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a Ps. 83. 9, 10.
will not go.
Deborah and Barak
deliver Israel. a river Kishon Sisera, the captain of
14 And Deborah said unto Barak, about 1296. Jabin's army, with his chariots and Up; for this is the day in which the about 1296,
his multitude; and I will deliver him LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine
hand : is not the Lord gone out
15 And c the LORD discomfited c Ps. 83. 10. 9 And she said, I will surely go Sisera, and all his chariots, and all with thee: notwithstanding the jour- his host, with the edge of the sword ney that thou takest shall not be for before Barak; so that Sisera lighted thine honour; for the Lord shall sell down off his chariot, and fled away Sisera into the hand of a woman. And on his feet. Deborah arose, and went with Barak 16 But Barak pursued after the to Kedesh.
chariots, and after the host, unto Ha10 | And Barak called Zebulun rosheth of the Gentiles : and all the and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the up with ten thousand men at his feet: sword; and there was not ta man left. + Heb. unto and Deborah went up with him.
17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on 11 Now Heber the Kenite, which his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of b Numb. 10. was of the children of "Hobab the Heber the Kenite : for there was peace
father in law of Moses, had severed between Jabin the king of Hazor and
Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in,
the tent, she covered him with a
chariots of iron, and all the people me, I pray thee, a little water to drink;
and covered him.
+ Heb. gathered by
| Or, rug, or, blanket.
God, pronounced by Deborah, signifying that He would Kenites were some of the people, whose lands God had by his secret providence incline Sisera to come within promised to the descendants of Abraham; nevertheless, his power, so as to be destroyed. Bp. Patrick. in consideration of Jethro, all that submitted to the
- river Kishon] This river rises out of mount Israelites were permitted to live in their own country. Tabor, and, flowing westward, empties itself into the Though they were proselytes, and worshipped the true Mediterranean sea, near mount Carmel. Dr. Wells. God according to the Mosaick Law, yet, being strangers Mr. Maundrell says, that when he saw it, its waters were by birth, and so not pretending to any right or title to inconsiderable ; but it had the appearance of being the land of Canaan, they held it their best policy, in liable to excessive swellings on sudden rains, chap. v. those troublesome times, to observe a neutrality, and 21. Stackhouse.
maintain peace, as well as they could, both with the 8.-If thou wilt go with me,l Barak is commended Israelites and Canaanites. Thus it probably happened for his faith in God by the Apostle, Heb. xi. 32, though that there was peace at this time between Jabin and the it was so weak and imperfect, that he made conditions house of Heber, ver. 17, and that Sisera in his distress with God's messenger, and absolutely refused to obey filed to Heber's tent for protection. Stackhouse, Howell. till they were granted. He seems to have wanted the 14. - hath delivered] Hath in purpose delivered. Dr. advice of Deborah in doubtful matters, and her authority Wells. She speaks of the victory as already gained, also to keep the soldiers in good order, and inspire that she might work in him a more perfect assurance of them with
courage. Bp. Patrick. Barak’s answer is it. Bp. Patrick. The faith of Deborah and Barak was faithful, though conditionate; he does not so much in- not appalled by the world of adversaries opposed to tend to refuse to go with her, as to bind her to affor them. They knew whom they had believed, and how her presence with him. Bp. Hall.
little the arm of flesh can do against the God of hosts. 11. Now Heber the Kenite,] What is related in this Bp. Hall. verse seems inserted to explain that which follows con 19. — she opened a bottle of milk,] Out of respect to cerning Jael, who was Heber's wife. Bp. Patrick. Sisera, she brought him the best liquor she possessed,
Heber was of the posterity of Hobab, the son of and of the best sort. Bp. Patrick. Among the later Jethro, father in law of Moses, and is here called a Arabs, to give a person drink is thought to be the Kenite, because originally he descended from those strongest assurance of receiving him under protection : people who dwelt westward of the Dead sea, and ex- hence we may infer, that the conduct of Jael, in detended themselves pretty far into Arabia Petrea. These stroying Sisera after shewing him this mark of hospi
Jael killeth Sisera.
JUDGES The song of Deborah and Barak. 20 And again he said unto her, 24 And the hand of the children about 1296. Stand in the door of the tent, and it of Israel + prospered, and prevailed about 1296, shall be, when any man doth come against Jabin the king of Canaan,
+ Heb. going and enquire of thee, and say, Is there until they had destroyed Jabin king went and was any man here? that thou shalt say, of Canaan. No. 21 Then Jael Heber's wife took a
CHAP. V. + Heb. put. nail of the tent, and + took an ham The song of Deborah and Barak.
