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Judges 4:1-5:31; Luke 22:35-53; Psalms 94:1-23; Proverbs 14:3-4 (Contemporary English Version)

Judges 4-5

Deborah and Barak

After the death of Ehud, the Israelites again started disobeying the Lord. So the Lord let the Canaanite King Jabin of Hazor conquer Israel. Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, lived in Harosheth-Ha-Goiim. Jabin’s army had nine hundred iron chariots, and for twenty years he made life miserable for the Israelites, until finally they begged the Lord for help.

Deborah the wife of Lappidoth was a prophet and a leader[a] of Israel during those days. She would sit under Deborah’s Palm Tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, where Israelites would come and ask her to settle their legal cases.

One day, Barak the son of Abinoam was in Kedesh in Naphtali, and Deborah sent word for him to come and talk with her. When he arrived, she said:

I have a message for you from the Lord God of Israel! You are to get together an army of ten thousand men from the Naphtali and Zebulun tribes and lead them to Mount Tabor. The Lord will trick Sisera into coming out to fight you at the Kishon River. Sisera will be leading King Jabin’s army as usual, and they will have their chariots, but the Lord has promised to help you defeat them.

“I’m not going unless you go!” Barak told her.

“All right, I’ll go!” she replied. “But I’m warning you that the Lord is going to let a woman defeat Sisera, and no one will honor you for winning the battle.”

Deborah and Barak left for Kedesh, 10 where Barak called together the troops from Zebulun and Naphtali. Ten thousand soldiers gathered there, and Barak led them out from Kedesh. Deborah went too.

11 At this time, Heber of the Kenite clan was living near the village of Oak in Zaanannim,[b] not far from Kedesh. The Kenites were descendants of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses, but Heber had moved and had set up his tents away from the rest of the clan.

12 When Sisera learned that Barak had led an army to Mount Tabor, 13 he called his troops together and got all nine hundred iron chariots ready. Then he led his army away from Harosheth-Ha-Goiim to the Kishon River.

14 Deborah shouted, “Barak, it’s time to attack Sisera! Because today the Lord is going to help you defeat him. In fact, the Lord has already gone on ahead to fight for you.”

Barak led his ten thousand troops down from Mount Tabor. 15 And during the battle, the Lord confused Sisera, his chariot drivers, and his whole army. Everyone was so afraid of Barak and his army, that even Sisera jumped down from his chariot and tried to escape. 16 Barak’s forces went after Sisera’s chariots and army as far as Harosheth-Ha-Goiim.

Sisera’s entire army was wiped out. 17 Only Sisera escaped. He ran to Heber’s camp, because Heber and his family had a peace treaty with the king of Hazor. Sisera went to the tent that belonged to Jael, Heber’s wife. 18 She came out to greet him and said, “Come in, sir! Please come on in. Don’t be afraid.”

After they had gone inside, Sisera lay down, and Jael covered him with a blanket. 19 “Could I have a little water?” he asked. “I’m thirsty.”

Jael opened a leather bottle and poured him some milk, then she covered him back up.

20 “Stand at the entrance to the tent,” Sisera told her. “If someone comes by and asks if anyone is inside, tell them ‘No.’”

21 Sisera was exhausted and soon fell fast asleep. Jael took a hammer and drove a tent-peg through his head into the ground, and he died.

22 Meanwhile, Barak had been following Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “The man you’re looking for is inside,” she said. “Come in and I’ll show him to you.”

They went inside, and there was Sisera—dead and stretched out with a tent-peg through his skull.

23 That same day the Israelites defeated the Canaanite King Jabin, and his army was no longer powerful enough to attack the Israelites. 24 Jabin grew weaker while the Israelites kept growing stronger, and at last the Israelites destroyed him.

Deborah and Barak Sing for the Lord

After the battle was over that day, Deborah and Barak sang this song:

We praise you, Lord!
Our soldiers volunteered,
    ready to follow you.
Listen, kings and rulers,
while I sing for the Lord,
    the God of Israel.

Our Lord, God of Israel,
when you came from Seir,
    where the Edomites live,
rain poured from the sky,
the earth trembled,
    and mountains shook.

