JUDGES 5 € "THE SONG OF DEBORAH"
V. 1 "Then sang Deborah".
Deborah, like Miriam was a prophetess (Judges 4:4, Ex.15:20-21). It was Miriam who led the women in songs and dancing to extol the victory of Yahweh as a "Man of War" against the Egyptians (Ex. 15:3). We have other notable songs recorded in the Scriptures of truth, which have been written by faithful women. Hannah extolled Yahweh for the gift of a son whom she subsequently devoted to His service (1 Samuel 2:1-10). Mary the mother of Jesus, likewise composed a song eloquent in its praise and adoration, which she expressed in faithfulness for the privilege of being chosen to give birth to the Son of God (Luke 1:46-55). These three songs composed by Deborah, Hannah, and Mary are all very similar. They express the joyfulness which results in a triumph of the spirit over the arrogant and boastful manifestations of human nature.
v.2-3 Praise to Yahweh
v.2 "Praise ye Yahweh for the avenging of Israel"
The word "avenging" is made up of two Hebrew words; the word is "Para-Peraoth". "Para" means "to loosen", i.e. the hair, it is rendered "uncover" in relation to the hair (Lev. 10:6, 21:10), and is used of a woman's hair also (Numbers 5:18). It has also been rendered "to make naked". (Ex. 32:25), and has been rendered by the R.S.V. "to break loose." Thus the sense of this first word in the context of this song would seem to be the breaking loose and uncovering of long hair. The second word "Peraoth" means "beginning" in the sense of leadership, and the only other occurrence of this word is in Deut. 32:42. The various renderings of which show the uncertainty of the translators, and yet, which give a clue to the actual meaning of the word as used in the context of this song.
The various renderings of the latter portion of verse 42 of Deuteronomy 32 are as follows:-
A.V. "From the beginning of revenges upon the enemy."
Rotherham Has "chief leaders" for the word "revengers € .
Youngs L.T. "Head of the freeman of the enemy € .
R.s.v. "Long haired head of the enemy".
R.V. "Head of the leaders of the enemy".
Now it will be perceived from these translations that "revengers € does not actually convey the sense of this Hebrew word Peraith", rather is the idea expressed of having to do with long hair and of leadership, and considering these are the only two occurrences of this particular word, it is felt that the Authorised Version does not express the true significance of the original Hebrew. It would seem that Deborah praises Yahweh firstly for "long haired leaders of Israel" an obvious reference to herself and to Jael, making reference to the cus tom of the long hair of the women: for were not women the inst ruments used in this victory (Judges 4:9, 22-23)? The general rendering of this passage of this verse is "For the leadership of the leaders", which is supported by Rotherham, the R.V., R.S.V., and Moffat.
When verse 2 is properly considered, we find that Deborah prai ses Yahweh for the two things which contributed to the over throw of the Gentile oppressors:
- Praise to Yahweh for having provided leadership even though in this case it was of a necessity, a leader ship of women.
- Praise to Yahweh for those people who willingly offer ed themselves in His service to follow the leadership which Deborah provided.
The Hebrew word is "Nadab", "to present spontaneously", "volun teers". Here were people who were prepared "to present their bodies as a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1). There is a great exhortation in these words to all generations. We cannot all be leaders of the people, but we can all praise Yahweh for pro viding us with leadership, and we can all contribute to the cause of the Truth by willingly offering ourselves in His serv ice.
V.3 "Hear, 0 ye Kings".
Here is a summons for heathen kings to listen. Deborah desires that the full effect of the triumph might be made. This same principle was in operation during the exodus, for, one of the reasons why Yahweh wrought such wonderful works is that "My Name might be glorified in all the earth" (Ex. 9:16). Similarly when God's suffering Servant will have returned with glory and power, it will be said of him, "The kings shall shut their mou ths at him, for that which hath not been told them shall they see" (Isa. 52:15).
