CHOOSE YOUR BIBLE VERSION

Judges chapter 5

New International Version

1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:
2 When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves-- praise the LORD!
3 Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song. 4 When you, LORD, went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water.
5 The mountains quaked before the LORD, the One of Sinai, before the LORD, the God of Israel. 6 In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths. 7 Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel. 8 God chose new leaders when war came to the city gates, but not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.
9 My heart is with Israel's princes, with the willing volunteers among the people. Praise the LORD! 10 You who ride on white donkeys, sitting on your saddle blankets, and you who walk along the road, consider
11 the voice of the singers at the watering places. They recite the victories of the LORD, the victories of his villagers in Israel. 'Then the people of the LORD went down to the city gates.
12 Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.' 13 The remnant of the nobles came down; the people of the LORD came down to me against the mighty. 14 Some came from Ephraim, whose roots were in Amalek; Benjamin was with the people who followed you. From Makir captains came down, from Zebulun those who bear a commander's staff. 15 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. 16 Why did you stay among the sheep pens to hear the whistling for the flocks? In the districts of Reuben there was much searching of heart. 17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan. And Dan, why did he linger by the ships? Asher remained on the coast and stayed in his coves.
18 The people of Zebulun risked their very lives; so did Naphtali on the terraced fields. 19 Kings came, they fought, the kings of Canaan fought. At Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo, they took no plunder of silver. 20 From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera. 21 The river Kishon swept them away, the age-old river, the river Kishon. March on, my soul; be strong! 22 Then thundered the horses' hooves-- galloping, galloping go his mighty steeds.
23 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.' 24 Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women. 25 He asked for water, and she gave him milk; in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk. 26 Her hand reached for the tent peg, her right hand for the workman's hammer. She struck Sisera, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 At her feet he sank, he fell; there he lay. At her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell--dead. 28 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?' 29 The wisest of her ladies answer her; indeed, she keeps saying to herself,
30 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?'
31 So may all your enemies perish, LORD! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.' Then the land had peace forty years.
English Standard Version

1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day:
2 “That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD! 3 “Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; to the LORD I will sing; I will make melody to the LORD, the God of Israel. 4 “ LORD, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the region of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens dropped, yes, the clouds dropped water. 5 The mountains quaked before the LORD, even Sinai before the LORD, the God of Israel. 6 “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned, and travelers kept to the byways. 7 The villagers ceased in Israel; they ceased to be until I arose; I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel. 8 When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates. Was shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel? 9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless the LORD. 10 “Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets and you who walk by the way. 11 To the sound of musicians at the watering places, there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the LORD, the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel. “Then down to the gates marched the people of the LORD. 12 “Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam. 13 Then down marched the remnant of the noble; the people of the LORD marched down for me against the mighty. 14 From Ephraim their root they marched down into the valley, following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen; from Machir marched down the commanders, and from Zebulun those who bear the lieutenant’s staff; 15 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. 16 Why did you sit still among the sheepfolds, to hear the whistling for the flocks? Among the clans of Reuben there were great searchings of heart. 17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan; and Dan, why did he stay with the ships? Asher sat still at the coast of the sea, staying by his landings. 18 Zebulun is a people who risked their lives to the death; Naphtali, too, on the heights of the field. 19 “The kings came, they fought; then fought the kings of Canaan, at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; they got no spoils of silver. 20 From heaven the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera. 21 The torrent Kishon swept them away, the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. March on, my soul, with might! 22 “Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs with the galloping, galloping of his steeds. 23 “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. 24 “Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed. 25 He asked for water and she gave him milk; she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl. 26 She sent her hand to the tent peg and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet; she struck Sisera; she crushed his head; she shattered and pierced his temple. 27 Between her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still; between her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell—dead. 28 “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?’ 29 Her wisest princesses answer, indeed, she answers herself, 30 ‘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?’ 31 “So may all your enemies perish, O LORD! But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.” And the land had rest for forty years.
King James Version

1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, 2 Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. 3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel. 4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. 5 The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel.
6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through byways. 7 The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel. 8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel? 9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD. 10 Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way. 11 They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.
12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. 13 Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty. 14 Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer. 15 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. 16 Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart. 17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches. 18 Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. 19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. 20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. 21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength. 22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones. 23 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.
24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. 25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. 26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. 27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead. 28 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? 29 Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself, 30 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? 31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.
New American Standard Bible

