Monday, March 22, 2021

Judges 5 - The Song of Deborah and Baraq

This post is a sketch and caused me a night dreaming of giving up translating and musical analysis entirely. There are lots of other things I could be doing as I fade away.

The first thing I noted as I began to read is that the Song of D&B coheres with Psalms 2. There are a few other psalm allusions in the text, notably Psalms 68:8-9 = Judges 5:4-5. And I began to wonder, these first 5 verses - are they cobbled from other sources or are the other sources citing this song? 

Word / Gloss 1 2 3 4 5 Vs Stem
יהוה Yahweh
Jud 5:2 ihvh
מלכים sovereigns
Jud 5:3 mlc
רזנים rule-makers
Jud 5:3 rzn
ליהוה to Yahweh
Jud 5:3 ihvh
ליהוה to Yahweh
Jud 5:3 ihvh
יהוה Yahweh
Jud 5:4 ihvh
ארץ earth
Jud 5:4 arx
שמים the heavens
Jud 5:4 wmim
יהוה Yahweh
Jud 5:5 ihvh
יהוה Yahweh
Jud 5:5 ihvh
מלכי these sovereigns of
Psa 2:2 mlc
ארץ earth
Psa 2:2 arx
ורוזנים these rule-makers
Psa 2:2 rzn
יהוה Yahweh
Psa 2:2 ihvh
בשמים in the heavens
Psa 2:4 wmim

In the song by itself, proper names recur: Deborah 4 times at the beginning of the poem, and Sisera 4 times at the end, Israel 8 times (1-11 only), people 6 times, then 5 times, war / fight 5 times.

Other words that occur 4 times each: bless, sit, between, rouse, valiant, spoil. After this there are too many to look at, 26 different stems appear 3 times. 44 stems appear twice.

Verse 30 is a study in sound, rkm (nurture / womb) and rqm (embroidery). These provide the final focus. The song is framed by the single word, mother. I have sketched a separation of voices for a performance of the music. The singer must know of the determination of Deborah and the irony of verse 30, the despair before and after of the mother of Sisera (as if she would expect the abuse of women in her social setting). 

When I first looked at the text and the superficial measurements of the music, I noticed right away that the colon lengths are significantly longer than those of most poems in the poetry books (Job, Psalms, Proverbs). In the prose books, where this 'poem' lives, there is no cadence corresponding to the ole veyored. These cadences only occur in the poetry books. Some allowance can be made for the use of other accents like revia or zaqef-qatan as cadential. This will often split the long cola into shorter ones. It is usually obvious where to breathe from the phrasing of the words where a pause could occur. This song also will use a different mode and scale to the poetry books. The low c is available as a reciting note for the prose books. It would be possible to highlight a mood in the song by switching modes. E.g. using the augmented fourth A# for verse 30, showing the lack of rest for the enemy.

The song begins to speak to the current situation in verse 6. It begins with an ornament (tarsin) used just the once in this poem. The verse continues on the high C recitation, vocally recalling verses 2 and 4. 

Verse 7 is the first to recite on the low c and then rise to the high C with 'Deborah' singing of herself.

The next thing I noted was how hard I found this song is to read. (See also my first cut here - 2018). So in making myself familiar with this song, I had to look to other renderings. The variations in translation are legion! My verse 7 could be easier to read - but what is the sense of  set aside, the rendering I used for kdl? And if I chose one over the other, what happens to the reader's choice? To verse 8 I could add an implied verb and a word or two to the construct - then war [was at the] gates

Verses 8 and 9 begin with identical melodic motifs so I thought I should give Baraq a voice beyond the initial duet. Verse 10 stands out as the only verse without a cadence on the subdominant. It seems almost an aside, but the ornament, the Telisha Qetana (t-q), connects it to verse 28. So I assigned verse 10 to the narrator and the denouement including verse 28a. Verses 11-12 complete the call of Deborah. The hamlets frame these verses 7-11. Verse 12 has another echo of Psalms 68:19. Verse 13 concludes the establishment of Deborah singing of herself as ruler.

Verses 14-18 name specific tribes. Verses 19-23 shift the focus. Finally in 24, the story of Jael is retold.  Verse 30 must be ironic, for there is no spoil for Sisera. The voice assigned is the mother of Sisera. The final verse, 31 begins with the telisha-gadol closing the brackets begun with the two t-q's. (I have found in the past, e.g. David and the Philistine, that accents can highlight similar concepts in a narrative.)

wvp'tim h Judges 5 Fn Min Max Syll
a vtwr dborh ubrq bn-abinoym
biom hhua lamor
1 Then sang Deborah and Baraq, child of Abinoam,
in that day, saying, S
3e 4B 14
b bproy pryot biwral bhtndb ym
brcu ihvh
2 Disheveled were the premiers in Israel. The people willingly offered themselves.
Bless Yahweh. S
3e 4C 15
g wmyu mlcim hazinu roznim
anoci lihvh anoci awirh azmr lihvh alohi iwral

