New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:15 divisions of Reuben. Deborah’s song includes these ironic references to the reluctance of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Dan and Asher to join in the battle for freedom. Strangely, there is no reference to Judah and Simeon as either participants or non-participants; these were the most southerly tribes and possibly the least impacted by the Canaanite subjugation. Possibly, because of the continuing influence of Othniel, these tribes had not lapsed into idolatry.
5:20 the stars. This is not an astrological ascription, for the Bible unequivocally condemns the practice of astrology. This is a poetic reference (in this song of Deborah and Barak) to the intervention of angels in this great battle. Angels are frequently called “stars” in the Bible, because their home is in the starry heavens (Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 1:20; 12:3-9).
5:23 Curse ye Meroz. Meroz seems to have been a small town in Naphtali. Evidently its inhabitants had declined to follow Barak, even though he was from nearby Kedesh in Naphtali (Judges 4:6).
5:24 blessed shall she be. This praise of Jael, despite her seemingly treacherous assassination of Sisera as he slept, is warranted in Deborah’s song. For twenty years, Sisera had mightily oppressed the Israelites. The Lord Himself had long ago commanded the destruction of these Canaanites. Furthermore, Sisera and his men would each have taken “to every man a damsel or two” for his own sport if they had prevailed (and Sisera would no doubt have abused Jael, given the opportunity), as even Sisera’s mother gloated (Judges 5:29-30).