Deborah – The Female Judge

deborahJudges 4,5

Deborah is the only female judge of Israel mentioned in the Bible (Judges 4:5). She was a prophetess and the wife of Lapidoth who judged Israel when they were being oppressed by Jabin, king of Canaan (Judges 4:4).

deborah
Deborah

The children of Israel cried to the Lord then came to Deborah for judgement as they were being oppressed by the king of Canaan. She sent for Barak from the tribe of Naphtali, and said “has not the Lord commanded you to go up with your troops and that He would deliver Sisera (commander of the army of Canaan) into your hand”. Barak asked Deborah to go with him else he would not go, to which Deborah replied that she would surely go up with him but the glory will not be his and that God would sell Sisera into the hand of a women. After that they went up and Deborah told Barak that this day the Lord has delivered Sisera into his hands and asked him “has not the Lord gone before you?” Then Barak went with his troops and God subdued Jabin, the king of Canaan (Judges 4:6-24).

This narration instigates several thoughts in us. One is that of the Israelites coming to Deborah for judgement which clearly shows that she was a faithful or a just judge and as mentioned she was a prophetess too which meant that she took counsel directly from God. Probably that is why when the Israelites cried out to God, He appointed Deborah as Judge of His People.

She was a strong woman who had complete faith in God. Only because of her faith she boldly told Barak that if she came along then the victory would be through the hands of a women. She believed that if God has told that He would deliver then He would surely deliver. This instance of Deborah specifically telling Barak that God will sell Sisera into a woman’s hands probably meant that it was a big thing if women were involved, especially because the ancient culture of Israel would not give much privileges to women. On the day chosen by God for their victory, Deborah told Barak that God has delivered Sisera into his hands. Deborah was certain that this would happen as God told her, but when Sisera ran away, Barak might have doubted nevertheless God had different plans. God appointed Jael, wife of Heber who helped Israelites and killed Sisera and as Deborah had said, God sold Sisera into the hands of a woman. It is important for us to realise here that God can use anyone for His glory, He doesn’t see whether its a man or a woman. In the same manner we are also planted in this earth that God can use us for His glory irrespective of anything and all we need to do is to let Him work through us.

Deborah and Barak then sing a song where Deborah calls herself a mother in Israel (Judges 5:7). One calls herself a mother only when she loves her children unconditionally and Deborah calling herself a mother meant she loved the children of Israel and stood up for her children just like the Lord loves His children and wanted to deliver them. We should also inherit this quality of hers to reflect God in our lives. She was a married woman and being so she might have had other responsibilities and commitments and we don’t know her situation there, probably she too was bound by the ancient cultures but in spite of all that she stood up and allowed God to do what He had appointed her for.

In the same way we should also make sure that we give first place to God in our lives whatever our situations may be because we are here in this world for a purpose set by God and if we fulfill that then He will take care of the rest.

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