Deborah 4 1The People of Israel kept right on doing evil in God’s sight. With Ehud dead, 2God sold them off to Jabin king of Canaan who ruled from Hazor. Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim, was the commander of his army. 3The People of Israel cried out to God because he had cruelly oppressed them with his nine hundred iron chariots for twenty years. 4Deborah was a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth. She was judge over Israel at that time. 5She held court under Deborah’s Palm between Ramah and Bethel in the hills of Ephraim. The People of Israel went to her in matters of justice. 6She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “It has become clear that God, the God of Israel, commands you: Go to Mount Tabor and prepare for battle. Take ten companies of soldiers from Naphtali and Zebulun. 7I’ll take care of getting Sisera, the leader of Jabin’s army, to the Kishon River with all his chariots and troops. And I’ll make sure you win the battle.” 8Barak said, “If you go with me, I’ll go. But if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” 9She said, “Of course I’ll go with you. But understand that with an attitude like that, there’ll be no glory in it for you. God will use a woman’s hand to take care of Sisera.” Deborah got ready and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together at Kedesh. Ten companies of men followed him. And Deborah was with him. 11It happened that Heber the Kenite had parted company with the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ in–law. He was now living at Zaanannim Oak near Kedesh. 12They told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13Sisera immediately called up all his chariots to the Kishon River—nine hundred iron chariots!—along with all his troops who were with him at Harosheth Haggoyim. 14Deborah said to Barak, “Charge! This very day God has given you victory over Sisera. Isn’t God marching before you?” Barak charged down the slopes of Mount Tabor, his ten companies following him. 15God routed Sisera—all those chariots, all those troops!—before Barak. Sisera jumped out of his chariot and ran. 16Barak chased the chariots and troops all the way to Harosheth Haggoyim. Sisera’s entire fighting force was killed—not one man left. 17Meanwhile Sisera, running for his life, headed for the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite. Jabin king of Hazor and Heber the Kenite were on good terms with one another. 18Jael stepped out to meet Sisera and said, “Come in, sir. Stay here with me. Don’t be afraid.” So he went with her into her tent. She covered him with a blanket. 19He said to her, “Please, a little water. I’m thirsty.” She opened a bottle of milk, gave him a drink, and then covered him up again. 20He then said, “Stand at the tent flap. If anyone comes by and asks you, ‘Is there anyone here?’ tell him, ‘No, not a soul.’ ” 21Then while he was fast asleep from exhaustion, Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg and hammer, tiptoed toward him, and drove the tent peg through his temple and all the way into the ground. He convulsed and died. 22Barak arrived in pursuit of Sisera. Jael went out to greet him. She said, “Come, I’ll show you the man you’re looking for.” He went with her and there he was—Sisera, stretched out, dead, with a tent peg through his temple. 23On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the People of Israel. 24The People of Israel pressed harder and harder on Jabin king of Canaan until there was nothing left of him.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About