Judges 5

 

וַתָּשַׁר דְּבוֹרָה וּבָרָק בֶּן־אֲבִינֹעַם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר׃   5:1

Judg. 5:1   Then Deborah sang, and Barak son of Abinoam, on that day saying,

בִּפְרֹעַ פְּרָעוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּהִתְנַדֵּב עָם בָּרֲכוּ יְהוָה׃   5:2

Judg. 5:2   “Letting the hair grow long in Israel,

                             offering willingly,

                     the people have blessed the Lord.”

This verse has led to a great deal of conjecture among the commentators.  I believe it’s because the verse has been mistranslated and misunderstood. The meaning of the first two words has been derived primarily from the Septuagint, in which the words were translated as for the leading of the leaders.  The ancient rabbis missed or ignored the alternative translation of the first two words, tA[r'P. [;rop.B, letting the hair grow long.  As far as I am concerned the Septuagint translation makes little sense in the context.  As I have translated the verse (precisely true to the grammar), it appears to have one simple meaning.  It refers to the God-loving people who blessed the Lord by their observance of the commandments as exemplified by not cutting the hair or trimming the beard and making willing sacrifices.                                                                            [Return to Numb. 6:5]

שִׁמְעוּ מְלָכִים הַאֲזִינוּ רֹזְנִים אָנֹכִי לַיהוָה אָנֹכִי אָשִׁירָה אֲזַמֵּר לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   5:3

Judg. 5:3   “Hear, kings!  Give ear, princes!

                             I, to the Lord will sing.

                     I will sing praises to the Lord, God of Israel.”

יְהוָה בְּצֵאתְךָ מִשֵּׂעִיר בְּצַעְדְּךָ מִשְּׂדֵה אֱדוֹם אֶרֶץ רָעָשָׁה גַּם־שָׁמַיִם נָטָפוּ גַּם־עָבִים נָטְפוּ מָיִם׃   5:4

Judg. 5:4   “O Lord, by Your coming forth from Seir,

                            by Your marching out of the field of Edom,

                     the earth trembled, also the skies dripped,

                            also the clouds dropped water.”

הָרִים נָזְלוּ מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה זֶה סִינַי מִפְּנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   5:5

Judg. 5:5   “Mountains melted from the presence of the Lord,

                            that Sinai, from the presence of the Lord, God of Israel.”

בִּימֵי שַׁמְגַּר בֶּן־עֲנָת בִּימֵי יָעֵל חָדְלוּ אֳרָחוֹת וְהֹלְכֵי נְתִיבוֹת יֵלְכוּ אֳרָחוֹת עֲקַלְקַלּוֹת׃   5:6

Judg. 5:6   “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,

                            in the days of Jael,  the highways ended,

                     and the wayfarers of the roads trod crooked byways.”

Shamgar is the judge who slew 600 Philistines (Judg. 3:31), and Jael is the wife of Heber who slew Sisera (Judg. 4:21).  Apparently, the people were not faithful to the Lord in their time.  I imagine the highways are a metaphor for the Lord’s ways.

חָדְלוּ פְרָזוֹן בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל חָדֵלּוּ עַד שַׁקַּמְתִּי דְּבוֹרָה שַׁקַּמְתִּי אֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃   5:7

Judg. 5:7   “The rulers ceased,

                            in Israel they ceased,

                     ‘until I raised up Deborah,

                            I raised up a mother in Israel.’”

יִבְחַר אֱלֹהִים חֲדָשִׁים אָז לָחֶם שְׁעָרִים מָגֵן אִם־יֵרָאֶה וָרֹמַח בְּאַרְבָּעִים אֶלֶף בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃   5:8

Judg. 5:8   “It will choose new gods,

                            then war shall be at the gates.

                     Shall it see a shield or a spear

                            among forty thousand in Israel?”

לִבִּי לְחוֹקְקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמִּתְנַדְּבִים בָּעָם בָּרֲכוּ יְהוָה׃   5:9

Judg. 5:9   “My heart is for the law givers of Israel who,

                            offering themselves willingly on behalf of the people,

                     blessed the Lord.”

רֹכְבֵי אֲתֹנוֹת צְחֹרוֹת יֹשְׁבֵי עַל־מִדִּין וְהֹלְכֵי עַל־דֶּרֶךְ שִׂיחוּ׃   5:10

Judg. 5:10   “Riders of white asses,

                              sitters on judges' seats,

                       and wayfarers on the way, declared

מִקּוֹל מְחַצְצִים בֵּין מַשְׁאַבִּים שָׁם יְתַנּוּ צִדְקוֹת יְהוָה צִדְקֹת פִּרְזֹנוֹ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל אָז יָרְדוּ לַשְּׁעָרִים   5:11

עַם־יְהוָה׃

Judg. 5:11   with a voice like archers between the watering places,

                             ‘There they shall celebrate the righteous acts of the Lord,

                       the righteous acts of His rulers in Israel.’