Deborah and Barak about 1296. him temples, and fastened it into the saying, ground : for he was fast asleep and 2 Praise ye the LORD for the weary. So he died.
avenging of Israel, when the people 22 And, behold, as Barak pursued willingly offered themselves. Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, 3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O and said unto him, Come, and I will ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto shew thee the man whom thou seek the LORD; I will sing praise to the est. And when he came into her LORD God of Israel. tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the 4 LORD, a when thou wentest out a Deut. 4. 11. nail was in his temples.
of Seir, when thou marchedst out of 23 So God subdued on that day the field of Edom, the earth tremJabin the king of Canaan before the bled, and the heavens dropped, the children of Israel.
clouds also dropped water.
tality, was such, as would, under ordinary circum- assistance of prophetick inspiration, composed the folstances, have been deemed most treacherous and dis- lowing elegant and majestick hymn; which Barak the honourable. Harmer,
general, in conjunction with her authority, ordered to 21.- Jael—took a nail of the tent,] One of the be sung by the people, in religious commemoration of great pins by which the tent was fastened to the
so signal a mercy, and for preserving in the minds of ground. Bp. Patrick. These tents (of the Bedoween the Israelites a sense of their future duty, and of their Arabs) are kept firm or steady, by bracing or stretch- gratitude. Pyle. This hymn is evidently expressed in ing down their eves with cords tied down to hooked another kind of language than the historical part of the wooden pins well pointed, which they drive into the book; and in such variety of elegant figures, and such ground with a mallet; one of these pins answering to native expressions of those affections which the occasion the nail, as the mallet does to the hammer, which Jael required, that none of the ancient Greek or Latin poets used in fastening to the ground the temples of Sisera. have ever equalled. Hence it appears, that there was Dr. Shaw. Jael was moved probably to this action by a most excellent spirit of poetry among the Hebrews, some extraordinary and overruling impulse, making her especially among such of them as were divinely inthe instrument of Divine vengeance : this can alone spired, when the Greeks lay in dark ignorance. Bp. justify that otherwise unaccountable breach of hospi- Patrick. tality, which is held so sacred among the Arabs, that a The design of this beautiful hymn, which breathes violation of it is the bitterest reproach that can be ap- the characteristick softness and luxuriance of female plied to any person in their language. This case, like composition, seems to be twofold; religious, and polithat of Ehud, is not to be judged by ordinary rules. tical : first, to thank God for the recent victory and Dr. Hales. Although there is no necessity of justifying deliverance of Israel from Canaanitish bondage and opthe conduct of Jael, and it may be sufficient to under pression; and next, to celebrate the zeal and alacrity stand that God used her as an instrument for accom- with which some of the tribes volunteered their services plishing his purpose; yet it can scarce be doubted, but against the common enemy; and to censure the lukethat she had some Divine direction or impulse to stir warmness and apathy of others, who staid at home, her up to do what she did. The enterprise was exceed and thus betrayed the public cause. Dr. Hales. ing bold and hazardous, above the courage of her sex : 4. — when thou wentest out of Seir,-Edom,] This the resolution she took appears very extraordinary, and is but a repetition of the same thing : Edom and Seir so has the marks and tokens of its being from the ex- signifying the country where the posterity of Esau dwelt, traordinary hand of God. In this view, all is clear and who refused to give Israel a passage through their land, right; she ought to obey God rather than man, and all as the Lord led them unto Canaan : and therefore He obligations to man cease, when brought in competition conducted them another way, and made them encomwith our higher obligations towards God. Dr. Water- pass the land, Numb. xxi. 4; Deut. ii. 1. Bp. Patrick. land.
the earth trembled, &c.] These are poetical exIt should be observed, that many actions here re- pressions, to denote the great consternation in which corded were justifiable only on the supposition of Divine all those countries were, when they saw Sihon king of warrant, which superseded all general rules of conduct. the Amorites, and Og the king of Bashan, suddenly Without this, the deeds of Ehud and of Jael would be overthrown by the Israelites, Numb. xxi. 21. Bp. pronounced censurable for their treachery, however Patrick. prompted by commendable motives. Dr. Gray.
