Regters 4

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1 Maar ná die dood van Ehud het die kinders van Israel weer gedoen wat verkeerd was in die van die HERE.

2 Daarom het die HERE hulle verkoop in die hand van Jabin, die koning van Kanaän, wat in Hasor geregeer het; en sy leërowerste was Sísera, 'n inwoner van Haróset van die heidene.

3 En die kinders van Israel het die HERE aangeroep; want hy het nege honderd ysterwaens gehad en die kinders van Israel twintig jaar lank swaar verdruk.

4 En Debóra, 'n profetes, die vrou van Láppidot, het in dié tyd Israel gerig;

5 en sy het gesit onder die palm van Debóra, tussen Rama en Bet-el, op die gebergte van Efraim; en die kinders van Israel het na haar opgegaan vir regspraak.

6 Toe laat sy Barak, die seun van Abinóam, uit Kedes in Náftali, roep en vir hom: Het die HERE, die God van Israel, nie bevel gegee nie: Gaan, trek na die berg Tabor, en neem tien duisend man van die kinders van Náftali en van die kinders van Sébulon met jou saam?

7 dan sal Ek Sísera, die leërowerste van Jabin, met sy strydwaens en sy menigte na jou, na die spruit Kison trek, en Ek sal hom in jou hand gee.

8 Maar Barak vir haar: As u met my saamtrek, sal ek gaan; maar as u nie met my saamtrek nie, gaan ek nie.

9 Toe sy: Ek sal sekerlik met jou saamtrek, maar die eer sal nie joue wees op die pad wat jy sal gaan nie; want die HERE sal Sísera in die hand van 'n vrou verkoop; en Debóra het opgestaan en saam met Barak na Kedes getrek.

10 Daarop het Barak Sébulon en Náftali bymekaargeroep na Kedes toe, en tien duisend man het op sy voetspore opgetrek, en Debóra het saam met hom opgetrek.

11 En Heber, die Keniet, het hom afgeskei van Kain, van die kinders van Hobab, die swaer van Moses, en het sy tente opgeslaan tot by die terpentynboom by Saänáim, naby Kedes.

12 En toe hulle aan Sísera berig bring dat Barak, die seun van Abinóam, na die berg Tabor opgetrek het,

13 het Sísera al sy strydwaens, nege honderd ysterwaens, en al die manskappe wat by hom was, uit Haróset van die heidene na die spruit Kison bymekaargeroep.

14 Daarop Debóra vir Barak: Maak jou klaar, want dit is die dag waarop die HERE Sísera in jou hand gee. Trek die HERE nie voor jou uit nie? Toe trek Barak van die berg Tabor af, en tien duisend man agter hom aan.

15 En die HERE het Sísera met al die waens en die hele leër deur die skerpte van die swaard in verwarring gebring voor Barak uit, en Sísera het van sy wa afgeklim en te voet gevlug.

16 Maar Barak het die waens en die leër agternagejaag tot by Haróset van die heidene, en die hele leër van Sísera het deur die skerpte van die swaard geval; daar het selfs nie een oorgebly nie.

17 Toe vlug Sísera te voet na die tent van Jael, die vrou van Heber, die Keniet; want daar was vrede tussen Jabin, die koning van Hasor, en die huis van Heber, die Keniet.

18 En Jael het uitgegaan Sísera tegemoet en vir hom gesê: Draai uit, my heer, Draai uit na my! Moenie bang wees nie! En hy het na haar uitgedraai, na die tent, en sy het hom met 'n kombers toegemaak.

19 Daarop hy vir haar: Gee my tog 'n bietjie water om te drink, want ek het dors; sy maak toe die melksak oop en laat hom daaruit drink en maak hom weer toe.

20 En hy vir haar: Gaan staan by die tentdeur, en as iemand kom en jou vra en : Is hier iemand? antwoord dan: Nee.

21 Toe neem Jael, die vrou van Heber, 'n tentpen en vat die hamer in haar hand en gaan stilletjies na hom en dryf die pen terwyl hy vas aan die slaap was dwarsdeur die slaap van sy hoof, sodat dit in die grond indring. So het hy dan bewusteloos geword en gesterwe.

