And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead.
And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.
And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel [Jud. 4:1–3].
After the death of Ehud, Israel again turned to idolatry, and a new period of oppression began. The Lord sold Israel into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan. Sisera, captain of the host, had nine hundred chariots of iron. These chariots caused dread among the Israelites who had no such armaments. For twenty years Jabin oppressed Israel.
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment [Jud. 4:4–5].
Here we have a mother in Israel, Deborah, who is described as being both a prophetess and a judge. We are also told that she was the wife of Lapidoth, but I like to turn that around and say that Lapidoth was the husband of Deborah. She was quite a woman. She was raised up by God to judge Israel, and she called upon the general to get busy. He was not doing his job. He should go against the enemy that Israel might be delivered from slavery.
And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.
And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go [Jud. 4:6–8].
If there ever was a general who was a sissy, it was Barak. He should have been out in the thick of the battle, but here he is hiding behind a woman’s skirt. Barak will not go into battle unless Deborah goes along. If this prophetess went with him, he felt he would be successful in battle. No wonder God had to use a woman in that day!
And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh [Jud. 4:9].
Deborah promised to go with Barak but told him that a woman would be the heroine of the battle.
McGee, J. Vernon: Thru the Bible Commentary. electronic ed. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1981, S. 2:51-52