The Influence of Deborah’s Song

To read about Deborah’s Story before you read about the influence of her song, follow this link. 

The outcome of the battle is total victory for Deborah and Barak’s forces. The reason isn’t just because Deborah is a good military strategist. It is, of course, because the Lord fights on the side of Israel (4:15). The poem/song which is a prayer, says that God brings a violent thunderstorm with lightening, hail, and torrential rain (5:20-21). This makes the latest military tech – iron-wheeled chariots – useless. Also, because of the storm the river Kishon overflows and swells. The chariots of the retreating army get mired along the way.

Another point of interest is that her song and its metaphorical language aides our interpretation of later passages in the Bible. Look at her reference to the stars in Judges 5:20, “From heaven the stars fought, from their forces they fought against Sisera.” Deborah uses the language of warfare in the heaves to describe the conquest over Sisera and his army. This is the earliest occurrence using a metaphor of heavenly warfare but from Deborah’s time forward it becomes a part of the language God’s people use as they try to describe God’s deliverance and his defeat of their enemies.We see it in Revelation 6:12-15 and Isaiah 34:4. Jesus puts these two passages together and says that after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13: 24-25). Deborah’s poetic gifts and especially her metaphors become a wellspring for later Biblical writers. This should cause us to rejoice in the gift and calling that God gave Deborah.

Later in the scriptures, Deborah and Barak’s victory is celebrated as one of the greatest historical victories that God gave his people (Psalm 83). Think back to the beginning of the story. The people couldn’t use the roads because they were so dangerous and they had to leave their villages –commerce all but ceases which results in dire economic suffering. Because of this victory, the people travel on the roads, build their villages again and cure the economic plight. This is a great victory and great deliverance.

Deborah ends her song of prayer with beautiful words, a passionate cry for justice and the flourishing of those who love the Lord: “But may your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.” This is a prayer we can pray for our children, our friends and ourselves.

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