And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Discomfited.—The same word as in Exodus 14:24; Joshua 10:10. The LXX. exestēse, and the Vulg. perterruit, imply the element of immediate Divine aid in the battle.
And all his host.—“Do unto them . . . as to Sisera, as to Jabin at the brook of Kison, which perished at Endor, and became as the dung of the earth” (Psalm 83:9-10). Considering the allusion to the swollen waters of the Kishon and the storm in Judges 5:20-22, it seems probable that Josephus is following a correct Jewish tradition when he describes the battle thus:—“They joined battle, and as the ranks closed a violent storm came on, and much rain and hail; and the wind drove the rain against the faces of the Canaanites, darkening their outlook, so that their archeries and their slings were rendered useless, and their heavy-armed soldiers, because of the cold, were unable to use their swords. But since the storm was behind the Israelites, it caused them less harm, and they further took courage from their belief in God’s assistance, so that, driving into the midst of the enemy, they killed many of them,” &c. (Antt. v. 5, § 4). The battle thus closely resembled that of Timoleon against the Carthaginians at the Crimessus (Grote, xi. 246), and the English victory at Crecy, as has been graphically described by Dean Stanley (Jew. Church, i. 329). We may add that similar conditions recurred in the battle of Cannæ, except that it was the storm of dust and not of rain that was blown in the faces of the Romans by the Scirocco (Liv. 22:46; Plut. Fab. 16).
Sisera lighted down off his chariot.—We find an Homeric hero, Idæus (Il. v. 20), doing the same thing. On this the frivolous critic Zoilus made the objection, “Why did he not fly in his chariot?” The answer is the same as here: Sisera would have far more chance of escaping into concealment if he left the well-known chariot of a general. Besides this, his chariot—like those of the Egyptians at the Red Sea—was probably struggling in the trampled morass. “It was left to rust on the banks of the Kishon, like Roderick’s on the shores of the Guadelete” (Stanley).Judges 4:7); or he might leave his chariot in order to mislead his pursuers, and in hope of gaining a place of safety while they were following the track of the chariot-wheels and the bulk of the host.
so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet—His chariot being probably distinguished by its superior size and elegance, would betray the rank of its rider, and he saw therefore that his only chance of escape was on foot.The Lord discomfited Sisera, with great terror and noise, as the word signifies, Exodus 14:24 Joshua 10:10 1Sa 10, most probably with thunder, and lightning, and hailstones, or other such instruments of destruction poured upon them from heaven, as is sufficiently implied, Judges 5:20.
With the edge of the sword, i.e. by the sword of Barak and his army, whose ministry God used; but so that they had little else to do but to kill these whom God by more powerful arms had put to flight.
Fled away on his feet, that he might flee away more secretly and securely in the quality of a common soldier, whereas his chariot would have exposed him to more observation and hazard. 2 Kings 7:6; and they saw, he says, horses and chariots of fire, and the like, which terrified them; and all this he supposes was done before Barak descended from the mountain, so that he had nothing to do when he came but to pursue and kill, whereby it plainly appeared it was the Lord's doing. Josephus (i) says there was a great tempest of rain and hail, and the wind blew the rain in their faces, which so blinded their eyes, that their slings and arrows were of no use to them; and they that bore armour were so benumbed, that they could not hold their swords. Something of this kind is intimated by Deborah in her song, Judges 5:20; and this was accompanied or followed by a slaughter
with the edge of the sword before Barak; the fright and dread they were put into was increased by the appearance of Barak, who fell upon them in their confusion, and cut them to pieces:
so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet; being very probably swift of foot; and besides thought it safest to quit his chariot, which in the confusion was in danger of being run against by others; as also he might judge he should not be so easily discerned who he was when on foot, as a common soldier, as in his splendid chariot; and this he might do in his fright, not considering his horses were swifter than he: thus Homer represents a Trojan warrior leaping out of his chariot to escape Diomedes, and another as doing the same to get clear of Achilles (k).And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. discomfited] lit. ‘confused,’ ‘threw into a panic.’ The word, not a common one, occurs again in the prose counterpart to the Song of Moses (Exodus 14:24), and in Joshua 10:10 just before the poetic fragment Jdg 4:12-13; cf. 1 Samuel 7:10. The words with the edge of the sword do not go well with threw into a panic; they may have come accidentally from Jdg 4:16.Verse 15.- The Lord discomfited, etc. Deborah had announced that the Lord was gone out before the host of Barak, and so the victory was not man's, but the Lord's. "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."Judges 4:17., into the hand of Jael. She then went with him to Kedesh, where Barak summoned together Zebulun and Naphtali, i.e., the fighting men of those tribes, and went up with 10,000 men in his train ("at his feet," i.e., after him, Judges 4:14; cf. Exodus 11:8 and Deuteronomy 11:6) to Tabor ("went up:" the expression is used here to denote the advance of an army against a place). Kedesh, where the army assembled, was higher than Tabor. זעק, Hiphil with acc., to call together (cf. 2 Samuel 20:4-5). Before the engagement with the foe is described, there follows in Judges 4:11 a statement that Heber the Kenite had separated himself from his tribe, the children of Hobab, who led a nomad life in the desert of Judah (Judges 1:16), and had pitched his tents as far as the oak forest at Zaanannim (see at Joshua 19:33) near Kedesh. This is introduced because of its importance in relation to the issue of the conflict which ensued (Judges 4:17 ff). נפרד with Kametz is a participle, which is used in the place of the perfect, to indicate that the separation was a permanent one.
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