Judges 4:1-10, 23

Judges 4:1-10, 23
Easter Vigil – A Women’s Lectionary


The IsraelitesA againB didC what was evilD

Notes on verse 1a

A “Israelites” = ben + Yisrael. Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This 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 Israel, meaning 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 “did” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
D “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.

in the sightE of the Lord,F after EhudG died.H 

Notes on verse 1b

E “sight” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
F “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.
G “Ehud” = Ehud. 9x in OT. From the same as ohad (Ohad, root may mean unity). This is Ehud, meaning “united.”
H “died” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.

So the Lord soldI them into the handJ of KingK JabinL of Canaan,M

Notes on verse 2a

I “sold” = makar. This is to sell – could be commerce/trade, a daughter to be married, someone into slavery. Figuratively, it can mean to surrender.
J “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.
K “King” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.
L “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.”
M “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

who reignedN in Hazor;O the commanderP of his armyQ

Notes on verse 2b

N “reigned” = malak. Related to “King” in v2. See note K above.
O “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.”
P “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.
Q “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.

was Sisera,R who livedS in Harosheth-ha-goiim.T 

Notes on verse 2c

R “Sisera” = Sisera. Perhaps from Hittite (to mediate) OR related to Hebrew sus (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, whose name may mean “meditation” or “keen and swift” or “see the horse.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Sisera.html#.X2FO22hKhPY
S “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.
T “Harosheth-ha-goiim” = charosheth + goy. Charosheth is 3x in OT. From the same as charosheth (a carving or cutting); related to charash (engraver, artisan – a manufacturer of any material); from charash (to 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. It may mean “carving of the nations” or “silence of the gentiles” or “manufactury.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Harosheth.html Goy is  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;U for he had nineV hundredW chariotsX of iron,Y

Notes on verse 3a

U “cried out…for help” = tsaaq. This is to cry out or call together, to shriek. It can mean, by implication, calling for an assembly.
V “nine” = tesha. Perhaps from sha’ah (to gaze at, gaze around, regard – to look to, especially for help; to consider or be compassionate; to look at in amazement or while confounded). This is nine, perhaps as looking to the next number associated with fullness (10).
W “hundred” = meah. This is hundred or some number times one hundred (i.e. hundredfold or the base of two hundred, three hundred, etc.).
X “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.
Y “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.

and had oppressedZ the Israelites cruellyAA twentyBB years.CC

Notes on verse 3b

Z “oppressed” = lachats. 19x in OT. This is to press or squeeze. Figuratively, it is oppress, afflict, or distress.
AA “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.
BB “twenty” = esrim. From the same as eser (ten, tenth). This is twenty or twentieth.
CC “years” = shanah. From shana (to change, alter). This is a year, age, old. It can also mean yearly.

At that timeDD Deborah,EE aFF prophetess,GG

Notes on verse 4a

DD “time” = eth. 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.
EE “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
FF {untranslated} = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
GG “prophetess” = nebiah. 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.

wifeHH of Lappidoth,II was judgingJJ Israel. 

Notes on verse 4b

HH “wife” = ishshah. Same as {untranslated} in v4. See note EE above.
II “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.”
JJ “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 sitKK underLL the palmMM of Deborah betweenNN RamahOO andPP BethelQQ

Notes on verse 5a

KK “sit” = yashab. Same as “lived” in v2. See note S above.
LL “under” = tachat. This is underneath, below, the bottom, instead of.
MM “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.
NN “between” = bayin. Perhaps related to “Jabin” in v2. From bin (see note L above). This is among, between, interval.
OO “Ramah” = Ramah. From rum (to be high, rise, exalt self, extol, be haughty; to rise literally or figuratively). This is Ramah, meaning height.
PP “and” = bayin. Same as “between” in v5. See note NN above.
QQ “Bethel” = Bethel. Related to “Israelites” in v1. From bayit (house, household, palace, dungeon); {from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively)} + el (see note A above). This is Bethel, literally meaning “house of God.”

in the hill countryRR of Ephraim;SS and the Israelites came upTT to her for judgment.UU 

Notes on verse 5b

RR “hill country” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.
SS “Ephraim” = Ephrayim. From the same as epher (ashes or dust – properly something strewn) OR from parah (to grow, increase, be fruitful in a literal or figurative sense). This is Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons, his descendants, and their land.
TT “came up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
UU “judgment” = mishpat. Related to “judging” in v4. From shaphat (see note JJ 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.

