“The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died.”(Judges 4:1)
We are going far back in the history of ancient called and chosen people, back before the people of Israel wanted and asked the Lord God for a king like other nations. Ehud was a good man and a good judge & champion for the Israelites. With his death, they were lost I guess. Or did not have someone to hold them accountable.
“So the LORD sold them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim. Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly twenty years.” (Verses 2 – 3)
It is not hard to see nor understand why a king with a mighty army might have appeal for the Israelites. For twenty years, apparently, they were harassed and run down by iron chariot, not to mention the soldiers at whose hands they probably suffered. But the Lord God provides relief.
“At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment.
She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you, ‘Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.'” (Verses 4 – 7)
Why did they have to wait twenty years for relief? What happened after year nineteen that resulted in the Lord God showing compassion? Or, conversely, why was it not longer to ensure that whatever caused the Israelites to go astray was winnowed out of them? Or . . . did it take that long for another judge to arise so that the Divine’s plan for the Israelites could move forward. The writer of the book of Judges does not say why the twenty years were needed. Perhaps even he does not know.
I suspect, beloved reader, there was no real reason for that passage of time. Not that the Lord God had decided to make the people of Israel suffer. It is just what happened; it is the lens and context that the writer of the book of Judges uses. You see, when everything is seen from the context of one (or one group) of viewers, everything revolves around them and their agenda, needs & desires. It does not take into account the swirling ebbs and flows of other places and other people.
The longer we (this multi-generation of current humanity) see history come and go, the more we should understand that life moves on. We can put whatever framework and paradigm on it that we want. Things happen, time passes, & other things happen. What is essential and germane is what we are doing with our now, and what plan we have for our future. Will we let the ebbs & flows of life here and in other places in the world drive and dictate how we life our lives? Or will we cling to what we know through the teaching, grace, & mercy of the Divine?
I pray, beloved reader, you do not give up hope. And that you do not let anything dissuade you from the life you were called and chosen for. Shalom & Selah!