Judges 5

Judges 5

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The Song of Deborah and Barak

Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:

  “That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
    that the people offered themselves willingly,
    bless the LORD!
  “Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;
    to the LORD I will sing;
    I will make melody to the LORD, the God of Israel.
  “LORD, when you went out from Seir,
    when you marched from the region of Edom,
  the earth trembled
    and the heavens dropped,
    yes, the clouds dropped water.
  The mountains quaked before the LORD,
    even Sinai before the LORD, the God of Israel.
  “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
    in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned,
    and travelers kept to the byways.
  The villagers ceased in Israel;
    they ceased to be until I arose;
    I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.
  When new gods were chosen,
    then war was in the gates.
  Was shield or spear to be seen
    among forty thousand in Israel?
  My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel
    who offered themselves willingly among the people.
    Bless the LORD.
  “Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys,
    you who sit on rich carpets
    and you who walk by the way.
  To the sound of musicians at the watering places,
    there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the LORD,
    the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel.
  “Then down to the gates marched the people of the LORD.
  “Awake, awake, Deborah!
    Awake, awake, break out in a song!
  Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
    O son of Abinoam.
  Then down marched the remnant of the noble;
    the people of the LORD marched down for me against the mighty.
  From Ephraim their root they marched down into the valley,
    following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen;
  from Machir marched down the commanders,
    and from Zebulun those who bear the lieutenant’s staff;
  the princes of Issachar came with Deborah,
    and Issachar faithful to Barak;
    into the valley they rushed at his heels.
  Among the clans of Reuben
    there were great searchings of heart.
  Why did you sit still among the sheepfolds,
    to hear the whistling for the flocks?
  Among the clans of Reuben
    there were great searchings of heart.
  Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan;
    and Dan, why did he stay with the ships?
  Asher sat still at the coast of the sea,
    staying by his landings.
  Zebulun is a people who risked their lives to the death;
    Naphtali, too, on the heights of the field.
  “The kings came, they fought;
    then fought the kings of Canaan,
  at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
    they got no spoils of silver.
  From heaven the stars fought,
    from their courses they fought against Sisera.
  The torrent Kishon swept them away,
    the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
    March on, my soul, with might!
  “Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs
    with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.
  “Curse Meroz, says the angel of the LORD,
    curse its inhabitants thoroughly,
  because they did not come to the help of the LORD,
    to the help of the LORD against the mighty.
  “Most blessed of women be Jael,
    the wife of Heber the Kenite,
    of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
  He asked for water and she gave him milk;
    she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.
  She sent her hand to the tent peg
    and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
  she struck Sisera;
    she crushed his head;
    she shattered and pierced his temple.
  Between her feet
    he sank, he fell, he lay still;
  between her feet
    he sank, he fell;
  where he sank,
    there he fell—dead.
  “Out of the window she peered,
    the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice:
  ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
    Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
  Her wisest princesses answer,
    indeed, she answers herself,
  ‘Have they not found and divided the spoil?—
    A womb or two for every man;
  spoil of dyed materials for Sisera,
    spoil of dyed materials embroidered,
    two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’
  “So may all your enemies perish, O LORD!
    But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”

And the land had rest for forty years.


Judges 5 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Leadership is a gift.  Wise leadership can be rare.  The role of leadership within any sphere of life is important.  When leadership is undertaking the work of God it’s critical.  For a spiritual leader to thrive, there must be wisdom and discernment.  That leader must know and make a priority each day to tune into the words of God, spend time with Him, seek His face and will for not only that day but the future.  Relying on the counsel of God then acting upon it is one of the marks of an individual who leads well.

God expects leaders who are among His people to actually lead.

Deborah is a fascinating character for sure.  She was the fourth and only female judge of Israel.  She was an interesting mix of wise leadership as she was first known for her prophetic power.  She was acutely attune with God before even called to do what she did.  When faced with challenges and called to step to the plate as a leader, she was able to plan, direct and delegate.

It’s amazing to consider.  God used Deborah to accomplish great victories because she relied on Him and knew other people were part of the plan.  Enlisting others took the weight off her shoulders where they could carry out the task.  She then was able to mediate, advise and counsel as she relied on God’s wisdom in the situation and directed others toward it.

But these victories were not just on the battlefield.  Because Deborah was a good leader, she held great respect among the people.  More than this, she continued to call the people of Israel to live for God after the battle was over.

Critical point: spiritual leadership must never forget about the spiritual condition of those being led.

This should be the driving force and yes, the driving prayers we have if we’re in some form of spiritual leadership. Whether it be within a mission, a church, yes – your family as a parent or grandparent – there is spiritual leadership needed.  And this calling you have needs to circle back continually toward the spiritual condition of the ones or one you’re leading, making wise decisions based upon it.  Seek wisdom and discernment in all things.  Ask for the right words to use and when to speak and be silent.  Lead, and lead well with the gift and responsibility you’ve been given.

Deborah’s life and leadership challenge us all.  She was available to God for what tasks lay ahead and also was available to the people.  Her focus was on what she could do rather than worrying about what challenges she faced.  She was dependent on God.  Let Him orchestrate the pieces to come together.  Deborah’s short story reminds us what a person can accomplish when God is in control and directing.  Take your role seriously and lead well.

Judges 5 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

On the surface, it may appear that this is just a song or poem highlighting past events. However, when digging deep into the style and meaning, this chapter becomes highly complex and even controversial. Part of the confusion lies in the fact that its part ballad and part hymn. Scholars have analyzed it through and through to try and come up with a consistent flow and meaning to the “song.” To top it off, this chapter reveals new, more detailed information about the story from Judges 4.

In my opinion, the focus of this song takes a new direction to the events from the previous chapter. Although the narrative was about glory being taken away from Barak and given to a woman, this song puts the emphasis on all those tribes and individuals who have come to support Yahweh. By contrast, it rebukes those who oppose Him. The build-up of the song brings focus to God going before the people and winning the battle before they even set out. As we know, He still does this today.

In many situations, I find myself crippled or paralyzed by what I see in front of me. I cry out to God. Here, we are reminded that those cries do not go unheard. The Lord goes out before us and accomplishes what we could not do. He will fight our battles.

More importantly, he fought THE battle when he conquered sin and death at the cross. Even when things do not go as we want them to, we can find hope in this eternal victory. It should lead us, as it did in Judges 5, to sing songs in worship of the Almighty King.

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