士师记 4

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1 底波拉和巴拉

2 因此耶和华把他们交在迦南耶宾中,耶宾那时在夏琐作;他的军长西西拉,在夏罗设歌印。

3 耶宾王有辆,他极力欺压以色列人二十年,以色列人就哀求耶和华

4 有一位女先知底波拉,是拉比多的妻子,那时正治理以色列人

5 她常坐在以法莲地,拉玛伯特利之间那棵底波拉棕树以色列人都上到她那里去听判断

6 底波拉派去从拿弗他利的基低斯,把亚比挪庵的儿子巴拉召了来,对他:“耶和华以色列的不是曾吩咐你:‘你去向他泊进军,从拿弗他利和西布伦中率领一万与你同去吗?

7 我必引耶宾的军长西西拉,和他的车辆与全军,到基顺往你那里去;我必把他们交在你里。’”

8 巴拉对她:“如果你与我同去,我就去;如果你不与我同去,我就不去。”

9 底波拉回答:“我必与你同去,只是你这次行程就没有光荣;因为耶和华要把西西拉交在一个妇人里。”于是底波拉起来,与巴拉一同到基低斯去了。

10 巴拉就召集西布伦和拿弗他利到基低斯;与他一同步行上去的有一万,底波拉也与他一同上去。

11 摩西的岳父何巴的子孙基尼人希伯,曾经离开基尼族人,到靠近基低斯的撒拿音的橡树旁,支搭帐棚居住。

12 有人告诉西西拉,亚比挪庵的儿子巴拉已经上了他泊

13 西西拉就召集他所有的车辆,就是车,和与他在一起的众人,都从夏罗设歌印出来,到基顺那里。

14 底波拉对巴拉:“你起来吧,因为今日就是耶和华把西西拉交在你里的日子;耶和华不是在你前面出战吗?”于是巴拉和跟随他的一万从他泊来。

15 耶和华用刀使西西拉和所有的车辆与全军,都在巴拉面前溃乱;西西拉了车,步行逃跑

16 巴拉追赶西西拉的车辆和军队,直到夏罗设歌印;西西拉的全军都倒在刀下,连个也没有留下。

17 雅亿杀西西拉只有西西拉步行逃跑,到了基尼人希伯的妻子雅亿的帐棚那里;因为夏琐耶宾与基尼人希伯的家友好。

18 雅亿出来迎接西西拉,对他:“请我过来,到我这里,不要惧怕。”西西拉就到她那里去,就是到她的帐棚里去;雅亿就用毛毡遮盖他。

19 西西拉对雅亿:“请给我一点喝,因为我渴了。”雅亿就打开盛奶的皮袋,给他喝了,再把他盖着。

20 西西拉又对雅亿:“请你站在帐棚口,如果有问你:‘这里有吗?’你就要回答:‘没有。’”

21 希伯的妻子雅亿取了一根帐棚的橛子,里拿着锤子,静悄悄地走到西西拉那里,把橛子在他的太阳穴里,直入地里;因为西西拉疲乏熟睡,就这样死了

22 那时,巴拉追赶西西拉,雅亿出迎接他,对他:“吧,我给你寻找。”他就进到她那里去;见西西拉已经仆倒,死了;橛子还在他的太阳穴里。

23 这样,就在那一天,在以色列人面前,制伏了迦南耶宾。

24 以色列人的势力日渐强盛,胜过迦南耶宾,终于把迦南耶宾除灭。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 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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