Lectionary Year A
November 17, 2002
Judges 4:1-10

Step II: Disposition


This story, as Bernard W. Anderson likes to call these narratives, in Understanding the Old Testament, 3rd edition, tells a rather straight forward tale of preparing for battle. It reports prophetic speech and has a dramatic flare despite the language hiding some of the drama of Deborah’s conviction and cooperation. It resembles the other Judges’ stories in format. Therefore, the terms are common to this segment of Biblical historical books.


*How significant is Deborah’s gender in this event?
*How common was it for a leader to hear from a prophet, much less from a prophetess, such quotes from God, such as going to war?
* Is Sisera a dummy or is he gullible or is he merely a pawn in a story or what?
*Does Deborah really give Sisera’s troops into Baraks’ hands? In verse 14 of this chapter, Deborah credits the Lord with giving Barak the victory over Sisera’s troops.
* Why is the story’s climax so anticlimactically stated in the penultimate verse and in the last phrase of the text?
* How accurately historically do these events have to have happened as presented? What is their purpose? What do we here and now get from their experiences then and there?

*My queries come from wanting to preach this passage and not yet knowing what there is in it theologically and applicationally to preach.
*The gender question cannot be ignored in the proclamation. See the description of the congregation who will hear this sermon. * With whom, most responsibly, do we identify in this pericope?
* Does the authority of this scripture passage depend much on its historical accuracy?
* Won’t we have to refer to verses 14f in the reading of the text in worship and/or in the sermon?
* What about the Old Testament anomaly, regarding God’s selling the Israelites into the hands of Jabin? Do we ignore it and/or what?

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