Context: After the death of Joshua, the Israelites, in their attempt to conquer Canaan, alternately forsake the Lord and are delivered by Him from their enemies by a series of judges. Deborah, a prophetess and judge, and Barak, the battle leader of the Israelites, are chosen to lead the people from the oppression of Jabin, king of Canaan, and his captain, Sisera. With the help of the Lord, the Canaanite army is routed, and Sisera is forced to flee and hide in the tent of Jael, who, because of her sympathy for the Israelites, offers him hospitality and then drives a nail or peg into his head. Deborah, rejoicing and praising the people and the Lord for His help in the victory, recounts in a poetically vivid description the battle scene and the natural forces at work:
They fought from heaven; 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.