Deborah was the fourth judge who governed the Jewish after Joshua. She was one of the great female leaders in the Old Testament. Deborah was a prophetess who heard the will of God and spread the word of God to the Jews. Also, Deborah was a priestess, although she did not offer any sacrifice, and it was the men’s role, but she preached and led in the worship (Wiersbe 35-36). Her name meaning was “bee” in Hebrew, and this is because she had a mortal sting for her rivals. Deborah was recognized for her courage and wisdom. Deborah was married to Lapidot, who supported and encouraged her during the reign. Deborah was not only a mighty judge but also a great military leader. Besides, she was a songwriter and led in praise during the worship, and won a war.
Deborah was a friendly and determined prophet. She was also called Eshet ha’ Lapidot, which meant that Deborah was both Lapidot’s wife and a woman on fire because she had a fiery character (Wiersbe 35-36). She was soft on the side as a mother and a wife and also had a fiery character in leadership character. Having such a diverse personality led to the Jewish tradition calling her the great female fighter, the mother of Israel.
Deborah succeeded in bringing together the hill people to Galilee. She formed an army that comprised 10,000 men and had a prominent main general who was called Barak. Different people had different opinions of Barak, and some claimed that he admired Deborah’s great skills and military capacity (Chappell 56). In contrast, others argued that a woman was commanding him because it was not seen as appropriate for a woman to command a man. The latter opinion had been emphasized after Deborah told Barak about the preceding war against General Sisera. “And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh” (Judges 4:9). Many did not recognize the relationship between Deborah and Barak, but it was clear that her success and military judgments gave her people peace during her reign. As a judge, Deborah ruled fairly and helped her people make the right choices in their lives (Syswerda 238). During her reign, women realized that they had the ability to join the battle, she did not believe in issues about gender that would keep her out of the mission in her life. Deborah was a patriot, a humble leader, and a woman of courage.
Deborah was a great judge who led in favor of God. She understood a phrase in Hebrew, “eynbreirah,” which meant there was no option to give up; hence, she was courageous and committed (Syswerda 238). Deborah had much faith in God and herself, therefore giving the Israelites at least forty years of peace (Syswerda 238). She was indeed a great feminist who never complained but only proved her abilities through achieving her goal.
There are some great lessons people should learn from her today. One should be approachable regardless of whom approaches them, whether rich or poor. “And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment” (Judges 4:5). She was keen on God; Deborah knew God. She took her time to praise Him, and she was aware of what God needed for His people. This implies that Deborah was devoted to and keen on God because she knew what God wanted Barak to do.
Leader to leaders, Deborah helped Barak to make decisions in their reign. She also accompanied him into war at Kedesh and also continued directing him on what to do. “And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him” (Judges 4:6).
Courageous, she was not afraid to go to the battle with Barak, this also meant she led by an example. This is clearly seen when Barak told Deborah if she was not going to the battle with him he would not go too. Although Barak was reluctant, she encourages him,“ And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh” (Judges 4:9), this changed Barak’s reluctance. There was no female leader who was a hero like Deborah. She led Jews ensuring at least forty years of peace. She is the only woman in the Bible who is a judge and prophet. There are only two people who were a judge and prophets in the Bible – Samuel and Deborah.
Chappell, Paul. I’m Not OK. 1st ed. Lancaster CA: Striving Together Publications, 2014. Print.
Syswerda, Jean E. Women Of The Bible. 1st ed. [Place of publication not identified]: ZONDERVAN, 2018. Print.
Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Available. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010, p. 35-36.