Awake, awake, Deborah…utter a song. Arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive. Judges 5:12
Words: From The Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs of the Old and New Testament, 25th edition (Boston, Massachusetts: Daniel Henchman & Thomas Hancock, 1742), pages 297–301. Adapted by Richard W. Adams, January 7, 2020 (public domain).
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Because He Israel hath revenged,
Bless ye therefore the Lord:
Because the people offered up
Themselves of free accord.
Give ear, O kings, ye princes hear,
Sing to the Lord I will;
I, even I’ll sing to the Lord,
The God of Israel.
Lord, when Thou wentest from Seir,
Didst march from Edom’s field;
The earth did tremble, heavens drop,
The clouds their showers yield;
And in the presence of the Lord,
The mountains melting fell,
E’en Sinai drooped before the Lord,
The God of Israel.
In days of Shamgar, Anath’s son,
The roads in Jael’s days,
Abandoned were: the travelers
They walked in lost by-ways.
And villagers did cease to be,
They ceased in Israel:
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Mother in Israel.
New gods they chose, then cruel wars
Entered their gates within;
With forty thousand Israelites
No shield or spear was seen.
My heart to Israel’s rulers is,
That did of free accord
Present themselves among the folk:
Bless ye therefore the Lord.
Speak ye your minds, all ye that do
Upon white asses ride;
Ye that in judgment sit, and ye
That walk the way beside.
Who from the archers’ noise are freed,
There shall they now record,
In places where they water draw,
The just acts of the Lord.
His righteous works to them who dwell
In Israel’s towns relate,
Then shall the people of the Lord
Go down unto the gate.
Awake, O Deborah, wake and sing;
And now, Barak, arise,
Abinoam’s son, to dry the tears
From Israel’s captive eyes.
Unto the remnant he gave rule
Above the nobles then
Among the folk: the Lord gave me
Rule over mighty men.
From Ephraim a root against
Proud Amalek there was:
Thy followers, O Benjamin,
Among thy folk did pass.
From out of Machir governors
Descended also then,
And out of Zebulun came they
That wield the writer’s pen.
From Issachar marched princes out,
His peers with Deborah went,
And also was Barak on foot
Into the valley sent.
Because of those divisions that
In Reuben did appear,
Great fears and anxious thoughts of heart
Among them then there were.
Why didst thou with the sheep folds stay?
The bleating flocks to hear?
For Reuben his divisions sad
Heart searchings great there were.
Beyond the Jordan Gilead sat;
Why Dan in ships reside?
On seashore why Asher did stay,
And in his creeks abide?
But Zebulun and Napthali
Were people who did yield
Their lives in danger unto death
Upon the open field.
Thus Israel’s kings came to the fray,
And crowns of Canaan fought,
In Tanach by Megiddo’s streams;
No golden coin they sought.
They warred from Heav’n—the stars in course
Fought Sisera that day;
And Kishon’s river, ancient brook,
Swept all his strength away.
O thou, my soul, hast trod down strength,
The horses broken were;
By plunging, trampling, galloping
Of mighty princes there.
O curse Meroz, her people curse,
Jehovah’s angel said:
For they came not to help the Lord,
’Gainst Sisera to aid.
Jael the Kenite, Heber’s wife,
’Bove women blest shall be:
Above the women in the tent,
Most blessèd one is she.
He water asked; she gave him milk,
In lordly dish she fetched
Him butter forth, then to the nail
She forth her left hand stretched.
Her right the workman’s hammer held,
To strike Sisera dead:
She struck and pierced his temple through,
And then cut off his head.
So at her feet he bowed, he fell,
Before her laid he down;
He breathed his last, and joined the dead,
Destroyèd on the ground.
Through latticed window Sisera’s
Mother looked, and feared his fate;
O tell me why, in his return,
Why is my son so late?
His chariot wheels, why tarry they?
Her ladies wise replied,
But to herself she answer made,
Have they not sped? she cried.
The spoil to each, a maid or twain,
Divided not have they?
With Sisera have they not shared
A many colored prey?
Of diverse colored needlework,
Wrought curious on each side,
Of various colors, meet for necks
Of those who spoils divide?
So perished are Thine enemies,
O Lord; but let all those
Who love You, be they like the sun
That in his strength forth goes.
Then came a rest of forty years,
With peace throughout the land;
Then Israel turned again from God,
And fell in Midian’s hand.