22 En kyk, terwyl Barak Sísera agtervolg, gaan Jael uit hom tegemoet en vir hom: Kom, en ek sal u die man wys wat u soek; en toe hy by haar inkom, lê Sísera daar dood, met die pen deur die slaap van sy hoof!

23 So het God dan op dié dag Jabin, die koning van Kanaän, voor die kinders van Israel onderwerp.

24 En die hand van die kinders van Israel het al swaarder gaan druk op Jabin, die koning van Kanaän, totdat hulle Jabin, die koning van Kanaän, uitgeroei het.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Regters 4      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 4: Deborah

Yet again, the children of Israel had disobeyed the Lord. At this point in time, they had been under the yoke of Jabin, a Canaanite king, for twenty years. He had nine hundred chariots of iron, and was apparently very powerful.

The Lord raised up Deborah, a prophetess, to free the Israelites from oppression under Jabin. The text says that she would pass judgements for the children of Israel while she sat under the palm tree of Deborah.

Deborah summoned Barak, an army officer, and told him to go with ten thousand men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun to fight King Jabin’s armies. Barak said he would only go if Deborah went as well, so she agreed to join him. Deborah then prophesied that Sisera, the enemy commander, would be defeated by a woman.

The two armies clashed at by the River Kishon, and all of Sisera’s men were killed. Sisera then fled to the tent of Heber, an Israelite who was on peaceful terms with King Jabin. Jael, Heber’s wife, invited Sisera to come in with the comforting words, “fear not”. She covered him with a blanket, gave him milk to drink, and let him sleep there.

Then Jael quietly took a tent peg and drove it into Sisera’s temple using a hammer, so that the peg stuck in the earth. When Barak came to the tent, pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to tell him, “come, and I will show you the man you seek.” And she showed him Sisera, dead, with a peg through his temple.

So Jabin’s army was defeated that day, and Israel grew stronger until their oppression under Jabin came to an end.

*****

Deborah is an especially significant character in the Bible, because she was the only female judge of Israel. It was very unusual for a woman in those times to rise to power, yet she truly earned the respect of her people. Deborah, as a woman, stands for the nurturing power of the Word to strengthen us during regeneration. Her name means ‘a bee’, but this comes from a word meaning ‘to speak’ – here, to speak the Word. Bees make honey; honey is nutritious; God’s word is our nourishment (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 3424[2]).

The fact that Deborah judged from under a palm tree may seem like a passing detail, but even this contributes to the spiritual meaning of the story. Palm trees stand for the divine truths of the Word, which means that Deborah was judging the people from her understanding of the Lord’s truths.

King Jabin’s nine hundred iron chariots represent the apparent power of false beliefs, thoughts and persuasions over us. The number ‘nine’ stands for something which is complete, and ‘iron’ here stands for either natural truths or falsities. A ‘chariot’, being pulled by a horse, always stands for a set of teachings or doctrine. These three symbols add to the picture of a very powerful enemy: false ideas and views that can weaken and overwhelm us (Arcana Caelestia 4720[2]).

The spiritual meaning of the complex arrangement between Barak and Deborah is that we can only deal with our spiritual conflicts if we take the Word’s power (Deborah) with us. Barak, a man, represents the power of truth, but Deborah says a woman will gain victory over Sisera. The feminine stands for the power of love: our charity, our affection for good, and our wish to be useful. These qualities are always essential in our spiritual life (see Swedenborg’s work, Apocalypse Explained 1120[2]).

The story about Jael and Sisera is really about actively resisting the temptations of evil in our lives. Jael, a woman, stands for the power of good to overcome what is false in our mind. Driving the tent peg through Sisera’s head stands for the complete destruction of what is false. Driving it right through and into the ground stands for the power of good in our life and in our regeneration, because the ground represents our actions (Arcana Caelestia 268).

When Barak and Jael meet, it stands for the unity between good (Jael, a woman) and truth (Barak, a man). This unity of good and truth appears again at the start of the next chapter, in which Deborah and Barak sing of Israel’s victory.

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