The "Mother of Israel"
and Patti Chadwick
Deborah was a prophetess whom God gifted and
used in many different ways to help out her
people, Israel. She is often compared to a bee.
Deborah had a fatal sting for her enemies as the
Canaanites and other foes came to experience. As
the bee ranks the highest in intelligence in the
animal kingdom, so it is written that Deborah
stands out as among the wisest of all Old
Testament women (Lockyer, All the Women of the
Bible 40). It is not known if she had any
children nor is there a genealogy record on this
female warrior and writer.
were very few palm trees in the land of
Palestine at this time, but Deborah had one
where she sat and ruled under. In honor of her
works, it became know as "The Palm of Deborah
(Judges 4:5). Often referred to as a "Mother in
Israel", she was gifted with superior spiritual,
mental, and physical powers, which left her mark
in Israel. Deborah, whom God raised up for a
special purpose, was endowed with a remarkable
personality and varied gifts for the deliverance
of His distressed and defeated people. A woman
of exceptional achievements, she carved out a
niche for herself.
was married and her husband, Lapdoth, was
thought to be meek, but by no means weak. He
stayed behind the scenes and supported his wife,
encouraging her in all her activities. It is
usually said that behind every great man there
is a great wife. In this situation it seems that
behind this great woman was a great husband.
Apparently he gave her his love, sympathy,
support, and encouragement not minding if he
rode "second chariot" to her (Herbert Lockyer,
Herbert, All the Women of the Bible 40).
Deborah was endowed with the gift of
prophecy in which she had the ability to discern
the mind and purpose of God and state it to
others. Deborah sat under her palm tree looking
very stately in person with her dark,
penetrating prophetic eyes as she poured out
wisdom and instruction of the counsel of God.
She was able to stir up the public with her
views and produce change. She stirred up
Israel's concern about its sad spiritual
condition. The land was debauched and well near
ruin under the rule of the Canaanites and their
liberty had been lost. Her people were dejected
and afraid. Their spirits had been broken and
there was no hope of deliverance from their
Deborah did more than prophesy, she aroused
a nation in the depths of despair through her
fearless and unsolicited devotion to the freeing
of her people. She awoke in them a driving
desire to free themselves from their bondage and
degradation. Her call and challenge to them was
to seek God's help in delivering them from their
Day after day she excited and challenged
the people of Israel. All who listened to her
words of divine wisdom felt the certainty of
their deliverance from a heathen people if only
they would arise to action and, with the help of
God, free themselves from fear and folly and go
out and fight. All of Israel was under her
jurisdiction, from which she dispensed
righteousness, justice, and mercy.
After having fought the enemy with words
and prayer, now God told her to fight in battle.
Being led of God she sent for Barak, saying it
was God's will that he should lead the army and
from the hand of the enemy. He agreed to lead
the army with the condition that Deborah, the
brave-hearted and dauntless ruler, go with him.
Barak felt he could face the enemy only if his
ruler was at hand. So out they went to do battle
with the Canaanite army with great odds against
them. Even in the heat of the battle, the
dauntless spirit of Deborah did not waver. God
was her ally and she rested in that fact. God
sent a hail and rainstorm during that battle
which helped lead the Israelites to victory.
Thus Deborah gained underlying fame as the
female warrior who rescued her people from their
victory over national foes, Deborah ruled with
equity and the nation of Israel had rest from
war and captivity for forty years. Deborah loved
her God, her people, and her country and stood
firm in her convictions. She had excellent
speaking abilities and a knack to motivate and
encourage people to get closer to God,
instilling in them a confidence to trust God and
believe that He would act on their behalf.