Good News Translation (GNB)
4

Deborah and Barak

41After Ehud died, the people of Israel sinned against the LORD again. 2So the LORD let them be conquered by Jabin, a Canaanite king who ruled in the city of Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived at Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles. 3Jabin had 900 iron chariots, and he ruled the people of Israel with cruelty and violence for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help.

4Now Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet, and she was serving as a judge for the Israelites at that time. 5She used to sit under a certain palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel would go there for her decisions. 6One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam from the city of Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, has given you this command: ‘Take 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them to Mount Tabor. 7I will bring Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, to fight against you at the River Kishon. He will have his chariots and soldiers, but I will give you victory over him.’ ”

8Then Barak replied, “I will go if you go with me, but if you don't go with me, I won't go either.”

9She answered, “All right, I will go with you, but you won't get any credit for the victory, because the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman.” So Deborah set off for Kedesh with Barak. 10Barak called the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and 10,000 men followed him. Deborah went with him.

11In the meantime Heber the Kenite had set up his tent close to Kedesh near the oak tree at Zanannim. He had moved away from the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, the brother-in-law of Moses.

12When Sisera learnt that Barak had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13he called out his 900 iron chariots and all his men, and sent them from Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles to the River Kishon.

14Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! The LORD is leading you! Today he has given you victory over Sisera.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with his 10,000 men. 15When Barak attacked with his army, the LORD threw Sisera into confusion together with all his chariots and men. Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. 16Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles, and Sisera's whole army was killed. Not a man was left.

17Sisera ran away to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because King Jabin of Hazor was at peace with Heber's family. 18Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come in, sir; come into my tent. Don't be afraid.” So he went in, and she hid him behind a curtain.4.18 hid him behind a curtain; or covered him with a rug. 19He said to her, “Please give me a drink of water; I'm thirsty.” She opened a leather bag of milk, gave him a drink, and hid him again. 20Then he told her, “Stand at the door of the tent, and if anyone comes and asks you if someone is here, say no.”

21Sisera was so tired that he fell sound asleep. Then Jael took a hammer and a tent peg, went up to him quietly, and killed him by driving the peg right through the side of his head and into the ground. 22When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come here! I'll show you the man you're looking for.” So he went in with her, and there was Sisera on the ground, dead, with the tent peg through his head.

23That day God gave the Israelites victory over Jabin, the Canaanite king. 24They pressed harder and harder against him until they destroyed him.

5

The Song of Deborah and Barak

51On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:

2Praise the LORD!

The Israelites were determined to fight;

the people gladly volunteered.

3Listen, you kings!

Pay attention, you rulers!

I will sing, I will play music

to Israel's God, the LORD.

4LORD, when you left the mountains of Seir,

when you came out of the region of Edom,

the earth shook, and rain fell from the sky.

Yes, water poured down from the clouds.

5

5.5:
Ex 19.18
The mountains quaked before the LORD of Sinai,

before the LORD, the God of Israel.

6In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,

in the days of Jael,

caravans no longer went through the land,

and travellers used the side roads.

7The towns of Israel stood abandoned, Deborah;

they stood empty until you came,5.7 abandoned, Deborahyou came; or abandoned; they stood empty until I, Deborah, came.

came like a mother for Israel.

8Then there was war in the land

when the Israelites chose new gods.

Of the 40,000 men in Israel,

did anyone carry shield or spear?

9My heart is with the commanders of Israel,

with the people who gladly volunteered.

Praise the LORD!

10Tell of5.10 Tell of; or Think about. it, you that ride on white donkeys,

sitting on saddles,

and you that must walk wherever you go.

11Listen! The noisy crowds round the wells

are telling of the LORD's victories,

the victories of Israel's people!

Then the LORD's people marched down from their cities.5.11 from their cities; or to their gates.

12Lead on, Deborah, lead on!

Lead on! Sing a song! Lead on!

Forward, Barak son of Abinoam,

lead your captives away!

13Then the faithful ones came down to their leaders;

the LORD's people came to him5.13 One ancient translation him; Hebrew me. ready to fight.

14They came5.14 Probable text They came; Hebrew Their root. from Ephraim into the valley,5.14 One ancient translation into the valley; Hebrew in Amalek.

behind the tribe of Benjamin and its people.

The commanders came down from Machir,

the officers down from Zebulun.

15The leaders of Issachar came with Deborah;

yes, Issachar came and Barak too,

and they followed him into the valley.

But the tribe of Reuben was divided;

they could not decide whether to come.

16Why did they stay behind with the sheep?

To listen to shepherds calling the flocks?

Yes, the tribe of Reuben was divided;

they could not decide whether to come.

17The tribe of Gad stayed east of the Jordan,

and the tribe of Dan remained by the ships.

The tribe of Asher stayed by the coast;

they remained along the shore.

18But the people of Zebulun and Naphtali

risked their lives on the battlefield.

19At Taanach, by the stream of Megiddo,

the kings came and fought;

the kings of Canaan fought,

but they took no silver away.

20The stars fought from the sky;

as they moved across the sky,

they fought against Sisera.

21A flood in the Kishon swept them away —

the onrushing River Kishon.

I shall march, march on, with strength!

22Then the horses came galloping on,

stamping the ground with their hooves.

23“Put a curse on Meroz,” says the angel of the LORD,

“a curse, a curse on those who live there.

They did not come to help the LORD,

come as soldiers to fight for him.”

24The most fortunate of women is Jael,

the wife of Heber the Kenite —

the most fortunate of women who live in tents.

25Sisera asked for water, but she gave him milk;

she brought him cream in a beautiful bowl.

26She took a tent peg in one hand,

a workman's hammer in the other;

she struck Sisera and crushed his skull;

she pierced him through the head.

