Judges 4

Deborah was a wise and faithful judge! When Deborah heard from God that Barak should attack the Canaanite army, he refused to go unless she went as well. Deborah’s wisdom, fairness and trust in God gave Barak the courage to do the right thing. Deborah was not out for glory, but to do as God willed and to point others to the Lord.

Key Verse

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up”

1 Thessalonians 5:11a (NIV)


Judges background

Explain to the kids that after the Israelites settled in the promised land, and after Joshua died, they failed to follow God or his law. God raised up new leaders for them called judges. When the judges were bad, then God allowed Israel’s enemies to rule over them. The judges were supposed to remind the Israelites to follow God and to defend them against their enemies. Today’s story is from the book of Judges and is about a good judge named Deborah.

Deborah was a wise prophetess, and she would sit under a palm tree in Ephraim, and people would come to her to solve their disputes and to help them understand how to follow God.

Time to Attack King Jabin’s Army!

Tell the story from Judges 4.1-16

1: Ehud was a judge, but he was an evil man and didn’t follow God. Sin is a serious matter and God wants his people to be pure!

3: The people were very afraid of the Canaanite king Jabin. He had a big army with lots of chariots.

4: A prophetess is someone who hears from God, and declares God’s word to others.

5–7: Deborah gave Barack special instructions that came from God.

8: Barack didn’t want to attack Sisera and his army unless Deborah came with him. He knew that Deborah was a wise leader who trusted God and heard from him. He probably knew that him and his army would draw courage from her wisdom and strong leadership.

15: This verse doesn’t go into detail on the battle, but the song in chapter 5 tells us that the Lord sent rain during the battle. One of the drawbacks of iron chariots is that they are heavy and their wheels can get stuck in mud, which is probably how God gave them victory!


Deborah trusted God, and she used her words and her actions to point others to God. When others look at us, do they feel inspired to follow Jesus with all their hearts? Do we remind other people that God loves them? Other places in the Bible remind the church of this very thing! 1 Thessalonians 5:11a says that we should “…encourage one another and build each other up” (NIV). When we courageously follow Jesus it helps build the faith of other people.

Prayer: Thank God that he helps us to encourage and strengthen one another. Pray that the children would follow Jesus even when things seem difficult, and that others would take courage from them!

Review Questions

  • Why did God let Israel’s enemy rule over them?
  • Why did people come to Deborah at the palm tree?
  • What did she tell Barak?
  • Why did Barak want her to come with him?
  • How did God defeat the Canaanites?

Image Credit: Detail of Deborah the Judge stained glass window found within the Lady Chapel of St Mary’s, Clapham