1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
2 'For the leaders leading in Israel, For the people volunteering, Bless the LORD! 3 Hear, you kings; listen, you dignitaries! I myself—to the LORD, I myself will sing, I will sing praise to the LORD, the God of Israel! 4 LORD, when You went out from Seir, When You marched from the field of Edom, The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped, The clouds also dripped water. 5 The mountains flowed with water at the presence of the LORD, This Sinai, at the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel. 6 'In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, In the days of Jael, the roads were deserted, And travelers went by roundabout ways. 7 The peasantry came to an end, they came to an end in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Until I arose, a mother in Israel. 8 New gods were chosen; Then war was in the gates. Not a shield or a spear was seen Among forty thousand in Israel. 9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel, The volunteers among the people; Bless the LORD! 10 You who ride on white donkeys, You who sit on rich carpets, And you who travel on the road—shout in praise! 11 At the sound of those who distribute water among the watering places, There they will recount the righteous deeds of the LORD, The righteous deeds for His peasantry in Israel. Then the people of the LORD went down to the gates. 12 'Awake, awake, Deborah; Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, son of Abinoam. 13 Then survivors came down to the nobles; The people of the LORD came down to me as warriors. 14 From Ephraim those whose root is in Amalek came down, Following you, Benjamin, with your peoples; From Machir commanders came down, And from Zebulun those who wield the staff of office. 15 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. 16 Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, To hear the piping for the flocks? Among the divisions of Reuben There were great searchings of heart. 17 Gilead remained across the Jordan; And why did Dan stay on ships? Asher sat at the seashore, And remained by its landings. 18 Zebulun was a people who risked their lives, And Naphtali too, on the high places of the field. 19 'The kings came and fought; Then the kings of Canaan fought At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo; They took no plunder in silver. 20 The stars fought from heaven, From their paths they fought against Sisera. 21 The torrent of Kishon swept them away, The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. My soul, march on with strength! 22 Then the horses’ hoofs beat From the galloping, the galloping of his mighty stallions. 23 ‘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.’ 24 'Most blessed of women is Jael, The wife of Heber the Kenite; Most blessed is she of women in the tent. 25 He asked for water, she gave him milk; In a magnificent bowl she brought him curds. 26 She reached out her hand for the tent peg, And her right hand for the workmen’s hammer. Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head; And she shattered and pierced his temple. 27 Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay; Between her feet he bowed, he fell; Where he bowed, there he fell dead. 28 '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?’ 29 Her wise princesses would answer her, Indeed she repeats her words to herself, 30 ‘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?’
31 May all Your enemies perish in this way, LORD; But may those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.' And the land was at rest for forty years.
New Living Translation

1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:
2 'Israel's leaders took charge, and the people gladly followed. Praise the LORD!
3 'Listen, you kings! Pay attention, you mighty rulers! For I will sing to the LORD. I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel.
4 'LORD, when you set out from Seir and marched across the fields of Edom, the earth trembled, and the cloudy skies poured down rain. 5 The mountains quaked in the presence of the LORD, the God of Mount Sinai--in the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel.
6 'In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, and in the days of Jael, people avoided the main roads, and travelers stayed on winding pathways. 7 There were few people left in the villages of Israel--until Deborah arose as a mother for Israel. 8 When Israel chose new gods, war erupted at the city gates. Yet not a shield or spear could be seen among forty thousand warriors in Israel! 9 My heart is with the commanders of Israel, with those who volunteered for war. Praise the LORD!
10 'Consider this, you who ride on fine donkeys, you who sit on fancy saddle blankets, and you who walk along the road. 11 Listen to the village musicians gathered at the watering holes. They recount the righteous victories of the LORD and the victories of his villagers in Israel. Then the people of the LORD marched down to the city gates.
12 'Wake up, Deborah, wake up! Wake up, wake up, and sing a song! Arise, Barak! Lead your captives away, son of Abinoam!
13 'Down from Tabor marched the few against the nobles. The people of the LORD marched down against mighty warriors. 14 They came down from Ephraim--a land that once belonged to the Amalekites; they followed you, Benjamin, with your troops. From Makir the commanders marched down; from Zebulun came those who carry a commander's staff. 15 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. 16 Why did you sit at home among the sheepfolds--to hear the shepherds whistle for their flocks? Yes, in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision. 17 Gilead remained east of the Jordan. And why did Dan stay home? Asher sat unmoved at the seashore, remaining in his harbors. 18 But Zebulun risked his life, as did Naphtali, on the heights of the battlefield.
19 'The kings of Canaan came and fought, at Taanach near Megiddo's springs, but they carried off no silver treasures. 20 The stars fought from heaven. The stars in their orbits fought against Sisera. 21 The Kishon River swept them away--that ancient torrent, the Kishon. March on with courage, my soul! 22 Then the horses' hooves hammered the ground, the galloping, galloping of Sisera's mighty steeds. 23 '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.'
24 'Most blessed among women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. May she be blessed above all women who live in tents. 25 Sisera asked for water, and she gave him milk. In a bowl fit for nobles, she brought him yogurt. 26 Then with her left hand she reached for a tent peg, and with her right hand for the workman's hammer. She struck Sisera with the hammer, crushing his head. With a shattering blow, she pierced his temples. 27 He sank, he fell, he lay still at her feet. And where he sank, there he died.
28 '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?'
29 'Her wise women answer, and she repeats these words to herself: 30 '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.'
31 'LORD, may all your enemies die like Sisera! But may those who love you rise like the sun in all its power!' Then there was peace in the land for forty years.
Christian Standard Bible

1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang:
2 When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, blessed be the Lord. 3 Listen, kings! Pay attention, princes! I will sing to the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel. 4 Lord, when you came from Seir, when you marched from the fields of Edom, the earth trembled, the skies poured rain, and the clouds poured water.
5 The mountains melted before the Lord, even Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel. 6 In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the main roads were deserted because travelers kept to the side roads. 7 Villages were deserted, they were deserted in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, a mother in Israel. 8 Israel chose new gods, then there was war in the city gates. Not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. 9 My heart is with the leaders of Israel, with the volunteers of the people. Blessed be the Lord! 10 You who ride on white donkeys, who sit on saddle blankets, and who travel on the road, give praise! 11 Let them tell the righteous acts of the Lord, the righteous deeds of his villagers in Israel, with the voices of the singers at the watering places. Then the Lord's people went down to the city gates. 12 "Awake! Awake, Deborah! Awake! Awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and take your prisoners, son of Abinoam! " 13 Then the survivors came down to the nobles; the Lord's people came down to me against the warriors. 14 Those with their roots in Amalek came from Ephraim; Benjamin came with your people after you. The leaders came down from Machir, and those who carry a marshal's staff came from Zebulun. 15 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. 16 Why did you sit among the sheep pens listening to the playing of pipes for the flocks? There was great searching of heart among the clans of Reuben. 17 Gilead remained beyond the Jordan. Dan, why did you linger at the ships? Asher remained at the seashore and stayed in his harbors.
18 The people of Zebulun defied death, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield. 19 Kings came and fought. Then the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the Waters of Megiddo, but they did not plunder the silver. 20 The stars fought from the heavens; the stars fought with Sisera from their paths. 21 The river Kishon swept them away, the ancient river, the river Kishon. March on, my soul, in strength! 22 The horses' hooves then hammered -- the galloping, galloping of his stallions.
23 "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." 24 Most blessed of women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; she is most blessed among tent-dwelling women. 25 He asked for water; she gave him milk. She brought him cream in a majestic bowl. 26 She reached for a tent peg, her right hand, for a workman's hammer. Then she hammered Sisera -- she crushed his head; she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 He collapsed, he fell, he lay down between her feet; he collapsed, he fell between her feet; where he collapsed, there he fell--dead. 28 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? " 29 Her wisest princesses answer her; she even answers herself:
30 "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? "
31 Lord, may all your enemies perish as Sisera did. But may those who love him be like the rising of the sun in its strength.And the land had peace for forty years.

What does Judges chapter 5 mean?

The previous chapter uses a straightforward style to explain the story of Deborah and Barak. Through Deborah's prophetic leadership (Judges 4:4–5) and the obedience of Barak (Judges 4:6–10), Israel defeated the Canaanites in a convincing victory (Judges 4:12–16). The enemy general, Sisera, fled and was ultimately killed by a nomad woman named Jael (Judges 4:17–21). This chapter contains the prophetess Deborah's victory song about these events, told through poetic imagery, while adding detail and vibrant emotion to the same scenes from Judges chapter 4.

The song begins with a blessing for the Lord. That includes praise for God providing willing leaders and fighting men who offered themselves to join Barak in battle against the Canaanites. It is the Lord who gives victory through those who are willing to follow His lead (Judges 5:1–2).

