The armies are a contrast in respect of resources, numbers, strategic position, prestige, and skilled leadership. In all these respects the army of Sisera had the advantage of that of Israel. But the Canaanite force was a mercenary one, probably of mixed nationality (hence term "Gentiles"), and enervated with luxury and dominance; whereas Israel was represented by men desperate through long suffering, familiar with the strategic possibilities of their country, and fired with new-found repentance, patriotism, and Divine inspiration. Instances of the impotence of inequalities like these when so compensated for on the spiritual side, to decide results, have been frequent in the history of the world, especially so in that of Israel Here we see that -
I. HE WHO DEPENDS UPON MATERIAL RESOURCES WILL BE SUBJECT -
1. To sudden alarms. It reads like a surprise. They were at ease, relying upon military strength and prestige, when the news of Barak's march upon Mount Tabor came to their ears. But how disproportionate the force Sisera so suddenly summons to arms! It is ignorance trying to cope with experience and skill; scanty equipment confronting all that a great and powerful nation could invent and provide for military defence and offence. Yet already it was a point in favour of Israel that it had aroused such apprehension for so slight a cause. The conscience of the wicked is never easy. The least sign of danger is sufficient to rouse it, and to occasion the most disproportionate exertions.
2. To rash exposure of his resources. "All the chariots of iron," the military power and glory of the oppressor, are at once called into exercise. This was unwise. A little more consideration would have suggested a better and more prudent disposal of his forces. It is evidently feeling, and not far-seeing military prescience, that dictates the pompous demonstration. How often do the oppressors of God's "little ones" drive their tyranny too far, and defeat their own end by over-eagerness and domineering imperiousness! The heart that God has inspired will look upon such things - the threats, etc. - as of little moment.
3. To utter collapse. The suddenness of. the levy was adverse to its efficiency. Subject as Eastern troops are to panics, and difficult as it must have been for such cumbrous vehicles to deploy upon such varying levels, it was only necessary for the handful of Israelites to be led by a skilful general for them to produce confusion and dismay in the unwieldy host. And when once the huge army began to yield, its own size and bulk would make its defeat the more disastrous. And all was risked at once. There was nothing more upon which, quickly enough, to fall back. So in the hour of the Church's peril and extremity God has found his opportunity. The Pope's bull is burnt, and the Reformation commences boldly and decidedly. "Fear not, I am with thee," has been the voice that has made the turning-point in many a career. All the pomp and show of the world is brought to bear upon the saint; he sees through it; a step, a stroke, and it melts like the "airy vision of a dream," and he is free!
II. HE WHO DEPENDS UPON GOD will -
1. See opportunity and hope against overwhelming odds. "Up, for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand. 'So David - "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine" (1 Samuel 17:37). So Gideon. This is the insight of faith.
2. Make careful preparation. "Trust in God, and keep your powder dry." The means, however inadequate, the best means at our disposal, must be employed. "God doesn't require my knowledge" "No more does he require your ignorance." It is a sign of respect to God, and a mark of thorough-going faith in him, that we make scrupulous use of the means he dictates. Often the "means of grace" are despised, to a church's loss, to a Christian's loss, and sometimes destruction. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, etc.
3. Confide in the Divine presence and promises. Abraham is sure that "God will provide himself a lamb;" David sings: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, yet will I fear no evil;" and the Hebrew children were confident that the "God whom they served was able to deliver them." Faith as a grain of mustard seed "will remove mountains." - M.
Israel again did evil... the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin.
Their ancient foe, whom they had conquered, rose gradually from his prostration. He rebuilt his castle; he repossessed the lands; he multiplied his armies. At length he defied and "mightily oppressed" the chosen people. How has this history been re-enacted a thousand times in the experience both of individual believers and of Christian Churches! How many there are who answer to the description (1 Peter 2:20
). The Canaanite was slain, but he reappears and resumes his ancient tyranny. Exploded errors revive. Slain heresies live again, and triumph on the very spot where they received what was deemed their death-blow. The subjugation and prostration of the Church may not be as complete as was the twenty years' slavery of Israel under the second Jabin, yet is not the fortress of Hazor being rebuilt in this land? Are not the furnaces of Harosheth being rekindled? And are not the Papal workmen busy fabricating chariots of iron wherewith anew to scour the plains which valiant Protestants of old won in the name of the Lord and of His truth?
, Kishon River
, Mount Tabor
TopicsAbandoned, Advance, Alighted, Army, Barak, Camp, Chariot, Chariots, Confused, Destroyeth, Discomfited, Edge, Fear, Fled, Fleeth, Flight, Foot, Got, Host, Lighted, Mouth, Routed, Sisera, Sis'era, Sword, War-carriage, War-carriages
Outline1. Deborah and Barak deliver them from Jabin and Sisera17. Jael kills Sisera
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJudges 4:15
I want to picture to you to-night, if I can, three acts in a great history--three different pictures illustrating one subject. I trust we have passed through all three of them, many of us; and as we shall look upon them, whilst I paint them upon the wall, I think there will be many here who will be able to say, I was in that state once;" and when we come to the last, I hope we shall be able to clap our hands, and rejoice to feel that the last is our case also, and that we are in the plight of the …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860
Whether the Grace of the Word of Wisdom and Knowledge is Becoming to Women?
