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Judges 4-6New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Deborah and Barak

The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. So the Lord sold them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly twenty years.

At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, ‘Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.’” 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.” And she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, 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 Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and ten thousand warriors went up behind him; and Deborah went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the other Kenites,[a] that is, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had encamped as far away as Elon-bezaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

12 When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the troops who were with him, from Harosheth-ha-goiim to the Wadi Kishon. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day on which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. The Lord is indeed going out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand warriors following him. 15 And the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and all his army into a panic[b] before Barak; Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot, 16 while Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-ha-goiim. All the army of Sisera fell by the sword; no one was left.

17 Now Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between King Jabin of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 He said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground—he was lying fast asleep from weariness—and he died. 22 Then, as Barak came in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went into her tent; and there was Sisera lying dead, with the tent peg in his temple.

23 So on that day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 Then the hand of the Israelites bore harder and harder on King Jabin of Canaan, until they destroyed King Jabin of Canaan.

The Song of Deborah

Then Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying:

“When locks are long in Israel,
    when the people offer themselves willingly—
    bless[c] the Lord!

“Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;
    to the Lord I will sing,
    I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel.

Lord, when you went out from Seir,
    when you marched from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled,
    and the heavens poured,
    the clouds indeed poured water.
The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai,
    before the Lord, the God of Israel.

“In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
    in the days of Jael, caravans ceased
    and travelers kept to the byways.
The peasantry prospered in Israel,
    they grew fat on plunder,
because you arose, Deborah,
    arose as a mother in Israel.
When new gods were chosen,
    then war was in the gates.
Was shield or spear to be seen
    among forty thousand in Israel?
My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel
    who offered themselves willingly among the people.
    Bless the Lord.

10 “Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys,
    you who sit on rich carpets[d]
    and you who walk by the way.
11 To the sound of musicians[e] at the watering places,
    there they repeat the triumphs of the Lord,
    the triumphs of his peasantry in Israel.

“Then down to the gates marched the people of the Lord.

12 “Awake, awake, Deborah!
    Awake, awake, utter a song!
Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
    O son of Abinoam.
13 Then down marched the remnant of the noble;
    the people of the Lord marched down for him[f] against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim they set out[g] into the valley,[h]
    following you, Benjamin, with your kin;
from Machir marched down the commanders,
    and from Zebulun those who bear the marshal’s staff;
15 the chiefs of Issachar came with Deborah,
    and Issachar faithful to Barak;
    into the valley they rushed out at his heels.
Among the clans of Reuben
    there were great searchings of heart.
16 Why did you tarry among the sheepfolds,
    to hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the clans of Reuben
    there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan;
    and Dan, why did he abide with the ships?
Asher sat still at the coast of the sea,
    settling down by his landings.
18 Zebulun is a people that scorned death;
    Naphtali too, on the heights of the field.

19 “The kings came, they fought;
    then fought the kings of Canaan,
at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
    they got no spoils of silver.
20 The stars fought from heaven,
    from their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent Kishon swept them away,
    the onrushing torrent, the torrent Kishon.
    March on, my soul, with might!

22 “Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs
    with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.

23 “Curse Meroz, says the angel of the Lord,
    curse bitterly its inhabitants,
because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
    to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

24 “Most blessed of women be Jael,
    the wife of Heber the Kenite,
    of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
25 He asked water and she gave him milk,
    she brought him curds in a lordly bowl.
26 She put her hand to the tent peg
    and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
she struck Sisera a blow,
    she crushed his head,
    she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 He sank, he fell,
    he lay still at her feet;
at her feet he sank, he fell;
    where he sank, there he fell dead.

28 “Out of the window she peered,
    the mother of Sisera gazed[i] through the lattice:
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
    Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
29 Her wisest ladies make answer,
    indeed, she answers the question herself:
30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoil?—
    A girl or two for every man;
spoil of dyed stuffs for Sisera,
    spoil of dyed stuffs embroidered,
    two pieces of dyed work embroidered for my neck as spoil?’

31 “So perish all your enemies, O Lord!
    But may your friends be like the sun as it rises in its might.”

And the land had rest forty years.

The Midianite Oppression

The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. The hand of Midian prevailed over Israel; and because of Midian the Israelites provided for themselves hiding places in the mountains, caves and strongholds. For whenever the Israelites put in seed, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east would come up against them. They would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the land, as far as the neighborhood of Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel, and no sheep or ox or donkey. For they and their livestock would come up, and they would even bring their tents, as thick as locusts; neither they nor their camels could be counted; so they wasted the land as they came in. Thus Israel was greatly impoverished because of Midian; and the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.

When the Israelites cried to the Lord on account of the Midianites, the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites; and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of slavery; and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians, and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you, and gave you their land; 10 and I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not pay reverence to the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not given heed to my voice.”

The Call of Gideon

11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior.” 13 Gideon answered him, “But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission you.” 15 He responded, “But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 16 The Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them.” 17 Then he said to him, “If now I have found favor with you, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Do not depart from here until I come to you, and bring out my present, and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay until you return.”

19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a kid, and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour; the meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the oak and presented them. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 Then Gideon perceived that it was the angel of the Lord; and Gideon said, “Help me, Lord God! For I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it, The Lord is peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.

25 That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole[j] that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, in proper order; then take the second bull, and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the sacred pole[k] that you shall cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants, and did as the Lord had told him; but because he was too afraid of his family and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it by night.

Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal

28 When the townspeople rose early in the morning, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the sacred pole[l] beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 So they said to one another, “Who has done this?” After searching and inquiring, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.” 30 Then the townspeople said to Joash, “Bring out your son, so that he may die, for he has pulled down the altar of Baal and cut down the sacred pole[m] beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who were arrayed against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you defend his cause? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been pulled down.” 32 Therefore on that day Gideon[n] was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he pulled down his altar.

33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east came together, and crossing the Jordan they encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.

The Sign of the Fleece

36 Then Gideon said to God, “In order to see whether you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let your anger burn against me, let me speak one more time; let me, please, make trial with the fleece just once more; let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 4:11 Heb from the Kain
  2. Judges 4:15 Heb adds to the sword; compare verse 16
  3. Judges 5:2 Or You who offer yourselves willingly among the people, bless
  4. Judges 5:10 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  5. Judges 5:11 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. Judges 5:13 Gk: Heb me
  7. Judges 5:14 Cn: Heb From Ephraim their root
  8. Judges 5:14 Gk: Heb in Amalek
  9. Judges 5:28 Gk Compare Tg: Heb exclaimed
  10. Judges 6:25 Heb Asherah
  11. Judges 6:26 Heb Asherah
  12. Judges 6:28 Heb Asherah
  13. Judges 6:30 Heb Asherah
  14. Judges 6:32 Heb he
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Luke 4:31-44New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Man with an Unclean Spirit

31 He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. 32 They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. 36 They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” 37 And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

Healings at Simon’s House

38 After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. 39 Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.

40 As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 41 Demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.[a]

Jesus Preaches in the Synagogues

42 At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.[b]

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 4:41 Or the Christ
  2. Luke 4:44 Other ancient authorities read Galilee
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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