"I will sing unto Yahweh; I will sing to Yahweh Elohim of Israel".
There are two different Hebrew words employed here for the word "sing". The first word is that generally used to describe the lifting up of the voice in song, whilst the second word which is employed means "to touch lightly", "to strike with the fin gers", that is, on a musical instrument as an accompaniment. We can praise Yahweh in this fashion, "Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5:19). In this quot ation from Ephesians, the word "melody" is used in the sense of an accompanying instrument. Here the Apostle Paul tells us to lift up our voice in song, whilst making sure that our heart is in tune with what our lips are saying; with such praise, Yahweh is well pleased, because it invariably is offered when we gain personal victories over sin by the power which He pro vides in His Word.
"The Lord God of Israel".
Deborah identifies Yahweh with Israel. She has called upon Kings to heed the words of this song, and is anxious for them to know that it is the God who blesses Israel, who has provid ed this victory. She has identified Him with Israel in order to connect Him historically with the great national salvation He effected for His people which Deborah now goes on to desc ribe.
v.4-5 The Typical History of the Exodus
The exodus from Egypt was to be "a memorial" (Ex. 12:14) never to be forgotten. It was a day of national deliverance from bondage, and the facts of this deliverance stand in the Divine record as an absolute guarantee of Yahweh's power to save. As such it was enjoined upon Israel never to forget this wonder ful event in the history of their nation (Ex.13:14-16). This typical history of the exodus finds expression in the follow ing Scriptural quotations, and is used in various ways:-
1. Deuteronomy 33:1-3.
Here is a prophecy of a future manifestation of Divine power from Sinai where the exodus is used as a type of the coming deliverance of the Israel of God.
2. 2 Samuel 22:7-20 (Psalm 18).
In this place David sees in the exodus a type of individual and personal deliverance from the thraldom of sin and death.
3. Psalm 68:17-18.
Again a prophecy of the future manifestations of Divine glory from Sinai.
4. Psalm 77:11-20
The exodus is here seen as the basis of confidence in Yahweh who can deliver in a time of affliction.
5. Habakkuk 3:3
A quotation from Deuteronomy 33 speaking of the same mani festation of glory from Sinai.
6. Ephesians 4:8
The exodus is here seen as a type of Christ's victory over death, and the means of redemption and deliverance from the bondage of mortality.
V.4 "Yakweh when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou mavahest out of the field of Edom".
The territories of Seir, and of Edom, were the same, for the Edomites had dispossessed the Horims who were the original dwellers of Mount Seir (Deut.2:12). Deborah is here speaking of the victories which Yahweh wrought through Israel in their march .through the wilderness from Sinai onwards. There was a similarity between Israel's experience then, and the experien ce of Barak and his followers of Deborah's own generation. Both generations had been called to a mountain, there to be reminded of the glory of Yahweh and to have set before them the purpose which Yahweh had with them. Barak like Israel of old, faced difficulties to be overcome before there could be peaceful settlement in the land, and in the overcoming of these difficulties, both generations were given the assurance that Yahweh would march before them.
"The earth trembled".
"To undulate", "to move like waves". The word is used as an ex pression of fear. It is rendered "shook" (Psalm 68:8, 77:18), both of which quote from Ex. 19:18. In each quote the word "quake" means to "shudder with terror", and this same word is also rendered "trembled" in relation to the fear which gripped the camp of Israel (Ex. 19:16). Here was a manifestation of Divine power.
"The heavens dropped".
"to ooze", "to distil", "to fall in drops". This particular word is used as an expression "to speak by inspiration" (Job 29:22, Ez. 20:46, 21:2). The same word is rendered "prophesy" three times in Micah 2:6 also Zech. 13:3, and "prophet" in Micah 2:11. Moses in speaking of the manifestations of Yahweh's Word among His people, said, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass" (Deut.32:2).
