Deborah and Barak

Then (A)the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. So the Lord sold them into the hand of (B)Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in (C)Harosheth-hagoyim. The sons of Israel cried out to the Lord; for he had nine hundred (D)iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.

Now Deborah, a [a]prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to [b]sit under the (E)palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went up to her for judgment. Now she sent word and summoned (F)Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “[c]The Lord, the God of Israel, has indeed commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his [d]many troops to the river Kishon, and (G)I will hand him over to you.’” Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” She said, “I will certainly go with you; however, the fame shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, (H)for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned (I)Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up [e](J)with him; Deborah also went up with him.

11 Now Heber (K)the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the [f]father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the [g]oak in (L)Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

12 Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 Sisera summoned all his chariots, (M)nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from (N)Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day on which the Lord has handed Sisera over to you; [h]behold, (O)the Lord has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 (P)And the Lord [i]routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; (Q)not even one was left.

17 Now Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a [j]rug. 19 (R)And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a leather bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, (S)took a tent peg and [k]a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died. 22 And behold, while Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he entered [l]with her, and behold, Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.

23 So (T)God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan on that day before the sons of Israel. 24 And the hand of the sons of Israel pressed harder and harder upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had eliminated Jabin the king of Canaan.

The Song of Deborah and Barak

(U)Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,

(V)For [m]the leaders leading in Israel,
For (W)the people volunteering,
Bless the Lord!
Hear, you kings; listen, you dignitaries!
(X)I myself—to the Lord, I myself will sing,
I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel!
(Y)Lord, when You went out from Seir,
When You marched from the field of Edom,
(Z)The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped,
The clouds also dripped water.
(AA)The mountains [n]flowed with water at the presence of the Lord,
(AB)This Sinai, at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.

“In the days of (AC)Shamgar the son of Anath,
In the days of (AD)Jael, the roads [o]were deserted,
And travelers went by [p]roundabout ways.
The [q]peasantry came to an end, they came to an end in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Until I arose, a mother in Israel.
(AE)New gods were chosen;
Then war was in the gates.
Not a shield or a spear was seen
Among forty thousand in Israel.
My heart goes out to (AF)the commanders of Israel,
The volunteers among the people;
Bless the Lord!
10 (AG)You who ride on [r]white donkeys,
You who sit on rich carpets,
And you who travel on the road—shout in praise!
11 At the sound of those who distribute water among (AH)the watering places,
There they will recount (AI)the righteous deeds of the Lord,
The righteous deeds for His [s]peasantry in Israel.
Then the people of the Lord went down (AJ)to the gates.

12 (AK)Awake, awake, Deborah;
Awake, awake, [t]sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and (AL)lead away your captives, son of Abinoam.
13 Then survivors came down to the nobles;
The people of the Lord came down to me as warriors.
14 From Ephraim those whose root is (AM)in Amalek came down,
Following you, Benjamin, with your peoples;
From Machir commanders came down,
And from Zebulun those who wield the staff of [u]office.
15 And the [v]princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
As was Issachar, so was Barak;
Into the valley they rushed (AN)at his [w]heels;
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great determinations of heart.
16 Why did you sit among (AO)the [x]sheepfolds,
To hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great searchings of heart.
17 (AP)Gilead [y]remained across the Jordan;
And why did Dan stay on ships?
Asher sat at the seashore,
And [z]remained by its landings.
18 (AQ)Zebulun was a people who risked their lives,
And Naphtali too, on the high places of the field.

19 (AR)The kings came and fought;
Then the kings of Canaan fought
(AS)At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo;
(AT)They took no plunder in silver.
20 (AU)The stars fought from heaven,
From their paths they fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent of Kishon swept them away,
The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
(AV)My soul, march on with strength!
22 (AW)Then the horses’ hoofs beat
From the galloping, the galloping of his mighty stallions.
23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord,
‘Utterly curse its inhabitants,
(AX)Because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
To the help of the Lord against the warriors.’

24 (AY)Most blessed of women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Most blessed is she of women in the tent.
25 He asked for water, she gave him milk;
In a magnificent bowl she brought him curds.
26 She reached out her hand for the tent peg,
And her right hand for the workmen’s hammer.
Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head;
And she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay;
Between her feet he bowed, he fell;
Where he bowed, there he fell [aa]dead.

28 “Out of the window she looked and wailed,
The mother of Sisera through the [ab]lattice,
‘Why does his chariot delay in coming?
Why do the [ac]hoofbeats of his chariots delay?’
29 Her wise princesses would answer her,
Indeed she repeats her words to herself,
30 (AZ)Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoils?
A concubine, two concubines for every warrior;
To Sisera a spoil of dyed cloth,
A spoil of dyed cloth embroidered,
Dyed cloth of double embroidery on the [ad]neck of the plunderer?’
31 (BA)May all Your enemies perish in this way, Lord;
(BB)But may those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.”

And the land was at rest for forty years.


  1. Judges 4:4 Lit woman prophetess
  2. Judges 4:5 Or live
  3. Judges 4:6 Lit Has the Lord not commanded...?
  4. Judges 4:7 Lit multitude
  5. Judges 4:10 Lit at his feet
  6. Judges 4:11 Another reading is brother-in-law
  7. Judges 4:11 Or terebinth
  8. Judges 4:14 Lit has the Lord not gone...?
  9. Judges 4:15 Lit confused
  10. Judges 4:18 Or blanket
  11. Judges 4:21 Lit put a hammer
  12. Judges 4:22 Lit to
  13. Judges 5:2 Or the hair hanging free in
  14. Judges 5:5 As in MT; LXX quaked
  15. Judges 5:6 Lit had ceased
  16. Judges 5:6 Lit twisting
  17. Judges 5:7 Or rural dwellers
  18. Judges 5:10 Or tawny
  19. Judges 5:11 Or rural dwellers
  20. Judges 5:12 Lit speak
  21. Judges 5:14 Lit a scribe
  22. Judges 5:15 As in ancient versions; MT My princes
  23. Judges 5:15 Lit feet
  24. Judges 5:16 Or saddlebags
  25. Judges 5:17 Or dwelt
  26. Judges 5:17 Or dwelt
  27. Judges 5:27 Lit destroyed
  28. Judges 5:28 Or window
  29. Judges 5:28 Lit steps
  30. Judges 5:30 Lit necks of the spoil

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