Deborah Becomes Israel’s Judge
1After Ehud’s death, the Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight.
4Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time.
8Barak told her, “I will go, but only if you go with me.”
9“Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh.
11Now Heber the Kenite, a descendant of Moses’ brother-in-law*4:11 Or father-in-law. Hobab, had moved away from the other members of his tribe and pitched his tent by the oak of Zaanannim near Kedesh.
12When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor,
14Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” So Barak led his 10,000 warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle.
17Meanwhile, Sisera ran to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because Heber’s family was on friendly terms with King Jabin of Hazor.
19“Please give me some water,” he said. “I’m thirsty.” So she gave him some milk from a leather bag and covered him again.
20“Stand at the door of the tent,” he told her. “If anybody comes and asks you if there is anyone here, say no.”
21But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, and so he died.
22When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him. She said, “Come, and I will show you the man you are looking for.” So he followed her into the tent and found Sisera lying there dead, with the tent peg through his temple.
23So on that day Israel saw God defeat Jabin, the Canaanite king.
The Song of Deborah
1On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:
2“Israel’s leaders took charge,
and the people gladly followed.
Praise the Lord!
3“Listen, you kings!
Pay attention, you mighty rulers!
For I will sing to the Lord.
I will make music to the Lord, the God of Israel.
4“Lord, when you set out from Seir
and marched across the fields of Edom,
the earth trembled,
and the cloudy skies poured down rain.
5The mountains quaked in the presence of the Lord,
the God of Mount Sinai—
in the presence of the Lord,
the God of Israel.
6“In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
and in the days of Jael,
people avoided the main roads,
and travelers stayed on winding pathways.
7There were few people left in the villages of Israel*5:7 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.—
until Deborah arose as a mother for Israel.
8When Israel chose new gods,
war erupted at the city gates.
Yet not a shield or spear could be seen
among forty thousand warriors in Israel!
9My heart is with the commanders of Israel,
with those who volunteered for war.
Praise the Lord!
10“Consider this, you who ride on fine donkeys,
you who sit on fancy saddle blankets,
and you who walk along the road.
11Listen to the village musicians*5:11 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
gathered at the watering holes.
They recount the righteous victories of the Lord
and the victories of his villagers in Israel.
Then the people of the Lord
marched down to the city gates.
12“Wake up, Deborah, wake up!
Wake up, wake up, and sing a song!
Lead your captives away, son of Abinoam!
13“Down from Tabor marched the few against the nobles.
The people of the Lord marched down against mighty warriors.
14They came down from Ephraim—
a land that once belonged to the Amalekites;
they followed you, Benjamin, with your troops.
From Makir the commanders marched down;
from Zebulun came those who carry a commander’s staff.
15The princes of Issachar were with Deborah and Barak.
They followed Barak, rushing into the valley.
But in the tribe of Reuben
there was great indecision.*5:15 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac version, which read searchings of heart; Masoretic Text reads resolve of heart.
16Why did you sit at home among the sheepfolds—
to hear the shepherds whistle for their flocks?
Yes, in the tribe of Reuben
there was great indecision.
17Gilead remained east of the Jordan.
And why did Dan stay home?
Asher sat unmoved at the seashore,
remaining in his harbors.
18But Zebulun risked his life,
as did Naphtali, on the heights of the battlefield.
19“The kings of Canaan came and fought,
at Taanach near Megiddo’s springs,
but they carried off no silver treasures.
20The stars fought from heaven.
The stars in their orbits fought against Sisera.
21The Kishon River swept them away—
that ancient torrent, the Kishon.
March on with courage, my soul!
22Then the horses’ hooves hammered the ground,
the galloping, galloping of Sisera’s mighty steeds.
23‘Let the people of Meroz be cursed,’ said the angel of the Lord.
‘Let them be utterly cursed,
because they did not come to help the Lord—
to help the Lord against the mighty warriors.’
24“Most blessed among women is Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite.
May she be blessed above all women who live in tents.
25Sisera asked for water,
and she gave him milk.
In a bowl fit for nobles,
she brought him yogurt.
26Then with her left hand she reached for a tent peg,
and with her right hand for the workman’s hammer.
She struck Sisera with the hammer, crushing his head.
With a shattering blow, she pierced his temples.
27He sank, he fell,
he lay still at her feet.
And where he sank,
there he died.
28“From the window Sisera’s mother looked out.
Through the window she watched for his return, saying,
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why don’t we hear the sound of chariot wheels?’
29“Her wise women answer,
and she repeats these words to herself:
30‘They must be dividing the captured plunder—
with a woman or two for every man.
There will be colorful robes for Sisera,
and colorful, embroidered robes for me.
Yes, the plunder will include
colorful robes embroidered on both sides.’
31“Lord, may all your enemies die like Sisera!
But may those who love you rise like the sun in all its power!”
Then there was peace in the land for forty years.