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Judges 5:20-21

Context

5:20 From the sky 1  the stars 2  fought,

from their paths in the heavens 3  they fought against Sisera.

5:21 The Kishon River carried them off;

the river confronted them 4  – the Kishon River.

Step on the necks of the strong! 5 

1 tn Or “from heaven.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

2 tn The MT takes “the stars” with what follows rather than with the first colon of v. 20. But for metrical reasons it seems better to move the atnach and read the colon as indicated in the translation.

3 tn The words “in the heavens” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

4 tn Possibly “the ancient river,” but it seems preferable in light of the parallel line (which has a verb) to emend the word (attested only here) to a verb (קָדַם, qadam) with pronominal object suffix.

5 tn This line is traditionally taken as the poet-warrior’s self-exhortation, “March on, my soul, in strength!” The present translation (a) takes the verb (a second feminine singular form) as addressed to Deborah (cf. v. 12), (b) understands נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) in its well-attested sense of “throat; neck” (cf. Jonah 2:6), (c) takes the final yod (י) on נַפְשִׁי (nafshiy) as an archaic construct indicator (rather than a suffix), and (d) interprets עֹז (’oz, “strength”) as an attributive genitive (literally, “necks of strength,” i.e., “strong necks”). For fuller discussion and various proposals, see B. Lindars, Judges 1-5, 270-71.



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