March 18

Judges 4:1 — 6:24

4 Then the sons of Israel again began to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes now that Ehud was dead. 2 So Jehovah sold them into the hand of Jabin the king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the chief of his army was Sisera, and he was dwelling in Harosheth of the nations. 3 And the sons of Israel began to cry out to Jehovah, because he had nine hundred war chariots with iron scythes, and he himself oppressed the sons of Israel with harshness twenty years.

4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that particular time. 5 And she was dwelling under Deborah’s palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the mountainous region of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel would go up to her for judgment. 6 And she proceeded to send and call Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali and to say to him: “Has not Jehovah the God of Israel given the command? ‘Go and you must spread yourself out on Mount Tabor, and you must take with you ten thousand men out of the sons of Naphtali and out of the sons of Zebulun. 7 And I shall certainly draw to you at the torrent valley of Kishon Sisera the chief of Jabin’s army and his war chariots and his crowd, and I shall indeed give him into your hand.’”

8 At this Barak said to her: “If you will go with me, I also shall certainly go; but if you will not go with me, I shall not go.” 9 To this she said: “Without fail I shall go with you. Just the same, the beautifying thing will not become yours on the way that you are going, for it will be into the hand of a woman that Jehovah will sell Sisera.” With that Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak began to call Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went on up following his steps; and Deborah went on up with him.

11 Incidentally Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the sons of Hobab, whose son-in-law Moses was, and he had his tent pitched near the big tree in Zaanannim, which is at Kedesh.

12 Then they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 At once Sisera called together all his war chariots, the nine hundred war chariots with iron scythes, and all the people that were with him, out of Harosheth of the nations to the torrent valley of Kishon. 14 Deborah now said to Barak: “Get up, for this is the day that Jehovah will certainly give Sisera into your hand. Is it not Jehovah that has gone out before you?” And Barak went descending from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men behind him. 15 And Jehovah began to throw Sisera and all his war chariots and all the camp into confusion by the edge of the sword before Barak. Finally Sisera got down off the chariot and took to flight on foot. 16 And Barak chased after the war chariots and the camp as far as Harosheth of the nations, so that all the camp of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword. Not as much as one remained.

17 As for Sisera, he fled 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 household of Heber the Kenite. 18 Then Jael came on out to meet Sisera and said to him: “Turn this way, my lord, turn this way to me. Do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent. Later she covered him with a blanket. 19 In time he said to her: “Give me, please, a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” Accordingly she opened a skin bottle of milk and gave him a drink, after which she covered him. 20 And he went on to say to her: “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and it must occur that if anybody comes and does ask you and says, ‘Is there a man here?’ you must then say, ‘No!’”

21 And Jael the wife of Heber proceeded to take a pin of the tent and to put the hammer into her hand. Then she went to him stealthily and drove the pin into his temples and beat it into the earth, while he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

22 And, look! there was Barak pursuing Sisera. Jael now came on out to meet him and said to him: “Come and I shall show you the man you are looking for.” So in he went to her, and, look! there was Sisera fallen dead, with the pin in his temples.

23 Thus God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the sons of Israel on that day. 24 And the hand of the sons of Israel went on getting harder and harder against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had cut off Jabin the king of Canaan.

5 And on that day Deborah along with Barak the son of Abinoam broke out in song, saying:

 2 “For letting the hair hang loose in Israel [for war],

          For the people’s volunteering,

          BLESS Jehovah.

 3 Listen, YOU kings; give ear, YOU high officials:

          I to Jehovah, yes, I, will sing.

          I shall make melody to Jehovah, Israel’s God.

 4 Jehovah, at your going forth from Seir,

          At your marching out of the field of Edom,

          Earth rocked, heavens also dripped,

          Clouds also dripped with water.

 5 Mountains flowed away from the face of Jehovah,

          This Sinai away from the face of Jehovah, Israel’s God.

 6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath,

          In the days of Jael, pathways had no traffic,

          And the travelers of roadways would travel by roundabout pathways.

 7 The dwellers in open country ceased, in Israel they ceased,

          Until I, Deborah, rose up,

          Until I rose up as a mother in Israel.

 8 They proceeded to choose new gods.

          It was then there was war in the gates.

          A shield could not be seen, nor a lance,

          Among forty thousand in Israel.

 9 My heart is for the commanders of Israel,

          Who were volunteers among the people.

          BLESS Jehovah.

10 YOU riders on yellowish-red she-asses,

          YOU who sit on rich carpets,

          And YOU who walk on the road,


11 Some of the voices of the water distributors among the places of drawing water,

          There they began to recount the righteous acts of Jehovah,

          The righteous acts of his dwellers in open country in Israel.

          It was then Jehovah’s people made their way down to the gates.

12 Awake, awake, O Deborah;

          Awake, awake, utter a song!

          Rise up, Barak, and lead your captives away, you son of Abinoam!

13 It was then the survivors came down to the majestic ones;

          Jehovah’s people came down to me against the mighty ones.


14 Out of Ephraim was their origin in the low plain,

          With you, O Benjamin, among your peoples.

          Out of Machir the commanders went down,

          And out of Zebulun those handling the equipment of a scribe.

15 And the princes in Issachar were with Deborah,

          And as Issachar, so was Barak.

          Into the low plain he was sent on foot.

          Among the divisions of Reuben great were the searchings of the heart.

16 Why did you sit down between the two saddlebags,

          To listen to the pipings for the flocks?

          For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of the heart.

17 Gilead kept to his residence on the other side of the Jordan;

          And Dan, why did he continue to dwell for the time in ships?

