1. Observe what the Lord did against Israel (verses 8 and 12), and what he did for Israel (verse 9 and 15). What caused him to do the first, and what caused him to do the second? What insight does this give into the principles of God’s dealings with his people? Cf. Pss. 34:12-18; 103:8-14; 2 Chr. 7:13, 14.
2. Compare and contrast Othniel and Ehud, both men that enabled God to use them? Cf. 2 Chr. 16:9.
1. Why do you think Barak was unwilling to undertake the campaign without Deborah? Does this reveal a defect in his faith? What insight does this give into God’s willingness to bear with our human frailty? Cf. Exod. 4:13-16; Jer. 16-8; 2 Cor. 3:5,6.
2. Who was the real architect of Israel’s victory? Cf. Exod. 14:13; 2 Sam. 8:6, 14; 2 Chr. 20:15-17. What practical has application has this for us today?
* The story falls into four parts: (a) verse 1-5, an introduce hymn of praise; (b) verses 6-8, the situation before the deliverance; (c) verses 9-18, the rallying of the tribes and the rebuke of the irresolute; (d) verses 19-31, the victory, and the death of Sisera.
1. Observe to what dire straits backsliding had reduced the tribes (verse 6-8; cf. 3:31; 1 Sam. 13:19, 22; 2 Kgs. 10:32,33; 13:3, 7). What parallel spiritual consequence is found in the life of the backsliding Christian?
2. What qualities are praised in the story, and what kind of conduct is condemned? Is there a present-day application in our service for God? Cf. Luke 8:14; 9:62; Acts 15:26.
Note. Deborah clearly approved of Jael’s act, but did God approve? It was an act of treachery that abused all the accepted conventions of the age. It may be compared with Jacob’s deceit of his aged father (Gen. 27), yet in born incidents there was an element that could be approved – Jacob’s earnest desire for the blessing, and Jael’s zeal for her people against their oppressor. In the case of Jacob we know we know that he suffered severely for his treachery, although he received the blessing.