The closing verses of the Song of Deborah include a curious reference to chariotry (Judg 5,28) at a rhetorically potent moment in the poem. The present study examines the implications of the use of this image against the mythopoeic impulses in the poem, the larger historical background of early Israel's confrontations with Canaanite aggression in the 12th century BCE and the memory of Egyptian strategies of hegemony from the late Bronze Age. The effects of these memories and experiences leave profound impressions in the social and mythic matrices embedded in a broad spectrum of Biblical traditions.
Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under an oak tree and it was named twkb Nwl). Two major questions should be raised here. One, why was the place named twkb Nwl)? Second, why was she buried under a tree? This short paper will posit that the place was called twkb Nwl) as a reference to Deborah being a bakki¯tu a professional crier. Burial under a tree was for common people, and because of her lower class status, she was buried under the tree like the common people who were buried in common grave yard.
Focusing on its rhetorical structure, this article argues that the Song of Deborah in Judg 5 may have been composed not so much primarily to celebrate a victory, but to serve as a polemic against Israelite non-participation in military campaigns
against foreign enemies. Possible implications of such a reading on the song’s relationship with the prose account in Judg 4 and its date of composition are also explored.
This study continues a line of inquiry from the author’s previous essay
regarding the 12th
century BCE battle traditions embedded in the Song of Deborah (Judg 5) as the basis for a nascent Exodus ideology surfacing in the Song of the Sea (Exod 15). Exod 15 is identified as developing an agrarian ideal into a basis for national identity: Israel’s successful struggles against competing Canaanite military forces echoing earlier Egyptian imperial hegemony is liturgized into a myth where YHWH defeats the Egyptian foe and then settles his own sacred agrarian estate.