Judges 5 – “The Song of Deborah and Barak”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Deborah and Barak sing about their victory over the Canaanites. They praise God, the Israelite warriors, and Jael, but scold the tribes that desisted from the fight.

II. Photo
Deborah and Barak scold the tribes of Dan and Asher: “And Dan — why did he linger by the ships? Asher remained at the seacoast and tarried at his landings!” (v 17)

III. Important Verses
v 7: Deliverance ceased, Ceased in Israel, Till you arose, O Deborah, Arose, O mother, in Israel!
v 8: When they chose new gods, Was there a fighter then in the gates? No shield or spear was seen Among forty thousand in Israel!
vv 15b-17: Among the clans of Reuben Were great decisions of heart. Why then did you stay among the sheepfolds And listen as they pipe for the flocks? Among the clans of Reuben Were great searchings of heart! Gilead tarried beyond the Jordan; And Dan — why did he linger by the ships? Asher remained at the seacoast And tarried at his landings.
v 20: The stars fought from heaven, From their courses they fought against Sisera.
v 23: “Curse Meroz!” said the angel of the LORD. “Bitterly curse its inhabitants, Because they came not to the aid of the LORD, To the aid of the LORD among the warriors.”
vv 28-30: Through the window peered Sisera’s mother, Behind the lattice she whined: “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why so late the clatter of his wheels?” The wisest of her ladies give answer; She, too, replies to herself: “They must be dividing the spoil they have found: A damsel or two for each man, Spoil of dyed cloths for Sisera, Spoil of embroidered cloths, A couple of embroidered cloths Round every neck as spoil.”

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2-3. Blessing/Call to praise
4-5. Hymnic praise
6-8. Historical information
9-11. Praise of the simple Israelites
12-15a. Praising God and the victors
15b-18. Scolding the Israelites who didn’t join in battle
19-23. Enigmatic war account
24-27. Jael kills Sisera
28-30. Sisera’s mother
31ab. Imprecation/Blessing
31c. Forty years of peace

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Trent C. Butler, “Judges” (Word Biblical Commentary vol. 8; Nashville: Nelson, 2009).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 15 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://planterhill.com/images/ships_wheel.jpg