|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:12-23 Deborah called on her own soul to be in earnest. He that will set the hearts of other men on fire with the love of Christ, must himself burn with love. Praising God is a work we should awake to, and awake ourselves unto. She notices who fought against Israel, who fought for them, and who kept away. Who fought against them. They were obstinate enemies to God's people, therefore the more dangerous. Who fought for them. The several tribes that helped are here spoken of with honour; for though God is above all to be glorified, those who are employed must have their due praise, to encourage others. But the whole creation is at war with those to whom God is an enemy. The river of Kishon fought against their enemies. At most times it was shallow, yet now, probably by the great rain that fell, it was so swelled, and the stream so deep and strong, that those who attempted to pass, were drowned. Deborah's own soul fought against them. When the soul is employed in holy exercises, and heart-work is made of them, through the grace of God, the strength of our spiritual enemies will be trodden down, and will fall before us. She observes who kept away, and did not side with Israel, as might have been expected. Thus many are kept from doing their duty by the fear of trouble, the love of ease, and undue affection to their worldly business and advantage. Narrow, selfish spirits care not what becomes of God's church, so that they can but get, keep, and save money. All seek their own, Php 2:21. A little will serve those for a pretence to stay at home, who have no mind to engage in needful services, because there is difficulty and danger in them. But we cannot keep away from the contest between the Lord and his enemies; and if we do not actively endeavour to promote his cause in this wicked world, we shall fall under the curse against the workers of iniquity. Though He needs no human help, yet he is pleased to accept the services of those who improve their talents to advance his cause. He requires every man to do so.
Verse 23. - Meroz, in the time of Jerome Meres, a village otherwise unknown, twelve miles from Samaria. The mighty. Not the same word as that so rendered in ver. 22, but that usually rendered a mighty man, or a man of war.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord,.... Not Barak, as the Targum and Jarchi, but Deborah herself said this under a spirit of prophecy, not from her own spirit in a revengeful way, but from the Spirit of God; or this was suggested to her by an angel, not a created, but the uncreated one, the Angel of the covenant, by whom she was inspired, and an impulse made by him on her to denounce a curse on Meroz; which some say was a star, Sisera's star; others the name of a mighty man (p), so Jarchi; but rather it is some name of a city or place near where the battle was fought, so Kimchi, Ben Gersom, and Ben Melech: some take Meroz to be the same with Merom, at the waters of which Joshua fought with Jabin, Joshua 11:5 and supposed to be the same with the waters of Megiddo, and the river Kishon, where this battle was fought; and Jerom (q), under the word Merom, observes, that there was in his time a village called Merrus, twelve miles from the city Sebaste near Dothaim, and that Meroz here is the name of a place is clear from what follows:
curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; or "curse cursing" (r); repeat it, give them curse upon curse, curse them most vehemently: the reason of which follows:
because they came not to the help of the Lord; that is, of the people of the Lord, whose cause was the Lord's; for though he stood in no need of their help, yet their negligence and neutrality were highly resented by him, and therefore repeated:
to the help of the Lord against the mighty; the mighty Canaanites, and their mighty kings, and mighty hosts; or "with the mighty" (s), Barak and his 10,000: now though others, who did not come into their assistance, are only discommended, being at a distance, yet those are cursed, being very near, and saw the peril their brethren were in, and yet would not lend an helping hand.
(p) T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 16. 1.((q) De loc. Heb. fol. 93. D. (r) "maledictie maledicendo", Pagninus, Montanus. (s) "cum fortibus", Pagninus, Tigurine version; so Patrick.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. Curse ye Meroz—a village on the confines of Issachar and Naphtali, which lay in the course of the fugitives, but the inhabitants declined to aid in their destruction.
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