The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

How a Woman Won a Great Victory

Again many of the people of Israel were drawn away from the worship of the Lord, and began to live like the people around them, praying to idols and doing wickedly. And again the Lord left them to suffer for their sins. A Canaanite king in the north, whose name was Jabin, sent his army down to conquer them under the command of his general, named Sisera. In Sisera's army were many chariots of iron, drawn by horses; while soldiers in the chariots shot arrows and threw spears at the Israelites. The men of Israel were not used to horses, and greatly feared these war-chariots.

All the northern tribes in the land of Israel fell under the power of King Jabin and his general, Sisera; and their rule was very harsh and severe. This was the fourth of these "oppressions," and it bore most heavily upon the people in the north. But it led those who suffered from it to turn from their idols, and to call upon the Lord God of Israel.

At that time a woman was ruling as judge over a large part of the land; the only woman among the fifteen judges who, one after another, ruled the Israelites. Her name was Deborah. She sat under a palm-tree north of Jerusalem, between the cities of Ramah and Bethel, and gave advice to all the people who sought her. So wise and good was Deborah that men came from all parts of the land with their difficulties and the questions that arose between them. She ruled over the land, not by the force of any army, or by any appointment, but because all men saw that God's Spirit was upon her.

Deborah heard of the troubles of the tribes in the north under the hard rule of the Canaanites. She knew that a brave man was living in the land of Naphtali, a man named Barak, and to him she sent this message:

"Barak, call out the tribes of Israel who live near you; raise an army, and lead the men who gather about you to Mount Tabor. The Lord has told me that he will give Sisera and the host of the Canaanites into your hands."

But Barak felt afraid to undertake alone this great work of setting his people free. He sent back to Deborah this answer:

"If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go."

"I will go with you," said Deborah; "but because you did not trust God, and did not go when God called you, the honor of this war will not be yours, for God will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman."

Deborah left her seat under the palm-tree and went up to Kedesh, where Barak lived. Together Deborah and Barak sent out a call for the men of the north, and ten thousand men met together with such arms as they could find. This little army, with a woman for its chief, encamped on Mount Tabor, which is one of three mountains standing in a row on the east of a great plain called "the plain of Esdraelon," "the plain of Jezreel," and "the plain of Meggido,"-for it bears all these three names. On this plain, both in Bible times and also in the times since the Bible, many great battles have been fought. Over this plain winds the brook Kishon, which at some seasons, after heavy rain, becomes a foaming, rushing river.

From their camp on the top of Mount Tabor the little army of Israel could look down on the great host of the Canaanites with their many tents, their horses and chariots, and their general, Sisera. But Deborah was not afraid. She said to Barak:

"March down the mountain with all your men, and fight the Canaanites. The Lord will go before you, and he will give Sisera and his host into your hand."

Then Barak blew a trumpet and called out his men. They ran down the side of Mount Tabor and rushed upon their enemies. The Canaanites were taken so suddenly that they had no time to draw out their chariots. They were frightened and ran away, trampling each other under foot, chariots and horses and men in a wild flight.

And the Lord helped the Israelites; for at that time the brook Kishon was swollen into a river, and the Canaanites crowded after each other into it. While many were killed in the battle, many were also drowned in the river.

Sisera, the general of the Canaanites, saw that the battle had gone against him and that all was lost. He leaped from his chariot and fled away on foot. On the edge of the plain he found a tent standing alone, and he ran to it for shelter and hiding.

It was the tent of a man named Heber, and Heber's wife, Jael, was in front of it. She knew Sisera, and said to him, "Come in, my lord; come into the tent; do not be afraid."

Sisera entered the tent, and Jael covered him with a rug, so that no enemy might find him. Sisera said to her, "I am very thirsty; can you give me a little water to drink?"

Instead of water she brought out a bottle of milk and gave him some: and then Sisera lay down to sleep, for he was very tired from the battle and from running. While he was in a deep sleep, Jael crept into the tent quietly with a tent-pin and a hammer in her hand. She placed the point of the pin upon the side of his head, near his ear, and with the hammer gave blow after blow, driving it into his brain and through his head until it went into the ground underneath. After a moment's struggle Sisera was dead, and she left his body upon the ground.

In a little time Jael saw Barak, the chief of the Israelite army, coming toward the tent. She went out to meet him, and said, "Come with me, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking."

She lifted the curtain of the tent, and led Barak within; and there he saw lying dead upon the ground the mighty Sisera, who only the day before had led the army of the Canaanites.

Barak sees the mighty Sisera

That was a terrible deed which Jael did. We should call it treachery and murder; but such was the bitter hate between Israelite and Canaanite at that time that all the people gave great honor to Jael on account of it, for by that act she had set the people free from the king who had been oppressing Israel. After this the land had rest for many years.

Deborah, the judge, wrote a great song about this victory. Here are some verses from it:

"Because the elders took the lead in Israel,

Because the people offered themselves willingly,

Bless ye the Lord.

Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes;

I, even I will sing unto the Lord;

I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel.

         .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

The kings came and fought.

Then fought the kings of Canaan,

In Taanach by the waters of Meggido.

They took no gain of money.

They fought from heaven,

The stars in their courses fought against Sisera.

The river Kishon swept them away,

That ancient river, the river Kishon.

O my soul, march on with strength;

         .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

Blessed among women shall Jael be,

The wife of Heber the Kenite,

Blessed shall she be among women in the tent.

He asked water, and she gave him milk,

She brought him butter in a lordly dish.

         .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay;

At her feet he bowed, he fell.

Where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

Through the window a woman looked forth and cried,

The mother of Sisera cried through the lattice,

Why is his chariot so long in coming?

Why tarry the wheels of his chariot?

         .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord;

But let them that love him be as the sun,

When he goeth forth in his might.


Front Matter

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God