Deborah directly addresses the defeated kings and princes of Canaan. Her song is not "to" them, but it is meant for them to hear. She sings this song to the Lord, the God of Israel. Hers is a taunt—a deliberate mocking and dismissing of the enemy—ensuring everyone knows that God brought about this victory. And, that this success has freed Israel from oppression to Canaan (Judges 5:3).

Next, Deborah's song describes the Lord as active. He came to guide Israel as the nation moved from outside of the Promised Land to take action within its borders. This entry into Canaan was accompanied by miracles, signs, and wonders of many kinds (Deuteronomy 6:22–23). The references to natural events, such as earthquakes and storms, is likely a direct counter to the Canaanite religion, which thought of Baal as a deity of storms (Judges 5:4–5).

Deborah depicts the time of Sisera's oppression (Judges 4:1–3) in dark terms. Likely due to the Canaanites' iron chariots, major roads were all but deserted. Israel lacked even the tools to defend herself. Out of this hardship, Deborah was called as a prophetess of God (Judges 4:4–5). She describes herself as a "mother," consistent with her leadership and role as a judge over the nation (Judges 5:6–8).

Despite the danger and a lack of equipment, the commanders of Israel willingly volunteered to join Barak in attacking Sisera and Canaan's army. Deborah calls for all who hear her song to spread the story of this event. She mentions communal places, such as wells and springs, where people would be prone to meet. They must repeat the triumphs of the Lord and His villagers in Israel. She makes this call to rich and poor alike—including the tradesmen and merchants whose businesses would have been especially disrupted (Judges 5:9–11).

Israel's path to victory began when the Lord "woke up" Deborah to give a message to Barak. He was commanded to raise an army. Willing leaders and fighters came from the tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, Machir—a part of Manasseh— Zebulun, Issachar, and Naphtali. All willingly risked their lives (Judges 5:12–15).

However, Deborah also asks why the people of other tribes refused to come. She specifically calls out Reuben, Gilead—a part of Dan—and Asher. Reuben's depiction as wavering strongly resembles a prediction given by Jacob on his deathbed (Genesis 49:3–4). These rebukes are rhetorical questions (Judges 5:16–18).

Despite the lack of support from some Israelites, the battle was won. On the battlefield, Deborah poetically claims that nature, itself, went to war against Sisera. Part of this is the River Kishon as swelling to a torrent. This swept the enemy away and would probably have turned the fields below mount Tabor into a muddy trap for chariots. That Deborah gave an urgent command to attack, just as Sisera's men approached, suggests God arranged for the perfect combination of strategy and natural disaster to overwhelm the Canaanite forces (Judges 5:19–22).

In much stronger, more direct terms than were used for Israel's tribes, Deborah curses a town called Meroz for not helping the Lord against the mighty Canaanites. This might have been an area though which Sisera fled (Judges 4:15, 17), but was not stopped or challenged (Judges 5:23).

Deborah boldly blesses Jael for cleverly killing Sisera after he ran from the battle and attempted to hide. The moment is depicted in this song using repeated phrases and an echoing style. This is something like a "slow-motion replay" used to profound effect. The song describes the moment in detail, lingering on the body of Sisera and his utterly humiliating defeat at the hands of a woman (Judges 5:24–27).

Next, the song turns to imagine the reaction of Sisera's mother, as she waits for him at home. These details shed some light on Sisera's reputation. His mother and other noble women assume he is so busy dividing up loot from battle that he's running late. Part of that assumption seems to be the soldiers enjoying the women of Israel—crassly referred to as "wombs"—suggesting Sisera had a reputation for that kind of cruelty. The unspoken implication is that Sisera's friends and family will soon learn the unthinkable has happened: he has been defeated and killed (Judges 5:28–30).

Finally, Deborah prays for God to bring similar defeat to all His enemies. She pleads for those who honor God to be strengthened, and become like the sun: bright, invincible, and powerful. The final phrase of the chapter returns to the typical narrative style of the book of Judges, noting that Deborah and Barak won forty years of peace in Israel (Judges 5:31).

As the start of the next chapter shows (Judges 6:1), Israel will then fall into the same cycle of sin and oppression seen before (Judges 2:11–19). This will bring about the next judge, Gideon, whose story takes up all of chapters 6, 7, and 8.