Other songs of women: Miriam (Exo 15:3), Hannah (1Sa 2:1-10),
Mary (Luk 1:46-55). All these songs express the joyfulness of victory of Spirit
over human pride and arrogance.
WILLINGLY OFFER THEMSELVES: Quoted in Psa
YOU KINGS: A summons to Gentile rulers, to heed this
Typ history of Exodus. As a memorial (Exo 12:14), a day of
national deliverance never to be forgotten (Exo 13:14-16).
EDOM: Opposed Jews in their journey to Land of Promise
SHOOK: "To move like waves" (Psa 68:8; 77:18).
Suggested by Josh 3:16.
POURED: "To fall in drops", ie to speak by inspiration
(Job 29:22; Exo 20:46; 21:2). Transl "prophesy" in Mic 2:16; Zec 13:3. See Deu
32:2. At Sinai and at Tabor God's powerful word was demonstrated. Earthquakes
accompany awesome manifestations of God: Exo 19:18; Jdg 5:4; Psa 77:18; 114:4;
Isa 2:10-22; Jer 4:24; Eze 38:20; Joe 3:16; Amo 9:1,5; Zec 14:4; Rev 6:12;
WATER: As in desert of Sinai (Psa 68:8). Rain = word of
God in Isa 55:9.
QUAKED: "To drip, overflow" (as Psa 147:18; Isa 48:21).
Note figure in Isa 64:1,2; Luk 3:5. Thus Mt Zion is exalted (Isa
ROADS ABANDONED: Being unsafe for travel.
WINDING PATHS: Usually little-traveled secret ways, to
avoid Gentile oppressors.
Vv 7-13: An organized resistance.
Idolatry/apostasy brings calamity upon Israel.
NOT A SPEAR... WAS SEEN: Israel was virtually
defenseless before its enemies. It was only by faith that a few managed to save
WHITE DONKEYS: Nobility's mark of distinction (Jdg
10:4; 2Sa 16:2).
Deb tells women to commemorate the dividing of the spoil by
Israel, each day as they meet at the wells. Also, to remember the righteous acts
of their "rulers" (Jael: vv 24-27), and to enjoy the new-won freedom in their
gates (in ct to v 8).
CITY GATES: Centers of administration of law, justice
(Deu 16:18; Jos 20:4; Jer 17:19,20).
TAKE CAPTIVE YOUR CAPTIVES: Barak delivered Israel from
king of Canaan (Jdg 4:2), who had enslaved them. Christ delivers us from the
bondage to sin (Rom 6:6; Eph 4:8). See also Psa 68: psa of salvation at Sinai:
"leading captivity captive" (v 18), journey to Zion to be manifested in glory
before kings of earth. Praise to God again, in the new song of Rev
"Is it just accident that identical words are quoted in Eph
4:18 and Psa 68:18 with direct reference to the Lord Jesus Christ? His captivity
was his New Israel in bondage to sin until he came and led it forth to liberty,
and a glorious inheritance, even as Moses did Israel.
Again, is it just accident that Deborah's song concludes with
words which anticipate very remarkably the expression Jesus himself used to
describe the final emancipation of the righteous from sin?: 'Let them that love
him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might' (Jdg 5:31). With these words
compare: 'Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of
their Father' (Mat 13:43).
Since the beginning and end of this Son have close
associations with the New Covenant, it is hardly likely that the rest of it is
devoid of similar significance." And so the whole of Jdg 5 may be read as a
commentary on the willingness (or otherwise) of the tribes ("ecclesias") of
Israel to act in freeing their bre from bondage (repr preaching of
The weak and insignificant, who had faithfully served Barak,
are elevated over the honorable.
The Ephraimites had taken land from the Amalekites (Jdg
12:15). Benjamin followed Ephr's example.
THOSE WHO BEAR A COMMANDER'S STAFF: "They that handle
the pen of the writer" (AV). Fuller (17th century) puts it this way: "Gown-men
turned sword-men, clerks became captains, changing their pen-knives into
swords." Cp what happened with the apostles, most of them from Zebulun's area:
fishers of fish became "fishers of men"!
