Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after you, Benjamin, among your people; out of Machir came down rulers, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.
All Commentaries on Judges 5:14 Go To Judges 5
George Leo Haydock
Out of Ephraim The enemies struggling in their flight, were destroyed, as they were running through the land of Ephraim, and of Benjamin, which lies after, that is, beyond Ephraim; and so on to the very confines of Amalec. Or, it alludes to former victories of the people of God, particularly that which was freshest in memory, when the men of Ephraim and Benjamin, with Aod at their head, overthrew their enemies, the Moabites, with the Amalecites their allies. See chap. iii. (Challoner)
Fight. Debbora insinuates that the late victory had rendered Nephthali and Issachar as famous as these tribes, which had formerly sent forth the greatest generals; Josue, who conquered Amalec, (Exodus xvii. 10,) and Aod, of the tribe of Benjamin, (Calmet) who had so greatly signalized himself, and sounded the alarm in Mount Ephraim with success, chap. iii. 13, 27. (Haydock)
Hebrew, "out of Ephraim he has torn them (Protestants, was there a root of them against, or) into Amalec, and after thee Benjamin among thy people. "There was a mountain called Amalec, in the tribe of Ephraim, (chap. xii. 15,) where some victory may have been obtained, though we know not the particulars of it. (Calmet)
They and the neighbouring tribes might have encountered Amalec, coming to assist Jabin. (Du Hamel)
It is hardly probable that the army of Sisara would flee in that direction, as they would have had to encounter all the multitudes of Israel, and could have no prospect of saving themselves. Benjamin, who was farther off Debbora than Ephraim, is praised for expelling the king of Moab out of their city of Engaddi; (Haydock) or else the victories which this tribe obtained over the joint forces of the people of Israel are meant, (Calmet) as they showed the valour of this tribe, though in so bad a cause. (Haydock)
It is thought that the Moabites fell upon their territory only after most of the inhabitants were cut off, chap. xix., and xx. The Septuagint and Theodotion take no notice of Amalec, as they have read, Amok, a valley: "the people of Ephraim chastised them in the valley, and thy brother Benjamin, in his people. "The Chaldean understands the whole verse, of the wars against Amalec, who had been routed by Josue, and would fall a prey to the arms of Saul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin. Many commentators follow this explanation. It does not appear that Barac received any aid from these tribes, nor from Machir, or any of those who lived at a distance. (Calmet)
As for Zabulon, the Vulgate intimates that great generals were found among them but the Hebrew rather gives them the praise of learning: "They that handle the pen of the writer. "(Haydock)
Yet sopher is applied not only to writers, and to those who are learned in the law, as the scribes, Esdras, Baruch, were, but also to commissaries, secretaries of state, and officers who were employed both in peace and war, 2 Paralipomenon xxvi. 11. Hence the Septuagint translate, "out of Zabulon, the powerful in the sceptre of learning "(Calmet) (Grabe,) "of instruction. "(Haydock)
Some, without any proof, attribute the institution of these officers to Moses, others to David. We read of many who possessed this title under his reign; and ever after, the kings of Juda had scribes, as some great men had also. The kings of Persia kept secretaries to write their edicts, and some they sent, with greater authority, into the provinces. See 1 Esdras iv. 8. Ecclesiasticus (x. 5,) says, upon the person of the scribe God shall lay his honour. The scribes, or sopherim, seem therefore to have enjoyed an extensive authority, and the tribe of Zabulon used it on this occasion for the common good, (ver. 18.; Calmet) while many of the other tribes seem to be accused of backwardness in the cause of God.