And she dwelled under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)She dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah.—Similarly Abraham is said to have lived under the oak of Mamre (Genesis 14:13), and Saul under the pomegranate of Migron (1Samuel 14:2). “Such tents the patriarchs loved “(Coleridge). Dean Stanley (Jewish Chron. i. 318) draws a fine contrast between the triumphant “mother of Israel” (Judges 5 under her palm, full of the fire of faith and energy,and Judæa Captiva, represented on the coins of Titus as a weeping woman sitting under a palm-tree, “with downcast eyes and folded hands, and extinguished hopes.” The words “she dwelt” are literally she was sitting, which may merely mean that she took her station under this well-known and solitary palm when she was giving her judgment (comp. Psalm 9:3); just as St. Louis, under the oak-tree at Vincennes (Stanley, Jewish Chron. i. 218), and as Ethelbert received St. Austin and his monks under an oak. The tree won its name as the “Deborah palm” from her, and may also have originated the name Baal-Tamar, “the lord of the palm” (Judges 20:33). Near it was another very famous tree—Allon-Bachuth—the oak or terebinth of weeping; so called from the weeping at the burial of the other Deborah (Genesis 35:8), which is alluded to in 1Samuel 10:3, if the true reading there be “the oak of Deborah,” and not of Tabor, as Thenius conjectures.
In mount Ephraim.—The one secure spot in Palestine. (See Note on Judges 3:27.) The Chaldee prosaically amplifies this into “she lived in Ataroth (Joshua 15:2), having independent means, and she had palm-trees in Jericho, gardens in Ramah, olive-yards in the valley, a well-watered land in Bethel, and white clay in the king’s mount.”
Came up.—A technical term for going before a superior (Numbers 16:12; Deuteronomy 25:7). Deborah, unlike the German Veleda—who lived in a tower, in awful seclusion—allowed the freest access to her presence as she sat beneath her palm.Jdg 4:5. And she dwelt — Or, as the Septuagint and Vulgate understand it, she sat: she had her judgment-seat in the open air, under the shadow of that tree, which was an emblem of the justice she administered there: thriving and growing against opposition, as the palm-tree does under pressures. Came to her — To have their suits and causes determined by her sentence.Judges 4:10, but not in the usual place, "the gate" Ruth 4:1-2; Proverbs 22:22. It suited her character, and the wild unsafe times better, that she should sit under a palm-tree in the secure heights of Mount Ephraim, between Ramah and Bethel (Judges 20:33 note). This verse shows that the Judges exercised the civil as well as military functions of rulers 1 Samuel 7:15-17. Genesis 35:8,
between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim; which places were in the tribe of Benjamin in the borders of Ephraim, see Joshua 16:2. The Jews conclude, from the situation of her, that she was a very opulent woman; the Targum is,"she was dwelling in a city in Ataroth, Deborah was supported of her own; she had palm trees in Jericho, orchards in Ramah, olives producing oil in the valley, a place of watering in Bethel, and white dust in the kings mountain:"
and the children of Israel came up to her; from all parts of the land to the mount of Ephraim:And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah] The marg. sat is better, cf. Jdg 6:11, 1 Samuel 14:2; 1 Samuel 22:6, lit. she was sitting, i.e. to declare the divine will in disputes and cases of difficulty; hence, it is implied, the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah (er-Râm) and Beth-el (Beitin), 5 and 12 m. respectively N. of Jerusalem, obtained its name. In the same neighbourhood, and associated with the same name, was the famous tree called Allon-bacuth, ‘tree (?oak) of mourning,’ under which Deborah the nurse of Rachel was buried, Genesis 35:8. The conclusion seems to be irresistible that we have here and in Genesis 35:8 two different ways of accounting for the name of the same tree. Of the two, that given in Gen. is perhaps preferable; for there is nothing elsewhere in the present narrative to suggest that Deborah’s home was in the S. of the hill country of Ephraim; Jdg 5:15, though it does not speak distinctly, appears to connect her with Issachar; and it is more likely that the deliverer arose where the need was the sorest, rather than from a district outside the area of the oppression. Moreover, Deborah with her head-quarters near Beth-el would have been too far apart from Barak for the conduct of the negotiations in Jdg 4:6-9.Verse 5. - The palm tree of Deborah. The tree, which was probably still standing in the writer's time, was known as "the palm tree of Deborah," just as a certain oak tree in the forest of Hoxne, in Suffolk, was known for many hundred years as King Edmund's oak.
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