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Story About Deborah In The Bible

What Did Deborah Say To Barak

God’s Story: Deborah (Younger Kid Version)

Sisera gathered together his nine hundred iron chariots and all the men with him, from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River. 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, followed by ten thousand men.

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Beyond her marriage to Lapidoth, Deborah refers to herself as a mother in Israel . While this points to her esteemed role in Israel, it does not necessarily mean that she had biological children. The people of Israel were her children, and Deborahs deep commitment to God gave her a deep passion for His family.

What Was Deborahs Role In The Bible

Deborah was ultimately a Judge. She was the only female Judge in the Bible.

What she is mostly known for is being a leader. She was asked by God to lead the Israelites back to the Lord. The way in which she led them gives the impression that she was also a warrior.

But this wasnt all! She was also a prophetess, so when God spoke to her she shared with others and prophesied what God had asked her to share.

She was also a poet. Judges Chapter 5 is called the song of Deborah where she commemorated victory with a song. This was a common practice that can also be seen in Exodus 15:1-18, Numbers 21:27, Deuteronomy 32:1-43, and 1 Samuel 18:7.

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Warrior Woman And Judge

Having received instruction from God, Deborah summoned an Israelite warrior named Barak. Barak was Deborah’s protege, her second-in-commandhis name means lightning but he would not strike until he was ignited by Deborah’s power. She told him to take 10,000 troops up to Mount Tabor to confront Jabin’s general, Sisera, who led an army made up of 900 iron chariots.

The Jewish Virtual Library suggests that Barak’s response to Deborah “shows the high esteem in which this ancient prophetess was held.” Other interpreters have said insisted that Barak’s response actually shows his discomfort at being ordered into battle by a woman, even if she was the ruling judge at the time. Barak said: “If you will go with me, I will go if not I will not go” . In the next verse, Deborah agreed to go into battle with the troops but told him: “However, there will be no glory for you in the course you are taking, for then the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman” .

Hazor’s general, Sisera, responded to news of the Israelite uprising by bringing his iron chariots to Mount Tabor. The Jewish Virtual Library recounts a tradition that this decisive battle took place during the rainy season from October to December, although there is no date reference in the scripture. The theory is that rains produced mud that bogged down Sisera’s chariots. Whether this theory is true or not, it was Deborah who urged Barak into battle when Sisera and his troops arrived .

The Truth About Deborah The Judge In The Bible


Before using a king as a ruler, ancient Israel looked to a group of tribal chiefs, known as judges, for advisement. The Book of Judges, a section of the Old Testament, tells the story of how the Israelites lost their faith after the death of Joshua, who led them to the Promised Land. In response, God sent judges to help them resist worshipping idols and other temptations, per OverviewBible. These individuals weren’t the usual courtroom variety instead, they acted as leaders and helped the Israelites reconnect with God and overcome their enemies.

A judge needed to possess charisma so they could influence the people away from the tainted Canaanite culture. Some of the more famous judges were Barak, Gideon, Abimelech, Jephthah, Samson, and Deborah, explains Britannica. In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Judges consists of four sections that speak of the Israelites in Canaan, their struggle for virtue, and God’s rewards or punishments when they succeed or fail to find it. It is believed that several sources wrote this book. For instance, each judge originates from a different Israeli tribe, and academics think that the tales within the book were once separate pieces

Deborah’s story appears in chapters 4 and 5 , per Christianity Today. A prophetess from the tribe of Ephraim, she is immediately different than the other judges before her: She is the first and only female who wears the title.

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Deborah Was Confident In Gods Work

After Deborah pledged to accompany him, Barak recruited ten thousand men to meet Siseras nine hundred chariots. As they prepared for battle, Deborah gave a brief motivational speech. Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you? So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him .

Knowing the outcome was settled in heaven, Deborah spoke as if Israel had already secured the victory. The Israelites did not need to fear death. Centuries later, the apostle Paul echoed the same kind of resolve when describing our eternal security: If God is for us, who can be against us? Such boldness stems from an unshakable faith in Gods goodness and power.

Who Was Deborah In The Bible And Why Was She So Important

Deborah was the wife of Lappidoth and possibly a mother. Although some theologians think that when shes called a mother in Israel its describing her as a godly matriarch.