At Sinai, as well as at Mount Tabor, there had been the revel ation of Almighty God which as a distilling dew was to refresh them and to enthuse them for the work which was before them. Such is the effect of the Word upon all who study it.
"The clouds also dropped water."
Although it is not recorded in the historical record, it is obvious from this quotation and from Psalm 68:8, that Israel experienced a heavy downpour of rain in the barren harsh des ert of Sinai. One can imagine what a tremendous relief and source of refreshment and encouragement this outpouring of rain must have been. In Psalm 68 David says, "Thou, 0 God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby Thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary." We have seen that rain is a symbol of the Word of God, and have confirmation of this (see Isa. 55:9-11). There is no greater source of refreshment to the weary soul than the Water of Life as expressed in the Scriptures of Truth.
v.5 "The mountains melted."
The word means "to drip", or "shed by trickling", and is ren dered "to overflow" (Psalm 147:18, Isa. 48:21). The figure of a mountain melting is used by Isaiah of the levelling of Yahweh's enemies (Isa. 64:1-2). John the Baptist also proclaimed this same fact when he said, "Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low" (Luke 3:5). When he spoke these words he was applying them in an individual sense, but it is true on a national scale, for when Israel shall be exalted, the nations of the earth, like trembling mountains will flow down at the presence of Yahweh. Isaiah again epitomises this principle when he says, "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isa. 2:2).
v.6-8 The Prevailing Conditions in Israel During the Period of Oppression.
V.6 € The highways were unoccupied."
Such was the oppression of the Gentiles that the well-trodden roads in Israel were unsafe for travel, thus greatly affecting the commerce and social life of the people.
Travellers walked through byways.
"Byways € were "tortuous tracks" winding their way through uninhabited tracts of territory which were removed from the main centres in Israel so that the traveller had to traverse many more miles over rough and oftimes isolated tracks, in order tq get from one city to another.
v.7 "The inhabitants of the villages ceased."
The original word for "villages" is susceptible to two mean ings. It has the meaning of an unwalled village; being in this sense, it shows how that the people living in outlying areas had to seek the refuge of defenced cities. However, the word also conveys the idea of a "chieftain", that is, a ruler of these villages, and it would appear in the context of this verse that Deborah is making reference to the ruler rather than to the villages themselves. We note that the words "inhabitants of", are in italics, and therefore form no.part of the original Hebrew. Substituting "rulers" for "villagers" the verse presents a better sense: "The rulers ceased...until I Deborah arose, that I arose, a mother in Israel". This is in accord with her earlier statement concerning the raising up of the long haired leaders of Israel (see notes on verse 2). What a terrible state Israel had fallen into, when there lacked a man with sufficient moral courage to lead the nation in this time of crisis.
V.8. "They chose new gods: then was there war in the gates".
Here is cause and effect. The apostacy of Israel brought about their own calamity, a calamity which was brought to the very front doors of the nation, to the gates of their cities.
"Was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?"
This indicates non-preparedness. Israel were utterly defence less, and yet a great victory was won by the power of faith.
V.9 "My heart is toward the governors of Israel."
The original Hebrew word for "Governor" means "to hack", "to engrave", hence it conveys the sense of a lawgiver as engrav ing a law in stone. The word is rendered several times, "law giver", and a classical example of this meaning in this re spect is Genesis 49:10. We note with interest that it was this class who were first among the volunteers. They were not military men, but those who applied themselves to the under standing of the truth, engraving it upon the tablets of their heart (2 Cor. 3:3). These are they who willingly offered themselves in the cause of truth.
V.10 "Speak ye."
The word "speak" means "to meditate", "to ponder and consider" and Deborah now calls upon all classes in Israel to consider the faith and courage of these willing volunteers who were prepared to sacrifice themselves for the hope of Israel. We note how that she includes all in this call for meditation; Those that "ride", "sit", and "walk."
"Ride on white asses."
