|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:6-11. Deborah describes the distressed state of Israel under the tyranny of Jabin, that their salvation might appear more gracious. She shows what brought this misery upon them. It was their idolatry. They chose new gods, with new names. But under all these images, Satan was worshipped. Deborah was a mother to Israel, by diligently promoting the salvation of their souls. She calls on those who shared the advantages of this great salvation, to offer up thanks to God for it. Let such as are restored, not only to their liberty as other Israelites, but to their rank, speak God's praises. This is the Lord's doing. In these acts of his, justice was executed on his enemies. In times of persecution, God's ordinances, the walls of salvation, whence the waters of life are drawn, are resorted to at the hazard of the lives of those who attend them. At all times Satan will endeavour to hinder the believer from drawing near to the throne of grace. Notice God's kindness to his trembling people. It is the glory of God to protect those who are most exposed, and to help the weakest. Let us notice the benefit we have from the public peace, the inhabitants of villages especially, and give God the praise.
Verse 11. - A very difficult verse, and very variously rendered. For archers some give the interpretation dividers, i.e. MEN SHARING THE BOOTY THEY HAVE TAKEN; or, SINGING IN ALTERNATE VERSES. For They that are delivered from, some render far away from. Others again take the preposition from in the not uncommon sense of more than, meaning here louder than. The chief different senses which emerge are -
(1) that of the A.V.: "Those that can now draw water from the wells without being molested by the hostile archers shall sing praises to God in the very spots where they were wont to be attacked."
(2) "Far from the noise and tumult of those that divide the spoil among the water-troughs, there shall they sing, - etc.
(3) "With a louder voice than that of the shepherds who sing among the water-troughs (while they are watering their flocks), there shall they rehearse," etc. Or,
(4) combining (2) and (3), "With a voice louder (and more exultant) than that of those who divide the spoil, there shall they rehearse," etc. The inhabitants of his villages. Render his leaders, as in ver. 7. Then shall the people... go down to the gates of the cities for judgment, or to the bazaars, as in old times, without fear of their enemies.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the place of drawing water,.... Meaning either the army of the Israelites, delivered from the archers of Sisera's host at the river Kishon; or such persons, as maidens and others, that went out of the cities to fountains and wells of water, to fetch water from thence for their necessities, but were frightened by the noise of archers that shot at them; or shepherds who led their flocks to water them there, but were repulsed or slain by archers that lay in wait in woods or lurking places thereabout; but now the country being cleared of them, they could without fear have recourse to these places of drawing water for their flocks or other uses, which laid them under obligation to do as directed in the next clause. The words are by some rendered,"because of the voice of those that number (sheep and other cattle) at the places of drawing water (g):''which now they could do, being a time of peace; and for which the persons before described ought to be thankful:
there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord; coming to those places again, it would put them in mind to what hazards and dangers they had been exposed formerly by the enemy, but now were freed from; and this would lead them to discourse of and repeat the righteous dealings of God in taking vengeance on their enemies and delivering them from them:
even the righteous acts towards the inhabitants of his villages in Israel; they being now in no danger of having their houses broke open, and their substance plundered as before, Judges 5:7 then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates; either of their enemies, pursuing them unto them, as they did, Judges 4:16 or rather to the gates of their own cities, where they had now free egress and regress; and those that were in the fortified cities, who had fled thither from the villages because of the rapine of the enemy, now would go down to the gates, and pass through them, and return to their villages again; or else the meaning is, that the people would now frequent as formerly the courts of judicature held in the gates of their cities, to have justice done them, and be in no fear of being disturbed by the enemy, as before.
(g) So Cocceius, Noldius, p. 561. No. 1992.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11-14. The wells which are at a little distance from towns in the East, are, in unsettled times, places of danger. But in peace they are scenes of pleasant and joyous resort. The poetess anticipates that this song may be sung, and the righteous acts of the Lord rehearsed at these now tranquil "places of drawing water." Deborah now rouses herself to describe, in terms suitable to the occasion, the preparation and the contest, and calls in a flight of poetic enthusiasm on Barak to parade his prisoners in triumphal procession. Then follows a eulogistic enumeration of the tribes which raised the commanded levy, or volunteered their services—the soldiers of Ephraim who dwelt near the mount of the Amalekites, the small quota of Benjamin; "the governors," valiant leaders "out of Machir," the western Manasseh; out of Zebulun.
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