Now she relates the carriage and miscarriage of the several tribes in this expedition; and she begins with
Was there a root of them; either, first, Of the Ephraimites; or, secondly, Of them that came forth to this expedition. By
root she seems to mean a
branch, as that word is sometimes used, as Isa_11:10 53:2; by which also she may note the fewness of those that came out of Ephraim, that
fruitful bough consisting of many branches, Gen_49:22, yielding but one branch or a handful of men to this service.
Against Amalek, the constant and sworn enemy of the Israelites, who were confederate with their last oppressors the Moabites, Jud_3:13, and in all probability took their advantage now against the Israelites in the southern or middle parts of Canaan, whilst their main force was drawn northward against Jabin and Sisera. Against these therefore Ephraim sent forth a party; and so did Benjamin, as it here follows; and these hindered their conjunction with Jabin’s forces, and gave their brethren the advantage of fighting with Sisera alone.
After thee, Benjamin: Benjamin followed Ephraim’s example. Or, after thee, O Benjamin; and thus the pre-eminence is here given to Benjamin in two respects: First, That he was first in this expedition, as indeed he lay near the Amalekites, and by his example encouraged the Ephraimites. Secondly, That the whole tribe of Benjamin, though now but small, came forth to this war, when the numerous tribe of Ephraim sent only a handful to it.
Among the people; either, first, Among the people of Benjamin, with whom those few Ephraimites united themselves in this expedition. Or, secondly, Among the people or tribes of Israel, to wit, those who engaged themselves in this war.
Out of Machir, i.e. out of the tribe of Manasseh, which are elsewhere called by the name of Machir, as Jos_13:31, to wit, out of the half tribe which was within Jordan; for of the other she speaks Jud_5:17.
Governors; either civil governors, the princes and great persons, who were as ready to hazard themselves and their ample estates as the meanest; or military officers, valiant and expert commanders, such as some of Machir’s posterity are noted to have been.
They that handle the pen of the writer, i.e. even the scribes, who gave themselves to study and writing, whereby they were exempted from military service, did voluntarily enter into this service. Or, they that drew, to wit, the people after them, as that verb is used, Jud_4:6. With the pen of the scribe or writer, i.e. who did not only go themselves, but by their letters invited and engaged others to go with them to the battle.