Amplified Bible

Judges 5

The Song of Deborah and Barak

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


“For the leaders who took the lead in Israel,
For the people who volunteered [for battle],
Bless the Lord!

“Hear, O kings; listen, O rulers!
I will sing to the Lord,
I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel.

Lord, when You went out from Seir,
When You marched from the field of Edom,
The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped,
Yes, the clouds dripped water.

“The mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord,
Yes, this Sinai, at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.


“In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath,
In the days of Jael, the highways were deserted,
And travelers went by roundabout ways.

“The villagers ceased to be; they ceased in Israel
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Until I arose, a mother in Israel.

“They chose new gods;
Then war was in the gates.
Was there a shield or spear seen
Among forty thousand in Israel?

“My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel,
The volunteers among the people;
Bless the Lord!
10 
“Sing of it, you who ride on white donkeys,
You who sit on rich carpets,
And you who walk by the way.
11 
“At the sound of those who divide flocks among the watering places,
There they shall recount the righteous acts of the Lord,
The righteous acts toward His villagers in Israel.
Then the people of the Lord went down to the gates.

12 
“Awake, awake, Deborah;
Awake, awake, sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, you son of Abinoam.
13 
“Then down marched the survivors to the nobles;
The people of the Lord marched down for Me against the mighty.
14 
“From Ephraim those whose root is in Amalek came down,
After you, Benjamin, with your relatives;
From Machir came down commanders and rulers,
And from Zebulun those who [a]handle the scepter of the [office of] scribe.
15 
“And the heads of Issachar came with Deborah;
As Issachar, so was Barak;
Into the valley they rushed at his heels;
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great searchings of heart.
16 
“Why [Reuben] did you linger among the [b]sheepfolds,
To hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great searchings of heart.
17 
“Gilead remained beyond the Jordan;
And why did Dan live as an alien on ships?
Asher sat [still] on the seacoast,
And remained by its landings.
[These did not come to battle for God’s people.]
18 
“But Zebulun was a people who risked their lives to the [point of] death;
Naphtali also, on the heights of the field.

19 
“The kings came and fought;
Then the kings of Canaan fought
At Taanach by the waters of Megiddo.
Spoils of silver they did not obtain.
20 
“From the heavens the stars fought,
From their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 
“The torrent Kishon swept the enemy away,
The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
O my soul, march on with strength.
22 
“Then the horses’ hoofs beat [loudly]
Because of the galloping—the galloping of his valiant and powerful steeds.
23 
‘Curse [c]Meroz,’ said the messenger of the Lord,
‘Utterly curse its inhabitants;
Because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
To the help of the Lord against the mighty.’

24 
“Most blessed of women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Most blessed is she of women in the tent.
25 
“Sisera asked for water and she gave him milk;
She brought him curds in a magnificent bowl.
26 
“She reached out her [left] hand for the tent peg,
And her right hand for the workmen’s hammer.
Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head;
And she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 
“He bowed, he fell, he lay [still] at her feet;
At her feet he bowed, he fell;
Where he bowed, there he fell dead.

28 
“Out of the window she looked down and lamented (cried out in a shrill voice),
The mother of Sisera through the lattice,
‘Why is his chariot delayed in coming?
Why have the hoofbeats of his chariots delayed?’
29 
“Her wise ladies answered her,
Indeed, she repeated her words to herself,
30 
‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoil?
A maiden (concubine) or two for every man;
A spoil of dyed garments for Sisera,
A spoil of dyed garments embroidered,
Two pieces of dyed garments embroidered for the neck of the plunderer?’
31 
“So let all Your enemies perish, O Lord;
But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.”

And the land was at rest for forty years.

  1. Judges 5:14 Writing developed in Mesopotamia during the 4th millennium b.c. It began as a system of accounting to record financial matters and trading transactions.
  2. Judges 5:16 Or saddlebags
  3. Judges 5:23 A place in the territory of Naphtali.