3 Hear sovereigns. Lend an ear, rule-makers.
I to Yahweh, I myself will sing. I will sing a psalm, to Yahweh, the God of Israel. S
3e 4B 11
d ihvh bxatç mwyir bxydç mwdh adom
arx rywh gm-wmiim n'tpu
gm-ybim n'tpu mim
4 Yahweh, when you go forth from Seir, when you march from the fields of Edom,
earth quaked, even the heavens dropped,
even thick clouds dropped water. S
3e 4C 27
h hrim nzlu mpni ihvh
zh sinii mpni ihvh alohi iwral
5 The mountains flowed from the presence of Yahweh,
(that is Sinai) from the presence of Yahweh, the God of Israel. S

3e 4B 8
v bimi wmgr bn-ynt bimi iyl kdlu avrkot
vholci ntibot ilcu avrkot yqlqlot
6 In the days of Shamgar child of Anat, in the days of Jael, set aside were caravans,
and travelers on pathways walked crooked paths. S
3e 4C 16
z kdlu przon biwral kdlu
yd wqmti dborh wqmti am biwral
7 Set aside were hamlets in Israel, set aside,
until I Deborah arose, that I arose, a mother in Israel. S
3c 4C 12
k ibkr alohim kdwim az lkm wyrim
mgn am-iirah vromk barbyim alf biwral
8 He chose new gods, then war, gates.
Did he see shield or lance among forty thousand in Israel? S
3e 4C 14
't libi lkoqqi iwral hmtndbim bym
brcu ihvh
9 My heart to the lawgivers of Israel that offered themselves willingly among the people,
bless Yahweh. S
3e 4B 14
i rocbi atonot xkorot iowbi yl-mdin vholci yl-drç wiku 10 Riders of tawny donkeys, you who sit over advocacy and who travel on a way, ponder. S 3c 3g 21
ia mqol mkxxim bin mwabim wm itnu xdqot ihvh xdqot przono biwral
az irdu lwyrim ym-ihvh
11 From the rumbling platoons between places of drawing water, there they will demonstrate the righteousness of Yahweh, the righteousness of his hamlets in Israel.
Then the people of Yahweh will come down to the gates. S
3d 4C 26
ib yuri yuri dborh yuri yuri dbri-wir
qum brq uwbh wbiiç bn-abinoym
12 Be roused, be roused, Deborah. Be roused, be roused, Speak a song.
Arise, Baraq, and lead your captivity captive, child of Abinoam. S

3d 4C 14
ig az ird wrid ladirim ym
ihvh ird-li bgiborim
13 Then he made the survivor rule for the majestic ones of the people.
Yahweh made me rule among the valiant. S

C 3e 4C 10
id mni apriim worwm bymlq akriç bnimin bymmiç
mni mcir irdu mkoqqim umzbulun mowcim bwb't sopr
14 From Ephraim, their root against Amalek. After you Benjamin, among your people.
From Makir came down lawgivers, and from Zebulun, those who draw out with the sceptre of a scribe. S
3e 4B 22
'tv vwrii biwwcr ym-dborh viwwcr cn brq bymq wulk brgliv
bplgot raubn gdolim kqqi-lb
15 And the nobles in Issachar with Deborah, Issachar, so Baraq. In the valley he was sent on foot,
in the streams of Reuben, great prescriptions of heart. S
3e 4C 26
'tz lmh iwbt bin hmwptiim lwmoy wriqot ydrim
lplgot raubn gdolim kqri-lb
16 Why did you sit between the ash-heaps to hear the hissing of troops,
of the streams of Reuben, great ones examining a heart? S
B 3e 4C 19
iz glyd bybr hirdn wcn vdn lmh igur aoniiot
awr iwb lkof imim vyl mprxiv iwcon
17 Gilead dwelt across the Jordan, and why did Dan reside in ships?
Asher was seated at the sea port, and dwelt on his breaches. S
3e 4C 19
ik zbulun ym kirf npwo lmut vnptli
yl mromi wdh
18 Zebulun, a people, risked his group to die,
and Naphtali on the high ground of the countryside. S
3d 4B 14
i't bau mlcim nlkmu az nlkmu mlci cnyn btynç yl-mi mgido
bxy csf la lqku
19 Kings had come fighting. Then the kings of Canaan fought in Taanak by the waters of Megiddo.
Gain of silver they did not receive. S
C 3e 4C 25
c mn-wmiim nlkmu
hcocbim mmsilotm nlkmu ym-sisra
20 From the heavens, fought the stars.
From their highway, they fought with Sisera. S
3e 4A 6
ca nkl qiwon grpm nkl qdumim nkl qiwon
tdrci npwi yoz
21 The wadi of Kishon punched them, the wadi of antiquity, the wadi of Kishon.
My integrity, you tread strongly. S
C 3e 4C 16
cb az hlmu yiqbi-sus
mdhrot dhrot abiriv
22 Then were smitten the heels of the horse,
from prancing, the prancing of his mighty ones. S
f 3e 4A 6
cg aoru mroz amr mlaç ihvh aoru aror iowbih
ci la-bau lyzrt ihvh lyzrt ihvh bgiborim
23 Curse Meroz, says the messenger of Yahweh, Curse. Curse her inhabitants,
for they have not come to the help of Yahweh, to the help of Yahweh among the valiant. S

