Judges 4
Deborah Summons Barak
1 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight#tn Heb “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” after Ehud’s death. 2 The Lord turned them over to#tn Heb “the Lord sold them into the hands of.” King Jabin of Canaan, who ruled in Hazor.#tn Or “King Jabin of Hazor, a Canaanite ruler.”map For location see Map1-D2; Map2-D3; Map3-A2; Map4-C1. The general of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim.#tn Or “Harosheth of the Pagan Nations”; cf. KJV “Harosheth of the Gentiles.” 3 The Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, because Sisera#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Sisera) has been specified in the translation for clarity. had nine hundred chariots with iron-rimmed wheels,#tn Regarding the translation “chariots with iron-rimmed wheels,” see Y. Yadin, The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands, 255, and the article by R. Drews, “The ‘Chariots of Iron’ of Joshua and Judges,” JSOT 45 (1989): 15-23. and he cruelly#tn Heb “with strength.” oppressed the Israelites for twenty years.
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess,#tn Heb “ a woman, a prophetess.” In Hebrew idiom the generic “woman” sometimes precedes the more specific designation. See GKC 437-38 §135.b. wife of Lappidoth, was#tn Heb “she was.” The pronoun refers back to the nominative absolute “Deborah.” Hebrew style sometimes employs such resumptive pronouns when lengthy qualifiers separate the subject from the verb. leading#tn Or “judging.” Israel at that time. 5 She would sit#tn That is, “consider legal disputes.” under the Date Palm Tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel#map For location see Map4-G4; Map5-C1; Map6-E3; Map7-D1; Map8-G3. in the Ephraimite hill country. The Israelites would come up to her to have their disputes settled.#tn Heb “for judgment.”
6 She summoned#tn Heb “sent and summoned.” Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali. She said to him, “Is it not true that the Lord God of Israel is commanding you? Go, march to Mount Tabor! Take with you ten thousand men from Naphtali and Zebulun! 7 I will bring Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to you at the Kishon River, along with his chariots and huge army.#tn Heb “horde”; “multitude.” I will hand him over to you.” 8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go. But if you do not go with me, I will not go.” 9 She said, “I will indeed go with you. But you will not gain fame#tn Or “honor.” on the expedition you are undertaking,#tn Heb “on [account of (?)] the way which you are walking.” Another option is to translate, “due to the way you are going about this.” In this case direct reference is made to Barak’s hesitancy as the reason for his loss of glory. for the Lord will turn Sisera over to a woman.”#tn Heb “for into the hands of a woman the Lord will sell Sisera.” Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned men from Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. Ten thousand men followed him;#tn Heb “went up at his feet.” Deborah went up with him as well. 11 Now Heber the Kenite had moved away#tn Or “separated.” from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law. He lived#tn Heb “pitched his tent.” near the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.
12 When Sisera heard#tn Heb “and they told Sisera.” that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 he#tn Heb “Sisera.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons. ordered#tn Or “summoned.” all his chariotry – nine hundred chariots with iron-rimmed wheels – and all the troops he had with him to go from Harosheth-Haggoyim to the River Kishon. 14 Deborah said to Barak, “Spring into action,#tn Heb “Arise!” for this is the day the Lord is handing Sisera over to you!#tn The verb form (a Hebrew perfect, indicating completed action from the standpoint of the speaker) emphasizes the certainty of the event. Though it had not yet taken place, the Lord speaks of it as a “done deal.” Has the Lord not taken the lead?”#tn Heb “Has the Lord not gone out before you?” Barak quickly went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 The Lord routed#tn Or “caused to panic.” Sisera, all his chariotry, and all his army with the edge of the sword.#tn The Hebrew text also includes the phrase “before Barak.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons. Sisera jumped out of#tn Heb “got down from.” his chariot and ran away on foot. 16 Now Barak chased the chariots and the army all the way to Harosheth Haggoyim. Sisera’s whole army died#tn Heb “fell.” by the edge of the sword; not even one survived!#tn Heb “was left.”
17 Now Sisera ran away on foot to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, for King Jabin of Hazor#map For location see Map1-D2; Map2-D3; Map3-A2; Map4-C1. and the family of Heber the Kenite had made a peace treaty.#tn Heb “for there was peace between.” 18 Jael came out to welcome Sisera. She said to him, “Stop and rest,#tn Heb “Turn aside” (also a second time later in this verse). my lord. Stop and rest with me. Don’t be afraid.” So Sisera#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Sisera) has been specified in the translation for clarity. stopped to rest in her tent, and she put a blanket over him. 19 He said to her, “Give me a little water to drink, because I’m thirsty.” She opened a goatskin container of milk and gave him some milk to drink. Then she covered him up again. 20 He said to her, “Stand watch at the entrance to the tent. If anyone comes along and asks you, ‘Is there a man here?’ say ‘No.’” 21 Then Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg in one hand and a hammer in the other.#tn Heb “took a tent peg and put a hammer in her hand.” She crept up on him, drove the tent peg through his temple into the ground#tn Heb “and it went into the ground.” while he was asleep from exhaustion,#tn Heb “and exhausted.” Another option is to understand this as a reference to the result of the fatal blow. In this case, the phrase could be translated, “and he breathed his last.” and he died. 22 Now Barak was chasing Sisera. Jael went out to welcome him. She said to him, “Come here and I will show you the man you are searching for.” He went with her into the tent,#tn Heb “he went to her.” and there he saw Sisera sprawled out dead#tn Heb “fallen, dead.” with the tent peg in his temple.
23 That day God humiliated King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 Israel’s power continued to overwhelm#tn Heb “The hand of the Israelites became more and more severe against.” King Jabin of Canaan until they did away with#tn Heb “cut off.” him.#tn Heb “Jabin king of Canaan.” The proper name and title have been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

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