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Judges 4-5. Deborah's song, part 8.

JUDGES-5-170221
length: 61:34 - taught on Feb, 21 2017
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Title: Judges 4-5. Deborah's song, part 8.        

 

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The last section or stanza we find the mother of Sisera awaiting his return with dreams of the plunder in his hands. Deborah paints the picture of a lamenting widow pining at the window for her son to return.

 

Since her son is the commander of the armies of all the northern Canaanite kings they would have been a family of some prominence in the kingdom of Hazor. Also, being a military man, it would make sense that Sisera's father was also a soldier and likely a commander. His mother is a widow, which we may infer that her husband also died in battle, and now this Canaanite woman who opposes God and Israel, God's client nation, has lost both her husband and her son to war. Might it be that her husband died fighting Joshua in the same valley of Jezreel and her son Sisera was her hope for vengeance? There is a slim chance. Now she has lost the family of her pride to Israelite armies who were at both times severe underdogs to the Canaanite army.

 

JDG 5:28 "Out of the window she looked and lamented, The mother of Sisera through the lattice, 'Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots tarry?'

 

Sisera should have returned by now and his mother impatiently peers out the window, looking to the horizon in the hope of spotting his familiar chariot.

 

 

The lattice window paints the picture nicely of a form of a woman, not clearly seen, which is a proper picture of her soul. She was sure of his victory and of his timely return, but now her confidence has turned to confusion, and the clarity of her vision has become clouded, the lines fuzzy and indistinct, just as a face may appear through a lattice window.

 

The Hebrew word translated "lamented" means a cry or a loud cry of anxiety and so she repeats the question, 'Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots tarry?' with increased anxiety and alarm.

 

JDG 5:29 " Her wise princesses would answer her, Indeed she repeats her words to herself,

 

The fact that she has several maids reaffirms that his is a prominent Canaanite family. Her princesses seek to console her by suggesting that the reason for his delay in returning is that they are busy with dividing the great amount of spoil from their victory. They are busy selecting women as sex-slaves and fine fabrics to take home.

 

That she repeats the words to herself shows how desperately she wants to believe them and she constantly tries to convince herself that they are right.

 

Calling them "wise" princesses is obvious irony. They get it completely wrong.

 

JDG 5:30 'Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoil? A maiden, two maidens for every warrior; To Sisera a spoil of dyed work, A spoil of dyed work embroidered, Dyed work of double embroidery on the neck of the spoiler?'

 

Literally: "A womb, a pair of wombs for every man." The women of vanquished foes were used primarily for sexual gratification; rape, or taken as sex-slaves.

 

This is how the "wise princesses" are consoling the mother, "Sisera's late because he's picking out a pair of Hebrew sex-slaves to bring home."

 

Besides the plunder of women there is the plunder of fine, dyed, and embroidered fabrics, which were expertly done by many Jews, which they had traded with the Canaanites for many years and would be well known. So the wrong explanation is given for the delay of Sisera.

 

Then finally we have the last stanza as a short but important conclusion.

 

JDG 5:31 "Thus let all Thine enemies perish, O Lord; But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might."

And the land was undisturbed for forty years.

 

Deborah's song concludes with two petitions addressed to God.

 

"Let all Your enemies perish, O Lord," makes clear as has already been said from the beginning of the nation at Sinai, that:

 

First petition: anyone who fights against Israel fights against the Lord. This is in keeping with the curse of the Abrahamic Covenant.

 

The second petition is in keeping with the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant.

 

"But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might."

 

Second petition: in keeping with the blessing of the AC, she prays for vindication and victory for those who love God, i.e. for those who are committed to Him.

 

Stated immediately at Sinai when Israel was established as God's nation; in the second commandment.

 

EXO 20:5-6

You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

 

The rising of the sun in its strength is a striking image of the exaltation of Israel to a more and more glorious unfolding of its destiny, which Deborah anticipated as the result of this victory.

 

JDG 5:31 "Thus let all Thine enemies perish, O Lord; But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might."

And the land was undisturbed for forty years.

 

Since we have slowly and deeply studied this song, let us read it as one and enjoy it commemoration of the victory of the Lord.

 

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

 

JDG 5:2 "That the leaders led in Israel, That the people volunteered, Bless the Lord!

 

JDG 5:3 " Hear, O kings; give ear, O rulers! I —  to the Lord, I will sing, I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel.

 

JDG 5:4 "Lord, when Thou didst go out from Seir, When Thou didst march from the field of Edom, The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped, Even the clouds dripped water.

 

JDG 5:5 "The mountains quaked at the presence of the Lord, This Sinai, at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.

 

JDG 5:6 "In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, In the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, And travelers went by roundabout ways.

 

JDG 5:7 "The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Until I arose, a mother in Israel.

 

JDG 5:8 " New gods were chosen; Then war was in the gates. Not a shield or a spear was seen Among forty thousand in Israel.

