19 Our pursuers were swifter Than the eagles in the sky; They chased us in the mountains, Lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
ka-LEEM ha-YU ro-d’-FAY-nu mi-nish-RAY sha-MA-yim al he-ha-REEM d-la-KU-nu ba-mid-BAR a-r’-VU LA-nu
יט קַלִּים הָיוּ רֹדְפֵינוּ מִנִּשְׁרֵי שָׁמָיִם עַל־הֶהָרִים דְּלָקֻנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אָרְבוּ לָנוּ׃
4:19 They chased us in the mountains
This verse conveys a sense that the enemy lurks on all terrains and in all locations, and is impossible to escape. Unfortunately, even after arriving on the shores of Eretz Yisrael following the Holocaust, Jewish refugees from Europe encountered a situation similar to that described in this verse. Having survived the Nazis, these Jews were met by a new enemy: The local Arab population, which fought violently to keep them away from their ancient homeland. This enemy also waged war on a number of fronts, including the mountains and the wilderness, as described in this verse. In January of 1948, a terrible tragedy took place in the Judean hills. A group of thirty-five soldiers was dispatched to bring provisions and food to the beleaguered communities of Gush Etzion, the Etzion bloc. They set out on foot at night to avoid detection, but the sun rose before they managed to reach their destination. Still in the vicinity of hostile villages, they were detected by some Arab women who had gone down to the valley to gather branches.. Arab mobs were quickly deployed and after a lengthy battle, all thirty-five of the soldiers were killed in a bloody massacre. “They chased us in the mountains, lay in wait for us in the wilderness.”