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Chapter 5

Canticle of Deborah. 1On that day Deborah [and Barak, son of Abinoam] sang this song:

2Of chiefs who took the lead in Israel, of noble deeds by the people who bless the LORD 3Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I to the LORD will sing my song, my hymn to the LORD the God of Israel.

4O LORD, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, The earth quaked and the heavens were shaken, while the clouds sent down showers. 5Mountains trembled in the presence of the LORD, the One of Sinai, n Dt 33, 2; 2 Sm 22, 8; Pss 18, 8; 68, 9 . in the presence of the LORD, the God of israel. o Ex 19, 16; Dt 4, 11; Ps 97, 5 .

6In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, p Jgs 3, 31 . in the days of slavery caravans ceased; Those who traveled the roads went by roundabout paths. 7Gone was freedom beyond the walls gone indeed from Israel.

When I, Deborah, rose, when I rose, a mother in Israel, 8New gods* were their choice; then the war was at their gates. Not a shield could be seen, nor a lance, among forty thousand in Israel!

9My heart is with the leaders of Israel, nobles of the people who bless the LORD; 10They who ride on white asses, seated on saddlecloths as they go their way; 11Sing of them to the strains of the harpers at the wells, where men recount the just deeds of the LORD, his just deeds that brought freedom to Israel.

12Awake, awake, Deborah! awake, awake, strike up a song. Strength! arise, Barak, make despoilers your spoil, son of Abinoam. 13Then down came the fugitives with the mighty, the people of the LORD came down for me as warriors.

14From Ephraim, princes were in the valley;* behind you was Benjamin, among your troops. From Machir came down commanders, from Zebulun wielders of the marshal's staff.

15With Deborah were the princes of Issachar; Barak, too, was in the valley, his course unchecked.

Among the clans of Reuben great were the searchings of heart. q Jgs 4, 14 . 16Why do you stay beside your hearths listening to the lowing of the herds? Among the clans of Reuben great were the searchings of heart!

17Gilead, beyond the Jordan, rests; why does Dan spend his time in ships? Asher, who dwells along the shore, is resting in his coves. 18Zebulun is the people defying death; Naphtali, too, on the open heights! r Jgs 4, 10 .

19The kings came and fought; then they fought, those kings of Canaan, At Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; no silver booty did they take. s Jgs 1, 27; Jos 17, 11 . 20From the heavens the stars, too, fought;* from their courses they fought against Sisera. t Jgs 4, 15; Jos 10, 14 .

21The Wadi Kishon swept them away; a wadi …, the Kishon. u Jgs 4, 7. 13 . 22then the hoofs of the horses pounded, with the dashing, dashing of his steeds.

23“Curse Meroz,”* says the LORD, “hurl a curse at its inhabitants! For they came not to my help, as warriors to the help of the LORD.”

24Blessed among women be Jael, blessed among tent‐dwelling women. v Jgs 4, 17; Jdt 13, 17; Lk 1, 28. 42 . 25He asked for water, she gave him milk; w 25f: Jgs 4, 19. 21 . in a princely bowl she offered curds. 26With her left hand she reached for the peg, with her right, for the workman's mallet.

She hammered Sisera, crushed his head; she smashed, stove in his temple. 27At her feet he sank down, fell, lay still; down at her feet he sank and fell; where he sank down, there he fell, slain.

28From the window peered down and wailed the mother of Sisera, from the lattice: “Why is his chariot so long in coming? why are the hoofbeats of his chariots delayed?” 29The wisest of her princesses answers her, and she, too, keeps answering herself: 30“They must be dividing the spoil they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera's spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil.” 31May all your enemies perish thus, O LORD! x Ps 83, 10–19 . but your friends be as the sun rising in its might!

And the land was at rest for forty years.


n: Dt 33, 2; 2 Sm 22, 8; Pss 18, 8; 68, 9 .

o: Ex 19, 16; Dt 4, 11; Ps 97, 5 .

p: Jgs 3, 31 .

q: Jgs 4, 14 .

r: Jgs 4, 10 .

s: Jgs 1, 27; Jos 17, 11 .

t: Jgs 4, 15; Jos 10, 14 .

u: Jgs 4, 7. 13 .

v: Jgs 4, 17; Jdt 13, 17; Lk 1, 28. 42 .

w: 25f: Jgs 4, 19. 21 .

x: Ps 83, 10–19 .

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