Daily Tanach, Monday: Shoftim Chapter 4 Part 1-Devorah & Barak

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

Chapter 4: Devorah & Barak

1. Sisra rules over the Jewish people:

  • The Jewish people return to sinful behavior: The Jewish people continued to perpetrate evil in the eyes of G-d, following[1] the death of Eihud.
  • The Jewish people fall under the reign of Yavin and Sisra: Hashem [as a punishment] had the Jewish people sold [i.e. placed under the government] of Yavin the king of Canaan who was the king of Chatzor [prior to its destruction[2]]. His general was Sisra. He lived in the city called Charoshes Hagoyim.
  • The suffering and army of Sisra: The Jewish people cried to Hashem in desperation of their suffering [under the hand of Sisra], as he had 900 metal chariots [of war] and used it to oppress the Jewish people.

2. Devora the Prophetess and Judge:

  • Who was Devorah? Devorah, the prophetess, who was the wife of Lapidos [whose real name was Barak Ben Avinoam[3], but was called the above name as he would make wicks for the Mikdash[4]], was the Judge of the Jewish people at that time.
  • Her location: He was located by her date palm trees [in Jericho[5]], and between the cities of Rama and Beis Eil [in which she owned vineyards and olive orchards[6]], on the mountains of Ephraim, and the Jewish people came to seek her judgment in that area.

3. The Jewish people prepare to battle Sisra:

  • Devorah instructs Barak to gather an army: Devorah sent for [her husband] Barak Ben Avinoam from the city of Kedesh Naftali and told him that the G-d of Israel has instructed him to gather 10,000 soldiers from the tribes of Naftali and Zevuln, and bring them to Mount Tabor [to wage war against Sisra[7]]. [Hashem stated that] He will draw Sisra and his army to the Kishon river, and there they will fall into their hands.
  • The reply of Barak: Barak replied to Devorah that if she goes with him [to wage war[8]] then he too will go, and if not then he will not go [as they will have Divine intervention to help them win the war if she comes[9]].
  • Devorah agrees to join the battle: Devorah replied to Barak that she agrees to join him in battle, although Barak should not boast of his victory over Sisra, as in truth Sisra will be handed over to the hand of a woman [i.e. Devorah, and some say Yael[10]]. Devorah then went ahead with Barak to the city of Kedsha.
  • Barak galvanizes troops: Barak called on the tribes of Zevulun and Naftali in Kedsha and gathered an army of 10,000 men. Devorah went together with them.
  • The encampment of Chever the Kini: Chever the Kini separated from [the encampment in the Judean desert[11] of] Kayin the son of Choveiv, the father in-law of Moshe. He encamped in Eilon Tzananim which is in Kedesh.


[1] See Metzudos David 4:1 and Radak 4:1

[2] See Radak 4:2 and Metzudos David 4:2

[3] Radak 4:4

[4] Rashi 4:4

[5] Rashi 4:5

[6] Rashi 4:5

[7] Metzudos David 4:6

[8] Metzudos David 4:8

[9] Ralbag 4:8

[10] See Metzudos David 4:9; Radak 4:9

[11] Radak 4:11; Metzudos David 4:11

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