Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Deborah - Prophetess, Ruler, Judge, Warrior, and Writer of Songs.

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Deborah Prophetess, Warrior, Judge, by Margot 
There are two Deborah's in the Bible. One is the nurse of Rebekah who leaves home with her to go to her husband Issac's. We know that many year later she died and is buried in Bethel. Genesus 35:8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth. Allonbachuth means Oak of Weeping and it is thought that this particular grove of tree is also where the other Deborah who is my bible woman for the day would later sit to pronounce judgements for the people of Israel. I have to think that Deborah the nurse was very well loved and is honored for her faithful and long service to Rebekah. That her death is significant enough to mention and she is buried in a place of trees. Trees were pretty rare in the plains of Palestine.

Judges 4:5
And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

Things we know about here are that she was a prophetess, a judge, wife perhaps to a man named Lapidoth (his name means fiery torch, or enlightened one). According to the bible dictionary "Some have rendered the expression “a woman of a fiery spirit,” under the supposition that Lapidoth is not a proper name, a woman of a torch-like spirit". According to the Strongs Concordance Lapidoth is actually a proper feminine name. Perhaps Lapidoth is not her husbands name but she was simply known as Deborah, woman the Fiery Torch or the enlightened woman. 

The name Deborah means bee. According to All the Women of The Bible “Science confirms the ancient belief that, of all the animal kingdom, the bee ranks among the highest in intelligence” says Mary Hallet. “So Deborah stands out as among the wisest of all the Old Testament women.”

She comes on the scene after 20 years of oppression at the hands of the Canaanites. Under her wise leadership the land had rest for 40 years.  Judges 5: 31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

There is even an ode written about her in Judges 5. I think perhaps that she prophesied through song. Look at Judges 5 12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: People would come to hear her songs of wisdom giving the people of Israel prophetic direction. 

Here is why I love this character. She has helped me to sort out the roles of women in the kingdom of God. While the church has had issues with women in leadership, I don't believe God ever has. There is plenty of room for women to serve the kingdom beyond the nursery and children's ministry. 

We are joint heirs not door mats or mere helpers for men. God took a rib from Adams side, and we walk together as equals in his sight. Sorry guys hate to burst your bubble on this. It is a woman who is the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. It is a woman who Jesus first appears to after the resurrection. Sadly in many societies women are uneducated and treated as second class citizens. Sadly this has been true in the church when insecure men have ruled in the church  and oppressed women and restricted how they could serve God. It makes no sense for God to cut off half of his kingdom workers because of their gender. God is not a respecter of persons. He calls us men and women both to follow, love and serve Him. 

Deborah is an example of not only a patriot but a woman on fire for the Lord. She sits among the Judges of Israel and does a darn good job of it because there are 40 years of peace under her leadership. She also goes out of her way to allow men to lead but because they are slow to step up and insist that she goes with them, she tells them that this battle will be won at the hands of a woman. See Judges 4:9 " 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." Later we learn that the woman Jael invites Sisera into her tent to rest from the battle. He asks for water and she serves him warm milk and covers him with her mantel. After he falls asleep she takes a tent peg and a mallet and drives it through his temple, killing him. Kind of a gruesome story. 

Deborah is in my mind a kind of Joan of Arc type of character who is so completely sold out to God that she makes an indelible mark on human history.  She was able to discern the mind of God and communicate His purposes to others. She was able to stir up Israel to action in a time when the had grown complacent under the oppression of the Canaanites. I love this quote about her from All The Women of the Bible "No character in the Old Testament stands out in bolder relief than Deborah—prophetess, ruler, warrior and poetess. Her song is immortal because her life was dedicated to God and her deeds heroic and sublime." 

She is called a mother of Israel who brings unity and peace to Israel, but we have no mention of her having any of her own children. She stands among the Judges who were raised up by God to deliver Israel from their oppression that was brought on them because they turned away from God. When they finally cry out to God he sends them a deliver. She is a woman who is called, anointed and appointed by God.   


  1. Sorry getting behind in my blog reading. So much here. Two Deborahs--didn't know that! And the main Deborah had such a huge role in the kingdom of God...a role of power that would be debated in some circles today. You make excellent points about women's undermined role. Thanks again for an awesome post and sketch--truly a blessing:) Others are missing out!

    1. Hi Sharon, She was a remarkable woman. Thanks for following a long. I'm behind on visiting today. Some days its hard to squeeze everything in.

  2. I love that she may have sang her prophesies. I hadn't heard that before. Maybe I need to take a closer look at Deborah! Thanks again for your words and your efforts.



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