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Judges 4, 5, 6

Deborah and Barak

4The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. 2So the Lord sold them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim. 3Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly for twenty years.

4 At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. 5She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgement. 6She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, “Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. 7I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.” 8Barak said to her, ‘If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.’ 9And 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 got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and ten thousand warriors went up behind him; and Deborah went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the other Kenites,* that is, the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had encamped as far away as Elon-bezaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

12 When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13Sisera called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the troops who were with him, from Harosheth-ha-goiim to the Wadi Kishon. 14Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this is the day on which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. The Lord is indeed going out before you.’ So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand warriors following him. 15And the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and all his army into a panic* before Barak; Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot, 16while Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-ha-goiim. All the army of Sisera fell by the sword; no one was left.

17 Now Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between King Jabin of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. 18Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, ‘Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear.’ So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19Then 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. 20He said to her, ‘Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you, “Is anyone here?” say, “No.” 21But Jael wife of Heber took a tent-peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground—he was lying fast asleep from weariness—and he died. 22Then, as Barak came in pursuit of 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 into her tent; and there was Sisera lying dead, with the tent-peg in his temple.

23 So on that day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites. 24Then the hand of the Israelites bore harder and harder on King Jabin of Canaan, until they destroyed King Jabin of Canaan.

The Song of Deborah

5Then Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying:
2 ‘When locks are long in Israel,
   when the people offer themselves willingly—
   bless * the Lord!


3 ‘Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;
   to the Lord I will sing,
   I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel.


4Lord, when you went out from Seir,
   when you marched from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled,
   and the heavens poured,
   the clouds indeed poured water.
5 The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai,
   before the Lord, the God of Israel.


6 ‘In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
   in the days of Jael, caravans ceased
   and travellers kept to the byways.
7 The peasantry prospered in Israel,
   they grew fat on plunder,
because you arose, Deborah,
   arose as a mother in Israel.
8 When new gods were chosen,
   then war was in the gates.
Was shield or spear to be seen
   among forty thousand in Israel?
9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel
   who offered themselves willingly among the people.
   Bless the Lord.


10 ‘Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys,
   you who sit on rich carpets,*
   and you who walk by the way.
11 To the sound of musicians* at the watering-places,
   there they repeat the triumphs of the Lord,
   the triumphs of his peasantry in Israel.


‘Then down to the gates marched the people of the Lord.


12 ‘Awake, awake, Deborah!
   Awake, awake, utter a song!
Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
   O son of Abinoam.
13 Then down marched the remnant of the noble;
   the people of the Lord marched down for him* against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim they set out* into the valley,*
   following you, Benjamin, with your kin;
from Machir marched down the commanders,
   and from Zebulun those who bear the marshal’s staff;
15 the chiefs of Issachar came with Deborah,
   and Issachar faithful to Barak;
   into the valley they rushed out at his heels.
Among the clans of Reuben
   there were great searchings of heart.
16 Why did you tarry among the sheepfolds,
   to hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the clans of Reuben
   there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan;
   and Dan, why did he abide with the ships?
Asher sat still at the coast of the sea,
   settling down by his landings.
18 Zebulun is a people that scorned death;
   Naphtali too, on the heights of the field.


19 ‘The kings came, they fought;
   then fought the kings of Canaan,
at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
   they got no spoils of silver.
20 The stars fought from heaven,
   from their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent Kishon swept them away,
   the onrushing torrent, the torrent Kishon.
   March on, my soul, with might!


22 ‘Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs
   with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.


23 ‘Curse Meroz, says the angel of the Lord,
   curse bitterly its inhabitants,
because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
   to the help of the Lord against the mighty.


24 ‘Most blessed of women be Jael,
   the wife of Heber the Kenite,
   of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
25 He asked water and she gave him milk,
   she brought him curds in a lordly bowl.
26 She put her hand to the tent-peg
   and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
she struck Sisera a blow,
   she crushed his head,
   she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 He sank, he fell,
   he lay still at her feet;
at her feet he sank, he fell;
   where he sank, there he fell dead.


28 ‘Out of the window she peered,
   the mother of Sisera gazed* through the lattice:
“Why is his chariot so long in coming?
   Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?”
29 Her wisest ladies make answer,
   indeed, she answers the question herself:
30 “Are they not finding and dividing the spoil?—
   A girl or two for every man;
spoil of dyed stuffs for Sisera,
   spoil of dyed stuffs embroidered,
   two pieces of dyed work embroidered for my neck as spoil?”


31 ‘So perish all your enemies, O Lord!
   But may your friends be like the sun as it rises in its might.’


And the land had rest for forty years.

The Midianite Oppression

6The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. 2The hand of Midian prevailed over Israel; and because of Midian the Israelites provided for themselves hiding-places in the mountains, caves and strongholds. 3For whenever the Israelites put in seed, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east would come up against them. 4They would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the land, as far as the neighbourhood of Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel, and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5For they and their livestock would come up, and they would even bring their tents, as thick as locusts; neither they nor their camels could be counted; so they wasted the land as they came in. 6Thus Israel was greatly impoverished because of Midian; and the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.

