Deborah was a prophetess looked to for guidance during the oppressive rule of Jabin king of Canaan. The book of Judges chapter 4 tells the story. Jabin was a “jab-bin’” sort of guy.
“Jab, jab, jab. Ow, ow, ow.” “Get your rotten chariot off my foot!” Oh, for a ditch in which to pitch his iron war machines!
The tyrant was mean and well armed. But Deborah was wise. She received strategy straight from God detailing how to beat him. She shared her battle plans with a man named Barak, telling him exactly where to go and what to do.
“God says He’ll hand the jab-bin’ guy’s Army General Sisera over to you. So, go to it and do it!”
Barak hesitated. “That Sisera guy is no sissy,” he must have thought. So, he told Deborah, “I’ll only go if you go with me.” Was Barak acting like a sissy by insisting she support him?
“Sure, I’ll go with you,” Deborah said. “But because you’re being weird about it, it won’t be for your glory. God will hand Sisera over to a woman.”
The men in this story are nothing without the women. But that’s how it has been from the beginning.
“It’s not good for man to be alone,” the LORD had said when he made Adam, the first man (see Genesis 2:18). “I will make a helper for him.” How was Eve to help him? Well, God had given Adam a job to do, tending to the garden of Eden. He warned Adam not to eat from the knowledge of good and evil, but the serpent deceived Eve, who in turn led Adam into temptation. Could he have resisted the forbidden fruit she offered to him?
Obviously, he should have, but he didn’t. The result was tragic: a life of grueling toil for men; hard child-rearing for women (raising them is ten times harder than giving birth); and a lifetime of slavery to sin. For they had both sinned against God and “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 3:23). However, Adam is the one who passed sin down to all of us (Romans 5:19). Through his offense, death reigned (Romans 5:17).
Yet God did not look to fallen man to solve this problem, for it is not man but the devil who had the power of death. Adam was simply the one who handed it to him, after he listened to his wife who helped lead him into temptation. Satan had used a serpent to deceive Eve, who gave her husband bad advice. The Apostle John in Revelation 12:9 describes the devil or Satan as the old serpent who deceives the whole world.
Deborah encouraged Barak to do the right thing and “resist the devil” if you will. The devil in this case was working through Jabin and Sisera to keep God’s people in bondage. Deborah was not deceived but believed what God had spoken to her. She knew that God had called a man to battle this devil. He wasn’t strong enough to do it by himself, however. The job required a woman’s touch.
Jael, a woman Sisera trusted, helped lure this devil to his doom. He was deceived into believing that she had his best at heart. But while her enemy was sleeping, she took a nail and crushed his head, thus bringing deliverance to the people. By way of a metaphor, she parallels the virgin Mary, who helped fulfill God’s promise given in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed (Jesus); he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The Hebrew word for “bruise,” which some translate as “crush,” carries with it the idea of breaking or overwhelming. Satan bruised Jesus’ “heel” upon a cross, but Jesus crushed Satan’s head.
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14