An Alternative Translation of Judges 4: 1-24

Having some fun with Hebrew today… This is my own (admittedly, limited) translation of Judges 4, the story of Deborah the Judge’s deliverance of Israel through the hand of Barak and Jael.


The Struggling People of God again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud (The Lonely Judge) died. So the Lord sold them into the hand of King Smarty-Pants of Merchant-ville, who reigned in the Village; the commander of his army was Hawk-eye, who lived in the Gentile Forest. Then the Struggling People cried out to the Lord for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly twenty years.

At that time Deborah (the honey-maker), a prophetess, wife of flames, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of the Honeybee between the Highlands and The House of God in the hill country of Ephraim and the people came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Lightning son of Mr. Wonderful from the Sacred Place in the land of the Cunning and Crafty, and said to him, “The Lord, the God of those who Struggle, commands you, ‘Go, take position at The Mountain of Purification, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of the Cunning and the tribe of the Honored Place. I will draw out Hawk-eye, the general of Smarty-Pant’s army, to meet you by the River of Ensnarement with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.’” Lightning 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 sell Hawk-Eye into the hand of a woman.” Then she got up and went with Lightning to the Sacred place. Lightning summoned The Cunning Ones and those from the Honored Place to The Sacred Place; and ten thousand warriors went up behind him; and the prophetess went up with him.

Now Mr. Charming the Merchant had separated from the other Merchants, who were the descendants of Mr. Protector, the father-in-law of Moses.  Mr Charming had pitched his tent as far away as the Town of Sleepy Oaks which is near the Sacred Place.

When Hawk-Eye was told that Lightning son of Mr. Wonderful had gone up to the Mountain of Purification, Hawk-eye called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the troops who were with him, from The Gentile Forest to the River of Ensnarement. Then Deborah (the maker of honey) said to Lightning, “Up! For this is the day on which the Lord has given Hawk-eye into your hand. The Lord is indeed going out before you.” So Lightning went down from The Mountain of Purification with ten thousand warriors following him. And the Lord threw Hawk-Eye and all his chariots and all his army into a panic before Lightning; Hawk-eye got down from his chariot and fled away on foot, while Lightning pursued the chariots and the army to The Gentile Forest. All the army of Hawk-Eye fell by the sword; no one was left.

Now Hawk-Eye had fled away on foot to the tent of Mr Charming and his wife, Ms. Mountain Goat; for there was peace between the village of King Smarty-Pants and the clan of Mr. Charming the Merchant. Ms. Mountain Goat came out to meet Hawk-Eye, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; have no fear.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. He said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if anybody comes and asks you, ‘Is anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’” But Ms. Mountain Goat wife of Mr. Charming took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground—he was lying fast asleep from weariness—and he died. Then, as Lightning came in pursuit of Hawk-Eye, Ms. Mountain Goat went out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he went into her tent; and there was Hawk-Eye lying dead, with the tent peg in his skull.

So on that day God subdued King Smarty-Pants of Merchantville before the Struggling People of God. Then the hand of the people bore harder and harder on King Smarty-Pants, until they destroyed him.

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