It should be observed, that Deborah, on praising
God for present mercies, begins higher, and takes ocChap. V. ver. 1. Then sang Deborah &c.] On occa- casion to commemorate the more wonderful instance of sion of the foregoing deliverance, Deborah, by the his goodness to them, in their deliverance from Egyp
Before CHRIST about 1296.
b Ps. 97. 5. + Heb. fowed. c Exod. 19. 18. d Chap. 3. 31.
The song of
Deborah and Barak. 5 b The mountains + melted from shall the people of the LORD go down about 1296. before the Lord, even c that Sinai to the gates.
from before the LORD God of Is 12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake,
awake, utter a song : arise, Barak, and
son of Anath, in the days of e Jael, Abinoam.
nobles among the people: the LORD
of them against Amalek ; after thee,
the pen of the writer. 9 My heart is toward the governors 15 And the princes of Issachar of Israel, that offered themselves wil-were with Deborah; even Issachar, lingly among the people. Bless ye and also Barak: he was sent on + foot Heb. the LORD.
into the valley. || For the divisions or, in the 10 || Speak, ye that ride on white of Reuben there were + great thoughts Heb. asses, ye that sit in judgment, and of heart.
impressions. walk by the way.
16 Why abodest thou among the 11 They that are delivered from the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of noise of archers in the places of draw- the Aocks? | For the divisions of Or, in. ing water, there shall they rehearse Reuben there were great searchings the + righteous acts of the Lord, even of heart. the righteous acts toward the inhabit 17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan : ants of his villages in Israel : then and why did Dan remain in ships?
with the pen,
1 Or, Meditate.
+ Heb. righteousnesses of the LORD.
tian bondage, and his protection of them in the wilder She calls on governours and great men. There were
Thus every pious soul should take occasion, no horses in Judea, so that the greatest persons rode from every particular act of Divine mercy, to reflect on on asses; these animals, in this country, were generally the much greater work of our redemption, to praise of a reddish colour; and therefore asses of a colour tendGod for the favours shewn to his Church, and the in- ing to white were highly esteemed for their rarity, and estimable benefit of salvation. Wogan.
used only by honourable persons. Bp. Patrick. Others 5. The mountains melted] All the inhabitants of the think, that the expression“ white asses,” refers to the mountains melted with fear. Dr. Wells.
white garments, which were spread upon them for the 6. – the highways were unoccupied,] The people, accommodation of the riders ; none but white garments being corrupted in their religion, broke out into all being used by "persons of distinction, or on days of manner of violence, and turned highway robbers, so publick rejoicing. Burder. that men durst not travel on the common roads. Bp. — and walk by the way.] Merchants who now Patrick. A strong expression of the miserable calamities, travel in safety, which they durst not do before their under which the people lately laboured, as the just re- deliverance. Bp. Patrick. ward of their folly, vice, and depravity. Pyle.
11. They that are delivered] The shepherds, who, 7. The inhabitants of the villages ceased, ] Men were before their deliverance, were disturbed by robbers forced to forsake the villages, and fly into walled towns shooting at them, when they went to water their flocks. and fortified places. Bp. Patrick.
Bp. Patrick. There is a beautiful rill in Barbary, rea mother in Israel.) A judge or ruler : as good ceived into a large bason, which bears a name signifying, rulers and deliverers are called fathers of their country, “ Drink, and away,” from the great danger of meeting so Deborah calls herself “ a mother in Israel.” Bp. Pa- there with rogues and assassins. Dr. Shaw. trick.
12. - lead thy captivity captive,] Lead in triumph, 10. – ye that ride on white asses] Contemptible as to the honour of God, the principal persons and spoils this animal may at present appear, from the beginning taken from the enemy. Dr. Wells. it was not so. In many countries, and particularly in 14, 15. Out of Ephraim &c.] Here follows a cataJudea, persons of the highest distinction were usually logue of those Israelites who bravely assisted in the war. so mounted. The governours of Israel are so described “Out of Ephraim was there a root of them," namely, here : and the thirty sons of Jair, who was judge and a small portion of them came from Ephraim. Bp. Paprince over Israel twenty-two years, are said to ride on trick. thirty asses, chap. x. 4: and another judge of Israel is 16. — For the divisions of Reuben there were great recorded to have had forty sons and thirty nephews, that searchings of heart.] For the division of counsels among rode on seventy ass colts, chap. xii. 14. It would be the Reubenites, and their separation from the rest of easy to confirm this observation with many more au- their brethren, there were many sad thoughts among thorities. Bp. Sherlock.
the other tribes. Bp. Patrick, Dr. Wells.
