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Deborah and Barak

After Ehud died, the people of Israel sinned in the eyes of the Lord again. So the Lord let them be taken by Jabin king of Canaan, who ruled in Hazor. The head of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. The people of Israel cried to the Lord, for Jabin had 900 iron war-wagons. He made it very hard for the people of Israel for twenty years.

Now Lappidoth’s wife Deborah, a woman who spoke for God, was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim. And the people of Israel came to her to find out what was right or wrong. She sent for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedeshnaphtali, and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Go to Mount Tabor. Take with you 10,000 men from the sons of Naphtali and Zebulun. I will have Sisera, the head of Jabin’s army, meet you at the river Kishon. He will have his war-wagons and his many soldiers with him. But I will give him into your hand.’” Then Barak said to her, “I will go if you go with me. But if you do not go with me, I will not go.” And she said, “For sure I will go with you. But the honor will not be yours as you go on your way. For the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to come to Kedesh. He went up with 10,000 men. And Deborah went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had gone away from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses. He had put up his tent as far away as the big tree in Zaanannim, near Kedesh.

12 They told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 Sisera gathered together all his 900 iron war-wagons. He gathered together all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 Deborah said to Barak, “Get up! For this is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. See, the Lord has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and 10,000 men followed him. 15 The Lord brought trouble upon Sisera and all his war-wagons and all his army in front of Barak with the sword. Sisera got down from his war-wagon and ran away on foot. 16 But Barak went after the war-wagons and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim. All of Sisera’s army fell by the sword. Not one was left.

17 Sisera ran away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite. For there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera, saying, “Come in, my lord. Come in to me. Do not be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she put a cover over him. 19 He said to her, “Give me a little water to drink. For I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin bag of milk and gave him a drink. Then she covered him. 20 He said to her, “Stand in the door of the tent. If anyone comes and asks you, ‘Is there anyone here?’ you say, ‘No.’” 21 But Heber’s wife Jael took a big tent nail in her hand and a tool to hit it with. Because Sisera was very tired, he went into a deep sleep. She went to him in secret and hit the big nail into the side of his head. It went through and into the ground. So he died. 22 As Barak came after Sisera, Jael came out to meet him. She said to him, “Come. I will show you the man you are looking for.” So Barak went in with her, and he saw Sisera lying dead with the big tent nail in his head.

23 God put Jabin the king of Canaan under the power of the people of Israel on that day. 24 The people of Israel made it harder and harder for Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed him.

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