Judges 5:1 - 6:24

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

We are studying the –

  II.     History of the Period of the Judges, 3:7 - 16:31 (continued)

 

Let me make a correction of something I said last week.

 

Judges 3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves [i.e. Asheroth = Representations of the Canaanite goddess Asherah set up beside the idol altars. “Asherah was the goddess of the sea in Ugaritic literature in Syria; she was the consort of El. Asherah should not be confused with Ashtoreth, the consort of Baal, in Judges 2:13 ” (Bible Knowledge Commentary) Now, you probably didn’t know the difference, but I did as soon as I got home and my wife and I were discussing it. Last week I confused Asherah with Ashtoreth and said that Asherah was the consort of Baal, but this was incorrect. I should have said that Asherah was the goddess of the sea. Sorry about that. This is why I have chosen Psalms 71:1 as one of my life verses – Lord, lead me not into confusion.].

 

We have begun the episode of the –

            D.  Canaanite Oppression and Deliverance by Deborah and Barak, 4:1 - 5:31 (continued)

 

We have already seen –

                        1.   The story, 4:1-24

 

Judges 4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.

 

Judges 4:2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.

 

Judges 4:3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

 

Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

 

Judges 4:5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

 

Judges 4:6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?

 

Judges 4:7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.

 

Judges 4:8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.

 

Judges 4:9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

 

Judges 4:10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.

 

Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.

 

Judges 4:12 And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.

 

Judges 4:13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.

 

Judges 4:14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.

 

Judges 4:15 And the LORD discomfited [i.e. routed] Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.

 

Judges 4:16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.

 

Judges 4:17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

 

Judges 4:18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.

 

Judges 4:19 And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.

 

Judges 4:20 Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

 

Judges 4:21 Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent [i.e. a tent stake], and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail [i.e. tent stake] into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

 

Judges 4:22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail [i.e. tent stake] was in his temples.

 

Judges 4:23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.

 

Judges 4:24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

 

We move on to –

                        2.   The song, 5:1-31

 

5:1 – (RSB) This chapter contains the poetic version of the prose account of chapter 4.

 

Judges 5:1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying,

 

Judges 5:2 Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.

 

Judges 5:3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I [i.e. Deborah], even I [i.e. Deborah], will sing unto the LORD; I [i.e. Deborah] will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.

 

Judges 5:4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir [i.e. out of Edom], when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom [i.e. when You marched across the fields of Edom], the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped [i.e. poured], the clouds also dropped [i.e. poured down] water.

 

It refers to the LORD’S triumphant march when the Israelites left the borders to Edom to move toward the promised land.

 

Judges 5:5 The mountains [i.e. the opposition forces facing Israel] melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai [i.e. even the God from Mount Sinai] from before the LORD God of Israel.

 

Judges 5:6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath [i.e. Shamgar was the Israelite judge who killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad and delivered Israel], in the days of Jael [i.e. the wife of Heber who drove a tent peg into the ground through Sisera’s temples], the highways were unoccupied [i.e. the highways were deserted], and the travellers walked through byways [i.e. through crooked ways, through roundabout ways – This was because the Canaanites controlled the highways; so, the Israelites had to use other routes].

 

Judges 5:7 The inhabitants of the villages ceased [i.e. village life ceased], they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.

 

Judges 5:8 They [i.e. Israel] chose new gods [i.e. idols rather than the LORD God]; then was war in the gates [i.e. war came to the city gates]: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?

 

No, there was not a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel.

 

5:8 – (RSB) Israel turned to idolatry and was unarmed.

 

Judges 5:9 My [i.e. a reference to Deborah’s] heart is toward [i.e. my heart is with] the governors [i.e. the commanders, the rulers] of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD.

 

Judges 5:10 Speak [i.e. consider], ye that ride on white asses [i.e. on white donkeys], ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way [i.e. who walk along the road].

 

Judges 5:11 They that are delivered from [i.e. far from] the noise of archers in the places of drawing water [i.e. at the watering places], there shall they rehearse [i.e. recount] the righteous acts [i.e. righteous deeds] of the LORD, even the righteous acts [i.e. righteous deeds] toward the inhabitants of his villages [i.e. for His villagers] in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.

 

Judges 5:12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak [i.e. the man who led Israel into battle against Sisera], and lead thy captivity captive [i.e. lead your captives away], thou son of Abinoam [i.e. Barak was the son of Abinoam].

 

Judges 5:13 Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people [i.e. Then the survivors came down, the people against the nobles]: the LORD made me [i.e. Deborah] have dominion over the mighty.

 

Judges 5:14 Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir [Machir was the firstborn son of Manasseh – it is the same as saying out of Manasseh] came down governors [i.e. out of Machir came the rulers], and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.

