Judges 5:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 5:18, NIV: The people of Zebulun risked their very lives; so did Naphtali on the terraced fields.

Judges 5:18, ESV: Zebulun is a people who risked their lives to the death; Naphtali, too, on the heights of the field.

Judges 5:18, KJV: Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.

Judges 5:18, NASB: Zebulun was a people who risked their lives, And Naphtali too, on the high places of the field.

Judges 5:18, NLT: But Zebulun risked his life, as did Naphtali, on the heights of the battlefield.

Judges 5:18, CSB: The people of Zebulun defied death, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield.

What does Judges 5:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Deborah's celebratory song (Judges 5:1) has been holding four groups to account; these refused to send any men to fight a battle against the Canaanites (Judges 4:12–16). Named tribes or people included Reuben, Gilead—likely including parts of Gad and Manasseh—Dan, and Asher (Judges 5:13–17).

Now she acknowledges two more tribes who sent fighters for the cause. These, it seems, were the main forces recruited by Barak (Judges 4:10). She points out that the stakes were high, and the risk was great. The people of Zebulun risked their lives to join in, as did the volunteers from Barak's home tribe of Naphtali (Judges 4:6). They were willing to die on the field of battle to stand with Barak, on behalf of the Lord, against Sisera and his fearsome iron chariots (Judges 4:1–3).

Scripture, through Deborah, praises their courage and faithfulness. The others were unwilling and refused to join. This clear answer and direct praise contrasts the lingering question hanging over the uninvolved tribes: "why?"