Old Testament Story List

Death of a Tyrant

Many years later, the Israelites again began to worship idols. When Jabin, king of Canaan, attacked them, the Lord did not help the Israelites. The Canaanites won the battle and ruled Israel harshly for twenty years.

Near Shiloh lived a brave woman named Deborah. Because she loved and worshiped the true God, she was made the judge

of Israel. It was her job to remind the people of God's commands. Sometimes God told her things that were going to happen. Deborah was know as a prophetess.

The people honored Deborah. They came from every part of the land to get her advice. Usually they found her sitting under the shade of a palm tree near her home.

These were hard days for all Israelites. Jabin, king of Canaan, made life unbearable for them. They did not know how to free themselves from him. Sisera, the captain of Jabin's large army, was very cruel. Many of his soldiers rode in iron chariots pulled by horses. From these chariots they shot arrows or threw spears at their enemies. The Israelites were more afraid of the iron chariots than they were of the foot soldiers.

After suffering under Jabin's rule for twenty years, the people cried to God for help. God heard their cries, and told Deborah what to do.

At once she sent for Barak, a brave soldier. When he came, she said, "The Lord wants you to take ten thousand men and go toward Mount Tabor. Sisera will come after you with his army and chariots, but the Lord will give you the victory."

Barak said, "If you will go with me, I will do it."

"I will go with you," Deborah said, "but you will not get the honor for this victory. Sisera will be taken by a woman."

Barak may have thought Deborah meant she would take Sisera, but he was wrong. When they reached the north country, Barak called ten thousand soldiers from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. With these men Barak and Deborah marched toward Mount Tabor and made camp.

When Sisera heard that the Israelites were getting ready to fight near Mount Tabor, he took his army out after them. Perhaps he thought, "How do these Israelites dare fight against me and my great army?"

From the camp at Mount Tabor, Deborah and Barak could see the little river Kishon. It wound like a silver ribbon through the valley far below. As they watched, they saw people gathering along the river's bend. Soon they knew this was Sisera's army. They saw the hundreds of iron chariots. The soldiers must have felt a little afraid when they saw Sisera's battle array.

Deborah told Barak, "Up! This is the day the Lord will help you take Sisera. The Lord is with you, Go at once!"

Barak and his soldiers obeyed quickly. They rushed down the mountainside toward Sisera's army. Suddenly Sisera and all his army were afraid. As the Israelites came toward them, they began to run.

When Sisera saw his men being defeated and killed, he jumped out of his chariot and ran as fast as he could. As he ran to find safety, he saw a tent near the valley.

In the door of the tent stood a woman named Jael. When she saw Sisera desperately lookinf for a hiding place, she said, "Come in, come in. Do not be afraid."

How glad Sisera was to get out of sight of his enemies! Surely no one would look for him here. He asked Jael, "Give me, I pray you, water to drink. I am thirsty."

Jael took a leather bottle filled with milk and poured Sisera a drink.

Then he said, "Stand in the door of the tent. I anyone comes looking for me, do not let him know I am here.

At last, Sisera felt safe. He lay down and went to sleep while Jael stood guard at the door. When he was sound asleep, Jael killed him because she knew how cruelly he had treated the Israelites.

How happy all the people were to be delivered from their enemies! They thanked God for the victory. Deborah and Barak sang praises to the Lord. For forty years the children of Israel prospered and had peace.


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