“The Reluctant General” is unique in that it is a historical novel that is both true to the biblical record and historically accurate. Yet, it is a fictionalized version of the events about how Deborah, the lead judge of Israel at that time, and Barak, a farmer from the tribe of Naphtali in the northern part of Israel, lead an army of ten thousand Israelite farmers and hunters against the greatest army of the known world: the Canaanites. The story involves Barak’s journey from simple farmer to reluctant fighter to heroic general within the milieu of late Bronze Age hardship and cruelty.
Barak struggles with his own frailties and fears while Deborah struggles with the fear of her people to get involved in an impossible war and reluctance of her “general” to lead the army she has called. With nothing apparently to gain and everything to lose, these two fight side by side to lead a rag-tag army of 10,000 against the well-trained military of over 40,000 men and 900 iron chariots of war.
Following the astounding defeat at Mt. Tabor, the two lead the army to conquer the great walled city of Hazor, killing the Canaanite king Jabin and thereby ending the human sacrifices to the god Baal. The victory over the Canaanites results in forty years of prosperity and growth among the early Jews of the twelfth century BC.