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that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, even the righteous acts towards the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shali the people of the Lord go down to the gates," Verse 9-11. That we may enter into the true spirit of the patriotic bard, let us suppose, what it is apparent she has in view, namely, severally to address the various orders and descriptions of men, whereof the Israelitish state was composed, and who had each a peculiar, as well as a common interest, in the salvation which they celebrated. She begins with her companions in the warfare, who, roused by her exhortations, and a sense of their country's wrongs, had cheerfully offered themselves to this laborious and hazardous service.
My heart is towards the governors of Israel that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the Lord," Verse 9. They best know how little was due to human skill and valour, how much to the gracious and powerful interposition of Heaven; let them, therefore, lead the band, and ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name. She next turns to the civil governors and judges of the land, and invites them to continue the song. "Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way," Verse 10. Such was the simple state in which the rulers of Israel travelled from place to place, administering justice. The ideas, in her address to them, are tender and pathetic, and may be thus extended, "Alas! my associates in government, it was but yesterday, that we were rulers without subjects, judges without a tribunal, and without authority: the lives and property of Israel were not secured and protected by law, but were at the disposal of a foreign lawless despot; and your progress through the land in the exercise of your high office, was checked and overawed by a licensed banditti. Let us rejoice together, that government has reverted to its channel; the highways
are no longer blocked up, and therefore no longer unoccupied. Place your thrones of judgment where you will, in the gate, in the highway, the communication is open, there is none to make you afraid, the enemies whom you have seen, you shall see them no more again for ever."
Her next address seems to be made to the shepherds of the lately oppressed country. "They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, even the righteous acts towards the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates," Verse 11. They are represented as trembling at the sound of their own feet among the pebbles of the brook, lest thereby they should awaken the attention of their rapacious masters; they are afraid to drive their flocks to the watering place, lest they should expose themselves and their harmless fleecy charge, to the cruel shafts of the archer, ever on the watch to gall and annoy them. But now, there, even there, in the very scene of their sorrow and misery, where the rustling of a leaf durst not be heard, they shall break out together into singing; there free from sorrow, free from fear, "shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, even the righteous acts to the inhabitants of the villages in Israel." Finally, she calls upon the inhabitants of the villages, the husbandman and vine-dressers, to add their voice to the swelling band, on recovering their tranquillity, on being restored to the felicity of labouring for themselves, and saved from the mortification of seeing lazy, insolent strangers devouring the fruit of their painful toil, and repairing, as before, in happier days, to their own gates, to their own judges for justice and judgment. Thus we hear, as it were, the tuneful choir gradually increasing in number, the peasant taking up the song which the shepherd had put into his mouth, the shepherd following the magis
trate, the magistrate the soldier, till all Israel becomes one voice, one heart, one soul, to celebrate the high praises of God. Faint representation of that more glorious consummation, that purer triumph, that more auspicious day, that inexpressibly more important salvation, to which the believer in Christ Jesus looks in hope.
The voice of this universal chorus having ceased, a solemn pause of some moments seems to ensue; when the divinely-inspired poetess awakes to new rapture; and the harmony of myriads of joyful voices subsides into the melody of one simple strain. "Awake, awake, Deborah; awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam," Verse 12. What genuine touches of nature have we here, what simplicity, what pathos, what sublimity! She seems to regret her exhausted powers; her spirit is still willing; she cannot bear to cease so soon from so divine an employ: she starts into fresh enthusiasm. Having put words of praise into the mouths of a whole saved people, she takes up her own peculiar strain; "Awake, awake, Deborah; awake, awake, utter a song:" And then, turning to the companion of her victory, excites him to make a public display of the wonderful trophies of that wondrous day; "Arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam." Exhibit them in chains, who had forged chains for the hands and feet of Israel; lead them captive, who led in captivity the free-born sons of God; show triumphantly the spoils of them that spoiled thee; "the prey taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive delivered;" them that " oppressed thee fed with their own flesh, and drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine;" a righteous "God contending with them, who contended with. thee," "thou son of Abinoam." She rouses her noble colleague to excel in praise, as he had excelled in counsel and courage, by one of the most powerful motives of human conduct, the honour of his father's
name and family. Let the names of Barak and Abinoam be transmitted, hand in hand, with respect, to the latest generations; let the world know that on Abinoam a gracious Providence conferred the distinguished honour of being the father of the father of his country.
It is not ancestry, it is not country that can bestow celebrity on a deedless name, on an idle or worthless character; it is illustrious virtue, it is superior wisdom, it is useful ability that confers nobility, true nobility on families, and celebrity on countries. Contending cities claim the honour of giving birth to Homer. Strip Athens of her renowned sons, and she sinks into a mass of rocks and sand. How would the heart of Abinoam glow with delight, as often as the sound of his name reached his ears, in connexion with that of a son whom a grateful country acknowledged, and celebrated with songs, as its saviour!
In the 13th verse we see the low and reduced state of Israel again brought into view, to prepare for a fresh discovery of the power and goodness of God, and to exhibit in another point of light, the solidity, strength and security of his church, "out of weakness made strong," "waxing," in a moment, "valiant in fight, turning to flight the armies of the aliens." "Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the Lord made me have dominion over the mighty," Verse 13. In two striking particulars, this gracious interposition of Heaven is em phatically pointed out. He made him that remaineth to have dominion." It was not the strength of Israel which God employed in crushing the "nobles" and pride of Canaan, it was not by opposing force to force, skill to skill, that Providence decided the contest; but by a scattered, broken remainder; but by a dispirited handful, that durst not trust themselves in the plain against the enemy; but by an unarmed rabble whom Sisera held in contempt, that Jehovah trampled the
glory of Jabin in the dust; as by a cake of barley bread rolling down upon a tent and levelling it with the ground.
To set the divine sovereignty in a still stronger light, Deborah suggests, but not in the spirit of self-confidence, that when God did appear for his people, he did it not, by kindling martial ardour and resentment in manly bosoms, by putting the machine in motion in the usual way; but by creating a new thing in the earth; by endowing a woman with more than manly sagacity and resolution; by making a woman the life and soul of a sinking nation; that God himself might have the undivided praise. "The Lord made me have dominion over the mighty." Is it not somewhat remarkable, that Deborah is only once described as the wife of Lapidoth? whereas Barak is repeatedly, both in history and in song, brought forward as the son of such a father. Is it to mark the base degeneracy of Israel at this period? all masculine virtue extinguished, and importance sunk; the only trace of the existence of the man, that he was the husband of such a woman? The repetition of this relation therefore may have been omitted, because it would have reflected reiterated disgrace upon the one, without adding much to, perhaps somewhat detracting from, the glory of the other. Whereas the blazoning of a son's praise, instead of detracting from, is the most gratifying addition to, a father's honour.
In the passage which follows, the prophetess goes with a poetical and prophetic enthusiasm into a detail of the distinguishing characters, of the several tribes of Israel, according to the part which they had taken, or neglected to take, in the cause of their country at this trying crisis, which at present I shall simply quote, with a single remark; and then conclude. "And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great