The Message

Judges 5

1That day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:

When they let down their hair in Israel,
    they let it blow wild in the wind.
The people volunteered with abandon,
    bless God!

Hear O kings! Listen O princes!
    To God, yes to God, I’ll sing,
Make music to God,
    to the God of Israel.

4-5 God, when you left Seir,
    marched across the fields of Edom,
Earth quaked, yes, the skies poured rain,
    oh, the clouds made rivers.
Mountains leapt before God, the Sinai God,
    before God, the God of Israel.

6-8 In the time of Shamgar son of Anath,
    and in the time of Jael,
Public roads were abandoned,
    travelers went by backroads.
Warriors became fat and sloppy,
    no fight left in them.
Then you, Deborah, rose up;
    you got up, a mother in Israel.
God chose new leaders,
    who then fought at the gates.
And not a shield or spear to be seen
    among the forty companies of Israel.

Lift your hearts high, O Israel,
    with abandon, volunteering yourselves with the people—bless God!

10-11 You who ride on prize donkeys
    comfortably mounted on blankets
And you who walk down the roads,
    ponder, attend!
Gather at the town well
    and listen to them sing,
Chanting the tale of God’s victories,
    his victories accomplished in Israel.

Then the people of God
    went down to the city gates.

12 Wake up, wake up, Deborah!
    Wake up, wake up, sing a song!
On your feet, Barak!
    Take your prisoners, son of Abinoam!

13-18 Then the remnant went down to greet the brave ones.
    The people of God joined the mighty ones.
The captains from Ephraim came to the valley,
    behind you, Benjamin, with your troops.
Captains marched down from Makir,
    from Zebulun high-ranking leaders came down.
Issachar’s princes rallied to Deborah,
    Issachar stood fast with Barak,
    backing him up on the field of battle.
But in Reuben’s divisions there was much second-guessing.
    Why all those campfire discussions?
Diverted and distracted,
    Reuben’s divisions couldn’t make up their minds.
Gilead played it safe across the Jordan,
    and Dan, why did he go off sailing?
Asher kept his distance on the seacoast,
    safe and secure in his harbors.
But Zebulun risked life and limb, defied death,
    as did Naphtali on the battle heights.

19-23 The kings came, they fought,
    the kings of Canaan fought.
At Taanach they fought, at Megiddo’s brook,
    but they took no silver, no plunder.
The stars in the sky joined the fight,
    from their courses they fought against Sisera.
The torrent Kishon swept them away,
    the torrent attacked them, the torrent Kishon.
    Oh, you’ll stomp on the necks of the strong!
Then the hoofs of the horses pounded,
    charging, stampeding stallions.
“Curse Meroz,” says God’s angel.
    “Curse, double curse, its people,
Because they didn’t come when God needed them,
    didn’t rally to God’s side with valiant fighters.”

24-27 Most blessed of all women is Jael,
    wife of Heber the Kenite,
    most blessed of homemaking women.
He asked for water,
    she brought milk;
In a handsome bowl,
    she offered cream.
She grabbed a tent peg in her left hand,
    with her right hand she seized a hammer.
She hammered Sisera, she smashed his head,
    she drove a hole through his temple.
He slumped at her feet. He fell. He sprawled.
    He slumped at her feet. He fell.
    Slumped. Fallen. Dead.

28-30 Sisera’s mother waited at the window,
    a weary, anxious watch.
“What’s keeping his chariot?
    What delays his chariot’s rumble?”
The wisest of her ladies-in-waiting answers
    with calm, reassuring words,
“Don’t you think they’re busy at plunder,
    dividing up the loot?
A girl, maybe two girls,
    for each man,
And for Sisera a bright silk shirt,
    a prize, fancy silk shirt!
And a colorful scarf—make it two scarves—
    to grace the neck of the plunderer.”

31 Thus may all God’s enemies perish,
    while his lovers be like the unclouded sun.

The land was quiet for forty years.