We start with the Israelites living in peace with their neighboring tribes. Too bad they couldn’t have kept it that way. But Yahweh couldn’t stand not being the centre of attention, so he caused them to become slaves to a local tribe (it doesn’t say how). Then Yahweh sends a judge (Caleb’s nephew – the same one who married his cousin) to save them and defeat their captors. After that, the Israelites kept out of trouble for 40 years, then turned from god again, so god sold them as slaves to the Moabites. Enter the next judge, Ehud. The way that Ehud defeats the king of Moab – well, you just gotta read the whole thing.
Next judge is Shamgar – his story only gets one verse, but from that single verse, an apologist has created a bedtime story book aimed at 4-10 year olds. Take a look – I couldn’t make this stuff up! How can you justify this kind of violence to anyone – let alone a child???? (By the way, an ox-goad is just a cattle prod.)
The people are slaves again. Next up to save them is a judge named Deborah. She persuades a general named Barak to take on Sisera and his army of 900 iron chariots. After the battle, Sisera escapes but is murdered by a woman named Jael in her tent. Two points for women in this chapter!
See the pattern?
1. Yahweh allows the people to sin
2. He sells them into slavery as punishment
3. They call for help
4. God slaughters the tribe he sold them to.
Don’t these sound like the actions of an evil megalomaniacal puppet-master?
This is just a celebration song of the battle of Sisera, but it has a few interesting passages. In verse 20, credit for victory is given to the stars. Jael is ‘blessed above women’ for committing murder. V 27 says that Sisera ‘fell down dead’ which contradicts 4:21 where Jael murders him in his sleep. And v 31 says “the sun goeth forth in his might” in the Hebrew-English and KJV. In modern translations this has been changed to ‘rise like the sun in all its power’ (NLT) or similar, to camouflage the scientific inaccuracy, since we now know the sun does not actually move.