B 3e 4C 17
cd tborç mnwim iyl awt kbr hqini
mnwim baohl tborç
24 Bless among women, Jael the wife of Xeber the Kenite,
Blessed more than the women in the tent. S
3e 4B 15
ch mim wal klb ntnh
bspl adirim hqribh kmah
25 Water he asked for. Milk she gave him.
In a tureen fit for a king, she approached with clotted cream. S
f 3e 4B 8
cv idh litd twlknh viminh lhlmut ymlim
vhlmh sisra mkqh rawo umkxh vklph rqto
26 Her hand to the tent peg she extended, and her right hand to the miserable mallet,
and she smote Sisera. She bashed his head and wounded and renewed his temple. S
3e 4C 17
cz bin rglih cry npl wcb
bin rglih cry npl bawr cry wm npl wdud
27 Between her feet he bowed down. Fallen, he lay down.
Between her feet, bowing down, fallen, where he bowed down, there he fell, devastated. S
B 3e 4C 10
ck byd hklon nwqph vtiibb am sisra byd hawnb
mduy boww rcbo lboa mduy aikru pymi mrcbotiv
28 Through the window she leaned to look, and the mother of Sisera shrieked through the casement,
Why is his chariot so reticent to come? Why delayed are the times of his chariots. S
3c 4C 19
c't kcmot wrotih tyninh
af-hia twib amrih lh
29 Her shrewd princesses answered her.
Indeed, she, she returned her pronouncement to herself. S
3e 4A 10
l hloa imxau iklqu wll rkm rkmtiim lraw gbr wll xbyim lsisra wll xbyim rqmh
xby rqmtiim lxvvari wll
30 Have they not found? Have they divided the spoil, to nurture a womb or two per head? The valour of spoil, coloured cloths for Sisera, the spoil of coloured cloths, embroidery,
coloured cloth, embroideries for the necks of a spoiler. S
3e 4C 35
la cn iabdu cl-aoibiç ihvh vaohbiv cxat hwmw bgburto
vtwqo't harx arbyim wnh
31 So will perish all your enemies Yahweh, but let one loving him go out as the sun in his valour.
And the land was quiet a forty year span. W
~ 3e 4C 22

I have a table below that stretches out the musical movement, but it is not performable in this form. It does show the commonality between verses in their approaches to the midpoint rest and to the tonic. If you highlight a sequence and search for it, you will see highlighted all the places where that series is common. So g# precedes the subdominant ^A in 18 verses. There are several variations, e.g. zaqef-qatan precedes this pairing 5 times, f precedes the pairing 9 times. Similar tests can be made for the return to the tonic. So g# f e occurs 11 times. g# e recurs 20 times (in the third column, exc vs 10).

Such detail might provide some use to a non musician so I have left it in. 

VerseNotes to the mid point restNotes and ornaments back to the tonic
1e B z-q, g# ^A f g# e
2e C qad, z-q, g# ^A g# e
3e B z-q,g# e ^A e rev,e qad,B z-q,z-g,e g# f e
4e rev,C qad,qad,B z-q,B z-q, g# ^A g# f e
5e f g# B ^A B z-q,z-g, g# f e
6e tar,C qad,B z-q, g# ^A B z-q,z-g, g# e
7e c d g# ^A C qad,qad, z-q,f g# e
8e qad, B z-q,g# B ^A C e qad, z-q,f g# e
9e qad, B z-q,e g# ^A g# e
10e t-q,pas, ger,c d f g# e
11e B e rev,C z-q,C qad,B z-q, f g# ^A d f g# e
12e C qad, z-q, f g# ^A f d e f g# e
13C B z-q, g# ^A z-g, g# e
14e B rev,qad, z-q,f g# e ^A B rev,e qad,B z-q,pas,z-q,g# f e
15e C qad,z-q, qad,B z-q, g# B ^A B z-q, g# e
16B rev,C e z-q, g# B ^A B z-q, g# e
17e rev,C qad, z-q,z-g,f g# ^A rev,qad,B z-q,f g# e
18e rev, B f d g# ^A g# f e
19C qad,z-q,C qad,B z-q,g# B ^A f g# f e
20e g# ^A e qad, z-q, g# e
21C qad, z-q,f g# B ^A f g# e
22 f g# ^A e g# f e
23B rev,qad, B z-q, f g# ^A C e qad,qad, B z-q,f g# e
24e qad,z-q,z-g, g# B ^A f g# e
25 f g# B ^A f g# f e
26e qad,B z-q,e g# B ^A C e qad, B z-q,f g# e
27 B z-q, f g# ^A C qad,qad, B z-q,B z-q,g# f e
28e t-q,pas,c d f e g# B e ^A rev,C qad, z-q,B e z-q,g# e
29e f g# ^A z-g,f g# e
30e pas,ger,B rev, C qad,qad,B z-q,C qad,B z-q,f g# ^A f g# f e
31t-g,C qad,qad,z-q, B z-q,f g# ^A f g# f e

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