Judges 5

The Song of Deborah and Barak

1 1Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
2 "2That the leaders led in Israel, That 3the people volunteered, Bless the LORD!
3 "Hear, O kings; give ear, O rulers! 4I-to the LORD, I will sing, I will sing praise to the LORD, the God of Israel.
4 "5LORD, when You went out from Seir, When You marched from the field of Edom, 6The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped, Even the clouds dripped water.
5 "7The mountains quaked at the presence of the LORD, 8This Sinai, at the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel.
6 "In the days of 9Shamgar the son of Anath, In the days of 10Jael, the highways were deserted, And travelers went by roundabout ways.
7 "The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Until I arose, a mother in Israel.
8 "11New gods were chosen; Then war was in the gates. Not a shield or a spear was seen Among forty thousand in Israel.
9 "My heart goes out to 12the commanders of Israel, The volunteers among the people; Bless the LORD!
10 "13You who ride on white donkeys, You who sit on rich carpets, And you who travel on the road -sing!
11 "At the sound of those who divide flocks among 14the watering places, There they shall recount 15the righteous deeds of the LORD, The righteous deeds for His peasantry in Israel. Then the people of the LORD went down 16to the gates.
12 "17Awake, awake, Deborah; Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and 18take away your captives, O son of Abinoam.
13 "Then survivors came down to the nobles; The people of the LORD came down to me as warriors.
14 "From Ephraim those whose root is 19in Amalek came down, Following you, Benjamin, with your peoples; From Machir commanders came down, And from Zebulun those who wield the staff of office.
15 "And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; As was Issachar, so was Barak; Into the valley they rushed 20at his heels; Among the divisions of Reuben There were great resolves of heart.
16 "Why did you sit among 21the sheepfolds, To hear the piping for the flocks? Among the divisions of Reuben There were great searchings of heart.
17 "22Gilead remained across the Jordan; And why did Dan stay in ships? Asher sat at the seashore *, And remained by its landings.
18 "23Zebulun was a people who despised their lives even to death, And Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.
19 "24The kings came and fought; Then fought the kings of Canaan 25At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo; 26They took no plunder in silver.
20 "27The stars fought from heaven, From their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 "The torrent of Kishon swept them away, The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. 28O my soul, march on with strength.
22 "29Then the horses' hoofs beat From the dashing, the dashing of his valiant steeds.
23 'Curse Meroz,' said the angel of the LORD, 'Utterly curse its inhabitants; 30Because they did not come to the help of the LORD, To the help of the LORD against the warriors.'
24 "31Most blessed of women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Most blessed is she of women in the tent.
25 "He asked for water and she gave him milk; In a magnificent bowl she brought him curds.
26 "She reached out her hand for the tent peg, And her right hand for the workmen's hammer. Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head; And she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 "Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay; Between her feet he bowed, he fell; Where he bowed, there he fell dead.
28 "Out of the window she looked and lamented, The mother of Sisera through the lattice, 'Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots tarry?'
29 "Her wise princesses would answer her, Indeed she repeats her words to herself,
30 '32Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoil? A maiden, two maidens for every warrior; To Sisera a spoil of dyed work, A spoil of dyed work embroidered, Dyed work of double embroidery on the neck of the spoiler?'
31 "33Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD; 34But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might." And the land was undisturbed for forty years.

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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.

Cross References 34

Footnotes 20

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