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The Song of Deborah

Then sang Deb′orah and Barak the son of Abin′o-am on that day:

“That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
    that the people offered themselves willingly,
    bless[a] 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 thou didst go forth from Se′ir,
    when thou didst march from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled,
    and the heavens dropped,
    yea, the clouds dropped water.
The mountains quaked before the Lord,
    yon Sinai before the Lord, the God of Israel.

“In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
    in the days of Ja′el, caravans ceased
    and travelers kept to the byways.
The peasantry ceased in Israel, they ceased
    until you arose, Deb′orah,
    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.

10 “Tell of it, you who ride on tawny asses,
    you who sit on rich carpets[b]
    and you who walk by the way.
11 To the sound of musicians[c] at the watering places,
    there they repeat the triumphs of the Lord,
    the triumphs of his peasantry in Israel.

“Then down to the gates marched the people of the Lord.

12 “Awake, awake, Deb′orah!
    Awake, awake, utter a song!
Arise, Barak, lead away your captives,
    O son of Abin′o-am.
13 Then down marched the remnant of the noble;
    the people of the Lord marched down for him[d] against the mighty.
14 From E′phraim they set out thither[e] into the valley,[f]
    following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen;
from Machir marched down the commanders,
    and from Zeb′ulun those who bear the marshal’s staff;
15 the princes of Is′sachar came with Deb′orah,
    and Is′sachar faithful to Barak;
    into the valley they rushed forth at his heels.
Among the clans of Reuben
    there were great searchings of heart.
16 Why did you tarry among the sheepfolds,
    to hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the clans of Reuben
    there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan;
    and Dan, why did he abide with the ships?
Asher sat still at the coast of the sea,
    settling down by his landings.
18 Zeb′ulun is a people that jeoparded their lives to the death;
    Naph′tali too, on the heights of the field.

19 “The kings came, they fought;
    then fought the kings of Canaan,
at Ta′anach, by the waters of Megid′do;
    they got no spoils of silver.
20 From heaven fought the stars,
    from their courses they fought against Sis′era.
21 The torrent Kishon swept them away,
    the onrushing torrent, the torrent Kishon.
    March on, my soul, with might!

22 “Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs
    with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.

23 “Curse Meroz, says the angel of the Lord,
    curse bitterly its inhabitants,
because they came not to the help of the Lord,
    to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

24 “Most blessed of women be Ja′el,
    the wife of Heber the Ken′ite,
    of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
25 He asked water and she gave him milk,
    she brought him curds in a lordly bowl.
26 She put her hand to the tent peg
    and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
she struck Sis′era a blow,
    she crushed his head,
    she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 He sank, he fell,
    he lay still at her feet;
at her feet he sank, he fell;
    where he sank, there he fell dead.

28 “Out of the window she peered,
    the mother of Sis′era gazed[g] through the lattice:
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
    Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
29 Her wisest ladies make answer,
    nay, she gives answer to herself,
30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoil?—
    A maiden or two for every man;
spoil of dyed stuffs for Sis′era,
    spoil of dyed stuffs embroidered,
    two pieces of dyed work embroidered for my neck as spoil?’

31 “So perish all thine enemies, O Lord!
    But thy friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.”

And the land had rest for forty years.


  1. Judges 5:2 Or You who offered yourselves willingly among the people, bless
  2. Judges 5:10 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
  3. Judges 5:11 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain
  4. Judges 5:13 Gk: Heb me
  5. Judges 5:14 Cn: Heb From Ephraim their root
  6. Judges 5:14 Gk: Heb in Amalek
  7. Judges 5:28 Gk Compare Tg: Heb exclaimed

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