Judges 5

1 At that time Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, made this song, saying:
2 Because of the flowing hair of the fighters in Israel, because the people gave themselves freely, give praise to the Lord.
3 Give attention, O kings; give ear, O rulers; I, even I, will make a song to the Lord; I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel.
4 Lord, when you went out from Seir, moving like an army from the field of Edom, the earth was shaking and the heavens were troubled, and the clouds were dropping water.
5 The mountains were shaking before the Lord, before the Lord, the God of Israel.
6 In the days of Shamgar, the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were not used, and travellers went by side roads.
7 Country towns were no more in Israel, *** were no more, till you, Deborah, came up, till you came up as a mother in Israel.
8 They had no one to make arms, there were no more armed men in the towns; was there a body-cover or a spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel?
9 Come, you rulers of Israel, you who gave yourselves freely among the people: give praise to the Lord.
10 Let them give thought to it, who go on white asses, and those who are walking on the road.
11 Give ear to the women laughing by the water-springs; there they will give again the story of the upright acts of the Lord, all the upright acts of his arm in Israel.
12 Awake! awake! Deborah: awake! awake! give a song: Up! Barak, and take prisoner those who took you prisoner, O son of Abinoam.
13 Then the chiefs went down to the doors; the Lord's people went down among the strong ones.
14 Out of Ephraim they came down into the valley; after you, Benjamin, among your tribesmen; from Machir came down the captains, and from Zebulun those in whose hand is the ruler's rod.
15 Your chiefs, Issachar, were with Deborah; and Naphtali was true to Barak; into the valley they went rushing out at his feet. In Reuben there were divisions, and great searchings of heart.
16 Why did you keep quiet among the sheep, hearing nothing but the watchers piping to the flocks?
17 Gilead was living over Jordan; and Dan was waiting in his ships; Asher kept in his place by the sea's edge, living by his inlets.
18 It was the people of Zebulun who put their lives in danger, even to death, with Naphtali on the high places of the field.
19 The kings came on to the fight, the kings of Canaan were warring; in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo: they took no profit in money.
20 The stars from heaven were fighting; from their highways they were fighting against Sisera.
21 The river Kishon took them violently away, stopping their flight, the river Kishon. Give praise, O my soul, to the strength of the Lord!
22 Then loudly the feet of the horses were sounding with the stamping, the stamping of their war-horses.
23 A curse, a curse on Meroz! said the angel of the Lord. A bitter curse on her townspeople! Because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord among the strong ones.
24 Blessings be on Jael, more than on all women! Blessings greater than on any in the tents!
25 His request was for water, she gave him milk; she put butter before him on a fair plate.
26 She put out her hand to the tent-pin, and her right hand to the workman's hammer; and she gave Sisera a blow, crushing his head, wounding and driving through his brow.
27 Bent at her feet he went down, he was stretched out; bent at her feet he went down; where he was bent down, there he went down in death.
28 Looking out from the window she gave a cry, the mother of Sisera was crying out through the window, Why is his carriage so long in coming? When will the noise of his wheels be sounding?
29 Her wise women gave answer to her, yes, she made answer again to herself,
30 Are they not getting, are they not parting the goods among them: a young girl or two to every man; and to Sisera robes of coloured needlework, worked in fair colours on this side and on that, for the neck of the queen?
31 So may destruction come on all your haters, O Lord; but let your lovers be like the sun going out in his strength. And for forty years the land had peace.

Judges 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

Praise and glory ascribed to God. (1-5) The distress and deliverance of Israel. (6-11) Some commended, others censured. (12-23) Sisera's mother disappointed. (24-31)

1-5. No time should be lost in returning thanks to the Lord for his mercies; for our praises are most acceptable, pleasant, and profitable, when they flow from a full heart. By this, love and gratitude would be more excited and more deeply fixed in the hearts of believers; the events would be more known and longer remembered. Whatever Deborah, Barak, or the army had done, the Lord must have all the praise. The will, the power, and the success were all from Him.

