Judges 4; Judges 5; Judges 6; Luke 4:31-44

1 After Ehud died, the people of Israel sinned against the Lord again. 2 So the Lord let them be conquered by Jabin, a Canaanite king who ruled in the city of Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived at Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles. 3 Jabin had nine hundred iron chariots, and he ruled the people of Israel with cruelty and violence for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help. 4 Now Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet, and she was serving as a judge for the Israelites at that time. 5 She would sit under a certain palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel would go there for her decisions. 6 One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam from the city of Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The Lord, the God of Israel, has given you this command: "Take ten thousand men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them to Mount Tabor. 7 I will bring Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, to fight you at the Kishon River. He will have his chariots and soldiers, but I will give you victory over him.' " 8 Then Barak replied, "I will go if you go with me, but if you don't go with me, I won't go either." 9 She answered, "All right, I will go with you, but you won't get any credit for the victory, because the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman." So Deborah set off for Kedesh with Barak. 10 Barak called the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men followed him. Deborah went with him. 11 In the meantime Heber the Kenite had set up his tent close to Kedesh near the oak tree at Zaanannim. He had moved away from the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, the brother-in-law of Moses. 12 When Sisera learned that Barak had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 he called out his nine hundred iron chariots and all his men, and sent them from Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles to the Kishon River. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Go! The Lord is leading you! Today he has given you victory over Sisera." So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with his ten thousand men. 15 When Barak attacked with his army, the Lord threw Sisera into confusion together with all his chariots and men. Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. 16 Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles, and Sisera's whole army was killed. Not a man was left. 17 Sisera ran away to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because King Jabin of Hazor was at peace with Heber's family. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come in, sir; come into my tent. Don't be afraid." So he went in, and she hid him behind a curtain. 19 He said to her, "Please give me a drink of water; I'm thirsty." She opened a leather bag of milk, gave him a drink, and hid him again. 20 Then he told her, "Stand at the door of the tent, and if anyone comes and asks you if anyone is here, say no." 21 Sisera was so tired that he fell sound asleep. Then Jael took a hammer and a tent peg, quietly went up to him, and killed him by driving the peg right through the side of his head and into the ground. 22 When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, "Come here! I'll show you the man you're looking for." So he went in with her, and there was Sisera on the ground, dead, with the tent peg through his head. 23 That day God gave the Israelites victory over Jabin, the Canaanite king. 24 They pressed harder and harder against him until they destroyed him.
1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song: 2 Praise the Lord! The Israelites were determined to fight; the people gladly volunteered. 3 Listen, you kings! Pay attention, you rulers! I will sing and play music to Israel's God, the Lord. 4 Lord, when you left the mountains of Seir, when you came out of the region of Edom, the earth shook, and rain fell from the sky. Yes, water poured down from the clouds. 5 The mountains quaked before the Lord of Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel. 6 In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, caravans no longer went through the land, and travelers used the back roads. 7 The towns of Israel stood abandoned, Deborah; they stood empty until you came, came like a mother for Israel. 8 Then there was war in the land when the Israelites chose new gods. Of the forty thousand men in Israel, did anyone carry shield or spear? 9 My heart is with the commanders of Israel, with the people who gladly volunteered. Praise the Lord! 10 Tell of it, you that ride on white donkeys, sitting on saddles, and you that must walk wherever you go. 11 Listen! The noisy crowds around the wells are telling of the Lord's victories, the victories of Israel's people! Then the Lord's people marched down from their cities. 12 Lead on, Deborah, lead on! Lead on! Sing a song! Lead on! Forward, Barak son of Abinoam, lead your captives away! 13 Then the faithful ones came down to their leaders; the Lord's people came to him ready to fight. 