The Taser's Edge

What a Woman! (Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, that is)
February 22, 2007, 12:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

 I just finished a near final draft of my translation of the Song of Deborah (Judges 5 in its entirety).  Want to see it?

What you should know:
-This is a very literal translation from the Hebrew.
-Words I added (other than forms of “to be,” because that is almost always understood) are found in parentheses.
-The stanzas are my own divisions based on content.  Because the verse numbers are a later addition, sometimes my stanzas broke up verses.
-This took forever.
-I wanted to render a more poetic version (by English standards) but didn't have the time.

Judges 5:1-31 
1 Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
2 “When hair hangs loose in Israel, when the people enlist,
Bless the Lord!
3 Hear, O kings; give ear, O dignitaries,
I am for the Lord.
 I, I will sing, I shall make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel.
4 Lord, when you came forth from Seir,
When you marched from the domain of Edom,
Land shook, heavens dripped,
Even clouds dripped water.
5 Mountains flowed down from the face of the Lord,
This Sinai, from the face of the Lord, the God of Israel.
6 In the days of Shamgar, the son of Anath,
In the days of Jael, highways had ceased,
And those walking on paths walked on crooked highways.
7 The people of the open country had ceased,
In Israel they had ceased,
Until I, Deborah, stood up, a mother in Israel, I stood up,
8 (Israel) had chosen new gods, until war was (at) the gates—
If only a shield or even a lance were to be seen among forty thousand of Israel!
9 My heart is for the leaders of Israel
Who enlisted among the people—
Bless the Lord!
10 Riders of tawny she-donkeys,
Those seated on blankets,
And those walking along a road, sing!
11 The sound of trumpets between watering channels,
There they will sing (of) the just acts of the Lord,
The just acts of his people in the open country of Israel,
Then the people of the Lord went down to the gates.
12 Awake, awake, Deborah,
Awake, awake, speak a song,
Stand up, Barak, and capture your captives, son of Abinoam.
13 Then a survivor came down to the officers of the people,
The Lord came down to me among the warriors,
14 From Ephraim, their root in Amalek,
After you, Benjamin among your people,
From Machir, leaders went down,
And from Zebulun, those who seized the staff of the secretary,
15 And princes among Issachar with Deborah,
And (as) Issachar, so Barak in the valley
Was sent out at his feet.
Among the divisions of Reuben great searchings of the heart,
16 Why did you stop between the twin ash heaps
to hear the flute-playing of the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben, great searchings of the heart.
17 Gilead stayed on the other side of the Jordan,
And Dan, why foreign ships?
Asher remained sitting at the shore of the seas
And stayed by his inlets.
18 Zebulun, a people, reproached its spirit to (the point of) death,
And Naphtali, upon heights of a field.
19 Kings came, they fought,
Then the kings of Canaan fought,
In Tanaach, by the waters of Megiddo,
They did not take silver spoils.
20 From heaven, the stars warred,
From their highways, they warred with Sisera.
21 The stream of Kishon washed them away,
The ancient stream, the stream of Kishon.
March on, O my soul, (with) strength.
22 Then the hooves of the horses hammered
From the galloping, galloping of his stallions.
23 Damn Meroz, said the angel of the Lord,
Doubly damn her inhabitants,
Because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
To the help of the Lord with warriors.
24 Let Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, be blessed among women,
Among the women of the tent, let her be blessed!
25 He asked for water, she gave milk,
In a princely bowl, she offered curdled milk.
26 Her hand toward the tent peg she stretched it,
And her right hand to a laborers’ hammer.
And she hammered Sisera, she crushed his head,
And she beat (it) to pieces, and she cut through his temple.
27 Between her feet he collapsed, he fell, he lay,
Between her feet he collapsed, he fell,
There he fell, devastated.
28 Through the window she looked down,
And she lamented through the lattice, the mother of Sisera:
“Why is his chariot delayed in coming?
Why does the clanging of his war chariots tarry?”
29 The wise gentlewomen answered her,
Even she returned her word to her:
30 “Did they not find, divide plunder?
A woman or two for the pleasure of the head man,
Plunder of dyed cloths for Sisera,
Plunder of woven dyed cloths,
A dyed cloth, two woven things, for the necks of plunder?
31 Just so may all your enemies perish, O Lord,
And may those who love you be like the rising of the sun with glory.
And the land was silent (for) forty years.

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