The nobles of Israel rode on white asses as a mark of distinc tion (Judges 10:4, 11 Sam.16:2). The nobility are here called upon to meditate.
"Ye that sit in judgment."
The word "judgment" is used in the sense of clothing, that is, of official robes of office. It is used of the priests' gar ments (Lev. 6:10), also of David's armour (1 Sam.18:4), and is also used in the sense of a measure (Job 11:9). Hence these that sit in judgment were those clothed in the official garments of the judges. Young's literal renders this phrase, "Sitters on the long robe."
"Walk by the way"
The common people are called upon to meditate on this song.
V.11 This is a most difficult verse to understand. The pres ence of so many words in italics indicates the uncertainty in the translator's mind. We will give a more literal translat ion for some of the phrases, and then piece together this verse to arrive at a better understanding of it.
"The noise of the archers."
The word "archer" means "to chop into pieces", "to pierce or sever", "to distribute", and is rendered "cut off in the mid st ' (Job 21:21), and in the only other occurrence of it, it is rendered "by bands" (Proverbs 30:27). In this place in the Proverbs it is used of the locusts who go forth by bands, or as the R.s.V. "march in rank." Hence the word has the basic meaning of "to divide."
In the places of drawing water."
In the eastern custom, it was the woman's job to draw water from the well (Gen. 24:11, Ex. 2:15-16).
"To attribute honour", "to commemorate", "to ascribe". This same word is rendered "lament" (Judges 11:40). Its basic meaning is "commemoration."
"Of his villages in Israel."
To render this consistently with verse 7, we have "of his rulers in Israel."
"The people of the Lord go down to the gates."
The gates of the cities in ancient times were centres of ad ministration and justice where the people resorted to have justice dispensed in matters of law and controversy. It was here that those responsible in Israel gathered to adjudicate in such matters (Deut. 16:18, Joshua 20:4, Jer. 17:19-20).
Having then interpreted the words of verse 11 according to their usage, this would appear to be Deborah's teaching in this place:
"The noise of those who divided the spoil was heard in the places of drawing water," and it would seem from this that Deborah is recalling the practice of Sisera to take captive those women who were caught defenceless whilst drawing the nec essary provisions of water. A further reference in the latter part of this song clearly shows that they were so captured to be used for immoral purposes by Sisera and his men. How fitt ing therefore, is it, that Sisera should be delivered into the hand of a woman. It is here that Deborah says they would rehearse or commemorate the righteous acts of Yahweh, and the righteous acts of His rulers; and the rulers in question would be none other than Deborah and Jael. What a wonderful thought is presented to us that in the very place where women oftimes gathered and from whence they had been taken captive, there would now be celebrations to commemorate the wonderful victory which was inspired by a woman's faith. Later in this song, Deborah describes the act of faith of Jael when she silenced for ever, Sisera, the enemy of Israel. As she so describes this, she does so in detail, careful to give an exact account of what Jael actually did, describing her movements, and what she did with her right and left hands. In setting this out, Deborah was instilling into the minds of her listeners, the importance of this act of faith, and giving a vivid descript ion which they could rehearse and commemorate in these festiv als around the wells of water. By the righteous and faithful actions of such individuals as Jael and herself, it was now possible for the centres of administration to be again set up.
Instead of there being "war in the gates" (v8), the people now had free access to these centres, and once again justice was administered as it could not be done under the oppressor.
V. 12 "Awake, awake."
Here is a renewed call to praise Yahweh; firstly to Deborah herself, and then to Barak, both of whom owed a great debt of gratitude to the Creator who had vindicated their position by His Divine intervention.
"Lead thy captivity captive."
This is an important sentence in this song as it provides the link by which we are able to see how the principles involved in Barak's victory are seen also in Christ's victory over sin and death. Barak, the deliverer of Israel, had redeemed his people from the king of Canaan, who had taken them captive at his will (Judges 4:2). Similarly, we have been delivered from the bondage of sin which had bound us in servitude (Rom.6:6), and for this reason it is said also of the lord Jesus Christ, "That he led captivity captive," (Eph. 4:8).