MUCH SEARCHING OF HEART: A "resolution" to answer call,
but... they finally decided to stay home.
WHISTLING: Sig scorn, translated "hissing" in Jer
18:16. Reuben turned a deaf ear to his bre's cry for help, in violation of his
promise to be a part of Israel in the west (Jos 22).
"There was probably good reason for this hesitance too. For on
Reuben's borders were Moab and Ammon, rapacious, relentless foes, ever eager for
cattle-rustling and raiding of villages. How could Reuben leave his territory
wide open to the enemy! It was faith that was lacking" (WJR).
GILEAD: Repr tribes east of Jordan (as Jos 22:9; Jdg
20:1), but were excluding Manasseh (v 14).
"The Manassites there would surely come to the aid of their
fellow-tribesmen. But no! The deep cleft of Jordan made the distance seem great,
and so whilst there was doubtless much sympathy, there was no practical help"
DAN, WHY DID HE LINGER BY THE SHIPS?: Or poss "remain
at ease". Although in north of Israel, they fled from Sisera, taking refuge in
"There was little excuse here, surely, for the coastal plain
gave Dan easy access to the centre of operations. Yet maybe the growing strength
of the Philistines coming in from Crete was sufficient deterrent to the
furnishing of active support. Once again it was faith that was lacking. 'He that
is not for us is against us' " (WJR).
COVES: Or "creeks". Asher, in north too, but they
shirked responsibilities as had Dan by hiding in secret streams. (Asher was
separated from the rallying point by the main forces of the enemy.)
FIELD: Jdg 4:6,9. They exposed themselves upon Mount
Tabor, conspicuous and unarmed except for shield of faith (Eph 6:16).
MEGIDDO: These cities had been sinfully spared by the
Jews, and now they became centers for Canaanite oppression of Israel (Jdg 1:27;
NO PLUNDER: Motive: jealousy (cp Pro
Vv 20-22: Josephus' acct of battle mentions torrents of rain,
lightning, thunder, flood, general confusion, panic.
MEROZ: A "refuge", or so it seemed. Here the
inhabitants hid and did nothing, as the slothful servant who hid his talent (Mat
Jael -- a faithful Gentile woman -- as Ruth, Rahab.
MILK: A sour milk (LB 441).
The first blow, dealt while he was asleep, did not kill him.
He leaped up. A 2nd and 3rd blows were required by Jael to slay Sisera. Or (2)
when he fell down in sleep, he was already as good as dead. Or (3) "Very soon
Jael realised the precarious nature of her plight, undefended in the presence of
this villain. All at once it was evident that he was set on taking advantage of
her loneliness. So, frantically wrenching herself free from his clutches, she
snatched up a hammer -- one of her husband's tools -- and swung it wildly as he
came at her. The blow went home and he tottered drunkenly, then crumpled up and
lay still... The savage resentment and apparently barbarous ferocity behind
Jael's next action are thus more readily understood [ie, because of his sexual
attack upon her]. Sisera was only stunned. At any moment he might come round. In
frenzy and panic she took an iron tent-peg, and drove it with desperate force
through his temple. So distraught was she, that long after his brain was pierced
she went on hammering, hammering, and only came to herself when the tent-peg was
driven well into the hard ground beneath" (WJR).
AT HER FEET: Lit, "between her feet" -- suggesting an
attempted rape! "The details mentioned earlier... led generations of Jewish
scholars to infer that Jael was provoked to this violence by the violence that
was attempted against her" (WJR).
The Canaanites customarily took Jewish women as slaves and
concubines. Like a mother, she chooses not to attribute women captives to her
GIRL: "The Hebrew noun translated 'girl' means
literally 'womb' (BDB 933), but in this context may refer by extension to the
female genitalia. In this case the obscene language of Sisera's mother alludes
to the sexual brutality which typified the aftermath of battle" (NETn). The
Canaanites customarily took Jewish women as slaves and concubines. Like a
mother, she chooses not to attribute women captives to her son. She cared not as
much to see her son as to grasp the spoils (LB 441).
WHEN IT RISES IN ITS STRENGTH: A glorious promise to
the saints: Dan 12:3; Mat 13:43; cp Psa 19:4,5.