                             Then the people of the Lord went down to the gates.”

I suspect that the phrase I have translated as “with a voice like archers” implies that the voice sends out arrows, thereby being loud and widely spread.

עוּרִי עוּרִי דְּבוֹרָה עוּרִי עוּרִי דַּבְּרִי־שִׁיר קוּם בָּרָק וּשֲׁבֵה שֶׁבְיְךָ בֶּן־אֲבִינֹעַם׃   5:12

Judg. 5:12   “Arise, arise, Deborah!

                              Wake up, wake up, utter a song!

                       Stand, Barak son of Abinoam,

                              and lead away your captives.”

אָז יְרַד שָׂרִיד לְאַדִּירִים עָם יְהוָה יְרַד־לִי בַּגִּבּוֹרִים׃   5:13

Judg. 5:13   “Then a remnant shall rule for the worthy of the people,

                              the Lord shall make me to have dominion over the mighty.”

I suspect that this verse is actually Deborah’s own utterance, not her echo of the Lord.

מִנִּי אֶפְרַיִם שָׁרְשָׁם בַּעֲמָלֵק אַחֲרֶיךָ בִנְיָמִין בַּעֲמָמֶיךָ מִנִּי מָכִיר יָרְדוּ מְחֹקְקִים וּמִזְּבוּלֻן מֹשְׁכִים   5:14

בְּשֵׁבֶט סֹפֵר׃

Judg. 5:14   “The root of them was out of Ephraim against Amalek,

                              after you, Benjamin, with your people.

                       Out of Machir came down who were governors,

                              and out of Zebulun, who were handlers with a rod of the scribe.”

לָמָּה יָשַׁבְתָּ בֵּין הַמִּשְׁפְּתַיִם לִשְׁמֹעַ שְׁרִקוֹת עֲדָרִים לִפְלַגּוֹת רְאוּבֵן גְּדוֹלִים חִקְרֵי־לֵב׃   5:15

Judg. 5:15   “And the chiefs over Issachar were with Deborah,

                              and Issachar, likewise Barak;

                       in the valley he spread forth at his feet.

                              In the divisions of Reuben were great resolves of the heart:”

גִּלְעָד בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן שָׁכֵן וְדָן לָמָּה יָגוּר אֳנִיּוֹת אָשֵׁר יָשַׁב לְחוֹף יַמִּים וְעַל מִפְרָצָיו יִשְׁכּוֹן׃   5:16

Judg. 5:16   “Why did you sit between the sheepfolds,

                              to hear the bleatings of the flocks?

                       For the divisions of Reuben,

                              great searchings of the heart?”

זְבֻלוּן עַם חֵרֵף נַפְשׁוֹ לָמוּת וְנַפְתָּלִי עַל מְרוֹמֵי שָׂדֶה׃   5:17

Judg. 5:17   “Gilead dwelled on the other side of the Jordan,

                              and Dan, why would he be afraid of the ships?

                       Asher remained by the shore of the seas,

                              and he will abide over its landing places.”

בָּאוּ מְלָכִים נִלְחָמוּ אָז נִלְחֲמוּ מַלְכֵי כְנַעַן בְּתַעְנַךְ עַל־מֵי מְגִדּוֹ בֶּצַע כֶּסֶף לֹא לָקָחוּ׃   5:18

Judg. 5:18   “Zebulun, a people, jeopardized itself to the death,

                              and Naphtali, on the high places of the land.”

מִן־שָׁמַיִם נִלְחָמוּ הַכּוֹכָבִים מִמְּסִלּוֹתָם נִלְחֲמוּ עִם־סִיסְרָא׃   5:19

Judg. 5:19   The kings came, they fought,

                              then the kings of Canaan fought in Taanach

                       by the waters of Megiddo.

                             They did not take any gain of money.”

נַחַל קִישׁוֹן גְּרָפָם נַחַל קְדוּמִים נַחַל קִישׁוֹן תִּדְרְכִי נַפְשִׁי עֹז׃   5:20

Judg. 5:20   “From heaven they fought,

                             the stars from their courses

                       fought against Sisera.”