+ Heb. exposed to reproach.
The song of
Deborah and Barak. Asher continued on the || sea shore, 25 He asked water, and she
gave about 1296. and abode in his || breaches.
him milk; she brought forth butter about 1296, 18 Zebulun and Naphtali werea peo- in a lordly dish. || Or, port. I or, creeks. ple that tjeoparded their lives unto the 26 She put her hand to the nail,
death in the high places of the field. and her right hand to the workmen's
19 The kings came and fought, hammer; and with the hammer she
Taanach by the waters of Megiddo ; when she had pierced and stricken
20 They fought from heaven; the 27 + At her feet he bowed, he fell, + Heb. + Heb. paths. stars in their † courses fought against he lay down : at her feet he bowed, Sisera.
he fell: where he bowed, there he
the lattice, Why is his chariot so long 22 Then were the horsehoofs broken in coming ? why tarry the wheels of || Or,
by the means of || the pransings, the his chariots ? or, plungings. pransings of their mighty ones. 29 Her wise ladies answered her,
23 Curse ye Meroz, said the angel yea, she returned + answer to her- Heb. of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the in- self, habitants thereof; because they came 30 Have they not sped? have they not to the help of the Lord, to the not divided the prey; † to every man Hebs to the help of the Lord against the mighty: a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of man.
24 Blessed above women shall Jael divers colours, a prey of divers colours the wife of Heber the Kenite be, of needlework, of divers colours of blessed shall she be above women in needlework on both sides, meet + for + Heb. for the the tent. the necks of them that take the spoil ?
+ Heb. destroyed.
necks of the
17. — in his breaches.] Or, in his creeks, as in the 25. — butter in a lordly dish.] Butter, or buttermilk, margin ; that is, only minded his sea commerce. Dr. which is still esteemed a great treat among the Arabs. Wells.
Dr. Hales. 20. They fought from heaven ;] On the other hand, Dr. Pococke, giving an account of an Arab's enterthe angels of God fought for the Israelites, sending taining him in the Holy Land, says, that, among other thunder, rain, &c. to discomfit their enemies. Dr. Wells. things, they served him with some sour buttermilk.
the stars in their courses &c.] Either literally, The Eastern way of churning is, by putting the cream by yielding light after it became night to the Israelites into a goat's skin turned inside out, which the Arabs to pursue their victory ; (Dr. Wells:) or figuratively, to suspend in their tents, and then press it to and fro, in express that God gave so entire a victory, as if the skies one uniform direction ; thus a separation of the parts and stars had been their confederates against the infidel is quickly occasioned, and butter is produced. Harmer. general and his army. Pyle. Or, the expression is 28. The mother of Sisera &c.] In the passage
which poetical ; the meaning may be, that by mighty and sud- follows is afforded an admirable representation of the den rains, which the common opinion ascribed to the impatience of the mother of Sisera at his delay in respecial influence of the planets, the river of Kishon, turning, and her sanguine anticipation of his success; near which Sisera's army lay, was so raised and swoln, in which she dwells, not upon the greatness of his exas to drown the greatest part of that huge host. Abp. ploits, or the slaughter of his enemies, but upon the Tillotson.
circumstances most likely to engage a light female mind; 21. - O my soul, thou hast &c.] This is an elegant such as captive damsels, and embroidered garments, the turning of her speech to herself, whose happiness she spoils of victory, which she repeats and amplifies with applauds, in beholding the most powerful enemies quite much grace and elegance. Dr. Hales. vanquished by her commission from God, and her How exquisitively just a description have we here of prayers to Him. Bp. Patrick.
a mother, longing for the return of her beloved son ; 23. Meroz,] Probably a city not far from mount nay, impatient not only to see him safe, and crowned Tabor, or the river Kishon; near which the battle was with victory, but loaded with spoils. The spoils too fought. Dr. Wells.
are such as most affected a female passion; damsels, to It seems to be a notable effect of this curse, that the set off the pomp and splendour of her retinue, vests of name of this city is blotted out, and not the least re- needlework of divers colours, and curiously wrought on mains of it left upon earth. Reading.
both sides to adorn her person. This was the gaudy 24. Blessed above women &c.] The action of Jael is prey she longed to see brought by her son in triumph. not written for our imitation, but instruction. See notes How natural are these sentiments ! the tenderness of on chap. iv. 21. But there is another point of useful a mother on one hand, the foible and vanity of the feinstruction to be drawn from this passage; which is, male breast on the other. How very aptly applied by a that we should be very cautious how we condemn woman to one of her own sex; to the mother of Sisera, or approve what God has not condemned or approved. by a mother in Israel. Wogan. Wogan.
