|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:4-9 Deborah was a prophetess; one instructed in Divine knowledge by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. She judged Israel as God's mouth to them; correcting abuses, and redressing grievances. By God's direction, she ordered Barak to raise an army, and engage Jabin's forces. Barak insisted much upon her presence. Deborah promised to go with him. She would not send him where she would not go herself. Those who in God's name call others to their duty, should be ready to assist them in it. Barak values the satisfaction of his mind, and the good success of his enterprise, more than mere honour.
Verse 5. - The palm tree of Deborah. The tree, which was probably still standing in the writer's time, was known as "the palm tree of Deborah," just as a certain oak tree in the forest of Hoxne, in Suffolk, was known for many hundred years as King Edmund's oak.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah,.... Her dwelling house was under a palm tree, or rather she sat under one, in the open air, when the people came to her with their cases, and it was called from hence after her name; though some, as Abarbinel observes, think it was so called, because Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah, was buried here, and which was near Bethel, one of the places next mentioned, see Genesis 35:8,
between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim; which places were in the tribe of Benjamin in the borders of Ephraim, see Joshua 16:2. The Jews conclude, from the situation of her, that she was a very opulent woman; the Targum is,"she was dwelling in a city in Ataroth, Deborah was supported of her own; she had palm trees in Jericho, orchards in Ramah, olives producing oil in the valley, a place of watering in Bethel, and white dust in the kings mountain:"
and the children of Israel came up to her; from all parts of the land to the mount of Ephraim:
for judgment: to have her advice and counsel in matters of difficulty, and to have causes between contending parties heard and decided by her, so that she might be truly reckoned among the judges.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. she dwelt under the palm tree—or, collectively, "palm-grove." It is common still in the East to administer justice in the open air, or under the canopy of an umbrageous tree.
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