Deborah was Israel’s only female judge recorded in Scripture. Her only family recorded in the text surrounding Judges 4–5 is her husband, Lapidoth. Deborah gave advice to the people of Israel at a palm tree between Ramah and Bethel. It was near Mount Ephraim. She is known for her courage and her song to the Lord, but why is she mentioned in the Bible? What did she do that should be used as a “model” for our life?
Deborah was the fourth judge of Israel. God put her in charge of bringing Israel back to worshipping God. After being judged by Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar, Israel had fallen into sin once more. After Ehud had judged, God punished Israel for their sin. How? They were put under the rule of Jabin, king of Canaan, for twenty years. Now, after their punishment, God would deliver Sisera (Jabin’s army captain/leader) and his army into the hands of Barak, a man of Israel. God had commanded Barak to gather ten thousand men from Zebulun and Naphtali. Barak refused to go fight unless Deborah would come along. Deborah had the courage to fight and went along. Barak gathered the men and prepared to fight. God caused the men of Jabin’s army to become frightened. Because of his fear, Sisera fled to the nearby tent of Heber the Kenite where Sisera thought he had safety. Jael (Heber’s wife) fed Sisera and let him rest. While he was resting, Jael killed him by driving a tent nail through his head.
Deborah is known for her victory song to Jehovah after the battle against Sisera. Her song is given in Judges 5. Deborah’s song praises the Lord for the victory he had given them over Sisera and Jabin’s army. She sang of some tribes that didn’t help. Gilead, Dan, and Asher were just a few of them. Barak and Deborah sang of how Sisera’s mother would act when no one came back from the battle (not even her son, Sisera).
Why is this piece of history in the Bible? God must have had some reason. Here are a few reasons: One, that through Deborah’s song and her giving all the glory to God, we must learn that in anything and everything we do we must give glory to God just as Deborah did. In Judges 5:1 the Bible says that they sang “on that day”. It didn’t take Barak and Deborah a few days to get over their own glory and then give God the glory, but they gave God the glory right that day.
Another thing we can learn from the part of her song (Judges 5:14–17) about the tribes refusing to help fight, is that we need to stay active in the church of Christ. We need to continually pray for those in need of physical and spiritual help. To show our love and thankfulness to God for redeeming us from our spiritual, sickly state of sin, we give what we can to those who are currently on “beds of affliction” for the rest of their pilgrimage on this earth.
Yet, we need to be strong in our faith like Deborah. Barak was scared. We should not be scared of anything. Not even death, because death is the passage from this earthly journey to eternal life with Christ in Heaven. Romans 14: 8: “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die we die unto the Lord: whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Joshua 1:9 is another great example of the commandment to be bold and strong in our faith. We will need to have great strength to endure the persecution of the wicked and their ridicule against us in the end times.
Through studying the life of Deborah the prophetess, we can be strengthened by reading and contemplating her song of courage. We can love those with special needs and do EVERYTHING to the glory of God. “Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.” Let Deborah’s song ring in our hearts as we continue on this pathway to our heavenly home.