Every day, Deborah could be found seated under the Palm Trees of Deborah determining causes and controversies while judging the people according to the laws of God. I can only imagine how many disputes this wise and godly woman must have resolved. If youre a parent who spends your days helping your kids discern and resolve their conflicts in a godly manner, you may be able to relate to a typical day in the life of Deborah. Can I get a witness?

Deborah was an uncommon leader because she was a woman. God called her to a prominent position as a prophetess and judge at a time in history when He commonly appointed men to those positions. Deborah is in good company with a few other women prophetesses in the Bible: Moses sister Miriam in Exodus 15:20 Huldah in 2 Kings 22:15 Anna in Luke 2:36 and Phillips daughters in Acts 21:8-9.

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Deborah Was Wise And A Trusted Counselor

Judge Deborah was one of the rulers of the Israelites prior to the monarchy period that began with Saul . These rulers were called mishpatjudges,an office that traced back to a time when Moses appointed assistants to help him resolve disputes among the Hebrews . Their practice was to seek guidance from God through prayer and meditation before making a ruling. Therefore, many of the judges also were considered prophets who spoke a word from the Lord.

She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim and the Israelites would approach her for judgment.

This location, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, places Deborah and the Hebrews in an area controlled by King Jabin of Hazor, who had oppressed the Israelites for 20 years, according to the Bible. The reference to Jabin of Hazor is confusing since the Book of Joshua says that it was Joshua who conquered Jabin and burned Hazor, one of the main Canaanite city-states, to the ground a century earlier. Several theories have been put forth to try to solve this detail, but none have been satisfactory thus far. The most common theory is that Deborahs King Jabin was a descendant of Joshuas defeated enemy and that Hazor had been rebuilt during intervening years.

What Can We Learn From Deborah

Women of the Bible: Deborah and Jael

So often we doubt the call on our lives because we fear that people wont listen, that when it comes down to it we will fail, that we dont know enough, arent equipped for the role. Doubt and fear whisper in our ears crumbling what God is trying to do, and sending us retreating back in the shadows of our comfort zone. We allow our feelings of qualification to keep us from stepping into the role God has for us.

Deborah in the Bible doesnt question Gods voice or wonder what others will say or think she simply has the faith to do what God tells her. Whether people follow or not is not her concern. Her only concern is doing what the Lord has called her to, and not letting anything get in the way of that. Want to go deeper into the story of Deborah in the Bible? Check out the Deborah printable Bible study.

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Summary Of Deborahs Story

After the Israelites did evil in Gods sight, were captured by foreign nations, and led back to God multiple times, God raised up Deborah to lead them once again. Unlike the judges before and after her, Deborah is special in that she was the only female judge over Israel. Described as a prophet and a wife, Deborah transferred Gods message to Barak to lead the defeat of commander Sisera and king Jabins army and had the courage to go with him.

After king Jabins entire army was killed and their commander Sisera was murdered by Jael , Deborah retells the entire experience through a song sang by her and Barak in Judges 5.

God Calls For Obedience

Among the judges of Israel, Deborah was unique in that she not only led by example, but she was also bold, assertive, and obedient in both her personal and public life.

Deborahs calling as a judge was not her sole occupation. She was also a wife, a warrior, a prophetess, and a songwriter, and in all things, she proved faithful.

The lesson here is that Gods ultimate call for His creation is obedience.

We all wear many hats and fulfill many roles in life, but whether its in our jobs, our relationships, or our families, God calls us to be faithful and obedient in all areas of life, big and small, public and private.

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Bible Verses About Deborah

Here are some more Bible verses that give insight into the characteristics of Deborah in the Bible.

Leadership characteristics Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.

Trustworthy She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim and the sons of Israel went up to her for judgment.

Knowledgeable She said, I will certainly go with you however, the fame shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh.

Director Then Deborah said to Barak, Arise! For this is the day on which the Lord has handed Sisera over to you behold, the Lord has gone out before you. So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.

Musical & Creative Hear, you kings listen, you dignitaries! I myselfto the Lord, I myself will sing, I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel!

Strong The torrent of Kishon swept them away, the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. My soul, march on with strength!

Prayerful Out of the window she looked and wailed, the mother of Sisera through the lattice,Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots delay?

Deborah Was A Warrior

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She shepherded her people, with wisdom and courage, and then she became a warrior to defend them. Like a good shepherd, she rose to defend her flock from the wolves that had been oppressing them.

