5 Then sang Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam on that day, saying,
2 For the leaders who took the lead in Israel, for the people who offered themselves willingly, bless the Lord!
3 Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; I will sing to the Lord. I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel.
4 Lord, when You went forth out of Seir, when You marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens also dropped, yes, the clouds dropped water.
5 The mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord, yes, yonder Sinai at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.
6 After the days of Shamgar son of Anath, after the days of Jael [meaning here Ehud] the caravans ceased, travelers walked through byways.
7 The villages were unoccupied and rulers ceased in Israel until [a]you arose—you, Deborah, arose—a mother in Israel.
8 [Formerly] they chose new gods; then war was in the gates. Was there a shield or spear seen among 40,000 in Israel?
9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless the Lord!
10 Tell of it—you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets, and you who walk by the way.
11 Far from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, even the righteous acts toward His villagers in Israel. Then the people of the Lord went down to the gates.
12 Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, you son of Abinoam.
13 Then down marched the remnant of the nobles, the people of the Lord marched down for Me against the mighty.
14 Out of Ephraim they came down whose root is in Amalek, after you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen. Out of Machir came down commanders and lawgivers, and out of Zebulun those who [b]handle the pen or stylus of the writer.
15 And the princes of Issachar came with Deborah, and Issachar was faithful to Barak; into the valley they rushed forth at his heels. [But] among the clans of Reuben were great searchings of heart.
16 Why [Reuben] did you linger among the sheepfolds listening to the piping for the flocks? Among the clans of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead remained beyond the Jordan, and why did Dan stay with the ships? Asher sat still on the seacoast and remained by his creeks. [These came not forth to battle for God’s people.]
18 But Zebulun was a people who endangered their lives to the death; Naphtali did also on the heights of the field.
19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. Gain of booty they did not obtain.
20 From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent Kishon swept [the foe] away, the onrushing torrent, the torrent Kishon. O my soul, march on with strength!
22 Then the horses’ hoofs beat loudly because of the galloping of [fleeing] valiant riders.
23 Curse Meroz, said the messenger of the Lord. Curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty!
24 Blessed above women shall Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, be; blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
25 [Sisera] asked for water, and she gave [him] milk; she brought him curds in a lordly dish.
26 She put her [left] hand to the tent pin, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer. And with the wooden hammer she smote Sisera, she smote his head, yes, she struck and pierced his temple.
27 He sank, he fell, he lay still at her feet. At her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell—dead!
28 The [c]mother of Sisera looked out at a window and wailed through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots tarry?
29 Her wise ladies answered her, yet she repeated her words to herself,
30 Have they not found and been dividing the spoil? A maiden or two for every man, a spoil of dyed garments for Sisera, a spoil of dyed stuffs embroidered, two pieces of dyed work embroidered for my neck as spoil?
31 So let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it rises in its might. And the land had peace and rest for forty years.
- Judges 5:7 F. F. Bruce in The New Bible Dictionary calls attention to the fact that the repeated Hebrew verb here “may be understood not as the normal first person singular (‘I arose’) but as an archaic second person singular (‘thou didst arise’).”
- Judges 5:14 Reference at this date (about 1150 b.c.) to a writer is no more surprising than the mention of “the city of books” in Judg. 1:11. Writing, and alphabetical writing at that, had been practiced for some centuries along the Syrian Coast... Quantities of papyrus [the pith of papyrus was used for writing] were exported from Egypt to Phoenicia at around 1100 b.c. (Judg. 8:14) (F. Davidson, ed., The New Bible Commentary). “Zebulun, formerly known only for [its] experts with the ciphering-pencil, had now become a people courageous unto death” (J.P. Lange, A Commentary).
- Judges 5:28 “Who should first suffer anxiety [in the palace of the women] if not the mother? Of a wife, nothing is said; such love thrives not in the harem of a prince. He is his mother’s pride, the great hero, who had hitherto been invincible. What she has in him, and what she loses, concerns no other woman” (J.P. Lange, A Commentary).