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Haftara BeShalach

Judges 4.4-5.31

Now, Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, judged Israel at that time. She would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites would come up to her for judgement.

She sent for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Has not God, the Lord of Israel, commanded: Go to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men of the tribe of Naphtali and of the tribe of Zebulun? I will draw Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and multitude, to meet you by the brook Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand.”

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me; I will not go.”

She said, “I will surely go with you; but the journey you take will not be for you honor, for God will deliver Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, where ten thousand men followed him; and Deborah went up with him.

Now Cheber the Kenite had served himslef from the Kenites, the decendents of Chobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh. They told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. So Sisera gathered all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheh-goyim, to the brook Kishon.

Deborah said to Barak, “Up! This is the day which God has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not God gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. And God confused Sisera and all his chariots, and all his army, before Barak with the edge of the sword, and Sisera alighted from his chariot, and fled on foot. But Barak pursed the chariots and the army to Harosheth-goyim; and the army of Sisera were slain by the edge of the sword. Not a man was left. But Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael, wife of Cheber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Cheber the Kenite.

Jael came out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Come in, my master, turn aside to me; do not fear.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug

He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him a drink, and covered him.

He said to her, “Stand in the door of the tent. If anyone comes and asks you, ‘Is there a man here?’ say, ‘no’.”

Then Jael, Cheber’s wife, took a tent peg and hammer in her hand, and went to him softly, and drove the peg into his temples, until it pierced through into the ground; for he was in a deep sleep. So he swooned and died.

And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man you seek.” He came to her. There lay Sisera dead, the tent peg in his temples.

Thus, on that day, God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the Israelites. And the Israelites hand bore harder and harder against Jabin the king of Canaan until they destroyed Jabin the king of Canaan.

[Sephardim begin here]

They sang Debroah and Barak the son of Abinoam  on that day.

When men let grow their hair in Israel, when people offer themselves willingly, praise God.

Hear, O you kings; give ear, O you princes. I will sing to God; I will sing praise to God, the Lord of Israel.

God, when you went forth from Seir, when you marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens dropped, yea, the clouds dropped water.

The mountains quaked at the presence of God, even you Sinai at the presence of God, the Lord of Israel.

In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were deserted and travelers  walked through byways.

The rulers ceased in Israel, they ceased until you, Deborah, arose, a mother in Israel.

They chose new gods: and war was in the gates. Was shield of spear seen among the forty thousand in Israel?

My heart is toward the governors of Israel, who offered themselves willingly among the people. Praise God.

You who ride on white assses, you who sit on rich carpets, and you who walk by the way, tell of it.

Louder than the voice of archers at the watering places, they shall rehearse the righteous acts of God, even the righteous acts of His rulers in Israel. Then God’s people went down to the gates.

Awake, awake, Deborah Awake, awake and utter a song! Arise Barak, and lead your captives, son of Abinoam.

Then he set a remnant to rule over the nobles and the people; God gave me dominion over the mighty.

Out of Ephram came those whose root is in Amalek; following you Benjamin, with your kinsmen. Out of Machir came down govenors, and out of Zebulun, those who bear the marshall’s staff.

The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; as Issachar, so was Barak, Into the valley they rushed forth at his heels. Among the divisions of Reuben there were great deliberations of heart.

Why did you stay among the sheep folds, to hear the pipings of the flocks? Among the divisions of Reuben there were great deliberations of heart.

Gilead remained beyond the Jordan. And Dan, why did he remain by the ships? Asher dwelt at the seashore, remaining by its bays.

Zebulun is a people who risked their lives unto death; also Naphtaili, on the heights of the field.

The kings came, they fought; then the kings of Canaan, at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.

The stars fought from heaven;  in their courses they fought against Sisera.

The brook Kishon swept them away, that ancient brook, the brook Kishon. O, my soul, tred them down with strength.

Then the horse’s hoofs beat loudly with prancing, the prancings of the mighty ones.

“Curse Meroz!” said the angel of God. “Curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they did not come to God’s aid, to God against the might.”

Blessed above all women shall be Jael, wife of Cheber the Kenite, above women in the tent shall she be blessed.

Water, he asked for, and she gave him milk; she brought him curd in a lordly bowl.

She put her hand to the tent peg, and her right hand to the workman’s hammer; she smote Sisera, and she crushed his head, yea, she pierced and struck through his temples.

At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay; at her feet the sank, he fell. Where he sank, there he fell down dead.

Through the window she looked out and peered, the mother of Sisera, through the lattice, “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the wheels of his chariots?”

Her wisest ladies answer her; in fact she answers herself:

Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoils: A maiden, two maidens to every man; to Sisera spoils of dyed garments of embroidery, two dyed garments of embroidery for the neck of every spoiler?”

So God, let your enemies perish. But they who love Him are as the sun rising in its might

And the land had rest for forty years.