Pastoral Commentary for Judges 5:1-6:10
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
Songs of celebration to commemorate great victories in a nation's history were common in the days of the Judges. So Deborah produced a song in praise to God for the victory He had given the Israelites over the Canaanite King Jabin. Her song begins by glorifying God to whom all the credit was due. The oppression of Israel was so great that people in villages had to flee to walled cities and travelers had to avoid the roads because of their enemies. Deborah recognized that these conditions were a result of Israel choosing to worship other gods. She also rebuked the tribes of Reuben and Gad, Dan and Asher for failing to come to the aid of their fellow Israelites. The tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali receive special commendation for their valor. God's role in the battle is noted by way of the stars fighting and the river Kishon sweeping the enemy away. Jael is extolled for her role in killing Sisera, commander of Jabin's army. In a stanza only a woman would compose, Deborah describes the mother of Sisera waiting anxiously for his return, which would not materialize. Deborah's song concludes with a prayer that all of Israel's enemies would perish like Jabin's army, but that those who love the LORD would rise like the sun. 40 years of peace followed Deborah's song, however Israel returned to its evil ways and God allowed the Midianites to oppress them for seven years. They destroyed the crops and livestock of Israel. When Israel cried out to God, He sent them a prophet who reminded them that their own idolatry was the cause of their misery.