Discover the facts of Bible history in this famous story about Deborah, Judge of Israel, from the book Her Story - A Study on Biblical Women, by Susanna L. Jordan

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Bible History

Deborah (Cont.)
Judge, Warrior and Prophetess

counsel and judge cases, but they were also known to lead armies into victorious battles that would end the slavery and oppression of their people. Deborah was one such judge.

She was a wife first. Some preachers have said Deborah rose up as a judge because none of the men were doing their jobs as men and leading. There is nothing to support this theory. Some say the men of that time, including Lapidoth, her husband, were weak and Deborah was strong-willed. But God appointed Deborah; she didn’t just take on this role herself.

It is likely Lapidoth admired the skills and calling of the Lord upon Deborah. No doubt Deborah would not have been the woman of influence that she was if her husband had not showered her with love, support, advice and encouragement. His name means “torches” or “lightning flashes” and surely he helped illuminate her.


Deborah was also a prophetess. This meant she had the ability to receive and declare a word from the Lord. (Only one other judge had been used in these same ways as military leader, judge and prophet--the great judge, Samuel.)

She was used as a human instrument to mediate between God and His people. This is why everyone would flock to that palm tree and look to Deborah for divine wisdom and instruction. As a woman, she had the gift of intuition as well as being inspired of God.

Deborah was an agitator, which simply means she had the ability to stir people up. She inspired them to pursue change, to come out from under the oppression of Jabin, king of Canaan. She aroused her countrymen to stand up against Jabin and his captain, Sisera. She awoke in them a thirst for freedom from bondage.

She was a ruler, the fifth judge of Israel. God chose Deborah to deliver His people from their bondage. Many had turned to idolatry, but she turned their hearts back to God.


As a woman it is somewhat remarkable that she was able to rise to this role—women themselves were under oppression in those days, living under the subjection of men. But with God’s help, she dished out righteousness, judgment and mercy.

Deborah was also a warrior. Jabin’s army, under the control of Sisera, was massive with approximately 100,000 fighting men. As Judges 4:3b tells us, “he had 900 chariots of iron.”

“Up for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee?”
Judges 4:14

As her countrymen paled with fear, Deborah burned with indignation at their oppressors. She sent for Barak and scolded him for sitting by while the children of Israel were being enslaved.

God had already commanded Barak to battle, yet Barak hadn’t obeyed. He was afraid—Deborah reminded him, “Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naph tali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.” (v. 6b-7)

Barak agreed to go to battle but only if Deborah would go with him. “And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.” Deborah agreed, but told Barak, “I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” (v. 9a) True words of a prophetess.

Can you just see her as she leads this army of 10,000 men to battle? There in her eyes was a fire of indignation against these enemies of God.  As she would have boldly stepped into action there would have been an unstoppable


SusannaLJordan From the book,
Her Story - A Study on Biblical Women, by Susanna L. Jordan



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