אָז הָלְמוּ עִקְּבֵי־סוּס מִדַּהֲרוֹת דַּהֲרוֹת אַבִּירָיו׃   5:21

Judg. 5:21   “The brook of Kishon swept them away;

                              the brook of Kishon is an ancient brook.

                       Guide, O my soul, forcefully!”

אָז הָלְמוּ עִקְּבֵי־סוּס מִדַּהֲרוֹת דַּהֲרוֹת אַבִּירָיו׃   5:22

Judg. 5:22   “Then the horse hooves stamped from the prancings,

                              the prancings of His mighty ones.”

אוֹרוּ מֵרוֹז אָמַר מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה אֹרוּ אָרוֹר יֹשְׁבֶיהָ כִּי לֹא־בָאוּ לְעֶזְרַת יְהוָה לְעֶזְרַת יְהוָה בַּגִּבּוֹרִים׃   5:23

Judg. 5:23   “’Cursed be Meroz!’ said an angel of the Lord.

                              ‘Cursed bitterly be its inhabitants,

                       because they did not come to the aid of the Lord,

                              to the aid of the Lord against the mighty.’”

תְּבֹרַךְ מִנָּשִׁים יָעֵל אֵשֶׁת חֶבֶר הַקֵּינִי מִנָּשִׁים בָּאֹהֶל תְּבֹרָךְ׃   5:24

Judg. 5:24   “Blessed of women shall be Jael,

                              wife of Heber, the Kenite;

                       of women in the tent shall she be blessed.”

מַיִם שָׁאַל חָלָב נָתָנָה בְּסֵפֶל אַדִּירִים הִקְרִיבָה חֶמְאָה׃   5:25

Judg. 5:25   “Water he asked, milk she gave;

                              in a bowl of nobles she brought curd.”

יָדָהּ לַיָּתֵד תִּשְׁלַחְנָה וִימִינָהּ לְהַלְמוּת עֲמֵלִים וְהָלְמָה סִיסְרָא מָחֲקָה רֹאשׁוֹ וּמָחֲצָה וְחָלְפָה רַקָּתוֹ׃   5:26

Judg. 5:26   “Her hand to the pin she would put,

                              and her right hand to a hammer of workmen.

                       And she hammered Sisera, crushed his head,

                              and she pierced and passed through his temples.”

בֵּין רַגְלֶיהָ כָּרַע נָפַל שָׁכָב בֵּין רַגְלֶיהָ כָּרַע נָפָל בַּאֲשֶׁר כָּרַע שָׁם נָפַל שָׁדוּד׃   5:27

Judg. 5:27   “At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay,

                              at her feet he sank, he fell;

                       where he sank, there he fell dead.”

בְּעַד הַחַלּוֹן נִשְׁקְפָה וַתְּיַבֵּב אֵם סִיסְרָא בְּעַד הָאֶשְׁנָב מַדּוּעַ בֹּשֵׁשׁ רִכְבּוֹ לָבוֹא מַדּוּעַ אֶחֱרוּ פַּעֲמֵי   5:28

מַרְכְּבוֹתָיו׃

Judg. 5:28   Through the window the mother of Sisera

                               looked forth and cried out, through the lattice,

                       ‘Why has been delayed his chariot to come?

                               Why have tarried the ranks of his chariots?’”

חַכְמוֹת שָׂרוֹתֶיהָ תַּעֲנֶינָּה אַף־הִיא תָּשִׁיב אֲמָרֶיהָ לָהּ׃   5:29

Judg. 5:29   “The wisest of her princesses will answer,

                               even she will respond, saying to herself,

הֲלֹא יִמְצְאוּ יְחַלְּקוּ שָׁלָל רַחַם רַחֲמָתַיִם לְרֹאשׁ גֶּבֶר שְׁלַל צְבָעִים לְסִיסְרָא שְׁלַל צְבָעִים רִקְמָה   5:30

צֶבַע רִקְמָתַיִם לְצַוְּארֵי שָׁלָל׃

Judg. 5:30   ‘Will they not find, divide the spoil?

                              A damsel, two damsels to every man,

                       a spoil of dyed garments for Sisera,

                              a spoil of dyed garments of embroidery,

                       colors, two embroideries for the neck of a spoiler?’”

כֵּן יֹאבְדוּ כָל־אוֹיְבֶיךָ יְהוָה וְאֹהֲבָיו כְּצֵאת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ בִּגְבֻרָתוֹ וַתִּשְׁקֹט הָאָרֶץ אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה׃   5:31

Judg. 5:31   “Thus shall perish all Your enemies, O Lord.

                              But His friends shall be like the going forth of the sun

                       with all its might.”

 And the land had rest forty years.

 

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