Judges 5:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 5:23, NIV: Curse Meroz,' said the angel of the LORD. 'Curse its people bitterly, because they did not come to help the LORD, to help the LORD against the mighty.'

Judges 5:23, ESV: “Curse Meroz, says the angel of the LORD, curse its inhabitants thoroughly, because they did not come to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.

Judges 5:23, KJV: Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.

Judges 5:23, NASB: ‘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.’

Judges 5:23, NLT: 'Let the people of Meroz be cursed,' said the angel of the LORD. 'Let them be utterly cursed, because they did not come to help the LORD--to help the LORD against the mighty warriors.'

Judges 5:23, CSB: "Curse Meroz," says the angel of the Lord, "Bitterly curse her inhabitants, for they did not come to help the Lord, to help the Lord with the warriors."

What does Judges 5:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The battle has been won (Judges 4:15–16). The Lord fought for Israel, apparently using the weather against the Canaanites (Judges 5:20–22). The result was an astounding upset. Israel has won the battle and will soon defeat King Jabin and Canaan completely (Judges 4:23–24).

Suddenly, Deborah's song (Judges 5:1) turns to address another people who refused to join in the Lord's battle against Canaan. She has already raised the question of why the people of various Israeli tribes sent no volunteers to the battle (Judges 5:15–17). Her rhetorical questions allowed their shame to linger, but she did not curse them. Meroz, however, is overtly cursed for their failure to render aid.

The location of Meroz is not known. It was apparently an Israelite town. In some way, its people refused to answer the call to fight against the Canaanites (Judges 4:10). Some scholars speculate that the people of Meroz made an alliance with Canaan against their fellow Israelites. Others suggest the people of Meroz failed to stop Sisera from escaping from the battle (Judges 4:17) when they had a chance.

Even worse, it is not Deborah but the "angel of the Lord" cursing Meroz. The phrase "angel of the Lord" is sometimes understood to be an Old Testament reference to Christ before He came to earth as Jesus. Either way, this harsh scolding comes directly from God.