6 She sentVV and summonedWW BarakXX

Notes on verse 6a

VV “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
WW “summoned” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
XX “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.”

sonYY of AbinoamZZ from KedeshAAA in Naphtali,BBB

Notes on verse 6b

YY “son” = ben. Same as “Israelites” in v1. See note A above.
ZZ “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.”
AAA “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.”
BBB “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 GodCCC of Israel, commandsDDD you, ‘Go,EEE take positionFFF at MountGGG Tabor,HHH

Notes on verse 6c

CCC “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israelites” in v1 & “Bethel” in v5. See note A above.
DDD “commands” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).
EEE “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.
FFF “take position” = mashak. This is to draw, drag, or pull. It can mean sow, march, remove, draw along, continue, extend, or prolong.
GGG “Mount” = har. Same as “hill country” in v5. See note RR above.
HHH “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.”

bringingIII tenJJJ thousandKKK from the tribeLLL of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun.MMM 

Notes on verse 6d

III “bringing” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
JJJ “ten” = eser. Related to “twenty” in v3. See note BB above.
KKK “thousand” = eleph. Perhaps from the same as eleph (herd, cattle); from alaph (to learn, speak, associate with). This is thousand.
LLL “tribe” = ish + ben. Ish is related to {untranslated} in v4. See note FF above. Ben is the same as “Israelites” in v1. See note A above.
MMM “Zebulun” = Zebulun. From zabal (to dwell, inclose, reside). This is Zebulun, that tribe, or their territory. It means “habitation.”

7 I will draw outNNN Sisera, the generalOOO of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the WadiPPP KishonQQQ with his chariots and his troops;RRR and I will giveSSS him into your hand.’” 

Notes on verse 7

NNN “draw out” = mashak. Same as “take position” in v6. See note FFF above.
OOO “general” = sar. Same as “commander” in v2. See note P above.
PPP “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.
QQQ “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.”
RRR “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.
SSS “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.

Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” 

And she said, “I will surely goTTT with you; nevertheless,UUU the roadVVV on which you are going

Notes on verses 8-9a

TTT “surely go” = halak + halak. Same as “go” in v6. See note EEE above. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
UUU “nevertheless” = ephes. From aphes (to finish, fail, stop, come to nothing, disappear). This is an end, ceasing, no further. It is often used to refer to the ends of the earth.
VVV “road” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.

will not leadWWW to your glory,XXX for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”YYY Then Deborah got upZZZ and went with Barak to Kedesh. 

Notes on verse 9b

WWW “lead” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note F above.
XXX “glory” = tipharah. From paar (to beautify or adorn, to gleam; can refer to showing honor or glorifying someone; also to boast or to shake a tree for harvest). This is beautiful, splendor, adornment, honor, bravery.
YYY “woman” = ishshah. Same as {untranslated} in v4. See note EE above.
ZZZ “got up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.

10 Barak summonedAAAA Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and ten thousand warriorsBBBB went upCCCC behindDDDD him; and Deborah went up with him.

Notes on verse 10

AAAA “summoned” = zaaq. This is to cry or call out. It can be a call to assemble or gather together. By analogy, this could refer to a herald who announces a public gathering. It could also be a shriek from pain or danger.
BBBB “warriors” = ish. Related to “tribe” see note LLL above.
CCCC “went up” = alah. Same as “came up” in v5. See note TT above.
DDDD “behind” = regel. This is foot, endurance, or journey. It is a foot as the means of walking and so it implies a step or a greater journey. It can be used euphemistically for private parts.

23 So on that dayEEEE God subduedFFFF King Jabin of Canaan beforeGGGG the Israelites. 

Notes on verse 23

EEEE “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
FFFF “subdued” = kana. Related to “Canaan” in v2. See note M above.
GGGG “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.

Image credit: “Deborah the Judge” by John Paul Stanley of YoMinistry.

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