Page images
PDF
EPUB

was a descendant of Moses' father-in-law, and had in a way separated himself from the people of the land, but he was living at peace with King Jabin. Now he gave Sisera notice that the Israelites were gone up to Mount Tabor, and directly Sisera gathered his army, his chariots and horses, and went to the River Kishon, expecting utterly to destroy the enemy. But the Children of Israel had One mightier than all the kings and armies on earth with them.

They fought from heaven ;—the stars in their courses fought against Sisera ;” and God gave Israel strength utterly to defeat the great army. Chariots and horses, and armed men, were all overthrown with the edge of the sword, and swept away by the strong fierce stream of the River Kishon.

When the Captain of this great host, Sisera, saw how he was beaten, and all his men slain, he fled away alone and on foot, to try and save his own life. Now the LORD had said by the mouth of Deborah, that Sisera should fall by the hand of a woman. He therefore sent Sisera to the tent of Heber the Kenite; and Jael, Heber's wife, came out to meet Sisera, and brought him in. The great Captain was weary and spent, and glad to lie down, and Jael covered him with a mantle. · Sisera asked her to give him a little water to quench his thirst, and Jael gave him milk to drink. Then he bade her stand in the door of the tent, saying, “If any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say,

No." Then Sisera, being very weary, turned away, and fell asleep; and Jael, when she saw that he slept, took one of the great nails of the tent, and a hammer, and went gently to his side, and smote the nail into Sisera's temples, quite through into the ground. So he died.

Later on, Barak came in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him, saying, “Comé, and I will show thee the man whom thou seekest.” And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. Thus God subdued His enemies, and saved His people from the hand of Jabin king of Canaan. Then Deborah and Barak gave great thanks unto the Lord their Avenger, and sang a song of triumph before all the people, saying, “ Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. Hear, O ye kings! give ear, O ye princes ! I, even I, will sing unto the LORD. I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel. LORD, when Thou wentest out of Seir, when Thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped ; the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted from before the LORD, even Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel. Awake, awake, Deborah : awake, awake, utter a song : Arise, Barak, and lead captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. ... The LORD make thee have dominion over the mighty. The kings came and fought. ... the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The River of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the River Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.

“ Then were the horsehoofs broken, the prancings of their mighty ones.

“Blessed above women shall Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. He asked water and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay dowņ: at her

feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

“ The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming ? why tarry the wheels of his chariot ?

“ Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself. Have they not sped, have they not divided the prey ; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil ? 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."

After this great victory the Children of Israel had peace and rest again for forty years.

GIDEON.

The whole history of Israel is one constant chain of sinning against God, and bearing the punishment of their sins : crying out for mercy, and receiving His help and deliverance, and then falling back into sin, when the suffering was past.

So now again we read how in forty years after the Lord had granted His people so great deliverance from Jabin and Sisera, they forgot His mercies, and again did evil in His sight. And the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Midianites and the Amalekites. These people came up in very great numbers, too great to be counted, even as the sand of the sea-shore. They rode upon camels and they destroyed all the land, both in its fruits, and all the cattle. Thus the Israelites were brought into great need, and they were forced to hide themselves in caves and rocky dens of the mountains for fear of their terrible foes.

After seven years of this misery, Israel turned to God, and the people cried to Him for help. Then He sent a message to the people: “Thus saith the LORD your God, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage, and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land. And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but ye have not obeyed My Voice.”

« PreviousContinue »