The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD after Ehud had died.
So the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his forces was Sisera who lived in Harosheth of the Nations.
Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, because Jabin had 900 iron chariots, and he harshly oppressed them 20 years.
Deborah, a woman who was a prophet and the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
It was her custom to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her for judgment.
She summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "Hasn't the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded [you]: 'Go, deploy [the troops] on Mount Tabor, and take with you 10,000 men from the Naphtalites and Zebulunites?
Then I will lure Sisera commander of Jabin's forces, his chariots, and his army at the Wadi Kishon [to fight] against you, and I will hand him over to you.'"
Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, I will go. But if you will not go with me, I will not go."
"I will go with you," she said, "but you will receive no honor on the road you are about to take, because the LORD will sell Sisera into a woman's hand." So Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh.
Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; 10,000 men followed him, and Deborah also went with him.
Now Heber the Kenite had moved away from the Kenites, the sons of Hobab, Moses' father-in-law, and pitched his tent beside the oak tree of Zaanannim, which was near Kedesh.
It was reported to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up Mount Tabor.
Sisera summoned all his 900 iron chariots and all the people who were with him from Harosheth of the Nations to the Wadi Kishon.
Then Deborah said to Barak, "Move on, for this is the day the LORD has handed Sisera over to you. Hasn't the LORD gone before you?" So Barak came down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him.
The LORD threw Sisera, all his charioteers, and all his army into confusion with the sword before Barak. Sisera left his chariot and fled on foot.
Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth of the Nations, and the whole army of Sisera fell by the sword; not a single man was left.
Meanwhile, Sisera had fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.
Jael went out to greet Sisera and said to him, "Come in, my lord. Come in with me. Don't be afraid." So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a rug.
He said to her, "Please give me a little water to drink for I am thirsty." She opened a container of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him [again].
Then he said to her, "Stand at the entrance to the tent. If a man comes and asks you, 'Is there a man here?' say, 'No.'"
While he was sleeping from exhaustion, Heber's wife Jael took a tent peg, grabbed a hammer, and went silently to Sisera. She hammered the peg into his temple and drove it into the ground, and he died.
When Barak arrived in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to greet him and said to him, "Come and I will show you the man you are looking for." So he went in with her, and there was Sisera lying dead with a tent peg through his temple!
That day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.
The power of the Israelites continued to increase against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.
On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang:
When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, praise the LORD.
Listen, kings! Pay attention, princes! I will sing to the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
LORD, when You came from Seir, when You marched from the fields of Edom, the earth trembled, the heavens poured [rain], the clouds poured water.
The mountains melted before the LORD, even Sinai before the LORD, the God of Israel.
In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the main ways were deserted, because travelers kept to the side roads.
Villages were deserted, they were deserted in Israel, until I, Deborah, I arose, a mother in Israel.
Israel chose new gods, then war was in the gates. Not a shield or spear was seen among 40,000 in Israel.
My heart is with the leaders of Israel, with the volunteers of the people. Praise the LORD!
You who ride on white donkeys, who sit on saddle blankets, and who travel on the road, give praise!
Let them tell the righteous acts of the LORD, the righteous deeds of His warriors in Israel, with the voices of the singers at the watering places. Then the LORD's people went down to the gates.
"Awake! Awake, Deborah! Awake! Awake, sing a song! Arise Barak, and take hold of your captives, son of Abinoam!"
The survivors came down to the nobles; the LORD's people came down to me with the warriors.
Those with their roots in Amalek [came] from Ephraim; Benjamin [came with] your people after you. The leaders came down from Machir, and those who carry a marshal's staff [came] from Zebulun.
The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; Issachar was with Barak. They set out at his heels in the valley. There was great searching of heart among the clans of Reuben.
Why did you sit among the sheepfolds listening to the playing of pipes for the flocks? There was great searching of heart among the clans of Reuben.
Gilead remained beyond the Jordan. Dan, why did you linger at the ships? Asher remained at the seashore and stayed in his harbors.
Zebulun was a people risking their lives, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield.
Kings came and fought. Then the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo, but they took no spoil of silver.
The stars fought from the heavens; the stars fought with Sisera from their courses.
The river Kishon swept them away, the ancient river, the river Kishon. March on, my soul, in strength!
The horses' hooves then hammered-- the galloping, galloping of his stallions.
"Curse Meroz," says the Angel of the LORD, "Bitterly curse her inhabitants, for they did not come to help the LORD, to help the LORD against the mighty warriors."
