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Bible Commentaries
Judges 5

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Chapter 5

And then sang Deborah and Barak the song of Abinoam on that day, saying [or Barak the son of Abinoam] ( Judges 5:1 )

So this is the song of Deborah and Barak,

[Hallelujah,] Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel. LORD, when you went out of Seir, when you marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted from before the LORD, Mount Sinai the LORD God of Israel. In the days of Shamgar ( Judges 5:2-6 )

Now here's the next mention of Shamgar and it jumps all the way from Mount Sinai to Shamgar. It's interesting that not more is written of him in the text.

the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked by the byways ( Judges 5:6 ).

Now it is speaking really of the fear in which the people lived in these days. They were oppressed by their enemies so bad that they wouldn't take the main roads when they wanted to go someplace. They'd always go by the back roads because their enemies were possessing the land. If they would take the main roads that they'd be ripped off by their enemies. So, in getting from one place to another, so much fear that they would always by way of the back roads to get to-from one place to another.

The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, I arose a mother in Israel. And they chose new gods; then was war in the gates: there was a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel? ( Judges 5:7-8 )

Actually there-was there a shield or spear? Actually, they were just disarmed, they had nothing.

My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people, Bless ye the LORD. They that are delivered from the noise of the archers [they that are delivered from the noise of the archers] in the places of drawing water ( Judges 5:9 , Judges 5:11 ),

Actually they were so oppressed by their enemies that their enemies would go to the springs and to the places where there were water and they would just sit in the bushes with their bows and arrows. People would come, they would just take target practice at the people. I mean, they really were living a very tough life. They had forsaken God. God had forsaken them.

And there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of the villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates. Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: rise, Barak, and lead the captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. And he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles [and so forth] ( Judges 5:11-13 )

And so it's the song of victory and how God delivered and the question: Why didn't other tribes come to help?

But Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto to death in the high places of the field. The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan and Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength. Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the prancings, and the prancings of the mighty ones ( Judges 5:18-22 ).

And so, God fought with them. A rain, a flood that took away their chariots and destroyed them there in the valley of Megiddo or they got bogged, or the chariots became bogged in the mud. And then the curse of Meroz.

Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty ( Judges 5:23 ).

The curse of Meroz was the curse of not doing anything, trying to take a neutral position, standing back and not offering to help in the work of God. It is tragic that many people today are guilty of the same thing; not involvement, standing back. God is wanting to do a work in this world today. God has chosen to use people to do His work. And when a call comes out from God it is our responsibility to respond to that call of God. And if we don't respond to the call of God to help the Lord to do His work, you say, "God doesn't need my help." That is so true. But He's chosen to use your help and if God chooses to use your help then you better help. And if you do not help when God has chosen you to use your help, then you rest under the curse. God will do his thing. God will do his work.

Even as Mordecai assured Esther, "If you fail, then their deliverance will arise from another quarter but you're gonna be cut off, you're gonna be slain, you're gonna lose out." God will deliver his people, that's got to be. God is gonna do His work but God uses men to do His work. God calls men to do His work. If you fail to respond to the call of God, if you fail to help God to do His work, God will do His work but you as Meroz will be cursed.

Curse ye bitterly, for they came not to the help of the LORD in the battle against the mighty ( Judges 5:23 ).

And so, then she pronounces the blessing upon Jael, the wife of Heber.

She shall be above all the women in the tent. He asked for water, she gave him milk: she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he laid down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead. The mother of Sisera looked out the window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? And her wise ladies answered her, O, she returned answering to herself. Have they not sped? Have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, divers colours of needlework on both sides, that are fit for the necks of them that shall take the spoil? So all thine enemies shall perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest for forty years ( Judges 5:24-31 ).

So, Deborah, an interesting person. Quite a song that she wrote. The purpose of these songs was to put the people into remembrance again of God's delivering power. They'd often write the victories of God in songs and then they would sing these songs. And in the singing of the songs you remember a song many times long after you've forgotten incidents, the song is still there in your mind and you're singing. And many times you sing just because you like the tune. You're not even paying any attention to the words but then suddenly the words begin to sink in. And so that was the purpose of putting the works of God to song in those days and it was often done.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Judges 5". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/judges-5.html. 2014.
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