Judges 4:12
And they showed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.
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(12) They shewed Sisera.—The previous verse has been introduced by way of anticipation, that the reader—who has last heard of the Kenites in the south of Judah (Judges 1:16)—may not be surprised at Judges 4:17 to find them in Naphtali. It is not, therefore, necessary to suppose that the “they” means the Kenites. It may be an impersonal expression (as it is rendered in the LXX. and Vulg. “it was told”).

4:10-16. Siser's confidence was chiefly in his chariots. But if we have ground to hope that God goes before us, we may go on with courage and cheerfulness. Be not dismayed at the difficulties thou meetest with in resisting Satan, in serving God, or suffering for him; for is not the Lord gone before thee? Follow him then fully. Barak went down, though upon the plain the iron chariots would have advantage against him: he quitted the mountain in dependence on the Divine power; for in the Lord alone is the salvation of his people, Jer 3:23. He was not deceived in his confidence. When God goes before us in our spiritual conflicts, we must bestir ourselves; and when, by his grace, he gives us some success against the enemies of our souls, we must improve it by watchfulness and resolution.Read, "Heber the Kenitc had severed himself from the Kenites which were of the children of Hobab," etc., "unto the oak (or terebinth tree) in Zaanaim" (or Bitzaanaim, which Conder identifies with Bessum, twelve miles southeast of Tabor, and near Kedesh on the Sea of Galilee). This migration of Heber the Kenite, with a portion of his tribe, from the south of Judah to the north of Naphtali, perhaps caused by Philistine oppression, had clearly taken place recently. It is mentioned here to account for the subsequent narrative, but possibly also because the news of the great muster of the Israelites at Kedesh had been carried to Sisera by some of the tribe Judges 4:12, whose tents we are here informed were in the immediate neighborhood of Kedesh. 11. Now Heber the Kenite … pitched his tent—It is not uncommon, even in the present day, for pastoral tribes to feed their flocks on the extensive commons that lie in the heart of inhabited countries in the East (see on [216]Jud 1:16).

plain of Zaanaim—This is a mistranslation for "the oaks of the wanderers." The site of the encampment was under a grove of oaks, or terebinths, in the upland valley of Kedesh.

They, i.e. his people dwelling there, or his spies; or, he was told, this being an impersonal speech. And they showed Sisera,.... Either some of the Canaanites that dwelt near Tabor, or some spies that Sisera had out; though some think the Kenites told him, who were at peace with Jabin, Judges 4:17; yet whether out of good will or ill will cannot be said: however, so it was ordered by the providence of God, that by some means or another Sisera should be informed

that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to Mount Tabor; and no doubt at the same time he was told the number of men that went with him; from whence he might well conclude, that such a warlike man, with such a force collected together, and having posted himself in an high and strong mountain, must have some design to cause a revolt of Israel from Jabin his prince.

And they showed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.
But in order to secure the rights of her people against their outward foes also, she summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh, in the tribe of Naphtali, on the west of the Huleh lake (see at Joshua 12:22), and made known to him the commands of the Lord: "Up and draw to Mount Tabor, and take with thee 10,000 men of the children of Naphtali and Zebulun; and I will draw to thee into the brook-valley of Kishon, Sisera the captain of Jabin's army, and his chariots, and his multitude (his men of war), and give him into thy hand." משׁכתּ has been explained in different ways. Seb. Schmidt, Clericus, and others supply הקּרן or השּׁופר, draw with the trumpet (cf. Exodus 19:13; Joshua 6:5), i.e., blow the trumpet in long-drawn tones, upon Mount Tabor, and regard this as the signal for convening people; whilst Hengstenberg (Diss. ii. pp. 76, 77) refers to Numbers 10:9, and understands the blowing of the horn as the signal by which the congregation of the Lord made known its need to Him, and appealed to Him to come to its help. It cannot indeed be proved that the blowing of the trumpet was merely the means adopted for convening the people together; in fact, the use of the following משׁכתּי, in the sense of draw, is to be explained on the supposition that משׁכתּ is used in a double sense. "The long-drawn notes were to draw the Lord to them, and then the Lord would draw to them Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army. Barak first calls the helper from heaven, and then the Lord calls the enemy upon earth." Nevertheless we cannot subscribe to this explanation, first of all because the supposed ellipsis cannot be sustained in this connection, when nothing is said about the blowing of a trumpet either in what precedes or in what follows; and secondly, because Numbers 10:9 cannot be appealed to in explanation, for the simple reason that it treats of the blowing of the silver trumpets on the part of the priests, and they must not be confounded with the shopharoth. And the use made of the trumpets at Jericho cannot be transferred to the passage before us without some further ground. We are disposed therefore to take the word משׁך in the sense of draw (intransitive), i.e., proceed one after another in a long-drawn train (as in Judges 20:37 and Exodus 12:21), referring to the captain and the warriors drawing after him; whilst in Judges 4:7 it is to be translated in the same way, though with a transitive signification. Mount Tabor, called Ἰταβύριον by the Greeks (see lxx Hosea 5:1), the mountain of Christ's transfiguration according to an early tradition of the church, the present Jebel et Tur, is a large truncated cone of limestone, which is almost perfectly insulated, and rises to the height of about a thousand feet, on the north-eastern border of the plain of Jezreel. The sides of the mountain are covered with a forest of oaks and wild pistachios, and upon its flat summit, which is about half an hour in circumference, there are the remains of ancient fortifications (see Robinson, Pal. iii. pp. 211ff., and v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 37, 38). The words "and take with thee 10,000 men" are not to be understood as signifying that Barak was to summon the people together upon the top of Mount Tabor, but the assembling of the people is presupposed; and all that is commanded is, that he was to proceed to Mount Tabor with the assembled army, and make his attack upon the enemy, who were encamped in the valley of Kishon, from that point. According to Judges 4:10, the army was collected at Kedesh in Naphtali. Nachal Kishon is not only the brook Kishon, which is formed by streams that take their rise from springs upon Tabor and the mountains of Gilboa, flows in a north-westerly direction through the plain of Jezreel to the Mediterranean, and empties itself into the bay of Acca, and which is called Mukatta by the natives (see Rob. iii. pp. 472ff., and v. Raumer, pp. 39, 50), but the valley on both sides of the brook, i.e., the plain of Jezreel (see at Joshua 17:16), where the greatest battles have been fought for the possession of Palestine from time immemorial down to the most recent times (see v. Raumer, pp. 40ff.).
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