Judges 4 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
Deborah, the Woman Judge
4 After Ehud died, the people of Israel again did what the Lord said was wrong. 2 So he let Jabin, a king of Canaan, defeat Israel. Jabin ruled in the city of Hazor. Sisera was the commander of Jabin’s army. Sisera lived in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3 He had 900 iron chariots and was very cruel to the people of Israel for 20 years. So they cried to the Lord for help.
4 There was a prophetess named Deborah. She was the wife of Lappidoth. She was judge of Israel at that time. 5 Deborah would sit under the Palm Tree of Deborah. This was between the cities of Ramah and Bethel, in the mountains of Ephraim. And the people of Israel would come to her to settle their arguments.
6 Deborah sent a message to a man named Barak. He was the son of Abinoam. Barak lived in the city of Kedesh, which is in the area of Naphtali. Deborah said to Barak, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go and gather 10,000 men of Naphtali and Zebulun. Lead them to Mount Tabor. 7 I will make Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, come to you. Sisera, his chariots and his army will meet you at the Kishon River. I will help you to defeat Sisera there.’”
8 Then Barak said to Deborah, “I will go if you will go with me. But if you will not go with me, I won’t go.”
9 “Of course I will go with you,” Deborah answered. “But you will not get credit for the victory. The Lord will let a woman defeat Sisera.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 At Kedesh, Barak called the people of Zebulun and Naphtali together. From them, he gathered 10,000 men to follow him. Deborah went with Barak also.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenite people. (The Kenites were descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law.) Heber had put up his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim. This is near Kedesh.
12 Then Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 So Sisera gathered his 900 iron chariots and all the men with him. They went from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get up! Today is the day the Lord will help you defeat Sisera. You know the Lord has already cleared the way for you.” So Barak led 10,000 men down from Mount Tabor. 15 He and his men attacked Sisera and his men. During the battle the Lord confused Sisera and his army and chariots. So Barak and his men used their swords to defeat Sisera’s army. But Sisera left his chariot and ran away on foot. 16 Barak and his men chased Sisera’s chariots and army to Harosheth Haggoyim. They used their swords to kill all of Sisera’s men. Not one of them was left alive.
17 But Sisera himself ran away. He came to the tent where Jael lived. She was the wife of Heber, one of the Kenite family groups. Heber’s family was at peace with Jabin king of Hazor. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera. She said to him, “Come into my tent, master! Come in. Don’t be afraid.” So Sisera went into Jael’s tent, and she covered him with a rug.
19 Sisera said to Jael, “I am thirsty. Please give me some water to drink.” So she opened a leather bag in which she kept milk and gave him a drink. Then she covered him up.
20 Then Sisera said to Jael, “Go stand at the entrance to the tent. If anyone comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’”
21 But Jael, the wife of Heber, took a tent peg and a hammer. She quietly went to Sisera. Since he was very tired, he was sleeping. She hammered the tent peg through the side of Sisera’s head and into the ground! And so Sisera died.
22 Then Barak came by Jael’s tent, chasing Sisera. Jael went out to meet him and said, “Come. I will show you the man you are looking for.” So Barak entered her tent. There Sisera lay dead, with the tent peg in his head.
23 On that day God defeated Jabin king of Canaan in the sight of Israel.
24 Israel became stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan. Finally, they destroyed him.
Judges 4 New International Version (NIV)
4 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. 2 So 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. 3 Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.
4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading[a] Israel at that time. 5 She 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. 6 She 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. 7 I 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.’”
8 Barak 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. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law,[b] and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.
12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.
14 Then 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. 15 At 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.
16 Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left. 17 Sisera, 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.
18 Jael 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.’”
21 But 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.
22 Just 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.
23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.