The Blog of Jack Holloway

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Song of Deborah

In reading Robert Alter's The Art of Biblical Poetry I came across a section about "The Song of Deborah" in Judges chapter 5. Reading about the poem, I was fascinated by it and, thus, decided it would be the subject of this week's poem analysis.
The whole thing is 31 verses long and would take me forever to analyze, so I decided I would do the same thing Robert Alter did and would just analyze the last 8 verses (which happen to make up a good poem).

Here is the poem.

"The Song of Deborah" (the last 8 verses) - Judges 5:24-31 (NAS)

Most blessed of women be Jael,
wife of Heber the Kenite,
above women in tents be she blessed.

Water he asked, milk she gave,
in a princely bowl she brought him curds.

Her hand reached for the tent peg,
her right hand for the workman's hammer.

She hammered Sisera, cracked his head,
smashed and pierced his temple.

Between her legs he kneeled, fell, lay,
between her legs he kneeled and fell
where he kneeled, he fell, destroyed.

Through the window she looked and whined,
Sisera's mother, through the lattice.

"Why is his chariot so long in coming,
why so late the clatter of his cars?"

The wisest of her ladies answer,
and she, too, replies on her own:

"Will they not find and divide the spoil?
A womb or two for every man?

Spoil of dyed stuff for Sisera,
spoil of embroidered dyed stuff,
embroidered dyed pairs for each neck as spoil?"

Thus perish all Your enemies, O Lord!
Be His friends like the sun rising in might.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely need your analysis. I can't get anything out of this.