Introducing … Deborah

The book of Judges, Chapter 4, is where we find Deborah. While women leaders were uncommon in Israelite society, they were not unheard of.  Deborah is a story of a strong woman of God who listens to God and trusted in the Lord enough to have the courage to follow his commands.  She is the only woman judge, but not by any means the only prophetess in the Bible.

Deborah was a prophetess, but she was also a judge.  She would listen to disputes among her people and make a decision based on the facts.   She got a word from the Lord and called for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali.  She told him that the LORD was going to give over their enemy to them; all he had to do was take 10,000 men  of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor.  Barak would not go unless Deborah went, so because of his unbelief, the honor would not be his, but the LORD would deliver the enemy into the hands of a woman.  Barak got the men together as the LORD commanded.

Barak led the men up Mt. Tabor, and there Siscera, commander of the enemy army found out he was there and sent out all his men and 900 chariots.  Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him.  At Barak’s advance, the LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot.  Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left.  Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite. He asked for a drink, and she gave him some milk.  He asked her to stand guard and to tell anyone that came by that he was not there.  As he slept, she took a tent peg and a hammer, and drove it through his temple, killing him.  Thus, the LORD’s prophesy came true.  The enemy was slain at the hand of a woman.

The Bible describes Deborah as “a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth”, but in Judges 5:7, she calls herself “a mother in Israel”.  She was not only the mother of her own children, but the “mother” to all in Israel who had forgotten who they were and who they served.   (The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob)

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  • August 2011
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