Meet Deborah, the godliest judge we encounter in our study through this book. She constantly strived to lead Israel back to the Lord. Her actions were not self-serving or prideful. In the brief glimpse of her life that we get in Judges 4-5, we find many positive references to her character and leadership. She is called a prophetess. Plus, never underestimate the last verse of chapter 5:
“And the land had rest for forty years.”
That, in a nutshell is Deborah’s legacy. She did what none of the others seemed to be able to do. She kept the Lord at the forefront and challenged the people to better, godly decisions. I’m sure she wasn’t perfect, but she gives us plenty to emulate. In an article published at Jewish Women’s Archive, Tikva Frymer-Kensky writes these powerful words about Deborah:
There is no other heroine like Deborah in the Hebrew Bible, but other women did have some of her many roles. She is called a “mother in Israel” (Judg 5:7) perhaps because she was a biological mother. This would be important, showing that mothers might attain political prominence. More likely, the phrase may indicate that her arbitration powers as judge were parental, even maternal. “Mother,” like “father,” can be an honorific title for an authority figure or protector in the community (compare 1 Sam 24:1 and Isa 22:21). Another possibility is that she was a strong administrator of God’s plan, like the matriarchs in Genesis.
There are a variety of other things that took place in this chapter that may have caught your attention. Jael & Sisera is quite an account. My pastor growing up told me that “so he died” in 4:21 are the three most unnecessary words in the Bible… do you agree?
How does Deborah’s leadership strike you? What else did you glean from this chapter? What did the Lord teach you today?
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor