Judges 5:30

Ben Crick ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Mon Sep 27 14:39:25 EDT 1999

On Mon 27 Sep 1999 (01:08:44), peter_kirk at sil.org wrote:
> I was thinking "wench" too, as the word seems to be coming back into 
> colloquial use among younger British men with just the right 
> derogatory connotations. I guess the fashion came from "Blackadder" 
> (Rowan Atkinson TV series), I think he used the word a lot.

 Dear Peter

 Being a functional preacher and not a scholar, I've been lurking and
 reading, and not hastening to jump in with both feet firmly planted in my
 mouth. FWIW here are some of my thoughts:

 Should we not keep in mind the context of Judges 5:30?  Here the mother
 of the would-be conqueror is anticipating enjoying the spoils of the war.
 Every officer would expect to acquire a new serving maid; compare Naaman
 the Syrian's Israeli serving maid in 2 Kings 5:2. Enlisted men would not
 expect a serving maid to wait upon them; they would expect to gratify their
 lust upon the young women of the conquered tribe or nation. We have seen
 the news reports of Serbian soldiery systematically raping all the young
 women in Kosovo before being forced out by the UN KFOR.
 Enlisted men, especially in antiquity, were very poorly paid, and made up
 for their low pay by receiving a share of the plunder of war. When Roman
 soldiery were affected by John the Baptist's preaching, and asked "What
 shall we do", they were told "... be content with your wages" (Luke 3:14).
 They were not to supplement their wages by plundering the civilian population.

 Again in Kosovo, we saw the Serbs looting every house and torching it as they
 drove the ethnic Albanians out. Now in East Timor, the sickly grisly scenario
 is being acted out again, as the "brutal and licentious soldiery" kill, rape
 loot and burn at will.

 Sisera's campaigns were more like Kosovo and East Timor, IMHO, and not at
 all like the sanitised TV Blackadder romantic "period costume" adventures.
 The luckier of the "wenches" would end up as servants in officers' quarters.
 The rest would end up either like the "Misses Saigon" of Viet Nam, or worst
 of all, like the "Misses Kosovo", sex objects for the enlisted men.

 The problem of translating RaCaM in context still remains. If Sisera's
 mother had the officers in mind, then "serving maid" gets my vote.
 I just love Jerome's Latin Vulgate version: "forsitan nunc dividit spolia
 et *pulcherrima feminarum* eligitur...". Obviously the prettiest girl goes
 to the most senior officer!

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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