Shoftim Five: Song of Deborah

Deborah and Barak have defeated Sisera, and now they sing victoriously. “When breaches are made in Israel, when the people offer themselves willingly, bless the Lord (Judges 5:2).” They attribute their victory to God, thanking Him for their accomplishment, knowing that without Him they would not have been able to achieve it. They place their victory in the context of the history of the Israelites. “The mountains melted at the presence of the Lord, this (was at) Sinai, because of the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel (Judges 5:5).”

They continue, blessing the different tribes that contributed to the victory. They also bless Jael. “Blessed above women shall Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, be; above women in the tent shall she be blessed. Water he requested, milk she gave him: in a lordly bowl she brought him cream (Judges 5:24-25).” Jael is credited for her role in destroying Sisera, an accomplishment that men and armies couldn’t claim, but instead a woman in her tent.

“‘So may perish all Your enemies, O Lord; but they that love Him as the sun when he goes forth in his might.’ And the land rested forty years (Judges 5:31).” The words of this song are beautiful, but hard to understand on a straightforward level. It’s chapters like this that need commentaries in order for me to fully comprehend them. For now, all I can say is that it’s a beautiful concept that when a person experiences a transformative victory, they feel compelled to sing to God. Too often, we only turn to God in times of sadness, and forget to thank Him in times of joy. Deborah remembers God at the peak, which is something admirable to aspire to.


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