Judges 5:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 5:15, NIV: The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; yes, Issachar was with Barak, sent under his command into the valley. In the districts of Reuben there was much searching of heart.

Judges 5:15, ESV: the princes of Issachar came with Deborah, and Issachar faithful to Barak; into the valley they rushed at his heels. Among the clans of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.

Judges 5:15, KJV: 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.

Judges 5:15, NASB: 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 determinations of heart.

Judges 5:15, NLT: The princes of Issachar were with Deborah and Barak. They followed Barak, rushing into the valley. But in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision.

Judges 5:15, CSB: The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; Issachar was with Barak; they were under his leadership in the valley. There was great searching of heart among the clans of Reuben.

What does Judges 5:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Many groups sent men in response to Barak's call for fighting men (Judges 4:10). Deborah's song celebrates those communities (Judges 5:1, 14). She has mentioned willing fighters and leaders from Ephraim, Benjamin, Machir—part of the tribe of Manasseh—and Zebulun. Now she adds that "princes of Issachar" came with her. She also describes them as faithful to Barak, rushing into the valley from their mustering position on Mount Tabor at Barak's heels. The picture created is of a bold and courageous group of fighters who were ready for action.

Next, Deborah's song turns to address those tribes who did not participate in the battle. She will hold these to account for generations to come for their refusal to fight with Barak and the Lord against Israel's oppressors.

This rebuke begins with the clans of Reuben. Rather than directly refusing to come or waiting too long, they are indecisive. The tribes never move beyond thinking into action, eventually sending no men into battle. This faltering, hesitant attitude matches the description given by Jacob when he prophesied over his sons on his deathbed (Genesis 49:3–4).