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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Judges

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FRAMEWORKS: Judges 5: The Song of Deborah


v.1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:

v.2  “When the princes in Israel take the lead,
     when the people willingly offer themselves—
     praise the Lord !

v.3  “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers!
     I, even I, will sing to the Lord ;
     I will praise the Lord , the God of Israel, in song.

v.4  “When you, Lord , went out from Seir,
     when you marched from the land of Edom,
the earth shook, the heavens poured,
     the clouds poured down water.
v.5  The mountains quaked before the Lord , the One of Sinai,
     before the Lord , the God of Israel.

v.6  “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
     in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned;
     travelers took to winding paths.
v.7  Villagers in Israel would not fight;
     they held back until I, Deborah, arose,
     until I arose, a mother in Israel.
v.8  God chose new leaders
     when war came to the city gates,
but not a shield or spear was seen
     among forty thousand in Israel.
v.9  My heart is with Israel's princes,
     with the willing volunteers among the people.
     Praise the Lord !

v.10  “You who ride on white donkeys,
     sitting on your saddle blankets,
     and you who walk along the road, consider

v.11  the voice of the singers at the watering places.
     They recite the victories of the Lord ,
     the victories of his villagers in Israel.

“Then the people of the Lord
     went down to the city gates.
v.12  ‘Wake up, wake up, Deborah!
     Wake up, wake up, break out in song!
Arise, Barak!
     Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.'

v.13  “The remnant of the nobles came down;
     the people of the Lord came down to me against the mighty.
v.14  Some came from Ephraim, whose roots were in Amalek;
     Benjamin was with the people who followed you.
From Makir captains came down,
     from Zebulun those who bear a commander's[
e ] staff.
v.15  The princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
     yes, Issachar was with Barak,
     sent under his command into the valley.
In the districts of Reuben
     there was much searching of heart.
v.16  Why did you stay among the sheep pens
     to hear the whistling for the flocks?
In the districts of Reuben
     there was much searching of heart.
v.17  Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan.
     And Dan, why did he linger by the ships?
Asher remained on the coast
     and stayed in his coves.
v.18  The people of Zebulun risked their very lives;
     so did Naphtali on the terraced fields.

v.19  “Kings came, they fought,
     the kings of Canaan fought.
At Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo,
     they took no plunder of silver.
v.20  From the heavens the stars fought,
     from their courses they fought against Sisera.
v.21  The river Kishon swept them away,
     the age-old river, the river Kishon.
     March on, my soul; be strong!
v.22  Then thundered the horses' hooves—
     galloping, galloping go his mighty steeds.
v.23  ‘Curse Meroz,' said the angel of the Lord .
     ‘Curse its people bitterly,
because they did not come to help the Lord ,
     to help the Lord against the mighty.'

v.24  “Most blessed of women be Jael,
     the wife of Heber the Kenite,
     most blessed of tent-dwelling women.
v.25  He asked for water, and she gave him milk;
     in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk.
v.26  Her hand reached for the tent peg,
     her right hand for the workman's hammer.
She struck Sisera, she crushed his head,
     she shattered and pierced his temple.
v.27  At her feet he sank,
     he fell; there he lay.
At her feet he sank, he fell;
     where he sank, there he fell—dead.

v.28  “Through the window peered Sisera's mother;
     behind the lattice she cried out,
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
     Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?'
v.29  The wisest of her ladies answer her;
     indeed, she keeps saying to herself,
v.30  ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoils:
     a woman or two for each man,
colorful garments as plunder for Sisera,
     colorful garments embroidered,
highly embroidered garments for my neck—
     all this as plunder?'

v.31  “So may all your enemies perish, Lord !
     But may all who love you be like the sun
     when it rises in its strength.”

Then the land had peace forty years.


[Notes: We suggest trying to interpret a song is likely to spoil it for its readers.]