New International Reader's Version

Judges 4:1-24

Deborah

1After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 2So the Lord handed them over to the power of Jabin. He was a king in Canaan. He ruled in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera. He lived in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3Jabin used 900 chariots that had some iron parts. He treated the Israelites very badly for 20 years. So they cried out to the Lord for help.

4Deborah was a prophet. She was the wife of Lappidoth. She was leading Israel at that time. 5Under the Palm Tree of Deborah she served the people as their judge. That place was between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim. The Israelites went up to her there. They came to have her decide cases for them. She settled matters between them. 6Deborah sent for Barak. He was the son of Abinoam. Barak was from Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. Deborah said to Barak, “The Lord, the God of Israel, is giving you a command. He says, ‘Go! Take 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun with you. Then lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7I will lead Sisera into a trap. He is the commander of Jabin’s army. I will bring him, his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River. There I will hand him over to you.’ ”

8Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I’ll go. But if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

9“All right,” Deborah said. “I’ll go with you. But because of the way you are doing this, you won’t receive any honor. Instead, the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.” So Deborah went to Kedesh with Barak. 10There he sent for men from Zebulun and Naphtali. And 10,000 men followed him into battle. Deborah also went with him.

11Heber, the Kenite, had left the other Kenites. They came from the family line of Hobab. He was the brother-in-law of Moses. Heber set up his tent by the large tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

12Sisera was told that Barak, the son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13So Sisera gathered together his 900 chariots that had some iron parts. He also gathered together all his men. He brought them from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River.

14Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! Today the Lord will hand Sisera over to you. Hasn’t the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor. His 10,000 men followed him. 15As Barak’s men marched out, the Lord drove Sisera away from the field of battle. The Lord scattered all of Sisera’s chariots. Barak’s men struck down Sisera’s army with their swords. Sisera got down from his chariot. He ran away on foot.

16Barak chased Sisera’s chariots and army. Barak chased them all the way to Harosheth Haggoyim. All of Sisera’s troops were killed by swords. Not even one was left. 17But Sisera ran away on foot. He ran to the tent of Jael. She was the wife of Heber, the Kenite. Sisera ran there because there was a treaty between Heber’s family and Jabin, the king of Hazor.

18Jael went out to meet Sisera. “Come in, sir,” she said. “Come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent. Then she covered him with a blanket.

19“I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” So Jael opened a bottle of milk. The bottle was made out of animal skin. She gave him a drink of milk. Then she covered him up again.

20“Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “Someone might come by and ask you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ If that happens, say ‘No.’ ”

21But Heber’s wife Jael picked up a tent stake and a hammer. She went quietly over to Sisera. He was lying there, fast asleep. He was very tired. She drove the stake through his head right into the ground. So he died.

22Just then Barak came by because he was chasing Sisera. Jael went out to meet him. “Come right in,” she said. “I’ll show you the man you are looking for.” So he went in with her. Sisera was lying there with the stake through his head. He was dead.

23On that day God brought Jabin under Israel’s control. He was a king in Canaan. 24Israel’s power grew stronger and stronger against King Jabin. The Israelites became so strong that they destroyed him.

New International Version

Judges 4:1-24

Deborah

1Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. 2So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.

4Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading4:4 Traditionally judging Israel at that time. 5She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. 6She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’ ”

8Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

9“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.

11Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law,4:11 Or father-in-law and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

12When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.

14Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. 15At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.

16Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left. 17Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.

18Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

19“I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.

20“Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’ ”

21But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

22Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead.

23On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.