Still Some New Rich Gem Appears
Some supplemental archaeological, typical, and character details are suggested here.
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Deborah: Barak’s forces were in the north on Mt. Tabor, while Sisera was coming on the north side of the Carmel mountain range. Thus, Deborah could see storm clouds coming from the south and call Barak to battle; when the Canaanite forces saw clouds it was too late. Similarly, we need to look to heaven for direction, not to the world.
Gideon: Seasons of oppression are usually introduced with “And the children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah” (Judges 3:12, 4:1, 10:6, 13:1). However, in Judges 6:1 the oppression in Gideon’s time is introduced without the word “again” (as only also in 2:11 and 3:7, before the first deliverance/liberation). Therefore it appears the “forty years” the land had rest after Gideon is the same forty years as after Deborah (Judges 8:28 and 5:31). Both battles were in the Jezreel Valley, likely only days or weeks apart. So the Midianites knew what had happened to Sisera’s chariots in the western marshes.
The Midianite alliance was camped at the Hill of Moreh, on the north side of the Harod River (likely at flood stage from Deborah’s storm), and Gideon’s army was at the pool of Harod on the south side of the Harod River. Midianites had only three practical escapes: upstream (westward, towards the marshes where Sisera’s charioteers had perished), the road northeastward (towards the Sea of Galilee), and downstream (whence they had come into the land). Thus, there would have been a practical reason for Gideon to divide his army into three companies (Judges 7:16).
The common Midianite soldiers already trembled (Judges 7:13-14). The Midianites suddenly heard trumpets and crashes of pitchers breaking and saw bright torches. (Soldiers wield swords, not torches and trumpets. Therefore the Midianites and their allies would have seen each torch as representing a captain over hundreds, if not thousands.) The fearful Midianites near the edge of their camp would have fled from the torches and trumpets, running towards the center of the camp; those further in would have seen them as an inrushing Israelite army; so the fratricidal battle was on! Chaim Herzog & Mordechai Gichon, Battles of the Bible, 1997, offers maps and suggestions
regarding Deborah’s and Gideon’s battles. Gideon’s faith and courage were rewarded by God. Yet Gideon foolishly made an ephod (priestly vestment) from the spoil of raiment and gold, and all Israel sinned before it.
The Levite: Moses’ grandson sold himself to idolatry. It shows us that a priest is not immune to apostasy (and neither are we).
Inferences About Armageddon
From the oppressions of Israel and their liberations we may draw inferences about Armageddon, the demise of this world: Babylon can build no fortification too strong to fall (Joshua vs. Jericho).
• No amount of evil can rule the world by fear forever (Othniel).
• No organization can be so wealthy that it will never be destroyed (Ehud).
•High technology is never too strong for God to overcome (Deborah and Barak).
• No horde of people is ever too many for God to overcome (Gideon).
• God could use an illegitimate son to bring deliverance (Jephthah).
• Armageddon begins only at the completion of the faithful church (Samson).
Character Lessons from Articles Above
•Joshua exampled heroic action through his life.
• No amount of wickedness or wealth can endure forever (Cushan, Eglon).
• Barak had faith, but Deborah’s faith was full, as should be with us.
• Gideon also shows us that heroic action does not guarantee future wisdom.
•Jephthah shows we should make promises carefully, for we then need to keep them.
• Samson demonstrates love for God’s people, even unto death.
• Moses’ grandson shows us even the best relatives do not make oneself holy.
• Past guilt should not deter us from future dedication to righteousness.