This is not the only, quotation from this portion of Deborah's song; in the 68th Psalm also we find these words repeated (Psalm 68:18). This Psalm is a Psalm of deliverance, and is a prophecy of that great deliverance of Yahweh's people, of which the exodus from Egypt was but a type. In this Psalm we have the history of the exodus reviewed in the light of Christ's coming. In V.17 we see him gathered, at Sinai with the angelic host, and with those redeemed from among men. With them he proceeds on his journey from Sinai to Zion to be man ifested in great glory before the nations of the earth. (V.34-35). It is a time of great rejoicing when not the Song of Deborah, but the song of the Redeemed will be sung (Rev.5:9). However, the same principle will be the cause of rejoicing namely that Jesus Christ has "led captivity captive." In other words, there has been a deliverance of a people from the oppression and the bondage of mortality and sin.
In these circumstances it is not difficult to understand why there should be a renewed call to "Awake, awake, Praise ye Yahweh. €
V. 13 in this verse we see that the victory having been gained by the weak and insignificant, they are now given places of honour and distinction over and above the "nobles of the People" who failed to respond to the challenge of faith.
V. 14-18 From this point Deborah begins to outline the reac tions of the various segments of the poeple to the call which had gone forth from herself and Barak.
V.14 "Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek".
Literally, "Out of Ephraim (came down) they whose root was in Amalek" (Rotherham). The Ephraimites occupied that portion of the land formerly held by the Amalekites (Judges 12:15). From this section of the land portion of the tribe of Ephraim had responded.
"Benjamin among thy people."
Benjamin followed the example of Ephraim.
"Out of Machir came down governors."
Machir was the first born of Manasseh (Joshua 17:1), and his name being used here represented the half tribe of Manasseh situated east of the Jordan. Out of the tribe of Manasseh "lawgivers" (governors) responded, and being moved by the spirit of the Law to act, they crossed Jordan to join forces with Deborah. These lawgivers were prepared to fight for the cause of Israel even though to do so was to act out of charac ter with their daily vocation.
"Out of Zebulon they that handle the pen of the writer."
From Zebulon clerks answered the call to fight: Here were men not used to the hardships and privations for which warfare called. Again it was by an act of faith that this class of people responded to the invitation.
"The Princes of Issachar."
From the tribe of Issachar certain nobles rallied to the supp ort of Deborah, and it would seem from the context of this verse that they were foremost in the ranks of Barak when he was sent on foot into the valley.
"The Divisions of Reuben."
Reuben occupied territory directly east of the Dead Sea, in which region there were rugged hills interspersed with many water courses, which dissected the land creating many territor ial divisions.
"There were great thoughts of heart."
The word means "a resolution". Reuben's first reaction was to resolve to support the cause, but alas, this resolve was never carried into action. Having resolved to support Deborah and Barak, Deborah now asked the pertinent question, "Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds to hear the bleating of the flocks?" Why indeed did they not respond according to their first resol ution? The reason is given
V.16 "Great searchings of heart."
Here the word means "to deliberate", "to examine." Reuben, after making their first resolution, began to deliberate upon the matter and finally decided to stay at home. This was a cowardly action for which Deborah indicts them.
"Bleatings of the flocks."
In this phrase the word "bleatings" is interesting. It means "a whistling in scorn", implying a mocking sound, and is used in only one other place, where it is rendered "hissing" (Jer. 18:16). Reuben turned a deaf ear to his brethren's cry for help, and being pricked in conscience, the bleating of his flock as he sat and tendered them, only served to remind him of the helpless and pitiful condition in which his brethren had found themselves west of the River Jordan.
V.17 "Gilead abode beyond Jordan."
