kenite" received the glory that might have been his vv.

    Even though Barak had faith Heb. Apparently some of the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses' brother-in-law, had moved north to continue their semi-nomadic life in the northern part of western Manasseh. Num The consonants of the Hebrew words translated "father-in-law" and "brother-in-law" are the same i. Only the vowels, which later scribes supplied, are different hoten being "father-in-law" and hatan being "brother-in-law". Most of the Kenites lived in southern Judah. Heber's family was able to maintain good relations with both the Canaanites and the Israelites "there was peace between Jabin … and … the house of Heber"; v.

    Heber's name means "Ally," and reflects his alliance with the Canaanites. Oak trees were often the sites of pagan Canaanite worship. Had Heber set up shop at the cultic shrine of Baal in his area? If so, he contrasts sharply with Deborah, who carried out her work of revealing the words of God, and ruling His people, under a palm tree v. Here was a descendant of Moses' family, who may have been fraternizing with the very people Moses had commanded the Israelites to exterminate!

    Tabor, he moved east across the Jezreel Valley with his iron chariots and warriors to engage Barak. Structurally, verse 14 is the center of a chiasm. The chiastic structure of this chapter focuses the reader's attention on Yahweh as Israel's deliverer cf. This is the writer's main point in the story.

    It is also one of the main emphases in the Song of Deborah in chapter 5. With Deborah at his side, and her reassuring statement of God's promised victory v. Commenting on verse 14, one expositor wrote the following. Evidently God sent an unseasonable thunderstorm that mired Sisera's chariots in the softened valley soil cf. The Israelites destroyed the whole Canaanite army that participated in this encounter "all the army of Sisera fell … not even one was left," v. This loss was a double disappointment for the Canaanites.

    Not only did they lose control of the lowlands that their chariots had dominated, but their god had failed them. The Canaanites believed that Baal controlled storms and rode upon the clouds, but he allowed their army to be totally destroyed because of a storm! Instead of Baal striking his enemies as lightning, Barak "Lightning" had struck the enemies of Yahweh. Yet it was really the L ORD v. Barak pursued the fleeing Canaanites west. He sought refuge in the "tent of Jael ," his "Ally" Heber's wife.

    Little did he realize, that even though Heber's sentiments apparently favored the Canaanites, his wife Jael was a loyal worshipper of Yahweh. She was no compromiser, as her husband seems to have been. That Heber had established very friendly relations with the Canaanites seems clear, since Sisera felt perfectly safe in Heber's wife's tent, as he hid from the pursuing Israelites. It is interesting that Jael "commanded" the Canaanite commander to "Turn aside" v. Tabor" v. God was using two women to lead His people to victory on this occasion.

    One writer suggested the following translation of the last part of verse 18 and verse Instead of "she covered him with a rug. She came up with "she overwhelmed him with perfume. Sisera "had systematically violated every covenant of the code governing the actions of host and guest. This violation of hospitality customs would have alerted Jael that something was amiss. Furthermore, Sisera should not have accepted Jael's offer of hospitality—but when he did, this doubtless indicated to Jael again that his intentions were not right.

    Sisera proceeded to make two requests of his host. First, he requested something to drink, and secondly, that Jael would stand guard at the door of the tent—evidently to lie about his presence, which would have endangered her safety. Good guests did not make requests of their hosts in that culture, nor did they put them in danger.

    So Sisera was asking for trouble. Instead, in what some commentators describe as a reverse rape, it is Sisera who 'gets nailed' by Jael—literally, by Jael's use of the hammer and tent peg, and perhaps figuratively as well, a possibility captured by the sexual connotation of the contemporary idiom used above. Jael probably gave Sisera milk [buttermilk? Furthermore, she may have intended that it would "knock him out," put him to sleep.

    Wine has the opposite effect, at least in moderation. Jael's name means "Mountain Goat. Note the vulnerability and dependence of Sisera, in verse 19, and his blind self-confidence in verse He thought he was safe and in control, but he was in mortal danger, about to die, and he did not even suspect it. Such is often the case with people, especially the enemies of God's people cf. Even though Jael was God's instrument of delivering Sisera into the Israelites' hands, some scholars have criticized her methods.

