This verse is part of the Song of Deborah, a poem or hymn of victory celebrating the triumph of the Israelites over their Canaanite oppressors. The verse is spoken by Deborah, a prophetess and judge in Israel, who played a key role in the battle.
The verse can be interpreted as a declaration of Deborah's importance and leadership in Israel. She is likened to a mother, who nurtures and cares for her children. Just as a mother's role is essential in the family, Deborah's role was essential in Israel's victory over their oppressors. The phrase "they ceased to be" is generally interpreted to mean that the Israelites had lost their sense of identity and purpose, but Deborah's leadership restored their sense of unity and purpose.
The book of Judges tells the story of the Israelites' conquest of Canaan, their settlement in the land, and their struggle to maintain their faith and independence in the face of opposition from neighboring peoples. The book covers a period of Israelite history from the death of Joshua to the rise of the monarchy.
Judges 4 and 5 tell the story of Deborah, a prophetess and judge who was called by God to lead the Israelites in battle against the Canaanite king Jabin and his general Sisera. The Israelites had been oppressed by the Canaanites for twenty years, and Deborah's leadership was crucial in their victory.
The Song of Deborah, which includes Judges 5:7, is a poetic account of the battle and its aftermath. It celebrates the heroism of the Israelite warriors and the wisdom and courage of Deborah. The song emphasizes that it was God who gave the Israelites the victory and who deserves the credit for their deliverance.
In Judges 5:7, Deborah emphasizes her role as a leader and mother figure in Israel. She declares that the villages in Israel had been silenced or had ceased to function properly until she arose. This could be interpreted to mean that the Israelites had lost their sense of identity and unity, and that Deborah's leadership helped to restore it. By describing herself as a mother in Israel, Deborah highlights her nurturing and protective role, as well as her importance to the Israelites as a whole.
Judges 5:7. The rulers ceased in Israel. They ceased until I, Deborah, arose; Until I arose a mother in Israel.