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
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.
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."
"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.
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.