Deborah, the Woman Judge
1After Ehud died, the Israelites again did what the Lord said was wrong. 2So he let Jabin, a king of Canaan who ruled in the city of Hazor, defeat Israel. Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim, was the commander of Jabin’s army. 3Because he had nine hundred iron chariots and was very cruel to the people of Israel for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.
4A prophetess named Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was judge of Israel at that time. 5Deborah would sit under the Palm Tree of Deborah, which was between the cities of Ramah and Bethel, in the mountains of Ephraim. And the people of Israel would come to her to settle their arguments.
6Deborah sent a message to Barak son of Abinoam. Barak lived in the city of Kedesh, which is in the area of Naphtali. Deborah said to Barak, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go and gather ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them to Mount Tabor. 7I will make Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, and his chariots, and his army meet you at the Kishon River. I will hand Sisera over to you.’ ”
8Then Barak said to Deborah, “I will go if you will go with me, but if you won’t go with me, I won’t go.”
9“Of course I will go with you,” Deborah answered, “but you will not get credit for the victory. The Lord will let a woman defeat Sisera.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10At Kedesh, Barak called the people of Zebulun and Naphtali together. From them, he gathered ten thousand men to follow him, and Deborah went with him also.
11Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law. Heber had put up his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim, near Kedesh.
12When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone to Mount Tabor, 13Sisera gathered his nine hundred iron chariots and all the men with him, from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River.
14Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get up! Today is the day the Lord will hand over Sisera. The Lord has already cleared the way for you.” So Barak led ten thousand men down Mount Tabor. 15As Barak approached, the Lord confused Sisera and his army and chariots. The Lord defeated them with the sword, but Sisera left his chariot and ran away on foot. 16Barak and his men chased Sisera’s chariots and army to Harosheth Haggoyim. With their swords they killed all of Sisera’s men; not one of them was left alive.
17But Sisera himself ran away to the tent where Jael lived. She was the wife of Heber, one of the Kenite family groups. Heber’s family was at peace with Jabin king of Hazor. 18Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come into my tent, master! Come in. Don’t be afraid.” So Sisera went into Jael’s tent, and she covered him with a rug.
19Sisera said to Jael, “I am thirsty. Please give me some water to drink.” So she opened a leather bag of milk and gave him a drink. Then she covered him up.
20He said to her, “Go stand at the entrance to the tent. If anyone comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’ ”
21But Jael, the wife of Heber, took a tent peg and a hammer and quietly went to Sisera. Since he was very tired, he was in a deep sleep. She hammered the tent peg through the side of Sisera’s head and into the ground. And so Sisera died.
22At that very moment Barak came by Jael’s tent, chasing Sisera. Jael went out to meet him and said, “Come. I will show you the man you are looking for.” So Barak entered her tent, and there Sisera lay dead, with the tent peg in his head.
23On that day God defeated Jabin king of Canaan in the sight of Israel.
24Israel became stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan until finally they destroyed him.