    Oriental hospitality required Jael to protect her guest. Instead, she treacherously assassinated him. Yet in the light of Sisera's violation of hospitality customs, it seems that Jael's act was self-defense. Moreover, this was war, and "holy war" at that. What she did shows her commitment to do God's will, namely, destroying the inhabitants of the land cf. However, Sisera is more culpable than Jael in his systematic violation of every step in the customary [hospitality] ritual. He brought shame on himself and on the household of Heber by disregarding the proper roles of guest and host.

    Each violation provides further assurance to the audience that violence, when it comes, as it surely must, is justified. To die by the hand of a woman was a disgrace in the ancient Near East cf. Jael reminds me of a charmed snake. Sisera thought he had her under his control, but at the crucial moment she struck him fatally.

    He died of a splitting headache! Actually Jael conquered both Sisera and Barak: the former by taking his life and the latter by taking his honor. Verse 22 is somewhat amusing and full of irony. Somehow Barak had gotten on Sisera's trail, and finally found his way to Heber's tent at the east end of the valley.

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    As Deborah had commanded Barak to "Go" v. The man who should have taken the initiative, in attacking Israel's enemy years earlier, now got another order from a woman—a seemingly "ordinary housewife," who had conquered his, General Barak's, mighty enemy, General Sisera! The Israelites continued to put pressure "the hand of the sons of Israel pressed heavier and heavier" on the Canaanites "until" they finally "destroyed Jabin" and his kingdom.

    This may have taken several years. This is certainly the most important lesson this chapter teaches. However, this story also warns us about putting conditions on our obedience to God. If we do this, God may use someone else, and we will not achieve all we could for His glory. God honored Barak, but he has forever remained in Deborah's shadow. He defeated the Canaanites, but he failed to defeat their leader. God uses women in key roles in His work. There are at least 22 individuals or groups of women in Judges, and 10 of these have speaking parts.

    They are: Achsah ; Deborah chs. Remember, also, in the New Testament, the women who ministered to Jesus: Priscilla, Phoebe, and Dorcas, as well as others. Women could prophesy in the meetings of the early church 1 Cor. Just because God has excluded women from the authoritative leadership of churches as "elders" 1 Tim. This limitation has led some to conclude, that there are more divine restrictions on the ministry of women in the New Testament, than there were in the Old.

    However, the opposite is true. Women could not be "priests" under the Mosaic Covenant, but they are "priests" under the New Covenant 1 Pet. God has excluded men from some ministries too, such as being "mothers. Normally God chose to use men as "prophets," both in Old Testament times and in the early church.

    However, in both periods He occasionally selected women for this ministry. And if it were not for the ministry of women, God's work throughout history would have suffered greatly. This chapter also teaches us that God will use unusual people with unusual equipment —if they desire to do His will cf.

    Ehud and Shamgar. Jael used what she had at hand to serve Him. Through a "Bee" and a "Mountain Goat," two women of faith and courage, God restored peace to the land of milk and honey. One writer called this song "the finest masterpiece of Hebrew poetry" that "deserves a place among the best songs of victory ever written. The writer credited Deborah with composing this song cf. This opening verse gives the reason, as well as the call, to bless the Lord. This was a major reason for the Israelites' success in this battle.

    When God's people carry out their assigned responsibilities and cooperate, God grants success. Unfortunately, many good works flounder because the saints refuse to work together as God has gifted them. Cooperation is one of the major themes in this song. Deborah called all people of consequence "kings" and "rulers" to pay attention "Hear," "give ear" to the record of God's sovereignty that follows cf. The prophetess compared God's revelation at "Sinai," when He gave the Israelites His covenant, to His intervention for His people in their most recent battle.

    She pictured God marching from Mt. Later in the song, she spoke of God's recent deliverance of His people in similar terms vv. The description is poetic. We should not interpret it as literally as we would a prose narrative.