God chose special leaders known as judges. Their job was to lead the people of Israel into battle, decide legal cases, and often perform religious duties.
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Deborah was the only woman chosen as a judge. After twenty years of oppression under the Canaanite King Jabin of Hazor, God told Deborah to lead the people into battle. She appointed Barak to lead an army of ten thousand (10,000) men against the Canaanites. But he was afraid to go without Deborah. She agreed to go, but not before telling Barak that he would receive no honor in battle and that God would allow a woman to defeat Sisera, the Canaanite general. (Read about how this happened in Judges 4:11-21.) The people of Israel defeated the Canaanites in a rout, and together Deborah and Barak sang a victory song to God. (See Judges 5.)
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