What We Can Learn From Deborah
Deborah is a special hero in the Bible that will forever be someone to look up to, a woman of strength, authority and bravery that reminds us to stay firmly planted where He has placed us no matter what.
The story of Deborah in the Bible is a wonderful example of what a woman who has stepped fully into Gods calling on her life can accomplish. She stands like a beacon through history to teach us about strength, courage and wisdom and what a leader should look like.
Deborah is a reminder that no matter how troubled the world around us is, our God is in control and has called us into this position for a reason. Whether our role is in our families or our communities, God has a purpose for us.
If youd like to dive deeper into her story, be sure to check out this Deborah Bible Study!
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Judge Deborah In The Bible Was A Warrior
Having received instruction from God, Deborah called forth an Israelite warrior named Barak. Barak was Deborahs junior, her next in command. She told him to take 10,000 troops up to Mount Tabor to confront Jabins general, Sisera, who led an army made up of 900 iron chariots.
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The Jewish Virtual Library suggests that Baraks response to Deborah shows the high esteem in which this ancient prophetess was held. Other interpreters have said insisted that Baraks 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 .
Hazors general, Sisera, immediately responded to the news of the Israelite revolt by bringing his chariots to Mount Tabor.
Deborah Didnt Try To Do It All
The last life lesson to learn from Deborah is to work with others. As the current judge over Israel Deborah didnt let her position cause her to think she was supposed to do everything for them. Rather than questioning God and desiring to play a more significant role in freeing the Israelites, she delivered the message to Barak as given .
Further showing her willingness to work with others, she agreed to go with Barak when he appeared to lack confidence.
Barak said to her, If you go with me, I will go but if you dont go with me, I wont go.
Certainly I will go with you, said Deborah
We can easily become prideful when sitting in a position like Deborahs. Because we may have heard Gods calling to lead, we may feel like we are the ones to do everything. This was a mistake Moses made before his father-in-law Jethro advised him. He used to spend the entire day serving as a judge for all of the Israelites no matter the issue. But after Jethro advised him, he shared the workload.
Later in Judges chapter 5, we see the cooperation continue. Although it is called the song of Deborah, Judges 5:1 says On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang .
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Deborah: A Mother In Israel
She then recounted the difficulties Israel was facingthe highways were deserted, village life had ceaseduntil I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel . She was valued as a mother in Israela title of honor and renown. Her actions helped to save Israel from further oppression.
Deborah continued in her song to praise Jael, the woman who killed Sisera. In verses 24-27, Deborah recounted what Jael did. It is highly unusual for a blessing in song to be pronounced on a woman heroine who hammered a tent peg through the head of the enemy!
Inspires Barak To Defeat Sisera
- Judges 4:6-16 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto 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 Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7 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. 8 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. 9 And she said, 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. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. …
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Judge Deborah Receives Prophecy
The Israelite warriors won the battle and General Sisera escaped to the camp of the Kenites. Sisera asked for sanctuary in the tent of Jael , wife of the clan leader. Thirsty, he asked for water, but she gave him milk and curds, a heavy meal that caused him to fall asleep. Seizing her opportunity, Jael tiptoed into the tent and drove a tent peg through Siseras head with a mallet. Thus Jael gained fame for killing Sisera, which diminished Baraks fame for his victory over King Jabins army, as Deborah had prophesied.
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How Did Deborah Become A Leader
Perhaps the most striking verse in Judges 4 is verse 6, the Bible says that Deborah sends for a man called Barak. She doesnt ask him to come, she doesnt plead. She simply sends for him with authority. Her authority didnt come from herself, her skill, her reputation, her job titles, but from the God she served.
When God calls you to something, when He lays something on your heart it doesnt matter what people think, it doesnt matter if you have the perfect skill set or the words to say. Your authority comes from God. By yourself, you may not be able to do what God has called you to, but with Him, you can do all things, you dont have to be enough because He is.
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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.
What Did Deborah Accomplish
As mentioned, Deborah was a prophetess as indicated in the scriptures. She is one of the four female prophets mentioned in the Bible by name in Israel. The other 3 prophetesses are Miriam , and Anna .
Deborah was also a judge of Israel who gave advice and held court. While the period of Judges lasted 450 years from Joshua to Samuel, it was a spiritually declining time when man was more interested in himself than God. While God encouraged 13 judges to help Israel against her enemies, Deborah may have been the best judge for the people of Israel had before Samuel.
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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.
