What does Judges 5:22 mean?
ESV: “Then loud beat the horses’ hoofs with the galloping, galloping of his steeds.
NIV: Then thundered the horses' hooves-- galloping, galloping go his mighty steeds.
NASB: Then the horses’ hoofs beat From the galloping, the galloping of his mighty stallions.
CSB: The horses' hooves then hammered -- the galloping, galloping of his stallions.
NLT: Then the horses’ hooves hammered the ground, the galloping, galloping of Sisera’s mighty steeds.
KJV: Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones.
NKJV: Then the horses’ hooves pounded, The galloping, galloping of his steeds.
Verse Commentary:
Deborah's song (Judges 5:1) has described the suddenly flooded Kishon River sweeping away at least some of the Canaanite army (Judges 5:20–21). Scholars suggest the valley experienced an unseasonable flash flood, quickly becoming muddy, incapacitating the heavy iron chariots of war. The unbeatable Canaanites were likely stuck or retreating. The last chapter indicated, as well, that Deborah gave a sudden command for Israel to attack—leaving the security of high ground—with great urgency (Judges 5:14). Through God's supernatural intervention in both ways, Israel's army could have fallen on the Canaanites at the exact moment they were most vulnerable.

Here, Deborah imagines the sounds of hooves to the frenzy of the battlefield. This is either the sound of horses making a break away from the battle (Judges 4:15–16) or simply stomping around in a frenzy, unable to escape because of the conditions. The noise and chaos of that moment would have been intense.
Verse Context:
Judges 5:19–23 recounts the battle briefly depicted in Judges 4:12–16. In poetic language, the passage indicates that Sisera's Canaanite army was thoroughly defeated. While partly symbolic, this segment also suggests an unexpected flood as part of God's plan for Israel's victory. Meroz, likely a town that failed to aid their fellow Israelites, is cursed.
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 5/30/2024 5:51:32 AM
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