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The Song of Deborah and Barak

And Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day:

“When long hair hangs loosely in Israel,
    when the people willingly offer themselves,
        bless Yahweh!
Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes!
    I will sing to Yahweh;
    I will sing praise to Yahweh,
        the God of Israel.
Yahweh, when you went down from Seir,
    when you marched from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled, the heavens poured down,
    the clouds poured down water.
The mountains trembled[a] before Yahweh,
    this Sinai, at the presence of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
“In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
    in the days of Jael, the caravans had ceased,
    the travelers,[b] they kept to the byways.[c]
The warriors[d] ceased;
    they failed to appear in Israel,
until I,[e] Deborah, arose;
    I[f] arose as a mother in Israel.
God chose new leaders,[g]
    then war was at the gates;
a small shield or a spear was not seen
    among forty thousand in Israel.
My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel,
    those offering themselves willingly among the people;
        bless Yahweh!
10 The riders of white female donkeys,
    those sitting on saddle blankets,
        and those going on the way, talk about it!
11 At the sound of those dividing[h] the sheep
        among the watering places,
    there they will recount the righteous deeds of Yahweh,
    the righteous deeds for his warriors[i] in Israel.
Then the people of Yahweh went down to the gates.
12 “Wake up, wake up, Deborah!
    Wake up, wake up, sing a song!
Get up, Barak!
    Take captive your captives, O son of Abinoam.
13 Then the remnant went down to the nobles;
    the people of Yahweh went down for him[j] against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim is their root into Amalek,
    after you, Benjamin, with your family;
from Makir the commanders went down,
    and from Zebulun those carrying the scepter
        of the military commander.
15 And the chiefs[k] in Issachar were with Deborah;
    and Issachar likewise was with Barak;
    into the valley he was sent to get him from behind.[l]
Among the clans of Reuben
    were great decisions of the heart.[m]
16 Why do you sit among the sheepfolds,
    to hear the calling sounds of the herds?
For the clans of Reuben,
    there were great searchings of the heart.
17 Gilead has remained[n] beyond the Jordan.
    Why did Dan dwell as a foreigner with ships?
Asher sat at the coast of the waters,
    and by his coves he has been settling down.
18 Zebulun is a people who scorned death,
    and Naphtali, on the heights of the field.
19 “The kings came, they fought;
    then the kings of Canaan fought;
at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo,
    they got no plunder in silver.
20 The stars fought from heaven;
    from their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 The wadi[o] torrent of Kishon swept them away,
    the raging wadi torrent,
        the wadi torrent of Kishon.
    March on, my soul, with strength!
22 “Then the hooves of the horse beat loudly,
    because of galloping, galloping of his stallions.
23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ says the angel of Yahweh;
    ‘curse bitterly its inhabitants,
because they did not come to the help of Yahweh,
    to the help of Yahweh against the mighty.’
24 “Most blessed of women is Jael,
    the wife of Heber the Kenite;
        most blessed is she of women among tent dwellers.
25 He asked for water, and she gave milk;
    in a drinking bowl for nobles, she brought curds.
26 She reached out her hand to the peg,
    and her right hand for the workman’s hammer;
and she struck Sisera, crushed his head,
    and she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 Between her feet he sank, he fell, he lay.
    Between her feet he sank down, he fell;
        Where he sank down, there he fell—dead.[p]
28 “Through the window she looked down;
    the mother of Sisera cried out through the lattice,
‘Why is his chariot delayed in coming?
    Why do the hoof beats[q] of his chariot tarry?’
29 The wisest of her ladies answer her;
    she also answers the question herself:
30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the plunder?
    A bedmate or two bedmates for every man;[r]
colorful garments for Sisera,
    plunder of colorful garments,[s]
beautifully finished colorful garments,
    on the neck of the plunderer?’
31 So may all your enemies perish, O Yahweh,
but those who love him are like the rising sun at its brightest.”

And the land had rest for forty years.


  1. Judges 5:5 Or “quaked”
  2. Judges 5:6 Literally “the ones walking on the paths”
  3. Judges 5:6 Literally “they went on the crooked roads”
  4. Judges 5:7 Others interpret this word as referring to the “rural dwellers”
  5. Judges 5:7 Or “you”
  6. Judges 5:7 Or “you”
  7. Judges 5:8 ESV, NRSV translate “when new gods were chosen”
  8. Judges 5:11 Meaning uncertain; other translations have “archers” (Tanakh), “musicians” (ESV, NRSV) or “singers” (NIV, HCSB)
  9. Judges 5:11 Hebrew “warrior”
  10. Judges 5:13 Hebrew “me”
  11. Judges 5:15 Hebrew “my chiefs”; ancient translations read “the chiefs”
  12. Judges 5:15 Literally “he was sent at his feet”
  13. Judges 5:15 Or “thoughts of the heart”
  14. Judges 5:17 Or “stayed”
  15. Judges 5:21 A valley that is dry most of the year, but contains a stream during the rainy season
  16. Judges 5:27 Literally “devastated”
  17. Judges 5:28 Or “steps”
  18. Judges 5:30 Literally “a womb, two wombs for head of every man”
  19. Judges 5:30 Hebrew “garment”