Deborah is more than just a woman of words, she was a woman of action. Leading from the front as an example and full leaning on her God to see her through. Her faith should be an example to all of us.

Women played such an important role in biblical history. Read more about them in our Women of the Bible series!

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The Lord Is With You: Are You Willing

The fact that Sisera had 900 chariots, each fitted with iron, meant nothing to God. He was ready and willing to give Israel the upper hand against the commander and his armies. But, Barak was less than willing to lead the army of Israel on his own. He replied to Deborah, If you go with me, I will go but if you dont go with me, I wont go.

Of course Deborah went. She was zealous to do as the Lord commanded! On the day of the battle she said, This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?

Imagine an attitude of mind like that! Whereas Barak was too afraid to go to battle without her, Deborah was full of faith that God would give Israel the victory. She believed Gods Word, and acted according to what He had spoken.

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Deborah calls herself a mother in Israel . Probably one of the highest designations in scripture, it indicates authority.15 Centuries afterward, the wise woman of Abel Beth Maacah will describe her city with the same phrase in a conversation with military leader Joab during a break in a civil war . Much earlier, Joseph called himself a father to Pharaoh .

Deborahs concluding words validate Jaels action, pronouncing her most blessed of women Judges 5:24). Similar designations go to Mary, the mother of Jesus , and to Judith, heroine of the Apocryphal Book of Judith who beheaded Holofernes, an Assyrian, general and saved her people . With great force, Deborah prays that all the Lords enemies will share Siseras fate and likewise perish .

According to another rabbinic tradition, descendants of Sisera, the Canaanite commander whose doom was prophesied by Deborah and fulfilled under Jaels hand, taught children in Jerusalem.18 If that tradition is true, then it shows one of the great themes of scripture. The judgeship of Deborah started with the Israelites sin but its legacy, in time, included Gods good work of redemption in the lives of the descendants of Israels enemy.

This Bible History Daily feature was first published in April, 2019


1. Branch 2002, p. 134.

4. Zucker and Reiss 2015, p. 32.

5. Deborah, p. 490.

9. Sisera, p. 397.

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Deborah Was Confident In Gods Word

Judges 4:6 tells us, She sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun. So, she asked Barak to join her. In effect, she told him, We can do this because God has told us this is what we should do.

Sparse Details About The Life Of Deborah

Deborah the Judge | Women in the Bible Kids Story | Bible Explorers [Episode 5]

Deborah was one of the rulers of the Israelites prior to the monarchy period that began with Saul . These rulers were called mishpat“judges,”an office that traced back to a time when Moses appointed assistants to help him resolve disputes among the Hebrews . Their practice was to seek guidance from God through prayer and meditation before making a ruling. Therefore, many of the judges also were considered prophets who spoke “a word from the Lord.”

Deborah lived somewhere about 1150 BCE, about a century or so after the Hebrews entered Canaan. Her story is told in the Book of Judges, Chapters 4 and 5. According to author Joseph Telushkin in his book Jewish Literacy, the only thing known about Deborah’s private life was the name of her husband, Lapidot . There is no indication who Deborah’s parents were, what kind of work Lapidot did, or whether they had any children.

Some Biblical scholars have suggested that “lappidot” was not the name of Deborah’s husband but rather the phrase “eshet lappidot” means quite literally “woman of torches”, a reference to Deborah’s fiery nature.

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God Elevates Those He Chooses

It is no coincidence that the great Canaanite general Sisera was brought down by a girl and a single iron nail. In this way, God demonstrates His tendency to use the weak things of the world to confound the mighty . The apostle Paul would continue, God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised thingsand the things that are notto nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him .

In this way, as Deborah had promised, Jael was given a special honor for her role in killing an enemy of Gods people. Most blessed of women is Jael, Deborah sings . Furthermore, a lot has been written about Deborahs role as a woman in the Old Testament, and it is true it was not common for women to hold positions of such power and influence in that culture at that time. However, as we see throughout Scripture, God does not hesitate to raise up, equip, empower, and promote His faithful servants, regardless of their social status, abilities, or lack thereof. As Matthew Henry writes, Though He needs no human help, yet he is pleased to accept the services of those who improve their talents to advance his cause.

In the end, God elevates those He chooses. Deborah sings, thus let all your enemies perish, O Lord but let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might .

Such shall be the honour, and joy of all who love God in sincerity, they shall shine forever as the sun in the firmament.


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