Judges 5

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1 Then sang Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, on that day, saying,

2 For that leaders led in Israel, For that the people willingly offered themselves, Bless Jehovah!

3 Hear, ye kings; give ear, ye princes, I, [even] I, will sing to Jehovah; I will hymn to Jehovah the God of Israel.

4 Jehovah, when thou wentest forth from Seir, When thou marchedst out of the fields of Edom, The earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, Yea, the clouds dropped water.

5 The mountains quaked before the face of Jehovah, That Sinai, from before Jehovah the God of Israel.

6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, The roads were unused, and the travellers on highways went by crooked paths.

7 The villages ceased in Israel, Ceased until that I Deborah arose, That I arose a mother in Israel.

8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?

9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless Jehovah!

10 Ye that ride on white she-asses, ye that sit on carpets, and ye that walk by the way, consider.

11 Because of the voice of those who divide [the spoil] in the midst of the places of drawing water; There they rehearse the righteous acts of Jehovah, His righteous acts toward his villages in Israel. Then the people of Jehovah went down to the gates.

12 Awake, Awake, Deborah! Awake, Awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, and lead captive thy captives, thou son of Abinoam!

13 Then come down, thou, the remnant of nobles, [as his] people; Jehovah! come down with me in the midst of the mighty ones.

14 Out of Ephraim [came] those whose root was in Amalek; After thee was Benjamin among thy peoples. Out of Machir came down governors, And out of Zebulun they that handled the staff of the ruler.

15 And the princes in Issachar were with Deborah; And Issachar, like Barak; They were sent into the valley at his feet. In the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart!

16 Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, To hear the bleating of the flocks? In the divisions of Reuben there were great deliberations of heart!

17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan; And Dan, why did he remain in ships? Asher sat on the sea-shore, And abode in his creeks.

18 Zebulun is a people [that] jeoparded their lives unto death, Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.

19 Kings came, -- they fought; Then fought the Kings of Canaan; At Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; They took no spoil of silver.

20 From heaven was the fight; The stars from their courses fought with Sisera.

21 The torrent of Kishon swept them away, That ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. My soul, thou hast trodden down strength!

22 Then did the horse-hoofs clatter with the coursings, The coursings of their steeds.

23 Curse Meroz, saith the Angel of Jehovah; Curse, curse the inhabitants thereof; For they came not to the help of Jehovah, To the help of Jehovah among the mighty.

24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, Blessed above women in the tent!

25 He asked water, she gave milk; In the nobles' bowl she brought forth cream.

26 She put her hand to the tent-pin, And her right hand to the workmen's hammer; And she smote Sisera, she struck through his head, Shattered and pierced through his temples.

27 Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: Between her feet he bowed, he fell; Where he bowed, there he fell, overcome.

28 Them other of Sisera looketh out at the window, And crieth through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the trampings of his chariots?

29 The wise amongst her ladies answer [her], Yea, she returneth answer to herself,

30 Have they not found, divided the booty, A damsel, two damsels, to each? A booty of dyed stuffs for Sisera, A booty of dyed stuffs of embroidery, Dyed stuff of double embroidery for the neck of a spoiler?

31 So let all thine enemies perish, Jehovah! But let them that love him be as the rising of the sun in its might. And the land had rest forty years.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Judges 5      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 5: The Song of Deborah.

This chapter is a song of victory, describing the events of Judges 4 in poetic and exuberant language. Throughout, there is a sense of exhorting the people to turn to the Lord and praise Him for the victory. Singing this kind of song was a customary way for Israel to rejoice after a major victory.

The spiritual meaning of singing has to do with our overall joy and affection for spiritual things: joy for what is true, for the Word, and for everything about the Lord. Affection is not merely knowing spiritual truths; it is our heart’s response to them, which goes far beyond words.

This is why the lyrics of sacred songs such as Judges Chapter 5 are very eloquent and passionate. They are not simply an account of what took place, but more an outburst of praise and gratitude in recounting the story. We experience the same inner ‘music’ when our heart feels a deep spiritual affection, and is stirred up with praise to the Lord. Just as Deborah and Barak sang after a battle, our songs of gratitude will generally be felt after the Lord delivers us from a period of temptation during regeneration (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 8265).

The song itself frequently acknowledges the Lord’s part in Israel’s victory:

In verse 4: “Lord, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the field of Edom.”

In verse 11: “There they shall recount the righteous acts of the Lord for his villagers in Israel.”

And in verse 13: “Then the Lord came down for me against the mighty.”

These references serve to remind us that everything is the Lord’s doing. We must do what is good as though our actions make the difference, but we are to affirm that the Lord brings about all that is good. This acknowledgement allows us to act from free will, while still understanding the spiritual truth that all goodness comes from the Lord (Arcana Caelestia 9193).

This is emphasized through the song whenever Deborah praises her own actions, as well as those of Barak and Jael. For example:

In verse 7: “Village life ceased in Israel until I, Deborah, arose, a mother in Israel.”

In verse 12: “Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and lead your captives away, O son of Abinoam!”

And in verses 24-27, when Jael receives full praise for her actions.

Another theme in the song is a lament over those tribes which did not come to the aid of Israel, although only Issachar and Zebulun were called to battle. A town called Meroz is roundly cursed for failing to help. The name ‘Meroz’ comes from a verb meaning “to withdraw” or “to hide” (see Swedenborg’s work, Heaven and Hell 18). This lament reminds us that our intentions to serve the Lord and to fight our spiritual battles can be hindered by our own divided wills.

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