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Judges chapter 4

New International Version

1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, now that Ehud was dead. 2 So the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. 3 Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the LORD for help.
4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, 'The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.''
8 Barak said to her, 'If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go.'
9 Certainly I will go with you,' said Deborah. 'But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.' So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses' brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.
12 When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, 'Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?' So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. 15 At Barak's advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.
16 Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera's troops fell by the sword; not a man was left. 17 Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite.
18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, 'Come, my lord, come right in. Don't be afraid.' So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.
19 I'm thirsty,' he said. 'Please give me some water.' She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up.
20 Stand in the doorway of the tent,' he told her. 'If someone comes by and asks you, 'Is anyone in there?' say 'No.''
21 But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.
22 Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. 'Come,' she said, 'I will show you the man you're looking for.' So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple--dead.
23 On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him.
English Standard Version

1 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD after Ehud died. 2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. 3 Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help, for he had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years.
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. 6 She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. 7 And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” 8 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.” 9 And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.
12 When Sisera was told that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called out all his chariots, 900 chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the LORD go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15 And the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16 And Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.
17 But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael came out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord; turn aside to me; do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died. 22 And behold, as Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went in to her tent, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg in his temple.
23 So on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel. 24 And the hand of the people of Israel pressed harder and harder against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
King James Version

1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. 2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. 3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. 6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. 8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. 9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.
10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him. 11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. 12 And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. 13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. 14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. 15 And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. 16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.
17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. 19 And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. 20 Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No. 21 Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. 22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. 23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. 24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
New American Standard Bible

1 Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died. 2 So the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. 3 The sons of Israel cried out to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went up to her for judgment. 6 Now she sent word and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, 'The LORD, the God of Israel, has indeed commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. 7 I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will hand him over to you.’?' 8 Then Barak said to her, 'If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.' 9 She said, 'I will certainly go with you; however, the fame shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.' Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.
12 Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 Sisera summoned all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, 'Arise! For this is the day on which the LORD has handed Sisera over to you; behold, the LORD has gone out before you.' So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 And the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not even one was left.
17 Now Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, 'Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid.' So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, 'Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.' So she opened a leather bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. 20 And he said to her, 'Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’?' 21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died. 22 And behold, while Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, 'Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.' So he entered with her, and behold, Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.
23 So God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan on that day before the sons of Israel. 24 And the hand of the sons of Israel pressed harder and harder upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had eliminated Jabin the king of Canaan.
New Living Translation

1 After Ehud's death, the Israelites again did evil in the LORD's sight. 2 So the LORD turned them over to King Jabin of Hazor, a Canaanite king. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-haggoyim. 3 Sisera, who had 900 iron chariots, ruthlessly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help.
4 Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. 5 She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment. 6 One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor. 7 And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin's army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him.'
8 Barak told her, 'I will go, but only if you go with me.'
9 'Very well,' she replied, 'I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the LORD's victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.' So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 At Kedesh, Barak called together the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and 10,000 warriors went up with him. Deborah also went with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite, a descendant of Moses' brother-in-law Hobab, had moved away from the other members of his tribe and pitched his tent by the oak of Zaanannim near Kedesh.
12 When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 he called for all 900 of his iron chariots and all of his warriors, and they marched from Harosheth-haggoyim to the Kishon River.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, 'Get ready! This is the day the LORD will give you victory over Sisera, for the LORD is marching ahead of you.' So Barak led his 10,000 warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle. 15 When Barak attacked, the LORD threw Sisera and all his chariots and warriors into a panic. Sisera leaped down from his chariot and escaped on foot. 16 Then Barak chased the chariots and the enemy army all the way to Harosheth-haggoyim, killing all of Sisera's warriors. Not a single one was left alive.
17 Meanwhile, Sisera ran to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because Heber's family was on friendly terms with King Jabin of Hazor. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, 'Come into my tent, sir. Come in. Don't be afraid.' So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.
19 'Please give me some water,' he said. 'I'm thirsty.' So she gave him some milk from a leather bag and covered him again.
20 'Stand at the door of the tent,' he told her. 'If anybody comes and asks you if there is anyone here, say no.'
21 But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, and so he died.
22 When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him. She said, 'Come, and I will show you the man you are looking for.' So he followed her into the tent and found Sisera lying there dead, with the tent peg through his temple.
23 So on that day Israel saw God defeat Jabin, the Canaanite king. 24 And from that time on Israel became stronger and stronger against King Jabin until they finally destroyed him.
Christian Standard Bible

1 The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud had died. 2 So the Lord sold them to King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera who lived in Harosheth of the Nations. 3 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, because Jabin had nine hundred iron chariots, and he harshly oppressed them twenty years.
4 Deborah, a prophetess and the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to settle disputes.
6 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 ten thousand men from the Naphtalites and Zebulunites? 7 Then I will lure Sisera commander of Jabin's army, his chariots, and his infantry at the Wadi Kishon to fight against you, and I will hand him over to you.' "
8 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."
9 "I will gladly 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 to a woman." So Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; ten thousand men followed him, and Deborah also went with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had moved away from the Kenites, the sons of Hobab, Moses's father-in-law, and pitched his tent beside the oak tree of Zaanannim, which was near Kedesh.
12 It was reported to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up Mount Tabor. 13 Sisera summoned all his nine hundred iron chariots and all the troops who were with him from Harosheth of the Nations to the Wadi Kishon. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Go! 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 ten thousand men following him.
15 The Lord threw Sisera, all his charioteers, and all his army into a panic before Barak's assault. Sisera left his chariot and fled on foot. 16 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.
17 Meanwhile, Sisera had fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between King Jabin of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite. 18 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 blanket. 19 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. 20 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.' " 21 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.
22 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!
23 That day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 The power of the Israelites continued to increase against King Jabin of Canaan until they destroyed him.