7 When the Israelites cried to the Lord on account of the Midianites, 8the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites; and he said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of slavery; 9and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians, and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you, and gave you their land; 10and I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; you shall not pay reverence to the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.” But you have not given heed to my voice.’

The Calling of Gideon

11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. 12The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior.’ 13Gideon answered him, ‘But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, “Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?” But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian.’ 14Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission you.’ 15He responded, ‘But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’ 16The Lord said to him, ‘But I will be with you, and you shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them.’ 17Then he said to him, ‘If now I have found favour with you, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18Do not depart from here until I come to you, and bring out my present, and set it before you.’ And he said, ‘I will stay until you return.’

19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a kid, and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour; the meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the oak and presented them. 20The angel of God said to him, ‘Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour out the broth.’ And he did so. 21Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22Then Gideon perceived that it was the angel of the Lord; and Gideon said, ‘Help me, Lord God! For I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ 23But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die.’ 24Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it, The Lord is peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.

25 That night the Lord said to him, ‘Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole* that is beside it; 26and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, in proper order; then take the second bull, and offer it as a burnt-offering with the wood of the sacred pole* that you shall cut down.’ 27So Gideon took ten of his servants, and did as the Lord had told him; but because he was too afraid of his family and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it by night.

Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal

28 When the townspeople rose early in the morning, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the sacred pole* beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29So they said to one another, ‘Who has done this?’ After searching and inquiring, they were told, ‘Gideon son of Joash did it.’ 30Then the townspeople said to Joash, ‘Bring out your son, so that he may die, for he has pulled down the altar of Baal and cut down the sacred pole* beside it.’ 31But Joash said to all who were arrayed against him, ‘Will you contend for Baal? Or will you defend his cause? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been pulled down.’ 32Therefore on that day Gideon* was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, ‘Let Baal contend against him’, because he pulled down his altar.

33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east came together, and crossing the Jordan they encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34But the spirit of the Lord took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. 35He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.

The Sign of the Fleece

36 Then Gideon said to God, ‘In order to see whether you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said.’ 38And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39Then Gideon said to God, ‘Do not let your anger burn against me, let me speak one more time; let me, please, make trial with the fleece just once more; let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.’ 40And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

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Psalm 74

Plea for Help in Time of National Humiliation

A Maskil of Asaph.
1 O God, why do you cast us off for ever?
   Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago,
   which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.
   Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
3 Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
   the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.


4 Your foes have roared within your holy place;
   they set up their emblems there.
5 At the upper entrance they hacked
   the wooden trellis with axes.*
6 And then, with hatchets and hammers,
   they smashed all its carved work.
7 They set your sanctuary on fire;
   they desecrated the dwelling-place of your name,
   bringing it to the ground.
8 They said to themselves, ‘We will utterly subdue them’;
   they burned all the meeting-places of God in the land.


9 We do not see our emblems;
   there is no longer any prophet,
   and there is no one among us who knows how long.
10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
   Is the enemy to revile your name for ever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand;
   why do you keep your hand in* your bosom?


12 Yet God my King is from of old,
   working salvation in the earth.
13 You divided the sea by your might;
   you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
   you gave him as food* for the creatures of the wilderness.
15 You cut openings for springs and torrents;
   you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16 Yours is the day, yours also the night;
   you established the luminaries* and the sun.
17 You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
   you made summer and winter.


18 Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,
   and an impious people reviles your name.
19 Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals;
   do not forget the life of your poor for ever.


20 Have regard for your* covenant,
   for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
21 Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame;
   let the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
   remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.
23 Do not forget the clamour of your foes,
   the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.

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John 8

81while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.* 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11She said, ‘No one, sir.’* And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’]]*

Jesus the Light of the World

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ 13Then the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’ 14Jesus answered, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15You judge by human standards;* I judge no one. 16Yet even if I do judge, my judgement is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father* who sent me. 17In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. 18I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.’ 19Then they said to him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’ 20He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Jesus Foretells His Death

21 Again he said to them, ‘I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 22Then the Jews said, ‘Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ 23He said to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.’* 25They said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Why do I speak to you at all?* 26I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.’ 27They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. 28So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he,* and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.’ 30As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

True Disciples

31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ 33They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’

34 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there for ever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. 38I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.’*

Jesus and Abraham

39 They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing* what Abraham did, 40but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’ 42Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. 43Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. 44You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God.’

48 The Jews answered him, ‘Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?’ 49Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon; but I honour my Father, and you dishonour me. 50Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge. 51Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.’ 52The Jews said to him, ‘Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.” 53Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?’ 54Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, “He is our God”, 55though you do not know him. But I know him; if I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. 56Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ 57Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’* 58Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’ 59So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

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From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.7 10 February 2011.