The Hebrews messed up again and started worshipping other gods and doing things that God had commanded them NOT to do. So God allowed the Canaanites to take them over, that meant having to pay taxes to King Jabin. The Hebrews were really scared of him because he had a big army and 900 war chariots made of iron. He ruled over the Hebrews for twenty years.
The people went crying to a lady named Deborah who lived beside a big palm tree on a mountain. God had made Deborah a Judge over Israel and the people respected her. They begged her to do something to get them free from the Canaanites.
Deborah said, “Okay,” and she sent word to a man named Barak. She told him, “God commands you to enlist 10,000 men and fight the Canaanite General, Sisera. Let him chase you to battle in the valley by the Kishon River.” Barak said, “Deborah, I will go and do what God says but only if you will go with me. I won’t go unless you will, too!”
Deborah got disgusted. “You big chicken! You won’t get credit for winning the battle if you have to have a woman beside you!” But she got up and went with him.
Barak called for soldiers to go with him to fight Sisera by the Kishon River. He led them to the top of Mount Tabor and suddenly came rushing down the hillside to attack Sisera’s army. Then it started to rain!
The river came up! The ground became soggy with mud. The 900 heavy iron chariots sank down helpless in the swamp! The enemy soldiers drowned in the flood. General Sisera knew he had lost the battle. He jumped out of his chariot and ran from the scene!
Now it happened that a man named Heber and his wife, Jael, had set up a tent on the open plains near the battleground. So, here comes Sisera running, wet and muddy and panting and thirsty. Jael was alone in the tent. She knew this was a dangerous man! But she called out to him, “Turn in here, General Sisera. Come in here and I will hide you from the Hebrews.”
Sisera turned and came stumbling into the cool tent. Jael covered him with a rug to hide him. Then he begged her, “Please give me a drink of water. I’m so thirsty!”
Jael pretended that she didn’t have any cool water. Instead she gave him warm milk that would make him sleepy. So he was not refreshed. He was exhausted. Sisera said, “If any body comes by and asks if someone is in here, say No.” and he collapsed under the rug and fell asleep.
Jael was nervous. The General of the Canaanite Enemy army was here in her house! If he woke up there was no telling what he would do to her. He had fought the Hebrew army and surely killed some of her friends with his sword. She had to do something that would keep him from waking up and possibly killing her!
What could she use for a weapon against the man, something that would hit him instantly and not give him a chance to jump up and fight?
Looking around she spotted a tent peg, a large, sharp wooden nail. And her husband had left a hammer there. Maybe, if she could do it quickly enough . . .
She stepped silently across the floor with the tent peg and hammer in her hands. Leaning down over the sleeping enemy she placed the point of the peg against his temple on the side of his head. One quick blow of the hammer and Sisera was dead! It was over.
When Deborah heard about it she sang for joy! She had warned Barak that women would be praised for winning the battle.
The army was led into battle by Deborah. Sisera, the General of the enemy army, was destroyed by Jael. The war was won by two brave Hebrew women!
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