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Verses 12-13

Judges 5:12-13. Lead thy captivity captive—Then he made him, &c.— I conceive that this passage is to be understood totally different. The word rendered have dominion, in the 13th verse ירד ierad, is in the 14th very properly rendered came down, which is its true meaning, and agreeably to that which it ought to be rendered in this 13th verse. In the 12th verse, Deborah, in an exulting strain of praise, excites herself and Barak to consider the instruments of this great victory which God had vouchsafed for Israel; and we may look upon these words as if addressed to her and Barak by the Lord, calling upon them to undertake the great exploit, Arise, arise, Deborah! arise, arise! speak the inspiring song. Arouse Barak, thou son of Abinoam, and lead thy captivity captive. In consequence of this incitation, the prophetess goes on to say, Then he who remained from the nobles of the people came down: the Lord came down for me against the mighty; in the former clause speaking of Barak, in the second of herself, in the most modest manner. Mr. Green interprets the passage something in the same way. He renders it, then the people that remained came down after the nobles,—JEHOVAH'S people came down after me against the mighty. Whichever version may be most agreeable to the original, this mode of interpretation is certainly right, as is evident from the connection with the next verse, in which Deborah proceeds to speak of the tribes. Out of Ephraim, says she, came down those who were planted in Amalek.—After thee, O Benjamin, among thy people,—out of Machir came down governors,—and out of Zebulun those who rule with the sceptre, as Mr. Green well renders it; justly observing, that שׁבט shebet, sceptre, never signifies a pen throughout the Scriptures. See Genesis 49:10, where shebet, sceptre, is equivalent to מחקק mechokek, lawgiver, or governor, in the former. We follow Mr. Green's interpretation of the words, Jdg 5:14 out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek: words which greatly perplex the commentators; most of them taking Amalek here to be the name of a people, whereas it is the name of a place in the tribe of Ephraim, as the LXX understand it. The idea of planting is frequently used for the settlement of the Israelites in the land of Canaan. See Psalms 44:2; Psalms 80:8. Those then who were planted in Amalek, must mean the people who were settled by Joshua in the hill called by that name. See chap. Judges 12:15. The prophetess seems to give this people, who were of the tribe of Ephraim, and the tribe of Benjamin, the precedency in her muster, because she administered justice upon their confines, chap. Judges 4:5.; and found them most ready to engage in this service.

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