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Judges 4 Living Bible (TLB)

After Ehud’s death the people of Israel again sinned against the Lord, 2-3 so the Lord let them be conquered by King Jabin of Hazor, in Canaan. The commander-in-chief of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoiim. He had nine hundred iron chariots and made life unbearable for the Israelis for twenty years. But finally they begged the Lord for help.

Israel’s leader at that time, the one who was responsible for bringing the people back to God, was Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth. She held court at a place now called “Deborah’s Palm Tree,” between Ramah ad Bethel, in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came to her to decide their disputes.[a]

One day she summoned Barak (son of Abinoam), who lived in Kedesh, in the land of Naphtali, and said to him, “The Lord God of Israel has commanded you to mobilize ten thousand men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. Lead them to Mount Tabor to fight King Jabin’s mighty army with all his chariots, under General Sisera’s command. The Lord says, ‘I will draw them to the Kishon River, and you will defeat them there.’”

“I’ll go, but only if you go with me!” Barak told her.

“All right,” she replied, “I’ll go with you; but I’m warning you now that the honor of conquering Sisera will go to a woman instead of to you!” So she went with him to Kedesh.

10 When Barak summoned the men of Zebulun and Naphtali to mobilize at Kedesh, ten thousand men volunteered. And Deborah marched with them. 11 (Heber, the Kenite—the Kenites were the descendants of Moses’ father-in-law Hobab—had moved away from the rest of his clan, and had been living in various places as far away as the Oak of Zaanannim, near Kedesh.) 12 When General Sisera was told that Barak and his army were camped at Mount Tabor, 13 he mobilized his entire army, including the nine hundred iron chariots, and marched from Harosheth-hagoiim to the Kishon River.

14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Now is the time for action! The Lord leads on! He has already delivered Sisera into your hand!”

So Barak led his ten thousand men down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle.

15 Then the Lord threw the enemy into a panic, both the soldiers and the charioteers, and Sisera leaped from his chariot and escaped on foot. 16 Barak and his men chased the enemy and the chariots as far as Harosheth-hagoiim, until all of Sisera’s army was destroyed; not one man was left alive. 17 Meanwhile, Sisera had escaped to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was a mutual-assistance agreement between King Jabin of Hazor and the clan of Heber.

18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come into my tent, sir. You will be safe here in our protection. Don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

19 “Please give me some water,” he said, “for I am very thirsty.” So she gave him some milk and covered him again.

20 “Stand in the door of the tent,” he told her, “and if anyone comes by, looking for me, tell them that no one is here.”

21 Then Jael took a sharp tent peg and a hammer and, quietly creeping up to him as he slept, she drove the peg through his temples and into the ground; and so he died, for he was fast asleep from weariness.

22 When Barak came by looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said, “Come, and I will show you the man you are looking for.”

So he followed her into the tent and found Sisera lying there dead, with the tent peg through his temples. 23 So that day the Lord used Israel to subdue King Jabin of Canaan. 24 And from that time on Israel became stronger and stronger against King Jabin, until he and all his people were destroyed.


  1. Judges 4:5 to decide their disputes, or “to listen to her speak to them about God.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Judges 4 New International Version (NIV)


Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law,[b] and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.

14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. 15 At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.

16 Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left. 17 Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.

18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

19 “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.

20 “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’”

21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

22 Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead.

23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.


  1. Judges 4:4 Traditionally judging
  2. Judges 4:11 Or father-in-law
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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