In the time of Shamgar
    son of Anath,
and now again in Jael’s time,
roads were too dangerous
    for caravans.
Travelers had to take
    the back roads,
and villagers couldn’t work
    in their fields.[c]
Then Deborah[d] took command,
protecting Israel
as a mother
    protects her children.

The Israelites worshiped
    other gods,
and the gates of their towns
    were then attacked.[e]
But they had no shields
    or spears to fight with.
I praise you, Lord,
    and I am grateful
for those leaders and soldiers
    who volunteered.
10 Listen, everyone!
Whether you ride a donkey
    with a padded saddle
    or have to walk.
11 Even those who carry water[f]
    to the animals will tell you,
“The Lord has won victories,
    and so has Israel.”

Then the Lord’s people marched
    down to the town gates
12 and said, “Deborah, let’s go!
Let’s sing as we march.
    Barak, capture our enemies.”

13 The Lord’s people who were left
joined with their leaders
    and fought at my side.[g]
14 Troops came from Ephraim,
    where Amalekites once lived.
Others came from Benjamin;
officers and leaders
came
    from Machir and Zebulun.
15 The rulers of Issachar
    came along with Deborah,
and Issachar followed Barak
    into the valley.

But the tribe of Reuben
    was no help at all![h]
16 Reuben, why did you stay
    among your sheep pens?[i]
Was it to listen to shepherds
    whistling for their sheep?
No one could figure out
    why Reuben wouldn’t come.[j]
17 The people of Gilead stayed
    across the Jordan.
Why did the tribe of Dan
    remain on their ships
and the tribe of Asher
stay along the coast
    near the harbors?

18 But soldiers of Zebulun
    and Naphtali
risked their lives
    to attack the enemy.[k]
19 Canaanite kings fought us
at Taanach by the stream
    near Megiddo[l]
but they couldn’t rob us
    of our silver.[m]
20 From their pathways in the sky
    the stars[n] fought Sisera,
21 and his soldiers were swept away
    by the ancient Kishon River.

I will march on and be brave.

22 Sisera’s horses galloped off,
their hoofs thundering
    in retreat.

23 The Lord’s angel said,
    “Put a curse on Meroz Town!
Its people refused
to help the Lord fight
    his powerful enemies.”

24 But honor Jael,
the wife of Heber
    from the Kenite clan.
Give more honor to her
than to any other woman
    who lives in tents.
Yes, give more honor to her
    than to any other woman.
25 Sisera asked for water,
but Jael gave him milk—
    cream in a fancy cup.
26 She reached for a tent-peg
and held a hammer
    in her right hand.
And with a blow to the head,
    she crushed his skull.
27 Sisera sank to his knees
    and fell dead at her feet.

28 Sisera’s mother looked out
    through her window.
“Why is he taking so long?”
    she asked.
“Why haven’t we heard
    his chariots coming?”
29 She and her wisest women
    gave the same answer:
30 “Sisera and his troops
are finding treasures
    to bring back—
a woman, or maybe two,
    for each man,
and beautiful dresses
    for those women to wear.”[o]

31 Our Lord, we pray
that all your enemies
    will die like Sisera.
But let everyone who loves you
shine brightly
like the sun
    at dawn.

Midian Steals Everything from Israel

There was peace in Israel for about forty years.

Footnotes:

  1. 4.4 leader: See 2.16 and the note there.
  2. 4.11 the village. . . Zaanannim: Or “the oak tree in the town of Zaanannim.”
  3. 5.7 villagers. . . fields: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 5.7 Deborah: Or “I, Deborah.”
  5. 5.8 The Israelites. . . attacked: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 5.11 Even. . . water: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 5.13 side: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.
  8. 5.15 But. . . at all: Or “But the people of Reuben couldn’t make up their minds.”
  9. 5.16 sheep pens: Or “campfires.”
  10. 5.16 No. . . come: Or “The people of Reuben couldn’t make up their minds.”
  11. 5.18 to attack the enemy: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. 5.19 stream near Megiddo: Probably refers to one of the streams that flow into the Kishon River.
  13. 5.19 rob us of our silver: The army that won a battle would take everything of value from the dead enemy soldiers.
  14. 5.20 stars: In ancient times, the stars were sometimes regarded as supernatural beings.
  15. 5.30 and beautiful. . . wear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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Luke 22:35-53

Moneybags, Traveling Bags, and Swords

35 Jesus asked his disciples, “When I sent you out without a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals, did you need anything?”

