The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The mother of Sisera.—With a bold poetic impetuosity the scene is changed, and the prophetess, with a few broad touches, sets before us the last scene of the strange eventful history. The mother of Sisera and her attendant princesses had looked for the triumph and return of the host as confidently as the ladies of Spain expected the return of the Armada, or as the ladies of Aberdeen sat, “with their fans into their hand,” looking out for the sails of Sir Patrick Spens. We have a similar scene in the Persians of Æschylus, where the great Atossa wails over the miserable flight of her defeated son Xerxes. In that, however, there is more of pity and less of derision, though, no doubt, the spectacle was meant to be pleasing to the victorious Athenians. This exulting description of the cruel but blighted hopes of the women of Sisera’s family is an inimitable touch of genuineness; it shows a woman’s authorship (Ewald).
Looked out at a window.—Watching for the first glimpse of her son’s return. In Eastern courts the queen-mother is a more important person than the wife.
And cried.—Rather, wailed (Vulgate, ululavit, an onomatopœia, like the Hebrew yabhabh). It is the wail of impatience passing into anxiety.Jdg 5:28-30. The mother of Sisera looked out at a window — Expecting to see him returning; for she concluded that he went forth not so much to fight as to take the spoil. Have they not divided the spoil? — That is, it is certain they have got the prey, only they tarry to distribute it, according to every man’s quality and merit. It is scarcely possible to conceive any thing more beautiful or expressive than these verses. No writer, either poet or orator, ever formed a finer image upon any subject. It seems even beyond all that painting could express. No picture could have represented to us so much of the action as these words do. We perfectly see the mother of Sisera waiting for the victorious return of her son, and looking out at a window to behold his triumphant chariot at some distance. We see her rejoicing over the Israelitish captives. We see her, as it were, examining and delighting her eyes with the rich and gorgeous spoils which they had brought home. How does all this heighten, in our imagination, the fall of Sisera, who lies at the same time dead in the tent of Jael, without pomp or attendant, without mother, or sister, or brother, to weep over him, slain by the hand of a woman! This fine conclusion of the relation of Sisera’s fall may be said to have all the beautiful colouring of a Titian, and all the force of a Raphael or Rubens; for no one pencil ever expressed any thing so perfectly.
the lattice—a lattice window, common to the houses in warm countries for the circulation of air.Looked out at a window, expecting to see him returning; for she concluded that he went forth not so much to fight as to take the spoil.
and cried through the lattice; which is but another word for a window, which was not of glass, that being of a later invention, but made in lattice form, in a sort of network, full of little holes to let in air and light, and look out at; here she stood and cried with a very loud uneasy tone; the word signifies a sort of a groaning howling noise, discovering impatience and uneasiness; and so the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions render it, "she howled"; saying in a whining way:
why is his chariot so long in coming? she did not doubt at all of victory, and concluded it would soon be obtained, and there would be very little trouble and difficulty in getting it, and therefore wondered his chariot was not in sight:
why tarry the wheels of his chariots? the nine hundred he took with him, of the return of which she made no doubt, only was uneasy until they appeared, that she might be delighted with the glory of the triumph; the Targum is,"why are the runners hindered, who should bring me a letter of the victories?''The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. For a translation of the verse see p. 54. Out of the window looked cf. 2 Samuel 6:16; 2 Kings 9:30. Lattice, again in Proverbs 7:6 "" window; the rendering comes from LXX. A; cod. B gives ‘a hole in the wall.’
and cried] Only here; in Aramaic the word means ‘shout,’ ‘sound’ the clarion; so we might render cried shrilly. But this cannot be pronounced certain; we should expect a parallel to looked out, as LXX. A (‘considered well’) and Targ. (‘looked attentively’) suggest.
28–30. The mother of Sisera. The last scene is a fine piece of dramatic irony. The king’s mother is pictured as waiting eagerly for her son’s return; her disappointment is left to the imagination.
With the hunting, the hunting of his strong ones.
23 Curse ye Meroz, saith the angel of the Lord;
Curse ye, curse ye the inhabitants thereof!
Because they came not to the help of Jehovah,
To the help of Jehovah among the mighty.
24 Blessed before women be Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite,
Blessed before women in the tent!
The war-chariots of the enemy hunted away in the wildest flight (Judges 5:22). The horses stamped the ground with the continuous hunting or galloping away of the warriors. דהרה, the hunting (cf. דּהר, Nahum 3:2). The repetition of the word expresses the continuance or incessant duration of the same thing (see Ewald, 313, a.). אבּירים, strong ones, are not the horses, but the warriors in the war-chariots. The suffix refers to סוּס, which is used collectively. The mighty ones on horses are not, however, merely the Canaanitish princes, such as Sisera, as Ewald maintains, but the warriors generally who hunted away upon their war-chariots.
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