          Asher sat idle at the seashore,

          And by his landing places he kept residing.

18 Zebulun was a people that scorned their souls to the point of death;

          Naphtali also, on the heights of the field.

19 Kings came, they fought;

          It was then that the kings of Canaan fought

          In Taanach by the waters of Megiddo.

          No gain of silver did they take.

20 From heaven did the stars fight,

          From their orbits they fought against Sisera.

21 The torrent of Kishon washed them away,

          The torrent of ancient days, the torrent of Kishon.

          You went treading down strength, O my soul.

22 It was then that the hoofs of horses pawed

          Because of dashings upon dashings of his stallions.

23 ‘CURSE Meroz,’ said the angel of Jehovah,

          ‘CURSE its inhabitants incessantly,

          For they did not come to the assistance of Jehovah,

          To the assistance of Jehovah with the mighty ones.’

24 Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite will be most blessed among women,

          Among women in the tent she will be most blessed.

25 Water he asked, milk she gave;

          In the large banquet bowl of majestic ones she presented curdled milk.

26 Her hand to the tent pin she then thrust out,

          And her right hand to the mallet of hard workers.

          And she hammered Sisera, she pierced his head through,

          And she broke apart and cut up his temples.

27 Between her feet he collapsed, he fell, he lay down;

          Between her feet he collapsed, he fell;

          Where he collapsed, there he fell overcome.

28 From the window a woman looked out and kept watching for him,

          The mother of Sisera from the lattice,

          ‘Why has his war chariot delayed in coming?

          Why must the hoofbeats of his chariots be so late?’

29 The wise ones of her noble ladies would answer her,

          Yes, she too would talk back to herself with her own sayings,

30 ‘Ought they not to find, ought they not to distribute spoil,

          A womb—two wombs to every able-bodied man,

          Spoil of dyed stuffs for Sisera, spoil of dyed stuffs,

          An embroidered garment, dyed stuff, two embroidered garments

          For the necks of [men of] spoil?’

31 Thus let all your enemies perish, O Jehovah,

          And let your lovers be as when the sun goes forth in its mightiness.”

And the land had no further disturbance for forty years.

6 Then the sons of Israel began to do what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah. So Jehovah gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian came to prevail over Israel. Due to Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the underground store places that were in the mountains, and the caves and the places difficult to approach. 3 And it occurred that, if Israel sowed seed, Midian and Amalek and the Easterners came up, yes, they came up against them. 4 And they would camp against them and would ruin the yield of the earth all the way to Gaza, and they would not let any sustenance or sheep or bull or ass remain in Israel. 5 For they and their livestock would come up with their tents. They would come as numerous as the locusts, and they and their camels were without number; and they would come into the land to ruin it. 6 And Israel became greatly impoverished due to Midian; and the sons of Israel began to call to Jehovah for aid.

7 And it came about that because the sons of Israel called to Jehovah for aid on account of Midian, 8 Jehovah proceeded to send a man, a prophet, to the sons of Israel and to say to them: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel has said, ‘It was I who brought YOU up from Egypt and thus brought YOU out of the house of slaves. 9 So I delivered YOU out of the hand of Egypt and out of the hand of all YOUR oppressors and drove them out from before YOU and gave YOU their land. 10 Furthermore, I said to YOU: “I am Jehovah YOUR God. YOU must not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land YOU are dwelling.” And YOU did not listen to my voice.’”

11 Later Jehovah’s angel came and sat under the big tree that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abi-ezrite, while Gideon his son was beating out wheat in the winepress so as to get it quickly out of the sight of Midian. 12 Then Jehovah’s angel appeared to him and said to him: “Jehovah is with you, you valiant, mighty one.” 13 At this Gideon said to him: “Excuse me, my lord, but if Jehovah is with us, then why has all this come upon us, and where are all his wonderful acts that our fathers related to us, saying, ‘Was it not out of Egypt that Jehovah brought us up?’ And now Jehovah has deserted us, and he gives us into the palm of Midian.” 14 Upon that Jehovah faced him and said: “Go in this power of yours, and you will certainly save Israel out of Midian’s palm. Do I not send you?” 15 In turn he said to him: “Excuse me, Jehovah. With what shall I save Israel? Look! My thousand is the least in Manasseh, and I am the smallest in my father’s house.” 16 But Jehovah said to him: “Because I shall prove to be with you, and you will certainly strike down Midian as if one man.”

17 At this he said to him: “If, now, I have found favor in your eyes, you must also perform a sign for me that you are the one speaking with me. 18 Do not, please, move away from here until I come to you and I have brought out my gift and set it before you.” Accordingly he said: “I, for my part, shall keep sitting here until you return.” 19 And Gideon went in and proceeded to make ready a kid of the goats and an ephah of flour as unfermented cakes. The meat he put in the basket, and the broth he put in the cooking pot, after which he brought it out to him under the big tree and served it.

20 The angel of the [true] God now said to him: “Take the meat and the unfermented cakes and set them on the big rock there, and pour out the broth.” At that he did so. 21 Then Jehovah’s angel thrust out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unfermented cakes, and fire began to ascend out of the rock and to consume the meat and the unfermented cakes. As for Jehovah’s angel, he vanished from his sight. 22 Consequently Gideon realized that it was Jehovah’s angel.

At once Gideon said: “Alas, Sovereign Lord Jehovah, for the reason that I have seen Jehovah’s angel face to face!” 23 But Jehovah said to him: “Peace be yours. Do not fear. You will not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar there to Jehovah, and it continues to be called Jehovah-shalom down to this day. It is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.