Judges 4–6; John 3:1–18

Deborah and Barak

xAnd the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud died. And the Lord ysold them into the hand of zJabin king of Canaan, who reigned in zHazor. The commander of his army was aSisera, who lived in bHarosheth-hagoyim. Then the people of Israel ccried out to the Lord for help, for he had d900 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 ethe hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned fBarak the son of Abinoam from gKedesh-naphtali and said to him, Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, Go, gather your men at Mount hTabor, 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 ithe river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, jand 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 ksell Sisera into the hand of a woman. Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called out lZebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. And 10,000 men went up at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.

11 Now Heber mthe Kenite had separated from the Kenites, the descendants of nHobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in oZaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

12 When Sisera was told that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called out all his chariots, p900 chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 And Deborah said to Barak, Up! For this is the day in which qthe Lord has given Sisera into your hand. rDoes not the Lord go out before you? So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15 sAnd 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. 16 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.

17 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. 18 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. 19 And he said to her, Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty. So she opened ta skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 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. 21 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. 22 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.

23 uSo on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the people of Israel. 24 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.

The Song of Deborah and Barak

vThen sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:

That the leaders took the lead in Israel,

that wthe 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, xwhen you went out from Seir,

when you marched from the region of Edom,

ythe earth trembled

and the heavens dropped,

yes, the clouds dropped water.

The mountains zquaked before the Lord,

aeven Sinai before the Lord,1 the God of Israel.

In the days of bShamgar, son of Anath,

in the days of cJael, dthe 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.

eWhen new gods were chosen,

then war was in the gates.

fWas shield or spear to be seen

among forty thousand in Israel?

My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel

who goffered themselves willingly among the people.

Bless the Lord.

10  Tell of it, hyou who ride on white donkeys,

you who sit on rich carpets2

and you who walk by the way.

11  To the sound of musicians3 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.

12  iAwake, awake, Deborah!

Awake, awake, break out in a song!

Arise, Barak, jlead away your captives,

O son of Abinoam.

13  Then down marched the remnant of the noble;

the people of the Lord marched down for me against the mighty.

14  From kEphraim their root lthey marched down into the valley,4

following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen;

from mMachir marched down the commanders,

and from Zebulun those who bear the lieutenant's5 staff;

15  the princes of Issachar came with Deborah,

and Issachar faithful to nBarak;

into the valley they rushed at his heels.

Among the clans of Reuben

there were great searchings of heart.

16  Why did you sit still oamong the sheepfolds,

to hear the whistling for the flocks?

Among the clans of Reuben

there were great searchings of heart.

17  pGilead stayed beyond the Jordan;

qand Dan, why did he stay with the ships?

rAsher sat still sat the coast of the sea,

staying by his landings.

18  tZebulun is a people who risked their lives to the death;

tNaphtali, too, on the heights of the field.

19  The kings came, they fought;

then fought the kings of Canaan,

at uTaanach, by the waters of vMegiddo;

wthey got no spoils of silver.

20  xFrom heaven the stars fought,

from their courses they fought against Sisera.

21  yThe torrent Kishon swept them away,

the ancient 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 its inhabitants thoroughly,

zbecause 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 aJael,

the wife of Heber the Kenite,

of tent-dwelling women most blessed.

25  bHe asked for water and she gave him milk;

she brought him curds in a noble's bowl.

26  cShe 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.

27  Between her feet

he sank, he fell, he lay still;

between her feet

he sank, he fell;

where he sank,

there he felldead.

28  dOut of the window she peered,

the mother of Sisera wailed through ethe lattice:

Why is his chariot so long in coming?

Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?

29  Her wisest princesses answer,

indeed, she answers herself,

30  Have they not found and fdivided 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?

31  gSo may all your enemies perish, O Lord!

But your friends be hlike the sun ias he rises in his might.

jAnd the land had rest for forty years.

Midian Oppresses Israel

kThe people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of lMidian 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 mthe caves and the strongholds. For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and nthe Amalekites and othe people of the East would come up against them. They would encamp against them pand 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 qlike locusts in numberboth they and their camels could not be countedso that they laid waste the land as they came in. And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel rcried 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: sI led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and tdrove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, I am the Lord your God; uyou shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But you have not obeyed my voice.

The Call of Gideon

11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash vthe Abiezrite, while his son wGideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And xthe angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, yThe Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor. 13 And Gideon said to him, Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are zall his wonderful deeds athat 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. 14 And the Lord6 turned to him and said, Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; bdo not I send you? 15 And he said to him, cPlease, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, dmy clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. 16 And the Lord said to him, eBut I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man. 17 And he said to him, fIf now I have found favor in your eyes, then gshow me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please hdo 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.

19 So Gideon went into his house iand prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah7 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. 20 And the angel of God said to him, Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them jon this rock, and kpour the broth over them. And he did so. 21 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. lAnd fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, mAlas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face. 23 But the Lord said to him, nPeace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die. 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, oThe Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at pOphrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.

25 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 qthe Asherah that is beside it 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the rstronghold 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. 27 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.

Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal

28 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. 29 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. 30 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. 31 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. 32 Therefore on that day Gideon8 was called sJerubbaal, that is to say, Let Baal contend against him, because he broke down his altar.

33 Now tall the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in uthe Valley of Jezreel. 34 But vthe Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, wand he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. 35 xAnd he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. xAnd he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.

The Sign of the Fleece

36 yThen Gideon said to God, If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 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. 38 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. 39 Then Gideon said to God, zLet 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. 40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.


You Must Be Born Again

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named hNicodemus, ia ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus1 jby night and said to him, kRabbi, lwe know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do munless God is with him. Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is nborn oagain2 he cannot psee the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born qof water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. rThat which is born of the flesh is sflesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.3 tDo not marvel that I said to you, You4 must be born uagain. vThe wind5 blows wwhere it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

Nicodemus said to him, xHow can these things be? 10 Jesus answered him, Are you the teacher of Israel yand yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, zwe speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but zyou6 do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 aNo one has bascended into heaven except che who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.7 14 And das Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man ebe lifted up, 15 that whoever believes fin him gmay have eternal life.8

For God So Loved the World

16 For hGod so loved ithe world,9 jthat he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not kperish but have eternal life. 17 For lGod did not send his Son into the world mto condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 nWhoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not obelieved in the name of the only Son of God.