What does Judges chapter 4 mean?

The pattern of Judges repeats, and a new story begins. After the previous judge-deliverer dies, Israel returns to doing evil, including the worship of the gods of Canaan (Judges 2:16–19). The Lord responds by submitting Israel to Jabin, who rules over Canaan. This is a distinct nation-state among the "Canaanites" of the Promised Land in general. Jabin rules from Hazor in the northern part of Israel's prophesied territory. The Canaanite general is Sisera, whose headquarters are to the west in the town Harosheth-hagoyim. Sisera has command over 900 iron chariots—a great technological advantage in that era. This gives him all the power he needs to cruelly oppress the people of Israel (Judges 4:1–3).

Finally, after twenty years, the Israelites cry out to the Lord for help. The Lord responds by speaking through Deborah, a well-known and well-respected prophetess and judge who lives in the hill country of Ephraim. Deborah seems to act very much in accordance with the English term "judge," settling disputes and deciding matters for Israel. She is associated with a Hebrew term meaning "torch," which either refers to the name of her husband or her fiery disposition (Judges 4:4–5).

Directed by the Lord, Deborah summons a man named Barak. Barak lives in Kedesh in the territory of the tribe Naphtali. Deborah's command from God is to recruit "10,000" troops from Naphtali and Zebulun and gather them at Mount Tabor. Ancient literature used the term "ten thousand" much in the same way modern English uses the term "a million," as a poetic way of indicating a vast number. Whether the figure is literal or not, the message is clear: God expects Barak to raise a massive number of soldiers. The Lord will then lure Sisera, with his iron chariots and his army, to meet Barak and his forces by the River Kishon. There the Lord will give Barak and Israel victory over Sisera and Canaan (Judges 4:6–7).

Barak's response is unfortunately timid. He agrees to go only if Deborah will go with him. He might have worried that recruiting troops would be difficult without her. He may also have thought that victory in battle would be more likely if a prophetess was there—despite Deborah already telling him God had promised Israel victory. She agrees to go, but prophesies that Barak will lose the glory of capturing Sisera. Instead, credit for defeating the Canaanite general will go to a woman. Barak and Deborah return to Kedesh and quickly recruit their forces who are prepared to fight the Canaanites. They arrange their army on Mount Tabor, as God has told Barak to do (Judges 4:8–10).

The story pauses, then, to make what at first seems like a random statement. Heber is a Kenite, from the same people group as Moses' father-in-law Jethro (Judges 1:16). Most of these are friendly to Israel, but Heber will later be identified as an ally of Jabin. This information will become important later in the passage (Judges 4:11).

When Sisera learns that Israel has amassed an army, he orders his 900 iron chariots and his soldiers to head into battle at Mount Tabor, approaching from the west. This is an arrogant move: their position on Tabor gives Israel a tactical advantage, so Sisera must be greatly confident that he can easily win. What happens next is easier to understand with details given in the next chapter (Judges 5:21). Rather than stay on the mountain, the army launches forward at a sudden order from Deborah, who speaks for the Lord. It's possible God sent an unexpected flood of the river at that exact moment, swamping the Canaanite chariots, and turning their advantage into a crippling weakness (Judges 4:12–14).

The result is dramatic. As noted with Ehud's victory over the Moabites (Judges 3:29), it is extremely unusual for every single enemy soldier to die in a battle. Yet Israel obliterates the entire Canaanite army, erasing Jabin's military power in a single stroke. Sisera apparently sees the defeat coming, so he runs in the opposite direction as his forces are routed and destroyed (Judges 4:15–16).

Sisera's escape takes him northeast. He eventually comes to the tents of Heber, the man mentioned earlier in the passage. Heber has some unspecified peace agreement with Jabin. Sisera likely expects aid, or at least a place to hide from the Israelites chasing him. Heber's wife, Jael, goes out to meet Sisera and urges him to take refuge in a tent. She covers him with a rug and gives him milk to drink, agreeing to turn away anyone who comes looking for him. This would have been in keeping with ancient middle eastern hospitality, which obligated the host to protect the guest (Judges 4:17–20).

Once Sisera is asleep, however, Jael picks up implements with which a nomadic woman would have been familiar: a hammer and tent peg. The "peg," in this case, would have been a sharp wooden spike about 1 inch, or 25 millimeters, thick. Jael strikes the spike through the soft spot on the side of Sisera's head, driving it through his skull and into the ground. The slaughter is summarized with an almost comical understatement: "so he died" (Judges 4:21).

Jael's motives are not stated. She might have been more loyal to her ancestral allies, Israel, than her husband was. She may have feared Israel's wrath if they caught Sisera hiding in her home. She might also have resented Sisera's oppressive and brutal career (Judges 5:30). For whatever reason, the deed is done. Soon after, Barak and his men approach, looking for the runaway general. Jael shows the corpse, and Deborah's prophecy is fully revealed. A woman—Deborah, for her role in raising and inspiring the army, and Jael for striking down the general—gets credit for the victory (Judges 4:22).

With an entire army slain, Jabin's defeat is merely a matter of time. Israel presses their advantage until Jabin, as well, is destroyed. The final verses of this chapter poetically repeat Jabin's name and title three times, emphasizing the relentless and thorough victory granted by God. Israel is once again freed from oppression (Judges 4:23–24).

The following chapter is in the form of a song—a celebration by Barak and Deborah—which retells the defeat of Sisera and Jabin, including details that help make more sense of their impressive victory (Judges 5). Sadly, the pattern of the era of the judges will continue (Judges 6:1), leading to the introduction of the next rescuer of Israel: Gideon (Judges 6:11).