The Slaying Of Sisera

The Slaying Of Sisera


BECAUSE the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,
the Lord made them the captives of Jabin,
king of Canaan.

Jabin's army was commanded by a great captain called Sisera.
He had nine hundred chariots,
and for twenty years he oppressed the children of Israel.

One of the judges in Israel was a woman called Deborah,
and she sent for a man called Barak and said: "Go to Mount Tabor with ten thousand
men and I will deliver Sisera with all his soldiers
and his chariots into your hands."

Barak said: "I will go if you accompany me, but not otherwise."

So Deborah agreed to go with him,
but she warned him that he would gain no honour from the expedition,
for the Lord would sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.

The armies of Barak and Sisera met on the slopes of Mount Tabor
and the Lord defeated Sisera and his chariots, and Barak slew all his men.
Sisera himself alighted from his chariot and fled on foot.
When he reached Kedesh he stopped at the tent of Heber the Kenite,
who was one of his king's allies.
Heber's wife, Jael, came out to meet him, saying: "Come in, do not be afraid."

Sisera went into the tent, and Jael made him lie down and covered him with a cloak.
He said: "I am thirsty, give me some water to drink."
She gave him milk to quench his thirst and made him comfortable.
He said: "Stand in the door of the tent,
and if anybody comes and asks any questions, say that there is nobody here."
Then Sisera fell asleep, for he was very tired, and while he slept Jael killed him.

Presently Barak appeared in pursuit of Sisera,
and Jael went up to him and said: "Come and I will show you the man for whom you are looking."
So the children of Israel conquered Jabin, king of Canaan,
and the land was at peace for forty years.


Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day these words:

Praise ye the Lord
for the avenging of Israel,
When the people willingly offered themselves.
Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes.
I, even I, will sing unto the Lord;
I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.
Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir,
When thou marchedst
out of the field of Edom,
The earth tembled, and the heavens dropped,
The clouds also dropped water.
The mountains melted from before the Lord,
Even that Sinai
from before the Lord God of Israel.
Blessed above women shall Jael
the wife of Heber the Kenite be;
Blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
He asked water, and she gave him milk.
She brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
She put her hand to the nail,
And her right hand to the workman's hammer,
And with the hammer she smote Sisera,
she smote of his head,
When she had pierced
and stricken through his temples
At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down.
Where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
So let all your enemies perish, O Lord.


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