Jael is most blessed of women, the wife of Heber the Kenite; she is most blessed among tent-dwelling women.
He asked for water; she gave him milk. She brought him curdled milk in a majestic bowl.
She reached for a tent peg, her right hand, for a workman's mallet. Then she hammered Sisera-- she crushed his head; she shattered and pierced his temple.
He collapsed, he fell, he lay down at her feet; he collapsed, he fell at her feet; where he collapsed, there he fell-- dead.
Sisera's mother looked through the window; she [peered] through the lattice, crying out: "Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why don't I hear the hoofbeats of his horses?"
Her wisest princesses answer her; she even answers herself:
"Are they not finding and dividing the spoil-- a girl or two for each warrior, the spoil of colored garments for Sisera, the spoil of an embroidered garment or two for my neck?"
LORD, may all your enemies perish as Sisera did. But may those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its strength. And the land was peaceful 40 years.
The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD handed them over to Midian seven years,
and they oppressed Israel. Because of Midian, the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds.
Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and the eastern peoples came and attacked them.
They encamped against them and destroyed the produce of the land, even as far as Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to eat, as well as no sheep, ox or donkey.
For the Midianites came with their cattle and their tents like a great swarm of locusts. They and their camels were without number, and they entered the land to waste it.
So Israel became poverty stricken because of Midian, and the Israelites cried out to the LORD.
When the Israelites cried out to Him because of Midian,
the LORD sent a prophet to them. He said to them, "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: 'I brought you out of Egypt and out of the place of slavery.
I delivered you from the power of Egypt and the power of all who oppressed you. I drove them out before you and gave you their land.
I said to you: I am the LORD your God. Do not fear the gods of the Amorites whose land you live in. But you did not obey Me.'"
The Angel of the LORD came, and He sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the wine vat in order to hide it from the Midianites.
Then the Angel of the LORD appeared to him and said: "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
Gideon said to Him, "Please Sir, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all His wonders that our fathers told us about? They said, 'Hasn't the LORD brought us out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian."
The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not sending you?"
He said to Him, "Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house."
"But I will be with you," the LORD said to him. "You will strike Midian down [as if it were] one man."
Then he said to Him, "If I have found favor in Your sight, give me a sign that You are speaking with me.
Please do not leave this place until I return to You. Let me bring my gift and set it before You." And He said, "I will stay until you return."
So Gideon went and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from a half bushel of flour. He placed the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. He brought them out and offered them to Him under the oak.
The Angel of God said to him, "Take the meat with the unleavened bread, put it on this stone, and pour the broth [on it]." And he did so.
The Angel of the LORD extended the tip of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the Angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.
When Gideon realized that He was the Angel of the LORD, he said, "Oh no, Lord God! I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face!"
But the LORD said to him, "Peace to you. Don't be afraid, for you will not die."
So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it Yahweh Shalom. It is in Ophrah of the Abiezrites until today.
On that very night the LORD said to him, "Take your father's young bull and a second bull seven years old. Then tear down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.
Build a well-constructed altar to the LORD your God on the top of this rock. Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down."
So Gideon took 10 of his male servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his father's household and the men of the city to do it in the daytime, he did it at night.
When the men of the city got up in the morning, they found Baal's altar torn down, the Asherah pole beside it cut down, and the second bull offered up on the altar that had been built.
They said to each other, "Who did this?" After they made a thorough investigation, they said, "Gideon son of Joash did it."
Then the men of the city said to Joash, "Bring out your son. He must die, because he tore down Baal's altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it."
But Joash said to all who stood against him, "Would you plead Baal's case for him? Would you save him? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead his own case, because someone tore down his altar."
That day, Gideon's father called him Jerubbaal, saying, "Let Baal plead his case with him," because he tore down his altar.
All the Midianites, Amalekites, and Qedemites gathered together, crossed over [the Jordan], and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.
The Spirit of the LORD enveloped Gideon, and he blew the ram's horn and the Abiezrites rallied behind him.
He sent messengers throughout all of Manasseh, who rallied behind him. He also sent messengers throughout Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, who [also] came to meet him.
Then Gideon said to God, "If You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You said,
I will put a fleece of wool here on the threshing floor. If dew is only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that You will deliver Israel by my strength, as You said."
And that is what happened. When he got up early in the morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of it, filling a bowl with water.
Gideon then said to God, "Don't be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me to make one more test with the fleece. Let it remain dry, and the dew be all over the ground."
That night God did [as Gideon requested]: only the fleece was dry, and dew was all over the ground.