Gilead is a term which comprehends those tribes settled east of the River Jordan (Joshua 22:9, Judges 20:1), but this time excluding Manasseh who had responded in faith. The word "abode" means "to take a rest", "to lodge permanently". They had no intentions of answering the summons of Deborah. They were content to stay permanently beyond Jordan where they felt secure against the chariots of Sisera.
€ Why did Dan remain in ships."
Dan to the north of Israel sought refuge on the high seas. He cared little for the nine hundred chariots of Sisera, nor for the plight of his brethren who did not have the same immunity from Sisera.
€ Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches."
Asher too, had his portion in the northern sections of the land and like Dan had run away to take refuge on the sea. We note in the margin that the word "breaches" is understood as creeks, and it was here in these hidden streams which wound their way from the hill territory into the sea, that Asher hid himself from the wrath of Sisera. All of these tribes who shirked their responsibilities, failed to understand the purpose involved in the struggle for freedom, and in Israel's great victory, they had no share, but had to suffer the shame of being indicted as cowards. So too, will be the fate of all those who do not war a good warfare in the cause of truth, but who like cowards, shirk their responsibilities in the face of adversity. Especially does this become a great temptation when we feel ourselves divorced from the problems of others, and immune from the effects of the trouble.
v.18 "Zebulun and Naphtali."
These two tribes were directly affected by the oppression of Sisera and his army. They were in close proximity to Harosheth of the Gentiles, and were first to feel the effects of Sisera1s campaign. To them this struggle for liberty was a vital issue which they could not escape.
"Jeoparded their lives unto the death."
The word "jeoparded" as suggested by the margin means "to expose", "to strip off". These men were prepared to expose themselves to danger rather than to suffer the ignominy of servitude.
"The high places of the field."
We notice that they exposed themselves conspicuously. On Mt. Tabor they stood a thousand feet above the level of the plain, defenceless, having no weapons, exposed to the view of Sisera, being completely inadequate in themselves, but descending on to the plain to meet the enemy with the shield of faith (Eph.6: 16).
V.19 "The Kings came and fought."
Taanach and Megiddo, the inhabitants of these places had been sinfully spared by the Israelites and now had become the cen tre of the oppressions of the kings of Canaan (Josh. 17:11, Judges 1:27).
"They took no gain of money."
This indicates the motive by which the kings of Canaan fought. Theirs was not a warfare of greed and avarice, but of sheer hatred towards Israel.
V.22 The Jewish historian Josephus, in his account of this incident, speaks of a violent storm that broke loose at the crucial moment in the encounter between the two armies. It would seem that as the Israelites advanced toward their vastly superior armed enemy, a storm of extraordinary force broke behind them, driving directly into the faces of the enemy. Torrents of water fell from the skies, driven with tremendous force by the wind; it blew almost horizontally into the ranks of Sisera's army. Lightning lit the sky, filling the plain with dazzling brightness, whilst thunder following closely, seemed to shake the very earth beneath their feet. This awe-inspiring manifestation of Divine power terrified the horses of Sisera1s chariots; in their madness they became hopelessly entangled in the harness, thrashing about in their terror many of them suffered broken legs, thus putting an end to their effectiveness. Meanwhile the heavy downpour soon flooded the river of Kishon, water overflowed onto the vast plain, turning it into a quagmire, hopelessly bogging down the heavy iron chariots. Panic seized the Gentile army, and in the general confusion that followed, the lightly clad foot soldiers of Israel, soon completed the rout.
V.23-24 In these two verses we have a curse and a blessing. The victory had been a remarkable one. Those associated with it had been wonderfully blessed in the privilege afforded them by their faith. They had aligned themselves with Yahweh, and the fruits of victory were now theirs. Conversely, those who had forsaken the cause of Israel had become the "subjects of a curse, and had no part in the victory of faith.
v.23 "Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord."
