Judges 5:30 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 5:30, NIV: Are they not finding and dividing the spoils: a woman or two for each man, colorful garments as plunder for Sisera, colorful garments embroidered, highly embroidered garments for my neck-- all this as plunder?'

Judges 5:30, ESV: ‘Have they not found and divided the spoil?— A womb or two for every man; spoil of dyed materials for Sisera, spoil of dyed materials embroidered, two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’

Judges 5:30, KJV: Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?

Judges 5:30, NASB: ‘Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoils? A concubine, two concubines for every warrior; To Sisera a spoil of dyed cloth, A spoil of dyed cloth embroidered, Dyed cloth of double embroidery on the neck of the plunderer?’

Judges 5:30, NLT: 'They must be dividing the captured plunder--with a woman or two for every man. There will be colorful robes for Sisera, and colorful, embroidered robes for me. Yes, the plunder will include colorful robes embroidered on both sides.'

Judges 5:30, CSB: "Are they not finding and dividing the spoil -- a girl or two for each warrior, the spoil of colored garments for Sisera, the spoil of an embroidered garment or two for my neck? "

What does Judges 5:30 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Sisera was brutally killed by a woman named Jael as he slept (Judges 4:19–21; 5:24–27). As Deborah sings a celebration of Israel's victory (Judges 5:1), she depicts Sisera's mother fearfully wondering why her son is delayed. The other noble women—or, possible, Sisera's harem—assure her he has so much loot and slaves to sort through that he's running late. They imagine Sisera and his soldiers ransacking enemy camps and towns, perhaps, after routing the Israelites in battle.

The heartless description of what they will be taking is chilling—and partly reveals the Israeli perspective on Sisera's cruelty. Concepts such as this might have been part of Jael's motivation to mangle the general's skull with a wooden spike (Judges 4:22). The reference to "a womb or two for every man" can imply the taking of captive wives in battle. However, the coarse language, and the context of a territory already under Canaanite control, suggest something even less savory. Deborah poetically imagines Sisera's mother callously assuming the soldiers are enjoying—brutally—the defeated women of Israel. This has always been an all-too-common reality of war. To hear Sisera's mother describe it so bluntly is meant, in part, to steal away sympathy for her.

Sisera's mother is imagined assuming, just as arrogantly, that her son is sorting through massive plunder such as clothes and fabrics. It's likely Sisera and his soldiers had taken such goods from the Israelites many times during their oppression of the previous twenty (Judges 4:1–3) years. Deborah's song uses this reality to sharpen her focus on divine justice. This came through Israel's victory and the death of Sisera at the hands of a woman while he slept helplessly.