What does Judges 5:2 mean?
ESV: “That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD!
NIV: When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves-- praise the LORD!
NASB: 'For the leaders leading in Israel, For the people volunteering, Bless the Lord!
CSB: When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, blessed be the Lord.
NLT: 'Israel’s leaders took charge, and the people gladly followed. Praise the Lord!
KJV: Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.
Verse Commentary:
Judges 5 is a song, composed by Deborah (Judges 4:4–5; 5:1) to commemorate victory over the Canaanites and Israel's freedom from their rule. It reflects the facts of the previous chapter, but it also adds feeling and emotion.

The song begins by blessing the Lord for the actions of His people. It celebrates that their leaders did as they should: they led. As well, the people of Israel willingly volunteered to risk their lives to stand up to Israel's enemy. Right from the start of the song, the Lord is given all credit—even for the willingness of His own people to make right choices.

In every nation and company and church committee, people still bless the Lord when leaders take the lead and lead well. They also praise God when those being led willingly volunteer their time and energy to contribute to the cause.
Verse Context:
Judges 5:1–11 begins a song composed by Deborah, the prophetess and judge of Israel (Judges 4:4–5). This segment introduces the troubles experienced by God's chosen people leading up to their battle against Canaan. Though Israel had been blessed by God and His miracles when they came out of Egypt, the nation had fallen under oppression. As explained in the prior chapter (Judges 4:1–10), the people responded to Deborah's call for action. What follows is a celebration of Israel's victory against Sisera, Jabin, and the Canaanite army (Judges 4:12–16).
Chapter Summary:
Deborah and Barak sing a victory song she has written. This celebrates all the Lord accomplished through Israel's victory in battle over Sisera and Canaan. She praises God for willing volunteers and calls for everyone to pass along the story. She tells of the torrent of water that flowed down the Kishon River and swept away the enemy. She describes in detail the death of Sisera at the hands of a woman and even shows his mother crying for his return. Her song emphasizes that credit for success goes to the Lord.
Chapter Context:
Judges 5 follows the narrative-style account of the battle between Sisera and Barak, as instigated by the prophetess Deborah in chapter 4. This chapter is a song, poetically depicting the same series of events. Deborah describes Sisera's defeat in battle, Jael's bold killing of the cruel general Sisera, and the tears of his mother as she waits for him at home. The following chapter shows that Israel—once again—responds to this hard-won peace with another cycle of idolatry, sin, and oppression (Judges 6:1).
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
Accessed 4/16/2024 12:40:53 AM
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