Objection 1: It would seem that the grace of the word of wisdom and knowledge is becoming even to women. For teaching is pertinent to this grace, as stated in the foregoing Article. Now it is becoming to a woman to teach; for it is written (Prov. 4:3,4): "I was an only son in the sight of my mother, and she taught me [*Vulg.: 'I was my father's son, tender, and as an only son in the sight of my mother. And he taught me.']." Therefore this grace is becoming to women. Objection 2: Further, the grace …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
The First Blast of the Trumpet
The English Scholar's Library etc. No. 2. The First Blast of the Trumpet &c. 1558. The English Scholar's Library of Old and Modern Works. No. 2. The First Blast of the Trumpet &c. 1558. Edited by EDWARD ARBER, F.S.A., etc., LECTURER IN ENGLISH LITERATURE, ETC., UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON. SOUTHGATE, LONDON, N. 15 August 1878. No. 2. (All rights reserved.) CONTENTS. Bibliography vii-viii Introduction …
John Knox—The First Blast of the Trumpet
A Nation's Struggle for a Home and Freedom.
ISRAEL'S VICTORIES OVER THE CANAANITES.--Josh. 2-9; Judg. 1, 4, 5. Parallel Readings. Hist. Bible II,1-4.1. Prin. of Politics X. That the leaders took the lead in Israel, That the people volunteered readily, Bless Jehovah! Zebulun was a people who exposed themselves to deadly peril, And Naphtali on the heights of the open field. Kings came, they fought; They fought, the kings of Canaan, At Taanach by the Waters of Megiddo, They took no booty of silver. Prom heaven fought the stars, From their …
Charles Foster Kent—The Making of a Nation
These things determine the situation of Gamala:--1. It was "in lower Gaulon," in which, as we have seen, Bethsaida was. 2. It was "upon the lake [of Gennesaret]." 3. It was "over-against Tarichee." Compare the maps, whether in their placing of it they agree with these passages. Here was Judas born, commonly called 'Gaulanites,' and as commonly also, the 'Galilean.' So Peter and Andrew and Philip were Gaulanites; of Bethsaida, John 1:44; and yet they were called 'Galileans.' While we are speaking …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
The Blessings of Noah Upon Shem and Japheth. (Gen. Ix. 18-27. )
Ver. 20. "And Noah began and became an husbandman, and planted vineyards."--This does not imply that Noah was the first who began to till the ground, and, more especially, to cultivate the vine; for Cain, too, was a tiller of the ground, Gen. iv. 2. The sense rather is, that Noah, after the flood, again took up this calling. Moreover, the remark has not an independent import; it serves only to prepare the way for the communication of the subsequent account of Noah's drunkenness. By this remark, …
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament
Josephus thus describes the land of Benjamin; "The Benjamites' portion of land was from the river Jordan to the sea, in length: in breadth, it was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." Let these last words be marked, "The breadth of the land of Benjamin was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." May we not justly conclude, from these words, that Jerusalem and Beth-el were opposite, as it were, in a right line? But if you look upon the maps, there are some that separate these by a very large tract of land, …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
A Cloud of Witnesses.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.... By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient, …
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews
The Mountainous Country of Judea.
"What is the mountainous country of Judea? It is the king's mountain." However Judea, here and there, doth swell out much with mountains, yet its chief swelling appears in that broad back of mountains, that runs from the utmost southern cost as far as Hebron, and almost as Jerusalem itself. Which the Holy Scripture called "The hill-country of Judah," Joshua 21:11; Luke 1:39. Unless I am very much mistaken,--the maps of Adricomus, Tirinius, and others, ought to be corrected, which have feigned to …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
The Country of Jericho, and the Situation of the City.
Here we will borrow Josephus' pencil, "Jericho is seated in a plain, yet a certain barren mountain hangs over it, narrow, indeed, but long; for it runs out northward to the country of Scythopolis,--and southward, to the country of Sodom, and the utmost coast of the Asphaltites." Of this mountain mention is made, Joshua 2:22, where the two spies, sent by Joshua, and received by Rahab, are said to "conceal themselves." "Opposite against this, lies a mountain on the other side Jordan, beginning from …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
He Does Battle for the Faith; He Restores Peace among those who were at Variance; He Takes in Hand to Build a Stone Church.
57. (32). There was a certain clerk in Lismore whose life, as it is said, was good, but his faith not so. He was a man of some knowledge in his own eyes, and dared to say that in the Eucharist there is only a sacrament and not the fact of the sacrament, that is, mere sanctification and not the truth of the Body. On this subject he was often addressed by Malachy in secret, but in vain; and finally he was called before a public assembly, the laity however being excluded, in order that if it were …
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh
Woman's Freedom. The Scriptural right for women to labor in the gospel as exhorters, teachers, preachers, etc., is questioned by many. To deny women such a privilege is contrary to the Christian spirit of equality, and a serious obstruction to pure gospel light. We (male and female) are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28. In the kingdom of grace man and woman are on an equal footing so far as concerns the work of God. To explain some texts that seem to prohibit women from laboring in the gospel …
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day
For the understanding of the early history and religion of Israel, the book of Judges, which covers the period from the death of Joshua to the beginning of the struggle with the Philistines, is of inestimable importance; and it is very fortunate that the elements contributed by the later editors are so easily separated from the ancient stories whose moral they seek to point. That moral is most elaborately stated in ii. 6-iii. 6, which is a sort of programme or preface to iii. 7-xvi. 31, which constitutes …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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