 

JDG 5:9 " My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel, The volunteers among the people; Bless the Lord!

 

JDG 5:10 " You who ride on white donkeys, You who sit on rich carpets, And you who travel on the road —  sing!

 

JDG 5:11 "At the sound of those who divide flocks among the watering places, There they shall recount the righteous deeds of the Lord, The righteous deeds for His peasantry in Israel. Then the people of the Lord went down to the gates.

 

JDG 5:12 "Awake, awake, Deborah; Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and take away your captives, O son of Abinoam.

 

JDG 5:13 "Then survivors came down to the nobles; The people of the Lord came down to me as warriors.

 

JDG 5:14 "From Ephraim those whose root is in Amalek came down, Following you, Benjamin, with your peoples; From Machir commanders came down, And from Zebulun those who wield the staff of office.

 

JDG 5:15 "And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; As was Issachar, so was Barak; Into the valley they rushed at his heels; Among the divisions of Reuben There were great resolves of heart.

 

JDG 5:16 " Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, To hear the piping for the flocks? Among the divisions of Reuben There were great searchings of heart.

 

JDG 5:17 " Gilead remained across the Jordan; And why did Dan stay in ships? Asher sat at the seashore, And remained by its landings.

 

JDG 5:18 " Zebulun was a people who despised their lives even to death, And Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.

 

JDG 5:19 "The kings came and fought; Then fought the kings of Canaan At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo; They took no plunder in silver.

 

JDG 5:20 "The stars fought from heaven, From their courses they fought against Sisera.

 

JDG 5:21 "The torrent of Kishon swept them away, The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. O my soul, march on with strength.

 

JDG 5:22 "Then the horses' hoofs beat From the dashing, the dashing of his valiant steeds.

 

JDG 5:23 ' Curse Meroz,' said the angel 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 warriors.'

 

JDG 5:24 "Most blessed of women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Most blessed is she of women in the tent.

 

JDG 5:25 " He asked for water and she gave him milk; In a magnificent bowl she brought him curds.

 

JDG 5:26 "She reached out her 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.

 

JDG 5:27 "Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay; Between her feet he bowed, he fell; Where he bowed, there he fell dead.

 

JDG 5:28 "Out of the window she looked and lamented, The mother of Sisera through the lattice, 'Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots tarry?'

 

JDG 5:29 "Her wise princesses would answer her, Indeed she repeats her words to herself,

 

JDG 5:30 'Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoil? A maiden, two maidens for every warrior; To Sisera a spoil of dyed work, A spoil of dyed work embroidered, Dyed work of double embroidery on the neck of the spoiler?'

 

JDG 5:31 "Thus let all Thine enemies perish, O Lord; But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might."

And the land was undisturbed for forty years.

 

The fifth cycle: Gideon, 6:1-9:57 (1198 - 1151).

Othniel vs. Cushan-rishathaim of Mesopotamia (1373 - 1334)

Ehud vs. Eglon of Moab (1316 - 1237)

Shamgar vs. Philistines (1265 - 1252)

DebBarak vs. Canaanites (1237 - 1198)

 

With the calling of Gideon commences the second period in the history of the Judges and it only lasts 95 years.

 

Though short in duration, much detail is given and time seems to go faster as events rapidly hasten towards a final crisis.

 

While it is true that this is the shortest period of punishment upon Israel by the Lord (seven years) the misery which these enemies, who allied themselves with Amalekites and other Arabian hordes, brought upon both land and people, so far surpassed the pressure of the previous chastisements, that the Israelites were obliged to take refuge from the foe in ravines, caves, and strongholds of the mountains.

 

The history of Gideon and his family as well as the battle and the aftermath are related to us very fully. All of the detail is given for the obvious reason that it contains a rich treasure of instruction about the working of the grace and righteousness of the faithful covenants that God had made, both the unconditional Abrahamic and the conditional Mosaic. In this narrative there is instruction and warning for the people of God in all ages.

 

As before, as apostasy grows in Israel the people find no solutions to their plight. Their best leaders cannot deliver them.

 

But the more heavily the Lord punished His rebellious nation, the more gloriously did He set forth His nearness to help, and also the way which would lead to a lasting peace, and to true deliverance out of every trouble.

 

The Lord would call a little known young man who was hiding from the enemy in the same manner as everyone else, and the Lord would turn this man into a hero.

 

But the tendency to idolatry and to the worship of Baal had already become so strong in Israel, that even Gideon, a distinguished hero of God, who had been so marvelously called, and who, from genuine fidelity to God, even refused the title of king when it was offered to him, yielded to the temptation to establish for himself an unlawful worship. Gideon would use the gold from the plunder of the victory and made a high-priestly ephod and set it up in his home town and he thus gave the people an occasion for idolatry and they played the harlot with it. For this reason his house was visited with severe judgments, which burst upon it after his death.

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