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Judges: Chapter 5

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1On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang:

2 a In many parts of this poem the meaning is uncertain. When b‐ Apparently an expression of dedication; cf. Num. 6.5 . locks go untrimmed ‐b Apparently an expression of dedication; cf. Num. 6.5 . in Israel, When people dedicate themselves— Bless the LORD! 3Hear, O kings! Give ear, O potentates! I will sing, will sing to the LORD, Will hymn the LORD, the God of Israel. 4‐O LORD, when You came forth from Seir, Advanced from the country of Edom, The earth trembled; The heavens dripped, Yea, the clouds dripped water, 5The mountains quaked c Taking nazelu as a by‐form of nazollu; cf. Targum. Before the LORD, Him of Sinai, Before the LORD, God of Israel. 6In the days of Shamgar a‐ Or “the Beth‐anathite.” son of Anath, ‐a Or “the Beth‐anathite.” In the days of Jael, caravans b Or “roads.” ceased, And wayfarers went By roundabout paths. 7‐Deliverance ceased, Ceased in Israel, Till you c Heb. qamti, archaic second‐person singular feminine. arose, O Deborah, Arose, O mother, in Israel! 8When they chose new gods, d‐ Meaning of Heb. uncertain; others “then was war in the gates.” Was there a fighter then in the gates? ‐d Meaning of Heb. uncertain; others “then was war in the gates.” No shield or spear was seen Among forty thousand in Israel! 9My heart is with Israel's leaders, With the dedicated of the people— Bless the LORD! 10You riders on tawny she‐asses, You who sit on saddle rugs, And you wayfarers, declare it! 11Louder than the e‐ Or “thunder peals”; meaning of Heb. uncertain. sound of archers, ‐e Or “thunder peals”; meaning of Heb. uncertain. There among the watering places Let them chant the gracious acts of the LORD, His gracious deliverance of Israel. Then did the people of the LORD March down to the gates! 12Awake, awake, O Deborah! Awake, awake, strike up the chant! Arise, O Barak; Take your captives, O son of Abinoam! 13Then was the remnant made victor over the mighty, The LORD's people f Reading ‘am (with pathaḥ) Adonai; so many Heb. mss. won my victory over the warriors. 14From Ephraim came they whose roots are in Amalek; After you, your kin Benjamin; From Machir came down leaders, From Zebulun such as hold the marshal's staff. 15And Issachar's chiefs were with Deborah; As Barak, so was Issachar— Rushing after him into the valley. Among the clans of Reuben Were great decisions of heart. 16Why 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! 17Gilead tarried beyond the Jordan; And Dan—why did he linger a‐ Or “at Onioth,” a presumed designation of Dan's region. by the ships? ‐a Or “at Onioth,” a presumed designation of Dan's region. Asher remained at the seacoast And tarried at his landings. 18Zebulun is a people b‐ Lit. “belittled its life to die.” that mocked at death, ‐b Lit. “belittled its life to die.” Naphtali—on the open heights. 19Then the kings came, they fought: The kings of Canaan fought At Taanach, by Megiddo's waters— They got no spoil of silver. 20The stars fought from heaven, From their courses they fought against Sisera. 21The torrent Kishon swept them c I.e., the kings of Canaan (V. 19 ). away, The raging torrent, the torrent Kishon. March on, my soul, with courage! 22Then the horses' hoofs pounded d‐ Lit. “From the gallopings, the gallopings of his steeds.” As headlong galloped the steeds. ‐d Lit. “From the gallopings, the gallopings of his steeds.” 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 a Or “against.” the warriors.” 24Most blessed of women be Jael, Wife of Heber the Kenite, Most blessed of women in tents. 25He asked for water, she offered milk; In a princely bowl she brought him curds. 26Her [left] hand reached for the tent pin, Her right for the workmen's hammer. She struck Sisera, crushed his head, Smashed and pierced his temple. 27At her feet he sank, lay outstretched, At her feet he sank, lay still; Where he sank, there he lay—destroyed. 28Through the window peered Sisera's mother, Behind the lattice she whined: b Or “gazed”; meaning of Heb. uncertain. “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why so late the clatter of his wheels?” 29The wisest of her ladies give answer; She, too, replies to herself: 30“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.” 31So may all Your enemies perish, O LORD! But may His friends be as the sun rising in might!

And the land was tranquil forty years.

Notes:

a In many parts of this poem the meaning is uncertain.

b‐b Apparently an expression of dedication; cf. Num. 6.5 .

c Taking nazelu as a by‐form of nazollu; cf. Targum.

a‐a Or “the Beth‐anathite.”

b Or “roads.”

c Heb. qamti, archaic second‐person singular feminine.

d‐d Meaning of Heb. uncertain; others “then was war in the gates.”

e‐e Or “thunder peals”; meaning of Heb. uncertain.

f Reading ‘am (with pathaḥ) Adonai; so many Heb. mss.

a‐a Or “at Onioth,” a presumed designation of Dan's region.

b‐b Lit. “belittled its life to die.”

c I.e., the kings of Canaan (V. 19 ).

d‐d Lit. “From the gallopings, the gallopings of his steeds.”

a Or “against.”

b Or “gazed”; meaning of Heb. uncertain.

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