Judges 4:1-7

Judges 4:1-7
Ordinary A51


The IsraelitesA againB did what was evilC in the sightD of the Lord,E after EhudF died. 

Notes on verse 1

A “Israelites” = ben + yisrael. Ben is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
B “again” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.
C “evil” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
D “sight” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
E “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
F “Ehud” = ehud. 9x in OT. From the same as ohad (Ohad, root may mean unity). This is Ehud, meaning “united.”

So the Lord soldG them into the handH of King JabinI of Canaan,J who reigned in Hazor;K

Notes on verse 2a

G “sold” = makar. This is to sell – could be commerce/trade, a daughter to be married, someone into slavery. Figuratively, it can mean to surrender.
H “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
I “Jabin” = yabin. 8x in OT. From bin (to discern, consider, attend to; distinguishing things in one’s mind or, more generally, to understand). This is Jabin or Yabin meaning “one who is intelligent.”
J “Canaan” = kna’an. From kana’ (to be humble, subdue; properly, bend the knee). This is Canaan, his descendants, and the land where they settled. This could mean lowlands, describing their land or subjugated in reference to being conquered by Egypt. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaan
K “Hazor” = chatsor. 18x in OT. From the same as chatser (village, settlement); from chatser (enclosure or court – a yard that is fenced in. It could also be a village or hamlet that is walled in); from chatsar (to blow a trumpet, trumpeter, to surround); from chatsotsrah (trumpet). This is Hazor, Chatsor – meaning “village.”

the commanderL of his armyM was Sisera,N who livedO in HaroshethP-ha-goiim.Q 

Notes on verse 2b

L “commander” = sar. This is chief, leader, ruler, lord, official, governor, prince, military leader. It refers to someone at the top of a rank or class.
M “army” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.
N “Sisera” = sisera. Perhaps from Hittite verb (to meditate) OR related to sus (root may mean to skip as in jump for joy; a crane or a swift bird; a horse as leaping) + raah (to see, show, stare, think, view; to see in a literal or figurative sense). This is Sisera, perhaps meaning “meditation, “keen and swift,” or “see the horse.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Sisera.html#.X2FO22hKhPY
O “lived” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
P “Harosheth” = charosheth. 3x in OT. From charosheth (carving, mechanical work); from charash (engraver, smith, carpenter, artisan; someone who manufactures from any material); from charash (o scratch, which implies etching or plowing; to manufacture regardless of materials used; figuratively, to devise or conceal; a sense of secrecy so being silent or left alone or speechless). This is Harosheth or Charosheth, meaning “carving” or “silence.”
Q “goiim” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.

Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help;R for he had nine hundred chariotsS of iron,T and had oppressedU the Israelites cruellyV twenty years.

Notes on verse 3

R “cried out…for help” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.
S “chariots” = rekeb. From rakab (to ride an animal or in some vehicle; also, bringing on a horse). This is a vehicle, wagon, or chariot. It can be cavalry or an individual rider.
T “iron” = barzel. From the same as Birzoth (a name meaning holes). Root may mean to pierce. This is iron as something used as a cutting implement. It can also specifically mean ax head.
U “oppressed” = lachats. 19x in OT. This is to press or squeeze. Figuratively, it is oppress, afflict, or distress.
V “cruelly” = chozqah. 6x in OT. From chozeq (strength, power); from chazaq (to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden). This is strength, force, vigorously. It usually has a negative sense of vehemence.

At that timeW Deborah,X a prophetess,Y wifeZ of Lappidoth,AA was judgingBB Israel. 

Notes on verse 4

W “time” = et. Probably from anah (to answer, sing, announce); from ad (forever, all, old); from adah (to pass on, advance, decorate oneself). This is a period or season. It can also mean whenever or continually.
X “Deborah” = Deborah. 10x in OT. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss) OR from the same as deborah (bee); {from dabar (see above)}. This is Deborah, meaning “bee” or “formalizer.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Deborah.html#.X2Y6QGhKhPY
Y “prophetess” = ishshah + nebiah. Literally “a woman, a prophetess.” Ishshah is from ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female. Nebiah is 6x in OT – of Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Noadiah, and Isaiah’s wife. From nabi (prophet, prophecy, speaker; someone inspired). This is to prophesy. Older usages referred to raving, religious ecstasy that sometimes went along with music. In later usage, it was religious teachings that sometimes held prediction. Prophesying is speaking the truth of what is and where it will lead. This word is specifically used for female prophet.
Z “wife” = ishshah. Same as {untranslated} in v4. See note X above.
AA “Lappidoth” = lappidoth.  1x in OT. From the same as lappid (root may mean to shine; torch, lamp, flash of lightning). This is Lappidoth, meaning “torch” or “lightning.”
BB “judging” = shaphat. This is to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, or govern. It can refer to God judging or to human judges. This is pronouncing a verdict in favor or against so it implies consequences or punishment. It can also mean to litigate or govern as one with authority.