14 They came from Ephraim into the valley, behind the tribe of Benjamin and its people. The commanders came down from Machir, the officers down from Zebulun. 15 The leaders of Issachar came with Deborah; yes, Issachar came and Barak too, and they followed him into the valley. But the tribe of Reuben was divided; they could not decide to come. 16 Why did they stay behind with the sheep? To listen to shepherds calling the flocks? Yes, the tribe of Reuben was divided; they could not decide to come. 17 The tribe of Gad stayed east of the Jordan, and the tribe of Dan remained by the ships. The tribe of Asher stayed by the seacoast; they remained along the shore. 18 But the people of Zebulun and Naphtali risked their lives on the battlefield. 19 At Taanach, by the stream of Megiddo, the kings came and fought; the kings of Canaan fought, but they took no silver away. 20 The stars fought from the sky; as they moved across the sky, they fought against Sisera. 21 A flood in the Kishon swept them away - the onrushing Kishon River. I shall march, march on, with strength! 22 Then the horses came galloping on, stamping the ground with their hoofs. 23 "Put a curse on Meroz," says the angel of the Lord, "a curse, a curse on those who live there. They did not come to help the Lord, come as soldiers to fight for him." 24 The most fortunate of women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite - the most fortunate of women who live in tents. 25 Sisera asked for water, but she gave him milk; she brought him cream in a beautiful bowl. 26 She took a tent peg in one hand, a worker's hammer in the other; she struck Sisera and crushed his skull; she pierced him through the head. 27 He sank to his knees, fell down and lay still at her feet. At her feet he sank to his knees and fell; he fell to the ground, dead. 28 Sisera's mother looked out of the window; she gazed from behind the lattice. "Why is his chariot so late in coming?" she asked. "Why are his horses so slow to return?" 29 Her wisest friends answered her, and she told herself over and over, 30 "They are only finding things to capture and divide, a woman or two for every soldier, rich cloth for Sisera, embroidered pieces for the neck of the queen." 31 So may all your enemies die like that, O Lord, but may your friends shine like the rising sun! And there was peace in the land for forty years.
1 Once again the people of Israel sinned against the Lord, so he let the people of Midian rule them for seven years. 2 The Midianites were stronger than Israel, and the people of Israel hid from them in caves and other safe places in the hills. 3 Whenever the Israelites would plant their crops, the Midianites would come with the Amalekites and the desert tribes and attack them. 4 They would camp on the land and destroy the crops as far south as the area around Gaza. They would take all the sheep, cattle, and donkeys, and leave nothing for the Israelites to live on. 5 They would come with their livestock and tents, as thick as locusts. They and their camels were too many to count. They came and devastated the land, 6 and Israel was helpless against them. 7 Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help against the Midianites, 8 and he sent them a prophet who brought them this message from the Lord, the God of Israel: "I brought you out of slavery in Egypt. 9 I rescued you from the Egyptians and from the people who fought you here in this land. I drove them out as you advanced, and I gave you their land. 10 I told you that I am the Lord your God and that you should not worship the gods of the Amorites, whose land you are now living in. But you have not listened to me." 11 Then the Lord's angel came to the village of Ophrah and sat under the oak tree that belonged to Joash, a man of the clan of Abiezer. His son Gideon was threshing some wheat secretly in a wine press, so that the Midianites would not see him. 12 The Lord's angel appeared to him there and said, "The Lord is with you, brave and mighty man!" 13 Gideon said to him, "If I may ask, sir, why has all this happened to us if the Lord is with us? What happened to all the wonderful things that our fathers told us the Lord used to do - how he brought them out of Egypt? The Lord has abandoned us and left us to the mercy of the Midianites." 14 Then the Lord ordered him, "Go with all your great strength and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I myself am sending you." 15 Gideon replied, "But Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least important member of my family." 16 The Lord answered, "You can do it because I will help you. You will crush the Midianites as easily as if they were only one man." 17 Gideon replied, "If you are pleased with me, give me some proof that you are really the Lord. 18 Please do not leave until I bring you an offering of food." He said, "I will stay until you come back." 19 So Gideon went into his house and cooked a young goat and used a bushel of flour to make bread without any yeast. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, brought them to the Lord's angel under the oak tree, and gave them to him. 20 The angel told him, "Put the meat and the bread on this rock, and pour the broth over them." Gideon did so. 21 Then the Lord's angel reached out and touched the meat and the bread with the end of the stick he was holding. Fire came out of the rock and burned up the meat and the bread. Then the angel disappeared. 22 Gideon then realized that it was the Lord's angel he had seen, and he said in terror, "Sovereign Lord! I have seen your angel face-to-face!" 23 But the Lord told him, "Peace. Don't be afraid. You will not die." 24 Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it "The Lord is Peace." (It is still standing at Ophrah, which belongs to the clan of Abiezer.) 25 That night the Lord told Gideon, "Take your father's bull and another bull seven years old, tear down your father's altar to Baal, and cut down the symbol of the goddess Asherah, which is beside it. 26 Build a well-constructed altar to the Lord your God on top of this mound. Then take the second bull and burn it whole as an offering, using for firewood the symbol of Asherah you have cut down." 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did what the Lord had told him. He was too afraid of his family and the people in town to do it by day, so he did it at night. 28 When the people in town got up early the next morning, they found that the altar to Baal and the symbol of Asherah had been cut down, and that the second bull had been burned on the altar that had been built there. 29 They asked each other, "Who did this?" They investigated and found out that Gideon son of Joash had done it. 30 Then they said to Joash, "Bring your son out here, so that we can kill him! He tore down the altar to Baal and cut down the symbol of Asherah beside it." 31 But Joash said to all those who confronted him, "Are you arguing for Baal? Are you defending him? Anyone who argues for him will be killed before morning. If Baal is a god, let him defend himself. It is his altar that was torn down." 32 From then on Gideon was known as Jerubbaal, because Joash said, "Let Baal defend himself; it is his altar that was torn down." 33 Then all the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the desert tribes assembled, crossed the Jordan River, and camped in Jezreel Valley. 34 The spirit of the Lord took control of Gideon, and he blew a trumpet to call the men of the clan of Abiezer to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout the territory of both parts of Manasseh to call them to follow him. He sent messengers to the tribes of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they also came to join him. 36 Then Gideon said to God, "You say that you have decided to use me to rescue Israel. 37 Well, I am putting some wool on the ground where we thresh the wheat. If in the morning there is dew only on the wool but not on the ground, then I will know that you are going to use me to rescue Israel." 38 That is exactly what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the wool and wrung enough dew out of it to fill a bowl with water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, "Don't be angry with me; let me speak just once more. Please let me make one more test with the wool. This time let the wool be dry, and the ground be wet." 40 That night God did that very thing. The next morning the wool was dry, but the ground was wet with dew.
31 Then Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, where he taught the people on the Sabbath. 32 They were all amazed at the way he taught, because he spoke with authority. 33 In the synagogue was a man who had the spirit of an evil demon in him; he screamed out in a loud voice, 34 "Ah! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you here to destroy us? I know who you are: you are God's holy messenger!" 35 Jesus ordered the spirit, "Be quiet and come out of the man!" The demon threw the man down in front of them and went out of him without doing him any harm. 36 The people were all amazed and said to one another, "What kind of words are these? With authority and power this man gives orders to the evil spirits, and they come out!" 37 And the report about Jesus spread everywhere in that region. 38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to Simon's home. Simon's mother-in-law was sick with a high fever, and they spoke to Jesus about her. 39 He went and stood at her bedside and ordered the fever to leave her. The fever left her, and she got up at once and began to wait on them. 40 After sunset all who had friends who were sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus; he placed his hands on every one of them and healed them all. 41 Demons also went out from many people, screaming, "You are the Son of God!" Jesus gave the demons an order and would not let them speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. 42 At daybreak Jesus left the town and went off to a lonely place. The people started looking for him, and when they found him, they tried to keep him from leaving. 43 But he said to them, "I must preach the Good News about the Kingdom of God in other towns also, because that is what God sent me to do." 44 So he preached in the synagogues throughout the country.
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