The Song of Deborah

Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam (A)sang on that day, saying:

“When[a] leaders (B)lead in Israel,
(C)When the people [b]willingly offer themselves,
Bless the Lord!

“Hear,(D) O kings! Give ear, O princes!
I, even (E)I, will sing to the Lord;
I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.

Lord, (F)when You went out from Seir,
When You marched from (G)the field of Edom,
The earth trembled and the heavens poured,
The clouds also poured water;
(H)The mountains [c]gushed before the Lord,
(I)This Sinai, before the Lord God of Israel.

“In the days of (J)Shamgar, son of Anath,
In the days of (K)Jael,
(L)The highways were deserted,
And the travelers walked along the byways.
Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Arose a mother in Israel.
They chose (M)new gods;
Then there was war in the gates;
Not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.
My heart is with the rulers of Israel
Who offered themselves willingly with the people.
Bless the Lord!

10 “Speak, you who ride on white (N)donkeys,
Who sit in judges’ attire,
And who walk along the road.
11 Far from the noise of the archers, among the watering places,
There they shall recount the righteous acts of the Lord,
The righteous acts for His villagers in Israel;
Then the people of the Lord shall go down to the gates.

12 “Awake,(O) awake, Deborah!
Awake, awake, sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and lead your captives away,
O son of Abinoam!

13 “Then the survivors came down, the people against the nobles;
The Lord came down for me against the mighty.
14 From Ephraim were those whose roots were in (P)Amalek.
After you, Benjamin, with your peoples,
From Machir rulers came down,
And from Zebulun those who bear the recruiter’s staff.
15 And [d]the princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
As Issachar, so was Barak
Sent into the valley [e]under his command;
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great resolves of heart.
16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds,
To hear the pipings for the flocks?
The divisions of Reuben have great searchings of heart.
17 (Q)Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan,
And why did Dan remain [f]on ships?
(R)Asher continued at the seashore,
And stayed by his inlets.
18 (S)Zebulun is a people who jeopardized their lives to the point of death,
Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield.

19 “The kings came and fought,
Then the kings of Canaan fought
In (T)Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
They took no spoils of silver.
20 They fought from the heavens;
The stars from their courses fought against Sisera.
21 (U)The torrent of Kishon swept them away,
That ancient torrent, the torrent of Kishon.
O my soul, march on in strength!
22 Then the horses’ hooves pounded,
The galloping, galloping of his steeds.
23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the [g]angel of the Lord,
‘Curse its inhabitants bitterly,
Because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
To the help of the Lord against the mighty.’

24 “Most blessed among women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
(V)Blessed is she among women in tents.
25 He asked for water, she gave milk;
She brought out cream in a lordly bowl.
26 She stretched her hand to the tent peg,
Her right hand to the workmen’s hammer;
She pounded Sisera, she pierced his head,
She split and struck through his temple.
27 At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still;
At her feet he sank, he fell;
Where he sank, there he fell (W)dead.

28 “The mother of Sisera looked through the window,
And cried out through the lattice,
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why tarries the clatter of his chariots?’
29 Her wisest [h]ladies answered her,
Yes, she [i]answered herself,
30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoil:
To every man a girl or two;
For Sisera, plunder of dyed garments,
Plunder of garments embroidered and dyed,
Two pieces of dyed embroidery for the neck of the looter?’

31 “Thus let all Your enemies (X)perish, O Lord!
But let those who love Him be (Y)like the (Z)sun
When it comes out in full (AA)strength.”

So the land had rest for forty years.


  1. Judges 5:2 Or When locks are loosed
  2. Judges 5:2 volunteer
  3. Judges 5:5 flowed
  4. Judges 5:15 So with LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg.; MT And my princes in Issachar
  5. Judges 5:15 Lit. at his feet
  6. Judges 5:17 Or at ease
  7. Judges 5:23 Or Angel
  8. Judges 5:29 princesses
  9. Judges 5:29 Lit. repeats her words to herself

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