Just Who Was Deborah In The Bible She Was A Female Judge And Prophetess In Israel By Her Faith In God She Successfully Led Israel During A Critical Time
During the historical period of the Judges, Israel often turned to idolatry and as a result, God punished them by causing them to suffer under harsh rulership of neighboring nations.
One such time was when King Jabin, ruling in Hazor of Canaan, harshly oppressed Israel for 20 years. The Israelites finally cried out to God for deliverance .
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King James Bible Dictionary
1. Rebekah’s nurse. She accompanied her mistress when she left her father’s house in Padan-aram to become the wife of Isaac . Many years afterwards she died at Bethel, and was buried under the “oak of weeping”, Allon-bachuth .
2. A prophetess, “wife” of Lapidoth. Jabin, the king of Hazor, had for twenty years held Israel in degrading subjection. The spirit of patriotism seemed crushed out of the nation. In this emergency Deborah roused the people from their lethargy. Her fame spread far and wide. She became a “mother in Israel” , and “the children of Israel came up to her for judgment” as she sat in her tent under the palm tree “between Ramah and Bethel.” Preparations were everywhere made by her direction for the great effort to throw off the yoke of bondage. She summoned Barak from Kadesh to take the command of 10,000 men of Zebulun and Naphtali, and lead them to Mount Tabor on the plain of Esdraelon at its north-east end. With his aid she organized this army. She gave the signal for attack, and the Hebrew host rushed down impetuously upon the army of Jabin, which was commanded by Sisera, and gained a great and decisive victory. The Canaanitish army almost wholly perished. That was a great and ever-memorable day in Israel. In Judges 5 is given the grand triumphal ode, the “song of Deborah,” which she wrote in grateful commemoration of that great deliverance.
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 .
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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.
Deborah Nurtured And Supported The People She Led
Like a mother, she spoke truth into the lives of her people and encouraged them. When Barak arrived and she tells him of the Lords plan, she encourages him and acknowledges his role as the leader of the army. Deborahs confidence in Gods power rubs off on everyone around her and gave the Israelites assurance God was with them.
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Arise To Your Calling
Deborah heard from God and then she stepped out in faith. She arose to her calling. God asked her and she went.
Villagers in Israel would not fight they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel .
She was called by God to lead the Israelites out. She heard from God and knew what He was asking of her and then she arose and did it.
Is there something God is asking you to do that you have been putting off? Perhaps you are afraid. Perhaps you are too busy with other things. Or maybe you are simply procrastinating. Maybe you just dont know how he is calling you.
Its time to arise!
Women Of The Bible Deborah
Our Women in the Bible series comes from Dámaris Albuquerque, CEPADs Executive Director. This series of biblical studies was originally produced by Radio CEPAD for our radio listeners. Devotionals have since been translated to share with CEPAD supporters and our English-speaking audience.
I want to welcome you to our first segment of the Women in the Bible series. Today we will be studying the story of Deborah. We remember that the Israelites went to the promised land but sinned in the eyes of the Lord. They worshipped gods from neighboring peoples, so God brought forth judges that advocated for justice. As long as there was a judge, there was peace in Israel, because there was someone who was in charge of leading Israel back to God. After one judge died, another would take its place, but the Israelites would return to a sinful lifestyle.
Judges 4:1-2, Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Whenever the Israelites fell away, they would be overtaken or have a problem. They would cry out to God for help and God would bring them a judge. On this occasion, the Lord brought them Deborah.
Were going to skip over the middle of this chapter, because theres another woman involved, Jael, but were focusing on Deborah, so well jump down to verse 23.
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Deborah’s Prophecy About Sisera Comes True
The Israelite warriors won the day, and General Sisera fled the battleground on foot. He escaped to the camp of the Kenites, a Bedouin tribe that traced its heritage back to Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. Sisera asked for sanctuary in the tent of Jael , wife of the clan leader. Thirsty, he asked for water, but she gave him milk and curds, a heavy meal that caused him to fall asleep. Seizing her opportunity, Jael tiptoed into the tent and drove a tent peg through Sisera’s head with a mallet. Thus Jael gained fame for killing Sisera, which diminished Barak’s fame for his victory over King Jabin’s army, as Deborah had predicted.
Judges Chapter 5 is known as the “Song of Deborah,” a text that exults in her victory over the Canaanites. Deborah’s courage and wisdom in calling up an army to break Hazor’s control gave the Israelites 40 years of peace.