 

Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh, Zebulun, Issachar, and Naphtali came to battle the forces of Sisera.

 

However,

5:15-17 – (RSB) Reuben, Gilead, Dan, and Asher refused to join in the battle against Sisera.

 

Judges 5:15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart [i.e. there was great indecision].

 

Judges 5:16 Why abodest thou [i.e. why did you sit] among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart [i.e. there was great indecision].

 

Judges 5:17 Gilead abode [i.e. stayed] beyond Jordan [i.e. on the east side of Jordan]: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode [i.e. stayed] in his breaches [i.e. in its inlets, in its coves].

 

Judges 5:18 Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded [i.e. who jeopardized] their lives unto the death in the high places of the field [i.e. on the heights of the battlefield].

 

Judges 5:19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach [located in the center of the north part of western Manasseh] by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money [i.e. they took no plunder in silver, they took no spoils of silver].

 

Judges 5:20 They [i.e. the stars] fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. [i.e. There was divine intervention against Sisera.]

 

5:20 – (RSB) A reference to the cloudburst God sent.

 

Judges 5:21 The river [i.e. the torrent] of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river [i.e. torrent], the river [i.e. the torrent] Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength [i.e. O my soul, march on in strength].

 

Judges 5:22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones [i.e. then the horses’ hooves pounded with the galloping, galloping of their mighty steeds].

 

5:22 – (RSB) Apparently the hooves of the horses stamped the ground in their effort to escape the flood of water.

 

Judges 5:23 Curse ye Meroz [i.e. an unknown place in Galilee], said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof [i.e. the inhabitants of Meroz]; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty [i.e. against the mighty warriors of Sisera].

 

5:23 – (RSB) The town of Meraz did not help the Israelites and was cursed for it.

 

Judges 5:24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.

 

Judges 5:25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter [i.e. curds, curdled milk] in a lordly dish [i.e. in a magnificent bowl, in a bowl fit for nobles].

 

Judges 5:26 She put her hand to the nail [i.e. tent peg, tent stake], and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote [i.e. struck] Sisera, she smote off [i.e. smashed, crushed, pierced] his head, when she had pierced and stricken [i.e. shattered and pierced] through his temples.

 

Judges 5:27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

 

5:28-30 – (RSB) The scene shifts to Sisera’s home. His mother’s concern is abated [i.e. lessened, diminished] by the assurance that the delay in Sisera’s return was caused by the dividing of the spoils.

 

Judges 5:28 The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? [i.e. why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?]

 

Judges 5:29 Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself,

 

Judges 5:30 Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel [i.e. a girl] or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours [a plunder of dyed garments], a prey of divers colours of needlework [i.e. a plunder of garments embroidered and dyed], of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil [i.e. two pieces of dyed embroidery for the neck of the looter]?

 

Judges 5:31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him [i.e. those who love the LORD] be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might [i.e. be like the sun when it comes out in full strength]. And the land had rest forty years.

 

            E.  Midianite Oppression and Gideon’s Deliverance, 6:1 - 8:35

 

                        1.   Gideon’s call, 6:1-40

 

There was rebellion followed by retribution.

 

Judges 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

 

The Midianites were descendants of Abraham and Keturah. They were a nomadic people who came from near the Gulf of Aqabah.

 

Judges 6:2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.

 

Judges 6:3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;

 

6:3 – (RSB) Amalekites. The children of the east included other nomads from the Syrian desert region.

 

Judges 6:4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

 

Judges 6:5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.

 

6:5 – (RSB) These seasonal raiders on Israel’s crops are likened to grasshoppers (locusts) – innumerable and devastating. The use of camels made long-distance raids possible.

 

There was repentance.

 

Judges 6:6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.

 

Judges 6:7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,

 

Judges 6:8 That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;

 

Judges 6:9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;

 

Judges 6:10 And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.

 

Judges 6:11 And there came an angel of the LORD [i.e. the angel of the LORD = Christ], and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.

 

Gideon’s threshing wheat by the winepress (rather than on an exposed threshing floor) was an act of desperation, lest the Midianites discover and seize even the small amount that could be threshed that way.

 

Judges 6:12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

 

Judges 6:13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

 

Judges 6:14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?

 

Judges 6:15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.

 

Judges 6:16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man [i.e. as if you were fighting against one man].

 

Judges 6:17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.

 

Judges 6:18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry [i.e. wait] until thou come again.

 

Judges 6:19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.

 

Judges 6:20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth [i.e. pour the broth over it]. And he did so.

 

Judges 6:21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.

 

6:21 – (RSB) Fire. The sign of divine acceptance of Gideon’s offering.

 

Judges 6:22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD [i.e. the angel of the LORD] face to face.

 

Judges 6:23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

 

Judges 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom [i.e. the LORD is peace]: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.