Judge Deborah the first professional woman in the world
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Deborah  

Deborah was a prophet and judge according to the Bible. Her legacy hangs on biblical reports proclaiming her as one of the most authoritative females of the Bible. Judge Deborah effectively carried out multiple extraordinary roles. Most notable is her role as a prophet, and her ability to give an audience to the voice of God. Coupled with an ability to commune with God audibly, prophet Deborah inadvertently shared God’s Word with others. Deborah not only preached but also organized and carried out worship services. However, unlike her male counterparts in the business of prophesying she did not offer sacrifices. 

Deborah’s reputation for doing God’s work, while offering unmatched wisdom is unprecedented for women of her time. Judge Deborah flawlessly applied honorable and fair judgement processes.  

Again, no other woman of her time commanded such accolades. Her unmatched legacy is the true source of her courage which came from the Lord. Sure, in modern times female judges do exist after decades of fighting for equal rights and impartial pay. However, women have made remarkable employment strides and gains within the judicial systems.  

According to Zippia.com, “Using a database of 30 million profiles, Zippia estimates demographics and statistics for judges in the United States. Our estimates are verified against BLS, Census, and current job openings data for accuracy. “After extensive research and analysis, Zippia’s data science team found that:” (“Patagonia Statistics And Demographics – Zippia”) 

  • There are over 16,840 judges currently employed in the United States. 
  • 49.7% of all judges are women, while 50.3% are men.” Zippia.com 
  • According to the Bible “Deborah is the only woman of the Old Testament who is known for her own faith and action, not because of her relationship to her husband or another man.” https://www.christianity.com/wiki/people/who-was-deborah-in-the-bible.html 

Who Is Judge Deborah? The First Professional Woman In the World

Deborah the Judge 

Judge Deborah is the world’s first professional woman. She was one of the rulers of the Hebrews (and the only female leader) in the Old Testament. “These rulers were called “mishpat,” which is translated as “judges.”” (“Who Was Deborah in the Bible? Her Story and Significance – Christianity.com”) A role that originated back when Moses appointed helpers to aid him in resolving arguments among the people.  (Exodus 18). 

Judges ruled under different circumstances during Judge Deborah’s time. They sought direction and favor from God through prayer and meditation to feel confident that rulings came out as fair and acceptable in God’s sight based on the Word. Like Deborah, many of the judges were recognized as prophets who delivered rulings influenced by the Word of God.  

Deborah’s court room was situated under a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim. She was so respected that the Israelites waited in line for her to rule on a matter. 

Judge and Prophet Deborah was perceived as a woman doing a man’s job during her lifetime. She boasts of quite an extraordinary biography, one that epitomizes the career and work of a godly women ahead of her time. The Bible tells us that Deborah is the only female judge mentioned in the Bible. Based on Bible passages profiling the story of Judge Deborah we learn that she was gifted, as well as a skilled and proficient multi-tasker, warrior, poet, prophet and singer/ songwriter.  

Furthermore, “the only other person in the Bible said to be both prophet and judge was Samuel.”  
 

Read more about Judge Deborah’s story in the Book of (Judges 4) and (Judges 5). 

Deborah has an impressive resume of judge, warrior, poet, and prophet as well as singer and songwriter. 

Only five women are described as prophets in the Old Testament. Deborah is one and the other four are Miriam, Huldah (2 Kings 22:14, 2 Chronicles 34:22), Noadiah (Nehemiah 6:14), and “the prophetess” (Isaiah 8:3). 

Judges 4-5 describe Deborah’s Roles as Judge and Warrior. 

Deborah the Warrior 

The passages reveal how Israel was delivered from the bondage of their enemies under the direction of a woman named Deborah, who was both a judge and a prophetess.  

Judge and Warrior Deborah prophesied that a woman would destroy the enemy’s leaders. The prophecy was fulfilled when a non-Israelite woman named Jael killed the leader of the enemy army. Deborah’s faith and obedience to the Lord convinced the people that if they trusted the Lord, He could deliver them. This act of heroism is a perfect example of letting one’s light shine and leading by example to be an example for God’s people.  

The act was so far-reaching that the Israelite’s praised God in song to give him the glory. Read more about the celebration in the Book of Judges Chapter 5.  

Deborah was trainable, humble and eager to carry out the will of God. The Bible tells us that Deborah received orders from the Lord to call Barak, an Israelite warrior, to bring 10,000 warriors up Mount Tabor to attack Sisera, Jabin’s commander of troops.  

Barak responded by saying “If you will go with me, I will go; if not I will not go” (Judges 4:8). 

Deborah agrees to go to battle with Barak and the troops but share with 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” (Judges 4:9). 

Long story short, Judge and warrior Deborah, a woman bravely went off to battle with Barak, and, as foretold in prophecy, Sisera fell. It should be noted that Sisera actually fell at the hands of a different woman, her name was Jael. She was the wife of a clan leader. Jael carried out the prophecy pushing a tent peg through Sisera’s head with a mallet.  

Biblical commentaries show evidence of friction among some scholars who disagree on Barak’s acceptance of Deborah’s battle leadership. Some feel that Barak respected her as a leader and prophetess and willingly heeded her call. Others, however, concluded that his response in Judges 4:8 pointed to his discomfort in taking orders from a woman, despite the esteem she is held in.  

Lessons Learned from Reading the Story of Prophet Deborah 

Judge and prophetess Deborah was a confident woman, she had to be to be effective in both judicial and spiritual matters. Even more she believed in God, had faith in God and obeyed the Lord. These characteristics empowered her to do great things. So, just like the lord did it for her He will do it for me if I accept him as Lord and Savior. Accepting means that you are agreeing to obey God’s Word. In addition, it means you are ready and willing to turn over a new leaf. When we repent of our sins and ask God to deliver us from evil, we are also asking him to guide us, as in order our steps in his world. Judge Deborah taught us that God gave humans multiple talents and gifts. Accordingly, when we depend on God’s strength and wisdom, rather than our own, and use divine gifts in the way the Father intended we can do great things.

The Story of Judge, Warrior and Prophetess Deborah 

And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead. 

And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. 

And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel. 

And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 

And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. 

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? 

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. 

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. 

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. 

10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him. 

11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. 

12 And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. 

13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. 

14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. 

15 And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. 

16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. 

17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 

18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. 

19 And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. 

20 Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No. 

21 Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. 

22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. 

23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. 

24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan. 

Conclusion 

Deborah’s reputation for doing God’s work, while offering unmatched wisdom is unprecedented for women of her time. Judge Deborah flawlessly applied honorable and fair judgement processes.  

Again, no other woman of her time commanded such accolades. Her unmatched legacy is the true source of her courage which came from the Lord. Her legacy hangs on biblical reports proclaiming her as one of the most authoritative females of the Bible. Judge Deborah effectively carried out multiple extraordinary roles. Most notable is her role as a prophet, and her ability to give an audience to the voice of God. Reading the Bible story about Judge, prophet and warrior Deborah taught me at least 3 important things about my walk with Christ.

  1. With God I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
  2. Only God knows my full potential
  3. Never be afraid to answer God’s calls nd to go where He sends me.

 

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