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Judges 4-5Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Deborah and Barak

The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud had died. So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his forces was Sisera who lived in Harosheth of the Nations.[a] Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, because Jabin had 900 iron chariots, and he harshly oppressed them 20 years.

Deborah, a woman who was a prophetess and the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. It was her custom to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her for judgment.

She summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “Hasn’t the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you: ‘Go, deploy the troops on Mount Tabor, and take with you 10,000 men from the Naphtalites and Zebulunites? Then I will lure Sisera commander of Jabin’s forces, his chariots, and his army at the Wadi Kishon to fight against you, and I will hand him over to you.’”

Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go. But if you will not go with me, I will not go.”

“I will go with you,” she said, “but you will receive no honor on the road you are about to take, because the Lord will sell Sisera into a woman’s hand.” So Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; 10,000 men followed him, and Deborah also went with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had moved away from the Kenites, the sons of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law, and pitched his tent beside the oak tree of Zaanannim, which was near Kedesh.

12 It was reported to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up Mount Tabor. 13 Sisera summoned all his 900 iron chariots and all the people who were with him from Harosheth of the Nations[b] to the Wadi Kishon. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Move on, for this is the day the Lord has handed Sisera over to you. Hasn’t the Lord gone before you?” So Barak came down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him.

15 The Lord threw Sisera, all his charioteers, and all his army into confusion with the sword before Barak. Sisera left his chariot and fled on foot. 16 Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth of the Nations,[c] and the whole army of Sisera fell by the sword; not a single man was left.

17 Meanwhile, Sisera had 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 family of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael went out to greet Sisera and said to him, “Come in, my lord. Come in with me. Don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink for I am thirsty.” She opened a container of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him again. 20 Then he said to her, “Stand at the entrance to the tent. If a man comes and asks you, ‘Is there a man here?’ say, ‘No.’” 21 While he was sleeping from exhaustion, Heber’s wife Jael took a tent peg, grabbed a hammer, and went silently to Sisera. She hammered the peg into his temple and drove it into the ground, and he died.

22 When Barak arrived in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to greet him and said to him, “Come and I will show you the man you are looking for.” So he went in with her, and there was Sisera lying dead with a tent peg through his temple!

23 That day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 The power of the Israelites continued to increase against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.

Deborah’s Song

On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang:

When the leaders lead[d] in Israel,
when the people volunteer,
praise the Lord.
Listen, kings! Pay attention, princes!
I will sing to the Lord;
I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.
Lord, when You came from Seir,
when You marched from the fields of Edom,
the earth trembled,
the heavens poured rain,
and the clouds poured water.
The mountains melted before the Lord,
even Sinai[e] before the Lord, the God of Israel.

In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
in the days of Jael,
the main ways were deserted
because travelers kept to the side roads.
Villages were deserted,[f]
they were deserted in Israel,
until I, Deborah,[g] arose,
a mother in Israel.
Israel chose new gods,
then war was in the gates.
Not a shield or spear was seen
among 40,000 in Israel.
My heart is with the leaders of Israel,
with the volunteers of the people.
Praise the Lord!
10 You who ride on white[h] donkeys,
who sit on saddle blankets,
and who travel on the road, give praise!
11 Let them tell the righteous acts of the Lord,
the righteous deeds of His warriors in Israel,
with the voices of the singers at the watering places.[i]

Then the Lord’s people went down to the gates.
12 “Awake! Awake, Deborah!
Awake! Awake, sing a song!
Arise, Barak,
and take hold of your captives,
son of Abinoam!”
13 The survivors came down to the nobles;
the Lord’s people came down to me[j] with the warriors.
14 Those with their roots in Amalek[k] came from Ephraim;
Benjamin came with your people after you.
The leaders came down from Machir,
and those who carry a marshal’s staff came from Zebulun.
15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
Issachar was with Barak.
They set out at his heels in the valley.
There was great searching[l] of heart
among the clans of Reuben.
16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds
listening to the playing of pipes for the flocks?
There was great searching of heart
among the clans of Reuben.
17 Gilead remained beyond the Jordan.
Dan, why did you linger at the ships?
Asher remained at the seashore
and stayed in his harbors.
18 Zebulun was a people risking their lives,
Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield.

19 Kings came and fought.
Then the kings of Canaan fought
at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo,
but they took no spoil of silver.
20 The stars fought from the heavens;
the stars fought with Sisera from their courses.
21 The river Kishon swept them away,
the ancient river, the river Kishon.
March on, my soul, in strength!
22 The horses’ hooves then hammered—
the galloping, galloping of his[m] stallions.
23 “Curse Meroz,” says the Angel of the Lord,
“Bitterly curse her inhabitants,
for they did not come to help the Lord,
to help the Lord against the mighty warriors.”

24 Jael is most blessed of women,
the wife of Heber the Kenite;
she is most blessed among tent-dwelling women.
25 He asked for water; she gave him milk.
She brought him curdled milk in a majestic bowl.
26 She reached for a tent peg,
her right hand, for a workman’s mallet.
Then she hammered Sisera—
she crushed his head;
she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 He collapsed, he fell, he lay down at[n] her feet;
he collapsed, he fell at her feet;
where he collapsed, there he fell—dead.

28 Sisera’s mother looked through the window;
she peered through the lattice, crying out:
“Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why don’t I hear the hoofbeats of his horses?”[o]
29 Her wisest princesses answer her;
she even answers herself:[p]
30 “Are they not finding and dividing the spoil—
a girl or two for each warrior,
the spoil of colored garments for Sisera,
the spoil of an embroidered garment or two for my neck?”[q]

31 Lord, may all your enemies perish as Sisera did.[r]
But may those who love Him
be like the rising of the sun in its strength.

And the land was peaceful 40 years.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 4:2 Or Harosheth-ha-goiim
  2. Judges 4:13 Or Harosheth-ha-goiim
  3. Judges 4:16 Or Harosheth-ha-goiim
  4. Judges 5:2 Or the locks of hair are loose
  5. Judges 5:5 Or Lord, this [One of] Sinai
  6. Judges 5:7 Hb obscure
  7. Judges 5:7 Or you
  8. Judges 5:10 Hb obscure
  9. Judges 5:11 Hb obscure
  10. Judges 5:13 LXX reads down for him
  11. Judges 5:14 LXX reads in the valley
  12. Judges 5:15 Some Hb mss, Syr read There were great resolves
  13. Judges 5:22 = Sisera’s
  14. Judges 5:27 Lit between
  15. Judges 5:28 Lit Why have the hoofbeats of his chariots delayed
  16. Judges 5:29 Lit answers her words
  17. Judges 5:30 Hb obscure
  18. Judges 5:31 Lit perish in this way

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