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Deborah and Barak

And again the Israelites[a] did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and Ehud died. So Yahweh sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, and he was living in Harosheth Haggoyim. And the Israelites[b] cried to Yahweh, as he had nine hundred iron chariots,[c] and he oppressed the Israelites[d] cruelly[e] for twenty years.[f]

Now at that time Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging[g] Israel. And she used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites[h] went up to her for judgment. She sent and called for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh Naphtali and said to him, “Has not Yahweh the God of Israel commanded you? ‘Go, march to[i] Mount Tabor, and take ten thousand men from the descendants[j] of Naphtali and Zebulun. I will draw out[k] Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and troops, to the wadi[l] of Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.’” Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you do not go with me, I will not go.” She said, “Surely I will go with you; however, there will be no glory for you in the path you are taking,[m] for Yahweh will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” And Deborah stood up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and they went up behind him,[n] ten thousand men, and Deborah went up with him.

11 And Heber the Kenite was separated from the other Kenites,[o] that is, from the descendants[p] of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses. And he was encamped[q] at Elon-bezaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

12 When they[r] reported to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera summoned all his chariots—all nine hundred chariots[s] of iron—and the entire army that was with him from Harosheth Haggoyim to the wadi[t] of Kishon. 14 And Deborah said to Barak, “Get up! This is the day that Yahweh has given Sisera into your hand. Has Yahweh not gone out before you?” So Barak went out from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 And Yahweh threw Sisera and all his chariots and army into confusion[u] before the edge of Barak’s sword;[v] and Sisera dismounted from his chariot and fled on foot. 16 But Barak pursued after the chariots[w] and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all of Sisera’s army fell to the edge of the sword;[x] no one was left.

17 Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael came out to meet Sisera, and she said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me and do not be afraid.” So he turned aside into her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.[y] 19 And he said to her, “Please, give me a drink of water, because I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin vessel of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the doorway of the tent, and if anyone comes and asks you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ You must answer, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, took in her hand a tent peg and a hammer, and she went softly[z] to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; he was fast asleep since he was exhausted, and he died. 22 And behold, Barak was pursuing Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him, and she said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” And he came with her and saw that Sisera was lying dead with the peg in his temple. 23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.[aa] 24 And the hand of the Israelites[ab] pressed harder[ac] and harder on Jabin king of Canaan, until they destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.


  1. Judges 4:1 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  2. Judges 4:3 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  3. Judges 4:3 Hebrew “chariot”
  4. Judges 4:3 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  5. Judges 4:3 Literally “with force”
  6. Judges 4:3 Hebrew “year”
  7. Judges 4:4 Or “leading”
  8. Judges 4:5 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  9. Judges 4:6 Literally “take the lead at”
  10. Judges 4:6 Or “sons/children”
  11. Judges 4:7 Literally “I will draw to you”
  12. Judges 4:7 A valley that is dry most of the year, but contains a stream during the rainy season
  13. Judges 4:9 Or “the way you are going”
  14. Judges 4:10 Literally “they went up in his feet”
  15. Judges 4:11 Hebrew “Kenite”
  16. Judges 4:11 Or “sons/children”
  17. Judges 4:11 Literally “he spread his tent”
  18. Judges 4:12 The subject is not specified in Hebrew
  19. Judges 4:13 Hebrew “chariot”
  20. Judges 4:13 A valley that is dry most of the year, but contains a stream during the rainy season
  21. Judges 4:15 Or “routed Sisera and all his chariots and army”
  22. Judges 4:15 Literally “the mouth of the sword before Barak”
  23. Judges 4:16 Hebrew “chariot”
  24. Judges 4:16 Literally “the mouth of the sword”
  25. Judges 4:18 Literally “with a covering/rug”
  26. Judges 4:21 Or “secretly”
  27. Judges 4:23 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  28. Judges 4:24 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  29. Judges 4:24 Literally “went harder”