Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 67

Bible text(s)

Deborah and Barak

1After Ehud died, the people of Israel sinned against the LORD again. 2So the LORD let them be conquered by Jabin, a Canaanite king who ruled in the city of Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived at Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles. 3Jabin had 900 iron chariots, and he ruled the people of Israel with cruelty and violence for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help.

4Now Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet, and she was serving as a judge for the Israelites at that time. 5She used to sit under a certain palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel would go there for her decisions. 6One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam from the city of Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, has given you this command: ‘Take 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them to Mount Tabor. 7I will bring Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, to fight against you at the River Kishon. He will have his chariots and soldiers, but I will give you victory over him.’ ”

8Then Barak replied, “I will go if you go with me, but if you don't go with me, I won't go either.”

9She answered, “All right, I will go with you, but you won't get any credit for the victory, because the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman.” So Deborah set off for Kedesh with Barak. 10Barak called the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and 10,000 men followed him. Deborah went with him.

11In the meantime Heber the Kenite had set up his tent close to Kedesh near the oak tree at Zanannim. He had moved away from the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, the brother-in-law of Moses.

12When Sisera learnt that Barak had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13he called out his 900 iron chariots and all his men, and sent them from Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles to the River Kishon.

14Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! The LORD is leading you! Today he has given you victory over Sisera.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with his 10,000 men. 15When Barak attacked with his army, the LORD threw Sisera into confusion together with all his chariots and men. Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. 16Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles, and Sisera's whole army was killed. Not a man was left.

17Sisera ran away to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because King Jabin of Hazor was at peace with Heber's family. 18Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come in, sir; come into my tent. Don't be afraid.” So he went in, and she hid him behind a curtain. 19He said to her, “Please give me a drink of water; I'm thirsty.” She opened a leather bag of milk, gave him a drink, and hid him again. 20Then he told her, “Stand at the door of the tent, and if anyone comes and asks you if someone is here, say no.”

21Sisera was so tired that he fell sound asleep. Then Jael took a hammer and a tent peg, went up to him quietly, and killed him by driving the peg right through the side of his head and into the ground. 22When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come here! I'll show you the man you're looking for.” So he went in with her, and there was Sisera on the ground, dead, with the tent peg through his head.

23That day God gave the Israelites victory over Jabin, the Canaanite king. 24They pressed harder and harder against him until they destroyed him.

The Song of Deborah and Barak

1On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:

2Praise the LORD!

The Israelites were determined to fight;

the people gladly volunteered.

3Listen, you kings!

Pay attention, you rulers!

I will sing, I will play music

to Israel's God, the LORD.

4LORD, when you left the mountains of Seir,

when you came out of the region of Edom,

the earth shook, and rain fell from the sky.

Yes, water poured down from the clouds.

5The mountains quaked before the LORD of Sinai,

before the LORD, the God of Israel.

6In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,

in the days of Jael,

caravans no longer went through the land,

and travellers used the side roads.

7The towns of Israel stood abandoned, Deborah;

they stood empty until you came,

came like a mother for Israel.

8Then there was war in the land

when the Israelites chose new gods.

Of the 40,000 men in Israel,

did anyone carry shield or spear?

9My heart is with the commanders of Israel,

with the people who gladly volunteered.

Praise the LORD!

10Tell of it, you that ride on white donkeys,

sitting on saddles,

and you that must walk wherever you go.

11Listen! The noisy crowds round the wells

are telling of the LORD's victories,

the victories of Israel's people!

Then the LORD's people marched down from their cities.

12Lead on, Deborah, lead on!

Lead on! Sing a song! Lead on!

Forward, Barak son of Abinoam,

lead your captives away!

13Then the faithful ones came down to their leaders;

the LORD's people came to him ready to fight.

14They came from Ephraim into the valley,

behind the tribe of Benjamin and its people.

The commanders came down from Machir,

the officers down from Zebulun.

15The leaders of Issachar came with Deborah;

yes, Issachar came and Barak too,

and they followed him into the valley.

But the tribe of Reuben was divided;

they could not decide whether to come.

16Why did they stay behind with the sheep?

To listen to shepherds calling the flocks?

Yes, the tribe of Reuben was divided;

they could not decide whether to come.

17The tribe of Gad stayed east of the Jordan,

and the tribe of Dan remained by the ships.

The tribe of Asher stayed by the coast;

they remained along the shore.

18But the people of Zebulun and Naphtali

risked their lives on the battlefield.

19At Taanach, by the stream of Megiddo,

the kings came and fought;

the kings of Canaan fought,

but they took no silver away.

20The stars fought from the sky;

as they moved across the sky,

they fought against Sisera.

21A flood in the Kishon swept them away —

the onrushing River Kishon.

I shall march, march on, with strength!

22Then the horses came galloping on,

stamping the ground with their hooves.

23“Put a curse on Meroz,” says the angel of the LORD,

“a curse, a curse on those who live there.

They did not come to help the LORD,

come as soldiers to fight for him.”

24The most fortunate of women is Jael,

the wife of Heber the Kenite —

the most fortunate of women who live in tents.

25Sisera asked for water, but she gave him milk;

she brought him cream in a beautiful bowl.

26She took a tent peg in one hand,

a workman's hammer in the other;

she struck Sisera and crushed his skull;

she pierced him through the head.

27He sank to his knees,

fell down and lay still at her feet.

At her feet he sank to his knees and fell;

he fell to the ground, dead.

28Sisera's mother looked out of the window;

she gazed from behind the lattice.

“Why is his chariot so late in coming?” she asked.

“Why are his horses so slow to return?”

29Her wisest ladies answered her,

and she told herself over and over,

30“They are only finding things to capture and divide,

a woman or two for every soldier,

rich cloth for Sisera,

embroidered pieces for the neck of the queen.”

31May all your enemies die like that, O LORD,

but may your friends shine like the rising sun!

And there was peace in the land for forty years.

Judges 4:1-5:31GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.13.12
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