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Judges 5:28

ESV “Out of the window she peered, the mother of Sisera wailed through the lattice: ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the hoofbeats of his chariots?’
NIV Through the window peered Sisera's mother; behind the lattice she cried out, 'Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?'
NASB 'Out of the window she looked and wailed, The mother of Sisera through the lattice, ‘Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots delay?’
CSB Sisera's mother looked through the window; she peered through the lattice, crying out: "Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why don't I hear the hoofbeats of his horses? "
NLT 'From the window Sisera’s mother looked out. Through the window she watched for his return, saying, ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why don’t we hear the sound of chariot wheels?’
KJV The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?

What does Judges 5:28 mean?

The scene of Deborah's song (Judges 5:1) suddenly switches. She declared Jael, the killer of Sisera (Judges 4:1–3), to be blessed for her canny actions (Judges 4:21–22). Then she poetically described the moment of the killing and the dead body of Sisera lying unresponsive on the floor. This took a form somewhat like a slow-motion replay: repeating and emphasizing the demise of Israel's oppressor (Judges 5:27).

Without warning, the narrative of the song shifts to Sisera's mother, imagining her waiting at home for her son to return from the battle. It's natural to recoil, at first, at the thought of celebrating the reaction of a mother who has lost a soldier in combat. What Sisera's mother says in the following verses, however, can inspire the opposite feeling. Sisera's family was accustomed to him not only making misery for many Israeli mothers but terrorizing their women and others as well.

The image given here is of Sisera's mother looking for him out the window while crying. In poetic style, she asks what's taking him so long to return. She has not seen or heard from his traveling party. It's a moment that an unfortunate number of mothers have experienced, waiting in vain for a child or husband to return from war. At the same time, Sisera had likely caused this scene to happen in the homes of many Israelite mothers over the previous two decades. Deborah's song will show his mother little mercy. The following verses will imply that Sisera's cruelty and oppression were truly despicable (Judges 5:29–30).
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