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Judges 4

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Deborah Summons Barak

4:1 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight 1  after Ehud’s death. 4:2 The Lord turned them over to 2  King Jabin of Canaan, who ruled in Hazor. 3  The general of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim. 4  4:3 The Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, because Sisera 5  had nine hundred chariots with iron-rimmed wheels, 6  and he cruelly 7  oppressed the Israelites for twenty years.

4:4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, 8  wife of Lappidoth, was 9  leading 10  Israel at that time. 4:5 She would sit 11  under the Date Palm Tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel 12  in the Ephraimite hill country. The Israelites would come up to her to have their disputes settled. 13 

4:6 She summoned 14  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! 4:7 I will bring Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to you at the Kishon River, along with his chariots and huge army. 15  I will hand him over to you.” 4:8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go. But if you do not go with me, I will not go.” 4:9 She said, “I will indeed go with you. But you will not gain fame 16  on the expedition you are undertaking, 17  for the Lord will turn Sisera over to a woman.” 18  Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 4:10 Barak summoned men from Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. Ten thousand men followed him; 19  Deborah went up with him as well. 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite had moved away 20  from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law. He lived 21  near the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

4:12 When Sisera heard 22  that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 4:13 he 23  ordered 24  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. 4:14 Deborah said to Barak, “Spring into action, 25  for this is the day the Lord is handing Sisera over to you! 26  Has the Lord not taken the lead?” 27  Barak quickly went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 4:15 The Lord routed 28  Sisera, all his chariotry, and all his army with the edge of the sword. 29  Sisera jumped out of 30  his chariot and ran away on foot. 4:16 Now Barak chased the chariots and the army all the way to Harosheth Haggoyim. Sisera’s whole army died 31  by the edge of the sword; not even one survived! 32 

4:17 Now Sisera ran away on foot to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, for King Jabin of Hazor 33  and the family of Heber the Kenite had made a peace treaty. 34  4:18 Jael came out to welcome Sisera. She said to him, “Stop and rest, 35  my lord. Stop and rest with me. Don’t be afraid.” So Sisera 36  stopped to rest in her tent, and she put a blanket over him. 4:19 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. 4:20 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.’” 4:21 Then Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg in one hand and a hammer in the other. 37  She crept up on him, drove the tent peg through his temple into the ground 38  while he was asleep from exhaustion, 39  and he died. 4:22 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, 40  and there he saw Sisera sprawled out dead 41  with the tent peg in his temple.

4:23 That day God humiliated King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites. 4:24 Israel’s power continued to overwhelm 42  King Jabin of Canaan until they did away with 43  him. 44 

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1 tn Heb “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

2 tn Heb “the Lord sold them into the hands of.”

3 tn Or “King Jabin of Hazor, a Canaanite ruler.”

map For location see Map1-D2; Map2-D3; Map3-A2; Map4-C1.

4 tn Or “Harosheth of the Pagan Nations”; cf. KJV “Harosheth of the Gentiles.”

5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Sisera) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 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.

7 tn Heb “with strength.”

8 tn Heb “ a woman, a prophetess.” In Hebrew idiom the generic “woman” sometimes precedes the more specific designation. See GKC 437-38 §135.b.

9 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.

10 tn Or “judging.”

11 tn That is, “consider legal disputes.”

12 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

13 tn Heb “for judgment.”

14 tn Heb “sent and summoned.”

15 tn Heb “horde”; “multitude.”

16 tn Or “honor.”

17 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.

18 tn Heb “for into the hands of a woman the Lord will sell Sisera.”

19 tn Heb “went up at his feet.”

20 tn Or “separated.”

21 tn Heb “pitched his tent.”

22 tn Heb “and they told Sisera.”

23 tn Heb “Sisera.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

24 tn Or “summoned.”

25 tn Heb “Arise!”

26 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.”

27 tn Heb “Has the Lord not gone out before you?”

28 tn Or “caused to panic.”

29 tn The Hebrew text also includes the phrase “before Barak.” This has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

30 tn Heb “got down from.”

31 tn Heb “fell.”

32 tn Heb “was left.”

33 map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 D3; Map3 A2; Map4 C1.

34 tn Heb “for there was peace between.”

35 tn Heb “Turn aside” (also a second time later in this verse).

36 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Sisera) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

37 tn Heb “took a tent peg and put a hammer in her hand.”

38 tn Heb “and it went into the ground.”

39 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.”

40 tn Heb “he went to her.”

41 tn Heb “fallen, dead.”

42 tn Heb “The hand of the Israelites became more and more severe against.”

43 tn Heb “cut off.”

44 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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