士師記 4

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1 底波拉和巴拉以笏後,以色列人又行了耶和華看為惡的事。

2 因此耶和華把他們交在迦南耶賓中,耶賓那時在夏瑣作;他的軍長西西拉,在夏羅設歌印。

3 耶賓王有輛,他極力欺壓以色列人二十年,以色列人就哀求耶和華

4 有一位女先知底波拉,是拉比多的妻子,那時正治理以色列人

5 她常坐在以法蓮地,拉瑪伯特利之間那棵底波拉棕樹以色列人都上到她那裡去聽判斷

6 底波拉派去從拿弗他利的基低斯,把亞比挪菴的兒子巴拉召了來,對他:“耶和華以色列的不是曾吩咐你:‘你去向他泊進軍,從拿弗他利和西布倫中率領一萬與你同去嗎?

7 我必引耶賓的軍長西西拉,和他的車輛與全軍,到基順往你那裡去;我必把他們交在你裡。’”

8 巴拉對她:“如果你與我同去,我就去;如果你不與我同去,我就不去。”

9 底波拉回答:“我必與你同去,只是你這次行程就沒有光榮;因為耶和華要把西西拉交在一個婦人裡。”於是底波拉起來,與巴拉一同到基低斯去了。

10 巴拉就召集西布倫和拿弗他利到基低斯;與他一同步行上去的有一萬,底波拉也與他一同上去。

11 摩西的岳父何巴的子孫基尼人希伯,曾經離開基尼族人,到靠近基低斯的撒拿音的橡樹旁,支搭帳棚居住。

12 有人告訴西西拉,亞比挪菴的兒子巴拉已經上了他泊

13 西西拉就召集他所有的車輛,就是車,和與他在一起的眾人,都從夏羅設歌印出來,到基順那裡。

14 底波拉對巴拉:“你起來吧,因為今日就是耶和華把西西拉交在你裡的日子;耶和華不是在你前面出戰嗎?”於是巴拉和跟隨他的一萬從他泊來。

15 耶和華用刀使西西拉和所有的車輛與全軍,都在巴拉面前潰亂;西西拉了車,步行逃跑

16 巴拉追趕西西拉的車輛和軍隊,直到夏羅設歌印;西西拉的全軍都倒在刀下,連個也沒有留下。

17 雅億殺西西拉只有西西拉步行逃跑,到了基尼人希伯的妻子雅億的帳棚那裡;因為夏瑣耶賓與基尼人希伯的家友好。

18 雅億出來迎接西西拉,對他:“請我過來,到我這裡,不要懼怕。”西西拉就到她那裡去,就是到她的帳棚裡去;雅億就用毛氈遮蓋他。

19 西西拉對雅億:“請給我一點喝,因為我渴了。”雅億就打開盛奶的皮袋,給他喝了,再把他蓋著。

20 西西拉又對雅億:“請你站在帳棚口,如果有問你:‘這裡有嗎?’你就要回答:‘沒有。’”

21 希伯的妻子雅億取了一根帳棚的橛子,裡拿著鎚子,靜悄悄地走到西西拉那裡,把橛子在他的太陽穴裡,直入地裡;因為西西拉疲乏熟睡,就這樣死了

22 那時,巴拉追趕西西拉,雅億出迎接他,對他:“吧,我給你尋找。”他就進到她那裡去;見西西拉已經仆倒,死了;橛子還在他的太陽穴裡。

23 這樣,就在那一天,在以色列人面前,制伏了迦南耶賓。

24 以色列人的勢力日漸強盛,勝過迦南耶賓,終於把迦南耶賓除滅。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 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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