6-11. Deborah describes the distressed state of Israel under the tyranny of Jabin, that their salvation might appear more gracious. She shows what brought this misery upon them. It was their idolatry. They chose new gods, with new names. But under all these images, Satan was worshipped. Deborah was a mother to Israel, by diligently promoting the salvation of their souls. She calls on those who shared the advantages of this great salvation, to offer up thanks to God for it. Let such as are restored, not only to their liberty as other Israelites, but to their rank, speak God's praises. This is the Lord's doing. In these acts of his, justice was executed on his enemies. In times of persecution, God's ordinances, the walls of salvation, whence the waters of life are drawn, are resorted to at the hazard of the lives of those who attend them. At all times Satan will endeavour to hinder the believer from drawing near to the throne of grace. Notice God's kindness to his trembling people. It is the glory of God to protect those who are most exposed, and to help the weakest. Let us notice the benefit we have from the public peace, the inhabitants of villages especially, and give God the praise.

Verses 12-23 Deborah called on her own soul to be in earnest. He that will set the hearts of other men on fire with the love of Christ, must himself burn with love. Praising God is a work we should awake to, and awake ourselves unto. She notices who fought against Israel, who fought for them, and who kept away. Who fought against them. They were obstinate enemies to God's people, therefore the more dangerous. Who fought for them. The several tribes that helped are here spoken of with honour; for though God is above all to be glorified, those who are employed must have their due praise, to encourage others. But the whole creation is at war with those to whom God is an enemy. The river of Kishon fought against their enemies. At most times it was shallow, yet now, probably by the great rain that fell, it was so swelled, and the stream so deep and strong, that those who attempted to pass, were drowned. Deborah's own soul fought against them. When the soul is employed in holy exercises, and heart-work is made of them, through the grace of God, the strength of our spiritual enemies will be trodden down, and will fall before us. She observes who kept away, and did not side with Israel, as might have been expected. Thus many are kept from doing their duty by the fear of trouble, the love of ease, and undue affection to their worldly business and advantage. Narrow, selfish spirits care not what becomes of God's church, so that they can but get, keep, and save money. All seek their own, ( Philippians 2:21 ) . A little will serve those for a pretence to stay at home, who have no mind to engage in needful services, because there is difficulty and danger in them. But we cannot keep away from the contest between the Lord and his enemies; and if we do not actively endeavour to promote his cause in this wicked world, we shall fall under the curse against the workers of iniquity. Though He needs no human help, yet he is pleased to accept the services of those who improve their talents to advance his cause. He requires every man to do so.

Verses 24-31 Jael had a special blessing. Those whose lot is cast in the tent, in a low and narrow sphere, if they serve God according to the powers he has given them, shall not lose their reward. The mother of Sisera looked for his return, not in the least fearing his success. Let us take heed of indulging eager desires towards any temporal good, particularly toward that which cherishes vain-glory, for that was what she here doted on. What a picture does she present of an ungodly and sensual heart! How shameful and childish these wishes of an aged mother and her attendants for her son! And thus does God often bring ruin on his enemies when they are most puffed up. Deborah concludes with a prayer to God for the destruction of all his foes, and for the comfort of all his friends. Such shall be the honour, and joy of all who love God in sincerity, they shall shine for ever as the sun in the firmament.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JUDGES 5

This chapter contains a song of praise on account of the victories obtained over Jabin, and his kingdom; after an exhortation to praise is given, and kings excited to attend to it, the majestic appearance of God at Seir, on Sinai, is observed, to raise in the mind a divine veneration of him, Jud 5:1-5; then the miserable state and condition Israel was in before these victories, and therefore had the more reason to be thankful, Jud 5:6-8; the governors, and judges, and the people that were delivered, together with Deborah and Barak, are stirred up to rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, and bless his name, Jud 5:9-13; and those who willingly engaged in the war are praised, and such who were negligent reproved, and some even cursed, Jud 5:14-23; but Jael, Heber's wife, is particularly commended for her exploit in slaying Sisera, Jud 5:24-27; and the mother of Sisera, and her ladies, are represented as wondering at his long delay, and as assured of his having got the victory, Jud 5:28-30; and the song is concluded with a prayer for the destruction, of the enemies of the Lord, and for the happiness and glory of them that love him, Jud 5:31.

Judges 5 Commentaries

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