Judges 4:1-24

Deborah

1 After Ehud died, the Israelites again did things that the Lord saw were evil. 2 So the Lord put them under the power of King Jabin. He was a Canaanite king who ruled in Hazor. The leader of Jabin's army was called Sisera. Sisera lived in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3 He had 900 iron chariots for his army. He used his power to be cruel to the Israelites for 20 years. So they called out to the Lord for help.

4:2Hazor was a big city in the north of Canaan. The Israelite tribes of Zebulun, Naphtali and Issachar had their land in that region.

4 At that time, Lappidoth's wife Deborah was leading the Israelites. She was a prophetess. 5 She would sit under a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel to judge people's problems. That was in the hill country of Ephraim. The Israelites would come to her when they had arguments. She would decide who was right.

6 One day, Deborah told Abinoam's son Barak to come to her. He lived in Kedesh, a town in Naphtali. She said to Barak, ‘The Lord, Israel's God, has given you this command: “March to Mount Tabor with 10,000 men who belong to the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. 7 I will deceive Sisera, the leader of King Jabin's army. He will go to the Kishon river with his great army and all their chariots. I will put them all under your power.” ’

4:6Mount Tabor was on the border of the lands of Zebulun, Naphtali and Issachar.

8 Barak said to Deborah, ‘I will go if you will come with me. But if you do not agree to go, I will not go either.’ 9 Deborah said, ‘Yes, I will go with you. But you will not receive honour for the battle. Instead, the Lord will put Sisera under the power of a woman.’

So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak told the men from Zebulun and Naphtali to go with him to Kedesh. 10,000 came to follow him. They all went with Deborah.

11 A certain Kenite man called Heber, did not live with the other Kenites. They were descendants of Hobab, the father of Moses' wife. Heber was living in a tent beside the big tree in Zaanannim, near Kedesh.

12 Sisera heard news that Abinoam's son Barak had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 So he gave a command to all his soldiers. He told them to go with him from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon river. They had 900 iron chariots. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Get ready! This is the day that the Lord will put Sisera under your power! The Lord will lead you into battle!’

So Barak led his 10,000 soldiers down from Mount Tabor. 15 When they started to attack, the Lord caused Sisera and all his army with their chariots to have great trouble. The Israelites chased them with their swords. Sisera jumped off his chariot and he ran away. 16 Barak and his soldiers chased after Sisera's army and their chariots. They chased them to Harosheth Haggoyim. They killed Sisera's whole army. Not one of their soldiers was still alive!

17 Sisera himself ran to hide in the tent of Heber's wife, Jael. He did that because King Jabin of Hazor had agreed to be friends with Heber's family. 18 Jael came out of her tent to say ‘hello’ to Sisera. She said to him, ‘Please come in to my tent, sir. You can rest safely here. Do not be afraid.’ So Sisera went in to her tent to rest. Jael put a cloth over him. 19 Sisera said to her, ‘I am thirsty. Please give me some water to drink.’ She gave him some milk from a leather bottle. Then she covered him again with the cloth. 20 Sisera said to her, ‘Stand at the door of your tent and watch. If someone comes to ask if anyone is here, say, “No.” ’

21 But Heber's wife Jael got a tent peg and a hammer. Sisera was very tired and he was asleep. Jael used the hammer to hit the peg into the side of Sisera's head. The peg went through his head into the ground. Sisera died. 22 Barak had been chasing Sisera. Jael went out of her tent to say ‘hello’ to him. She said to Barak, ‘Come here! I will show you the man that you are looking for.’ Barak went with her into the tent. He saw Sisera there. He was lying on the ground and he was dead. Barak saw the peg that had gone through Sisera's head.

4:21The pegs which fixed the tent to the ground had sharp points.

23 On that day, God caused King Jabin of Canaan to be very ashamed because the Israelites had won against his army. 24 From that time, the Israelite army became stronger, and King Jabin became weaker. Finally, the Israelites destroyed him.