Judges 5:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 5:13, NIV: The remnant of the nobles came down; the people of the LORD came down to me against the mighty.

Judges 5:13, ESV: Then down marched the remnant of the noble; the people of the LORD marched down for me against the mighty.

Judges 5:13, KJV: Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty.

Judges 5:13, NASB: Then survivors came down to the nobles; The people of the LORD came down to me as warriors.

Judges 5:13, NLT: 'Down from Tabor marched the few against the nobles. The people of the LORD marched down against mighty warriors.

Judges 5:13, CSB: Then the survivors came down to the nobles; the Lord's people came down to me against the warriors.

What does Judges 5:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The celebratory song of Deborah (Judges 5:1) now comes to the Israelite army which attained great victory over the Canaanites who had oppressed them for twenty years (Judges 4:1–3). Unlike the prior chapter (Judges 4:12–16), this is not a strict historical description. This is a song—poetry—focused on the triumph and feelings of the experience rather than specific details.

The prophetess has described in poetic terms how God empowered her to call Barak (Judges 5:12) to muster people from Israel to join him in battle against the Canaanites. She now celebrates how the survivors of Israel's people marched against the mighty enemy. Some scholars understand "noble" to describe these volunteers, while others read this as a name for the "rich" and "upper class" Canaanites.

The picture is clear either way. Many Israelites died under the cruel oppression of the Canaanites. Those who answered Barak's call to battle were survivors of that oppression. They were those left over, going to war against a vastly superior army. It's possible the Israelites did not even have spears and shields (Judges 5:8).