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A Paraphrase of the Song of Deborah.



That the strong in Israel laid bare their strength ;
That the people came to battle willingly ;

Praise ye the Lord !

Hear, O ye kings of earth! ye princes, lend your ear !
1, of the Lord, I fain would sing; would touch the harp,
In honor of the Lord, the God of Israel !

Lord, when Thou wentst our from Seir ;
When Thou didst march from Edom's field ;

Earth quaked ; yea, heaven dissolved ;

Yea, clouds dissolved in rain !
Mountains shook at presence of the Lord ;-
Sinai there, at presence of the Lord,

The God of Israel !

In days of Shamgar, Anath's son ;
In days of Jael, idle lay the ways ;
And such as follow trodden paths,

Went ways circuitous.
Idle lay the villages in Israel-idle,
Until I, Deborah, arose-arose,
And like a mother wrought for Israel.

He chose new gods;
Then war was at his gates;
Nor shield appeared, nor lance,
'Mong Israel's forty thousand men.

My heart goes out to the leaders of Israel ;
To the people that came to battle willingly ;

Praise ye the Lord !

Ye, who on white asses ride ;

Ye, who on rich carpets sit;
And ye, who tread the way, in toil for bread;

Muse on the victory!
For voice of archers at the water troughs-
There be rehearsed the righteous acts the Lord hath done ;
His righteous acts done for his villages in Israel.

Then from their refuges on high,
The people of the Lord came to their gates again,

No foe to fear !

Awake, Deborah, awake ! Awake, awake, the triumph sing !

Up, Ba k, Abinoam's son, And lead thy captives to captivity!

Then, a remnant of the nation's noblemen,

Down to the battle came ;
The Lord among those heroes--joy to me-

Came down to Jezreel !
From Ephraim—they rooted in Mount Amalek.

Next thee Benjamin, joined with thy hosts.
From Machir, leaders with their trains came down ;
And out of Zebulon they onward march,

With captain's staff.
And princes of Issachar with Deborah league ;

And Issachar like Barak brave,

Down to the vale his feet impel.

By streams of Reuben, were determinations great.

Why tarrying still amid the fold ?

Is bleat of flock so sweet to hear ?
At streams of Reuben, were deliberations great ;

But none the battle sought !

Gilead beyond Jordan rests ;
And Dan-why sojourns he in ships?

Asher by the seashore abides,
And at his havens resteth quietly.
Zebulon is a people that accounts it nought to die !

And Naphtali, of mountain home!

Kings came; they fought.

Then kings of Canaan fought ;
At Tanaach, by waters of Megiddo-

Spoil of silver failed to take !
The Heavens against them sought ;

The stars their courses left to fight with Sisera.

Kishon's brook swept them awayBrook of ancient days—Kishon's brook.

My soul contemns their strength !

Then hoofs of horses smote the ground;
For on and on their warriors dashed-

A troubled multitude !

Curse ye Meroz, saith the Angel of the Lord ;
Curse, curse ye her inhabitants,

Coming not to help the Lord-
To help the Lord amid the heroes of the land.

Jael, Kenite Heber's wife-
Let her, beyond women blessed be !
Beyond women, who in tents abide,

Let her blessed be !
Water he asked, she gave him milk ;
In costly bowl she offered cream.
But deep his sleep, within her tent,

Her hand out to the nail she stretched,
And her right hand to hammer used in toil ;
And hammered Sisera ; she brake his head;
And crushed, and pierced his temples through.
At her feet he sank, he fell, he lay ;

At her feet he sank, he fell ;
Where he sank, there he fell—a worthless thing.

Through the window there looks forth, and cries aloud-
Through the lattice—the mother of Sisera :
Why does his chariot delay to come!

Why step his steeds so slow !

The wisest of her princesses reply-
But her own word she still repeats unto herself-

“Surely they booty find and share ; A maiden, two maidens, for each man ;

Booty of garments bright for Sisera ;

Booty of garments bright, with needle wrought; A garment bright, on both sides wrought

Booty for me to wear!

So perish all who hate Thee, Lord !

But them who love Him
Let them like the sun go forth,

In strength of victory!

The Babylonian Element in Ezekiel.


H. TOY, D. D.


1. The almost complete silence of the earlier prophets, down to the end of the 7th century, B. C., in respect to the Babylonian kingdom, is what we should expect from the political relations of the time, and the method of the prophetic exhortations. The prophets were practical preachers and statesmen, who dealt with foreign nations only as these came into actual contact with Israel, and from the time of Amos to that of Jeremiah Babylon was merely a restless, hardly-managed dependency of Assyria, with no important independent political power, not formidable as an enemy, or valuable as a friend. After various revolts and wars it was finally completely subdued B. C., 710 by Sargon, who took the title of King of Babylon, and held his court in the city probably for several years; and it seems to be just at this time that Micah declared (ch. iv. 10) that Judah should be carried away out of the city into the country and as far as Babylon. It was not long after the destructive expedition of Sargon into southern Palestine, which filled the land with dismay (B. C. 712 or 711), and was not improbably connected with the embassy of Marduk-bal-iddin (Isa. xxxix.), who before his last, ill-fated struggle for independence, may have wished to gain the friendship of the petty kings of Palestine. The genuineness of the prediction ascribed to the prophet Isaiah in Isa. xxxix., 2 Kings xx. may fairly be regarded as doubtful, seeing that this whole historical insertion (chs. xxxvi. –xxxix.) bears the marks of a later date, and the book of Kings belongs to the period of the exile. The mention of Babylon in Micah, then, the only one certainly earlier than Jeremiah, is nothing but a consequence of the temporary position of the King of Assyria in that city, and has nothing to do with a kingdom of Babylon. The sole mention of this last is found in the prediction of Isaiah, if this be genuine.

2. In B. C. 625 the Assyrian empire fell before the attack of the Medes and Babylonians, who divided its territory between them, Palestine naturally falling to the latter; Josiah, King of Judah, became a vassal of Babylon and lost his life in an attempt to prevent Pharaoh Necho from marching against his suzerain. The prophet Jeremiah assumed the same friendly attitude towards Babylon, opposed with all his might alliance with Egypt and rebellion against Nebuchadrezzar, wrote to the captives to make themselves at home in the land of their exile, and carried his advocacy of the Babylonian supremacy so far as to incur the suspicion of treachery to his own country, and the hearty hatred of the national party. He spoke no word against Babylon, but predicted a speedy return of Israel to their own land. 3.

On this point Ezekiel is completely at one with Jeremiahwhile he looks to his people's restoration to Canaan, he is thoroughly friendly to Babylon. He sides with Nebuchadrezzar against Egypt and Tyre--promises to the Babylonian King the spoil of the latter (xxvi. 7-14), and when his attack had failed* gives him Egypt in compensation (xxix. 18-20). In portraying the attack of Gog on Israel, the allies whom he assigns to the northern horde are nearly identical with the allies of Tyre the enemy of Nebuchadrezzar. He has no word of blame or reproof for the King of Babylon-he does not denounce him for holding Israel in captivity--when the tidings of the fall of Jerusalem come, it is not against the conqueror but against Israel that he lifts up his voice (xxxiii. 21-29)-the judgment of God on Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia is announced for their hostility to Israel, but there is no word of judgment on Babylon. This forbearance is extended to the Babylonian religion. The idolatry of Israel is denounced, the idols of Egypt are to be destroyed, but Bel and Nebo and Marduk, Nebuchadrezzar's special god are unmentioned.

All this is in striking contrast with the tone of later prophecies, as jer. 1,. li.; Isa. xiii., xiv., xlvi. xlvii, in which Babylon is treated as the enemy of Israel, and therefore to be punished with destruction.

5. The difference of tone is explained by the difference of the historical circumstances. To Jeremiah and Ezekiel Babylon was the supreme political power of the world, victorious over all enemies, firmly established, and therefore the safest guardian of Israel. They saw that it would be madness in a petty kingdom in Palestine to set itself

*Whether Nebuchadrezzar took Tyre or not (on which point Josephus' citation of authorities seems to me to amount to little), still the prophet says that neither he nor his army had wages for his service against Tyre.


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