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Judges 5:12

ESV “Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam.
NIV Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.'
NASB 'Awake, awake, Deborah; Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, son of Abinoam.
CSB "Awake! Awake, Deborah! Awake! Awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and take your prisoners, son of Abinoam! "
NLT 'Wake up, Deborah, wake up! Wake up, wake up, and sing a song! Arise, Barak! Lead your captives away, son of Abinoam!
KJV Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.

What does Judges 5:12 mean?

So far, Deborah's song has mostly been about who she is singing to, as well as the God she sings for (Judges 5:1, 4–5). She has just urged those who hear it to distribute the story of the Lord's victory over the Canaanite oppressors. They should tell it wherever they go (Judges 5:10–11).

Here, the process of Israel's redemption from Canaanite oppression is presented in poetic terms. The action is initiated by God's call to Deborah and Barak. The Lord says to her, "Awake!" This brings in the idea of awareness: becoming conscious of God's voice. Deborah is empowered as a prophetess to hear the words of God. The Lord tells her the moment has come to break out in song. In some ways, this "song" is the summons she extended to Barak (Judges 4:6–10); it's also the God-given order she gave for Barak and his men to launch into battle (Judges 4:14). Either way, this beautiful metaphor depicts her role as the deliverer of God's messages.

The message to Barak the deliverer, through Deborah the prophetess, is much clearer. She was called on to become aware, and to speak. Barak is told to act. His work begins with raising an army from among his countrymen. The call to lead away captives reverses what had been the status quo for twenty years in Israel (Judges 4:1–3). Barak was leading the Israelite "captives" into battle against their captors to become free people once again.
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