She used to sitCC under the palmDD of Deborah between RamahEE and BethelFF in the hill country of Ephraim;GG and the Israelites came up to her for judgment.HH 

Notes on verse 5

CC “sit” = yashab. Same as “lived” in v2. See note O above.
DD “palm” = tomer. 2x in OT. Perhaps from the same as tamar (root may mean being erect; a date palm or other palm tree; the root of Tamar’s name). This is palm tree, the trunk of that tree, a post.
EE “Ramah” = ramah. From rum (to be high, rise, exalt self, extol, be haughty; to rise literally or figuratively). This is Ramah, meaning height.
FF “Bethel” = bethel. From bayit (house, household, palace, dungeon) + el (God, a god). This is Bethel, literally meaning “house of God.”
GG “Ephraim” = ephrayim. From the same as epher (ashes or dust – properly something strewn) OR from parah (to grw, increase, be fruitful in a literal or figurative sense). This is Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons, his descendants, and their land.
HH “judgment” = mishpat. Related to “judging” in v4. From shaphat (see note BB above). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.

She sent and summonedII BarakJJ son of AbinoamKK from KedeshLL in Naphtali,MM

Notes on verse 6a

II “summoned” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
JJ “Barak” = baraq. 13x in OT. From the same as baraq (lightning; figuratively, a gleaming or glittering; concretely, a flashing sword); from baraq (to flash, a flash of lightning). This is Barak or Baraq, meaning “flash of lightning.”
KK “Abinoam” = abinoam. 4x in OT. From ab (father literal or figurative) + noam (pleasantness, beauty, favor, agreeableness, delight, splendor, or grace); {from naem (to be pleasant, beautiful, sweet, or agreeable in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abinoam meaning “my father is delight” or “father of pleasantness” so “gracious.”
LL “Kedesh” = qedesh. 12x in OT. From the same as qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy); related to qadash (set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified; something or someone set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean). This is Kedesh or Qedesh, meaning “sanctuary” or “sanctum.”
MM “Naphtali” = naphtali. From pathal (to twist, twine, wrestle, struggle, behave in an unsavory way). This is Naphtali, meaning “my wrestling.” It can refer to Naphtali, his tribe, or the lands of the tribe.

and said to him, “The Lord, the GodNN of Israel, commandsOO you, ‘Go,PP take positionQQ at Mount Tabor,RR bringing ten thousand from the tribeSS of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun.TT 

Notes on verse 6b

NN “God” = Elohim.
OO “commands” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).
PP “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
QQ “take position” = mashak. This is to draw, drag, or pull. It can mean sow, march, remove, draw along, continue, extend, or prolong.
RR “Tabor” = tabor. 10x in OT. Perhaps Aramaic tebar (to break, be fragile); related to Hebrew shabar (break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear; bursting in a literal or figurative sense). This is Tabor, meaning “broken region.”
SS “tribe” = ish + ben. Literally “men of the sons of.” Ish is perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind. Ben is the same as “Israelites” in v1. See note A above.
TT “Zebulun” = Zebulun. From zabal (to dwell, inclose, reside). This is Zebulun, that tribe, or their territory. It means “habitation.”

I will draw outUU Sisera, the generalVV of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the WadiWW KishonXX with his chariots and his troops;YY and I will give him into your hand.’”

Notes on verse 7

UU“draw out” = mashak. Same as “take position” in v6. See note QQ above.
VV “general” = sar. Same as “commander” in v2. See note L above.
WW “Wadi” = nachal. From nachal (to take as heritage, inherit, or distribute). This is a river or stream. It could be a wadi or arroyo – sometimes a narrow valley with no water at all, but in strong rains or when winter snow melts, it swells or floods with water.
XX “Kishon” = qishon. 6x in OT – regarding this incident and Elijah’s contest with the priests of Baal in 1 Kings 18. From qush (to ensnare, bend, set a trap); perhaps from yaqosh (ensnare, lay bait, lure, trapper; to snare literally or figuratively). This is Kishon or Qishon, meaning “winding.”
YY “troops” = hamon. From hamah (to growl, cry out, be moved, murmur, hum, mourn, rage, clamor). This is a sound, noise, roar, rumbling, wealth, crowd, disquietude.

Image credit: “Deborah is a Biblical Heroine Calling the People to Fight the Oppressors” by A.V. Loganovsky at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior at the Donskoy Monastery in Moscow.

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