We read:

“Curse Meroz!” said the angel of the Lord.
“Bitterly curse its inhabitants,
Because they came not to the aid of the Lord,
To the aid of the Lord among the warriors.”—Judges 5:23 (NJPS)

Wikipedia doesn't really help since there is no general consensus:

Thought to be a city within the plains of Galilee north of Mt. Tabor in Israel which was cursed by the angel of God in the song of Deborah and Barak; whose inhabitants did not come to help the Israelites in battle against Sisera's army. Meroz may possibly be identified with el-Murussus, a village about 5 miles Northwest of Beisan, on the slopes to the North of the Vale of Jezreel. The village of Kafr Misr has also been identified as a possible site, due its proximity to other nearby ancient sites such as Nein (Nain) and Indur (Endor).

Is it possible that it is a reference to Judah, Simeon, or Levi, which are not otherwise mentioned in the Song of Deborah?

  • 1
    You’ve pretty much answered your question saying, “Wikipedia doesn't really help since there is no general consensus”. Not really sure what sort of answer you’re looking for. Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 4:07
  • 2
    @jcsalomon: As you know, Wikipedia is sometimes wrong. ;-) Seriously, I think we just never will know the answer to some questions. This might be one of them and I'm ok with it not being answered. (And I'm also curious if my theory, that it could be Judah or Simeon, holds water.) Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


The context seems to indicate a local population, that is, within view if the battle near the Jezreel valley. That would probably rule out Simeon, the southernmost tribe, Judah which was south of Jerusalem, and Levy who was without a specific geographic inheritance except for the six designated cities of refuge, none of which are near the Jezreel valley to our knowledge. The culprits were likely from the local tribes of Issachar or Zvulun, with a lesser chance of being from Menashe. The fact that a specific town is mentioned rather than a tribe might indicate that other towns with the same tribal affiliation did contribute to the war effort.


According to many Rabbis, Meroz is a planet from which heavenly beings inhabit like the JUDGES 5:20


5:20 From the sky the stars fought. From their courses, they fought against Sisera.

5:23 'Curse Meroz,' said the angel of Yahweh. 'Curse bitterly its inhabitants, because they didn't come to help Yahweh, to help Yahweh against the mighty.'

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan explains more.

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