Meroz was a town evidently in the proximity of Kishon. It is bitterly cursed by the Divine vengeance for its nonalignment with the cause of Israel. This battle was a Divine one; Yah weh fought against the mighty. It was a battle in which no body could afford to be neutral. They were either for the truth or against it. The inhabitants of Meroz, as well as all those tribes who failed to respond in a Divine warfare, were subjected to the curse of Yahweh.
V.24 "Blessed above women."
Here is a blessing pronounced upon a faithful gentile woman. The people of Israel had been forsaken of their brethren, but this woman remained faithful to their cause even though her husband had defected from the faith. In these two verses we see a stark contrast between the attitudes of the people of Meroz and that of Jael.
V25-27 Sisera Delivered into the Hand of a Woman
In the following verses we note the careful description of what Jael did to overcome Sisera. As we read the account, it seem that Jael deceived Sisera and premeditated his blood-thirsty murder. Many commentators of the Scriptures have viewed the incident in this light, and have condemned Jael for what they style, "A cowardly action." But the wise of this world know nothing of the ways of God, and Deborah sings high praises of this wonderful act of faith, and by so doing infers what a courageous and faithful action this really was.
Here was a woman whose ancestors had joined themselves with Israel from the time of Moses. She had grown to love the cause of Israel's hope and remained steadfast to it even when her husband had defected to the enemy. Now alone, she is faced with the man who was a manifestation of human pride and arrogance, and the embodiment of the hatred towards Israel which was characteristic of his people. With deliberate int ent and purpose, she induces him into the tent, and with a trembling hand and with failing heart she proceeded to put into effect her plans for his destruction.
It would seem from the account of chapter 4:21 that Sisera was killed whilst asleep and lying down, and yet in this record of V.26-27, it would appear that he fell after she had smitten him. The literal translation of V.26-27 is as follows:
"With the hammer she struck down, she crushed his head, she smashed through and passed through his temples. At her feet he sank to his knees, where he fell he lay, where he bowed, there he fell destroyed."
In reconciling these two accounts it would appear that the first blow which Jael struck while Sisera was asleep, did not kill him, and that being startled and stunned by the impact, his nervous reaction caused him to bound to his feet. Whilst still in this stunned condition, Jael evidently dealt him another blow which brought him to his knees, and finally pros trated him on the ground. Having reduced her enemy to this position she hammered through the bone structure in the side of the head, finally driving a tent peg through his head, pinning him to the ground. What a terrible toll this action would have made upon the nervous system of a gentle woman. The very nature of Sisera1s destruction, coupled with the high praise of Deborah, would give us to understand just how difficult it was for Jael to carry out her purpose and what amount of faith was necessary to overcome natural revulsion.
v.28-31 Deborah Envisages the Consternation of the People of Harosheth of the Gentiles
In these verses Deborah gives a word picture of the anxiety of Sisera € s mother as she waits in vain for the sound of his cha riot wheels. Some have accused Deborah of being sarcastic and vindictive in making reference to the bereaved relatives of this gentile warrior, but here again, there is a failure to appreciate the type of people they were. As Deborah outlines a conversation which undoubtedly took place between Sisera1s mother and her wise ladies, we see by the comments that passed between them, the character of this people. In v.30 they make mention of the spoil of victory which Sisera would bring home, "To every man a damsel or two." The Hebrew word for "damsel" is "womb", signifying the purpose for which these women were brought. Any wonder that Deborah should find consolation in the consternation of these people.
V.31 In this verse Deborah brings her song to a glorious climax. It is an earnest prayer that all such who oppose Yah-weh and who spread immorality and corruption whilst oppressing the righteous might be swept out of existence. On the other hand there are those who love Yahweh and His ways, and for them Deborah prays that they may be "as the Sun when he goeth forth in his might." This figure of the sun shining brightly in the heavens is a wonderful symbol of the powerful and beneficial influence that will radiate from all those who will be assoc iated with the Son of Righteousness in his coming glory, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. "(Mat. 13:43).