27He sank to his knees,

fell down and lay still at her feet.

At her feet he sank to his knees and fell;

he fell to the ground, dead.

28Sisera's mother looked out of the window;

she gazed5.28 Some ancient translations gazed; Hebrew cried out. from behind the lattice.

“Why is his chariot so late in coming?” she asked.

“Why are his horses so slow to return?”

29Her wisest ladies answered her,

and she told herself over and over,

30“They are only finding things to capture and divide,

a woman or two for every soldier,

rich cloth for Sisera,

embroidered pieces for the neck of the queen.”5.30 Probable text queen; Hebrew plunder.

31May all your enemies die like that, O LORD,

but may your friends shine like the rising sun!

And there was peace in the land for forty years.

6

Gideon

61Once again the people of Israel sinned against the LORD, so he let the people of Midian rule them for seven years. 2The Midianites were stronger than Israel, and the people of Israel hid from them in caves and other safe places in the hills. 3Whenever the Israelites sowed any seed, the Midianites would come with the Amalekites and the desert tribes and attack them. 4They would camp on the land and destroy the crops as far south as the area round Gaza. They would take all the sheep, cattle, and donkeys, and leave nothing for the Israelites to live on. 5They would come with their livestock and tents, as thick as locusts. They and their camels were too many to count. They came and devastated the land, 6and Israel was helpless against them.

7Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help against the Midianites, 8and he sent them a prophet who brought them this message from the LORD, the God of Israel: “I brought you out of slavery in Egypt. 9I rescued you from the Egyptians and from the people who fought against you here in this land. I drove them out as you advanced, and I gave you their land. 10I told you that I am the LORD your God and that you should not worship the gods of the Amorites, whose land you are now living in. But you did not listen to me.”

11Then the LORD's angel came to the village of Ophrah and sat under the oak tree that belonged to Joash, a man of the clan of Abiezer. His son Gideon was threshing some wheat secretly in a winepress, so that the Midianites would not see him. 12The LORD's angel appeared to him there and said, “The LORD is with you, brave and mighty man!”

13Gideon said to him, “If I may ask, sir, why has all this happened to us if the LORD is with us? What about all the wonderful things that our fathers told us the LORD used to do — how he brought them out of Egypt? The LORD has abandoned us and left us to the mercy of the Midianites.”

14Then the LORD ordered him, “Go with all your great strength and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I myself am sending you.”

15Gideon replied, “But LORD, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least important member of my family.”

16The LORD answered, “You can do it because I will help you. You will crush the Midianites as easily as if they were only one man.”

17Gideon replied, “If you are pleased with me, give me some proof that you are really the LORD. 18Please do not leave until I bring you an offering of food.”

He said, “I will stay until you come back.”

19So Gideon went into his house and cooked a young goat and used ten kilogrammes of flour to make bread without any yeast. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, brought them to the LORD's angel under the oak tree, and gave them to him. 20The angel ordered him, “Put the meat and the bread on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” Gideon did so. 21Then the LORD's angel reached out and touched the meat and the bread with the end of the stick he was holding. Fire came out of the rock and burnt up the meat and the bread. Then the angel disappeared.

22Gideon then realized that it was the LORD's angel he had seen, and he said in terror, “Sovereign LORD! I have seen your angel face to face!”

23But the LORD said to him, “Peace. Don't be afraid. You will not die.” 24Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and named it “The LORD is Peace”. (It is still standing at Ophrah, which belongs to the clan of Abiezer.)

25That night the LORD told Gideon, “Take your father's bull and another bull seven years old,6.25 bull and another bull seven years old; or bull, the seven-year-old one. tear down your father's altar to Baal, and cut down the symbol of the goddess Asherah, which is beside it. 26Build a well-constructed altar to the LORD your God on top of this mound. Then take the second bull6.26 the second bull; or the bull. and burn it whole as an offering, using for firewood the symbol of Asherah you have cut down.” 27So Gideon took ten of his servants and did what the LORD had told him. He was too afraid of his family and the people of the town to do it by day, so he did it at night.

28When the people of the town got up early the next morning, they found that the altar to Baal and the symbol of Asherah had been cut down, and that the second bull had been burnt on the altar that had been built there. 29They asked each other, “Who did this?” They investigated and found out that Gideon son of Joash had done it. 30Then they said to Joash, “Bring your son out here, so that we can kill him! He tore down the altar to Baal and cut down the symbol of Asherah beside it.”

31But Joash said to all those who confronted him, “Are you standing up for Baal? Are you defending him? Anyone who stands up for him will be killed before morning. If Baal is a god, let him defend himself. It is his altar that was torn down.” 32From then on Gideon was known as Jerubbaal,6.32 Jerubbaal: This name in Hebrew means “Let Baal defend himself.” because Joash said, “Let Baal defend himself; it is his altar that was torn down.”

33Then all the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the desert tribes assembled, crossed the River Jordan, and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34The Spirit of the LORD took control of Gideon, and he blew a trumpet to call the men of the clan of Abiezer to follow him. 35He sent messengers throughout the territory of both parts of Manasseh to call them to follow him. He sent messengers to the tribes of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they also came to join him.

36Then Gideon said to God, “You say that you have decided to use me to rescue Israel. 37Well, I am putting some wool on the ground where we thresh the wheat. If in the morning there is dew only on the wool but not on the ground, then I will know that you are going to use me to rescue Israel.” 38That is exactly what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the wool and wrung enough dew out of it to fill a bowl with water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Don't be angry with me; let me speak just once more. Please let me make one more test with the wool. This time let the wool be dry, and the ground be wet.” 40That night God did that very thing. The next morning the wool was dry, but the ground was wet with dew.