5:1 [a poetic description of the events in chapter 4; cf. song of Moses in Ex. 15] On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang [Heb. word means “to sing with a stringed instrument”] this song:
5:2 “When the princes in Israel take the lead [military leaders willing to fight against Sisera], when the people [10,000 soldiers] willingly offer [volunteer] themselves—praise the LORD [the theme of this chapter]!
5:3 “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I will sing to the LORD, I will sing; I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel.
5:4 “O LORD, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water.
5:5 The mountains quaked before the LORD, the One of Sinai, before the LORD, the God of Israel.
5:6 [a description of the conditions that existed under Canaanite oppression] “In the days of Shamgar [a judge] son of Anath, in the days of Jael [the woman who killed Sisera (cf. 5:24-27)], the roads [the highways were controlled by the Canaanites who exploited travelers] were abandoned; travelers [caravans and individual travelers] took to winding paths [the back roads].
5:7 Village [small settlement that had no defensive wall] life in Israel ceased [people did not work in their fields for fear of the Canaanites], ceased until I, Deborah, arose [in the midst of Israel’s plight], arose a mother [a title of honor; evident in her concern and courage] in Israel.
5:8 When they [the Israelites] chose new gods [Canaanite idols such as Baal and Asherah], war [the judgement and discipline of the Lord] came to the city gates, and [note that Israel was powerless before attacking enemies] not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.
5:9 My heart is with Israel’s princes [governors; military leaders], with the willing volunteers among the people. Praise the LORD [this is the theme of this chapter]!
5:10 “You who ride on white donkeys, sitting on your saddle blankets, and you who walk along the road, consider
5:11 the voice of the singers at the watering places. They recite the righteous acts of the LORD, the righteous acts of his warriors in Israel. “Then the people of the LORD went down to the city gates.