“No!” they answered.

36 Jesus told them, “But now, if you have a moneybag, take it with you. Also take a traveling bag, and if you don’t have a sword,[a] sell some of your clothes and buy one. 37 Do this because the Scriptures say, ‘He was considered a criminal.’ This was written about me, and it will soon come true.”

38 The disciples said, “Lord, here are two swords!”

“Enough of that!” Jesus replied.

Jesus Prays

39 Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives, as he often did, and his disciples went with him. 40 When they got there, he told them, “Pray that you won’t be tested.”

41 Jesus walked on a little way before he knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you will, please don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup.[b] But do what you want, and not what I want.”

43 Then an angel from heaven came to help him. 44 Jesus was in great pain and prayed so sincerely that his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood.[c]

45 Jesus got up from praying and went over to his disciples. They were asleep and worn out from being so sad. 46 He said to them, “Why are you asleep? Wake up and pray that you won’t be tested.”

Jesus Is Arrested

47 While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. It was led by Judas, one of the twelve apostles. He went over to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss.[d]

48 Jesus asked Judas, “Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When Jesus' disciples saw what was about to happen, they asked, “Lord, should we attack them with a sword?” 50 One of the disciples even struck at the high priest’s servant with his sword and cut off the servant’s right ear.

51 “Enough of that!” Jesus said. Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed it.

52 Jesus spoke to the chief priests, the temple police, and the leaders who had come to arrest him. He said, “Why do you come out with swords and clubs and treat me like a criminal? 53 I was with you every day in the temple, and you didn’t arrest me. But this is your time, and darkness[e] is in control.”

Footnotes:

  1. 22.36 moneybag. . . traveling bag. . . sword: These were things that someone would take on a dangerous journey. Jesus was telling his disciples to be ready for anything that might happen. They seem to have understood what he meant (see 22.49-51).
  2. 22.42 having me drink from this cup: In the Scriptures “to drink from a cup” sometimes means to suffer.
  3. 22.43,44 Then an angel. . . like drops of blood: Verses 43,44 are not in some manuscripts.
  4. 22.47 greeted him with a kiss: It was the custom for people to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek.
  5. 22.53 darkness: Darkness stands for the power of the devil.
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Psalm 94

The Lord Punishes the Guilty

94 Lord God, you punish
    the guilty.
    Show what you are like
    and punish them now.
You judge the earth.
    Come and help us!
Pay back those proud people
    for what they have done.
    How long will the wicked
    celebrate and be glad?

All of those cruel people
    strut and boast,
    and they crush and wound
    your chosen nation, Lord.
They murder widows,
    foreigners, and orphans.
Then they say,
    “The Lord God of Jacob
    doesn’t see or know.”

Can’t you fools see?
    Won’t you ever learn?
    God gave us ears and eyes!
    Can’t he hear and see?
10 God instructs the nations
and gives knowledge to us all.
    Won’t he also correct us?
11 The Lord knows how useless
    our plans really are.

12 Our Lord, you bless everyone
    that you instruct and teach
    by using your Law.
13 You give them rest
    from their troubles,
    until a pit can be dug
    for the wicked.
14 You won’t turn your back
    on your chosen nation.
15 Justice and fairness
    will go hand in hand,
    and all who do right
    will follow along.

16 Who will stand up for me
    against those cruel people?
17 If you had not helped me, Lord,
    I would soon have gone
    to the land of silence.[a]
18 When I felt my feet slipping,
    you came with your love
    and kept me steady.
19 And when I was burdened
    with worries,
    you comforted me
    and made me feel secure.
20 But you are opposed
    to dishonest lawmakers
21     who gang up to murder
    innocent victims.

22 You, Lord God, are my fortress,
    that mighty rock[b]
    where I am safe.
23 You will pay back my enemies,
    and you will wipe them out
    for the evil they did.

Footnotes:

  1. 94.17 land of silence: The grave or the world of the dead.
  2. 94.22; 95.1 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
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Proverbs 14:3-4

Proud fools are punished
    for their stupid talk,
    but sensible talk
    can save your life.
Without the help of an ox
    there can be no crop,
    but with a strong ox
    a big crop is possible.

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