Early Judges including Deborah

To Remember: God is our ruler


judge: (in lesson context) a leader God provided to free Israel from danger and keep the peace
repent: to turn back, to change your mind and behavior
Judges 1-5"God raised up Deborah to be judge after the people had been treated harshly by King Jabin of Hazor. God spoke to Deborah under her palm tree between Bethel and Ramah. She was to send for a man named Barak in Naphtali and tell him to take ten thousand soldiers to Mount Tabor. There he would fight against King Jabin’s army..." Read the Full Lesson Text
  • Describe Israel's government: tribal elders and national priests. No king, no governor, just obedience to the laws of God.
  • Because God was Israel's ruler, he punished them when they disobeyed. He allowed other countries to rule over them.
  • When Israel repented and called on the Lord, He sent leaders (judges) to free them and help them remain true to God.
  • The judges were from different tribes in Israel. Some were prophets as well. Not all the judges were good people - sometimes they were strong political and military leaders used by God to accomplish a purpose.
Judge Enemy Scripture
Othniel (Caleb's nephew) 40 Canaanites & Mesopotamians Judges 1:11-13; 3:7-11
Ehud (used a dagger to kill Eglon) 80 Moabites (King Eglon) Judges 3:12-30
Shamgar (used an oxgoad to kill 600) ? Philistines Judges 3:31;5:6
Deborah (prophesied re: Barak and Jael) 40 King Jabin of Hazor Judges 4-5
Gideon (used 300 men with torches) 40 Mididanites Judges 6-8
Abimelech (Gideon's corrupt son) 3 (civil war in Israel) Judges 8:33-9:57
Tola (from tribe of Issachar) 23   Judges 10:1-2
Jair (had 30 sons and 30 towns) 22   Judges 10:3-5
Jephthah (promised his daughter's life) 6 Ammonites Judges 11:1-12:7
Ibzan (from Bethlehem) 7   Judges 12:8-10
Elon (from Zebulun) 10   Judges 12:11-12
Abdon (had 40 sons, 30 grandsons) 8   Judges 12:13-15
Samson (strong Nazarite) 40 Philistines Judges 13-16
Eli (high priest) ? Philistines 1 Samuel 1:1-4:1
Samuel (prophet and priest, anoints kings) ? Philistines 1 Samuel 4:1-7:17

Object Lesson:
Show the class pictures of a chariot. Describe how the Israelites didn't have chariots, and went to war ontheir feet. Compare it to fighting someone in a car - how difficult it would be. But over and over, God defeated the armies with their chariots for Israel.

Bring in paper towel rolls and green & brown construction paper to make palm trees. Have the students cover the roll in brown paper. Then cut leafs of green paper, cutting fronds out (see template of palm leaf). Glue the end of the branch to the truck (roll). Now everyone has their own palm tree. Bring in a scarf for the girls to wrap around their heads to pretend to be Deborah.

When we disobey the laws of the United States, we can be arrested, sent to jail and punished. When Israel disobeyed God's law, He (as their ruler) rightfully punished them. But He was also there to save them when they repented (turned back to him). Our law does not have a lot of ways to handle repentance (maybe time off for good behavior). But God loves us so much He sent His own son to pay for our wrongs and provide us with forgiveness.

Memory Work: Judges 5:2                "Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves."

Sing: Deborah and Barak sang praise to God after the battle. Let's sing "He's got the whole world in His hands"

True or False
  1. God appointed rulers for every tribe in Israel.            F
  2. The judges of Israel were all from the tribe of Judah.     F
  3. God used judges to rescue Israel from their enemies.   T
  4. Deborah was a prophetess, but not a judge.    F
  5. Some of the judges made terrible mistakes.   T   
Right or Wrong: Judges decided what was the right thing to do. We also have to decide between right and wrong. Choose between the two possibilities to decide which is right or wrong.
Question Right Wrong
Who or what will solve all my problems? God money
Who gives me the best advice? Jesus friends
Where's the best place to learn right from wrong? Bible tv shows
Who should I follow? parents friends
What more important in my schedule? my chores my tv show
Who should I treat kindly? everyone people who are nice to me
who should I try to be like? Jesus my favorite music star

Bring a puppet to class for younger groups. For older kids, make up a person their age. Tell the students that this person tends to be fearful and untrusting, like Barak. Talk about how Barak disappointed God and gave up rewarding things because of his fear. Tell the students that this person gets afraid when: 1) his friends make fun of him for being a "goody-two-shoes", 2) when he might get in trouble for being honest, 3) when he doesn't know how to handle a problem alone. Ask the students how they would advise this person to handle these situations. If they have trouble, ask them to remember: 1) Jesus loves them, 2) Jesus went through the same trials, 3) he can pray for strength, 4) he can remember God rewards the faithful, 5) and we know that God's plans are for our best - if we see them through.Review

for gameboard

linguistic questions

  1. What was a judge in Israel's time? a person God provided to lead Israel out of trouble
  2. Name as many judges as you can remember from today's lesson.
  3. Name as many tribes of Israel as you can remember.

activity questions

  1. Locate Moab on a map.
  2. Draw a palm tree.
  3. Act out Barak asking Deborah to go to war with him.

 emotion questions

  1. How do you think God felt when the Israelites so quickly disobeyed him?
  2. How did the Israelites feel when they realized they had left God's ways?
  3. How did the Israelites feel when God delivered them from their enemies?

 application questions

  1. How does God deliver us from disobedience? through His son
  2. In what ways can we stray from God today? abandon prayer, worship, and obedience to His laws; seek after physical things
  3. How can we be like judges? be ready to do God's work, not be afraid of the enemy, and help others return to God

fact questions

  1. Did Deborah lead the army of Isreal? no
  2. What did Barak insist upon? that Deborah go to battle with him
  3. How did Deborah praise God after the battle? in song

review questions

  1. Why did God allow other nations to rule Israel? Israel left God
  2. How did the small armies of the judges defeat their powerful enemies? because God was with them
  3. Why didn't Barak get the glory for defeating Sisera? Sisera was killed by a woman; it's implied that Barak's fear (lack of trust in God) caused God to give that reknown to another.