29. Her wise ladies] The ladies of her court. Pyle.
The Midianites oppress Israel. CHAP. V, VI.
A prophet rebuketh them. 31 So let all thine enemies perish, cattle and their tents, and they came about 1256. O Lord: but let them that love him as grasshoppers for multitude; for about 1256,
be as the sun when he goeth forth in both they and their camels were with-
the land to destroy it.
6 And Israel was greatly impo
verished because of the Midianites; CHAP. VI.
and the children of Israel cried unto
Midian. 8 A prophet rebuketh them. 11 An
7 | And it came to pass, when about 1249.
, which a prophet.
God of Israel, I brought you up from
evil in the sight of the Lord: the house of bondage ;
2 And the hand of Midian + pre- hand of all that oppressed you, and
and the Midianites the children of Israel gave you their land; made them the dens which are in 10 `And I said unto you, I am the mountains, and caves, and strong the LORD your God; a fear not the a 2 Kings 17. holds.
gods of the Amorites, in whose land Jer. 10. 2. 3 And so it was, when Israel had ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed sown, that the Midianites came up, my voice. and the Amalekites, and the children '11 q And there came an angel of of the east, even they came up against the Lord, and sat under an oak
which was in Ophrah, that pertained 4 And they encamped against them, unto Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his and destroyed the increase of the earth, son • Gideon threshed wheat by the b Hebr. 11. till thou come unto Gaza, and left no winepress, + to hide it from the Mi- Gideon. sustenance for Israel, neither || sheep, dianites. nor ox, nor ass.
12 And the angel of the LORD ap- to flee. 5 For they came up with their peared unto him, and said unto him,
+ Heb. was strong.
| Or, goat.
31. So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord:) This their name in Hebrew from their prodigious numbers abrupt and unexpected apostrophe, which concludes and increase. Parkhurst. See notes on Exod. x. the poem, tacitly insinuates the utter disappointment 10. -- fear not the gods] Rather, worship not the gods. of their vain hopes of conquest and spoils more fully | Dr. Wells. and forcibly than any express declaration of words ; 11.- there came an angel of the Lord,] There came while it marks the author's piety and sole reliance on “ the Angel of the Lord,” many years after his appearGod's protection of his people, and the glorious pros ance at Bochim, to deliver his people, when they cried pect of a greater and future deliverance, perhaps by the to Him, from their oppressors. Dr. Hales. That He Sun of righteousness, Mal. iv. 2. Dr. Hales.
was not a mere created angel, is plain from the incom
municable name Jehovah, which He assumes, and by Chap. VI. ver. 3. — the children of the east,] Meaning, which He suffers Himself to be frequently called, ver. probably, the Arabians who inhabited Arabia Deserta, 14. 16. 23, 24, &c. Therefore the Jews, according to from the country of the Moabites and Ammonites, as their Targum, which styles Him the Word of the Lord, far as the Euphrates. Calmet.
look upon this angel not merely as a heavenly messenThe children of the East included the posterity of ger sent from God, but as the Son of God Himself, apAbraham's sons by Keturah, of whom the Midianites pearing in the form of an angel. Bp. Patrick, Stackhouse. were the principal, Gen. xxv. 6. It also included the Ophrah,- Gideon] Gideon was of the family Ishmaelites, Judg. viii. 24, who were settled near the of Abi-ezer, of the tribe of Manasseh ; and so the Midianites, Gen. xxxvii. 28, in the wilderness of Paran, Ophrah, where he dwelt, must be understood to be Gen. xxi. 21. Dr. Hales.
situated in the half tribe of Manasseh, on the west side of 4. --- till thou come unto Gaza,] That is, they made Jordan; and for this reason it is styled “Ophrah of the an universal devastation from one end of the country to Abi-ezrites," chap. viii. 32, to distinguish it from another the other : for they came from the East, and destroyed Ophrah, which lay in the tribe of Benjamin. Dr. Wells. as far as Gaza, which was on the western coast. Bp. -threshed wheat by the winepress,] The common Patrick.
mode of threshing corn was by treading it with oxen. 5. — as grasshoppers] Rather, as locusts, which had The word here used signifies to thresh out with a stick. VOL. I.