Judges 4-6; Luke 21
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD after Ehud died.
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.
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.
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
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.
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.
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’?”
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.”
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.
And Barak called out Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.
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.
When Sisera was told that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”’
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.
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.
So on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel.
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.
Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:
‘That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD!
‘Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; to the LORD I will sing; I will make melody to the LORD, the God of Israel.
‘LORD, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the region of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens dropped, yes, the clouds dropped water.
The mountains quaked before the LORD, even Sinai before the LORD, the God of Israel.
‘In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned, and travelers kept to the byways.
The villagers ceased in Israel; they ceased to be until I arose; I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.
When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates. Was shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel?
My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless the LORD.
‘Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets and you who walk by the way.
To the sound of musicians at the watering places, there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the LORD, the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel.”Then down to the gates marched the people of the LORD.
‘Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam.
Then down marched the remnant of the noble; the people of the LORD marched down for me against the mighty.
From Ephraim their root they marched down into the valley, following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen; from Machir marched down the commanders, and from Zebulun those who bear the lieutenant’s staff;
the princes of Issachar came with Deborah, and Issachar faithful to Barak; into the valley they rushed at his heels. Among the clans of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
Why did you sit still among the sheepfolds, to hear the whistling for the flocks? Among the clans of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan; and Dan, why did he stay with the ships? Asher sat still at the coast of the sea, staying by his landings.
Zebulun is a people who risked their lives to the death; Naphtali, too, on the heights of the field.
‘The kings came, they fought; then fought the kings of Canaan, at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; they got no spoils of silver.
From heaven the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera.
The torrent Kishon swept them away, the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. March on, my soul, with might!
‘Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.
‘Curse Meroz, says the angel of the LORD, curse its inhabitants thoroughly, because they did not come to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.
‘Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
He asked water and she gave him milk; she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.
She sent her hand to the tent peg and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet; she struck Sisera; she crushed his head; she shattered and pierced his temple.
Between her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still; between her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell–dead.
‘Out of the window she peered, the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice: ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
Her wisest princesses answer, indeed, she answers herself,
Have they not found and divided the spoil?–A womb or two for every man; spoil of dyed materials for Sisera, spoil of dyed materials embroidered, two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’
‘So may all your enemies perish, O LORD! But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”And the land had rest for forty years.
The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years.
And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.
For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them.
They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey.
For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number–both they and their camels could not be counted–so that they laid waste the land as they came in.
And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.
When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites,
the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. 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 bondage.
And 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.
And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”
Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.
And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, ”The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
And Gideon said to him, ”Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
And the LORD turned to him and said, ”Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”
And he said to him, ”Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
And the LORD said to him, ”But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
And he said to him, ”If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speaks with me.
Please do 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 till you return.”
So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat 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 terebinth and presented them.
And the angel of God said to him, ”Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so.
Then 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 flesh and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.
Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD. And Gideon said, ”Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.”
But the LORD said to him, ”Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.”
Then 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.
That night the LORD said to him, ”Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it
and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.”
So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.
When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built.
And they said to one another, ”Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, ”Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.”
Then the men of the town said to Joash, ”Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.”
But Joash said to all who stood against him, ”Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? 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 broken down.”
Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, ”Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.
Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel.
But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.
And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.
Then Gideon said to God, ”If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said,
behold, I am laying 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 save Israel by my hand, as you have said.”
And 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.
Then Gideon said to God, ”Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.”
And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box,
and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.
And he said, ”Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.
For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said,
‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
And they asked him, ”Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”
And he said, ”See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.
And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
Then he said to them, ”Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.
This will be your opportunity to bear witness.
Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer,
for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death.
You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
But not a hair of your head will perish.
By your endurance you will gain your lives.
‘But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.
Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it,
for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.
Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people.
They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
‘And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
And he told them a parable: ”Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.
So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.
For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.
And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.