by Dr Rev. Suzette Hattingh

When the impossible becomes possible, when the religious laws of man do not avail, when God proves that He is no respecter of persons, we find ourselves in the book of Judges chapters four and five in the Bible. We read the powerful story of Deborah, a married woman but also a judge, counsellor and prophetess over God’s people in Israel.

Deborah – (her name means ‘bee’). It describes teamwork perfectly. One bee alone might not build a beehive, but oh, put them together and you have an industry going. Don’t mess with that beehive – they will fiercely protect it. Unity has power! Ps 133

  • A simple little bee that brings such impact. The name suits Deborah well. She brings sweetness and wisdom to those she loves, and her sting to the enemy! That is what we learn from the pages of the Bible in the story of Deborah. She was a carer, mother, and counsellor, but oh she could rise with authority, commissioning and calling the leaders to rise against the enemy. She was a ‘mother in Israel’. 1
  • What is a ‘mother in Israel’? Does that mean you have to be married and have children? Certainly not! Whether you are male or female, spiritually speaking, we carry the heart of God in different situations, be it in prayer or action.
  • God’s heart of compassion – care for those around you, love and protect, be the counsellor, the one they run to when it hurts, the one who doesn’t need to say much, but intercede on their behalf or speak the Word of the Lord directly as a prophet/prophetess.
  • Rise up with strength – like a warrior calling all to battle in the spirit, fearless, not counting your own life dear but joining the battle with God without hesitation.

Deborah, the Woman

  • She was married to Lapidoth, but that is all we know. We don’t know anything about him, whether he was strong or not, we only know his name. However, I could imagine that he must have been a man of great humility and enlargement of spirit to let his wife take such a prominent position within the land, even joining the battlefield.
  • We don’t know if she had children. At that time in Israel, a woman would suffer shame if she was barren, but the Bible says nothing on this subject, as that is not the focus or importance in the story.
  • We know she was a woman of:
    • Faith – she had to be called a prophetess, so she had to seek the will of the Lord for the people.
    • Impact – she was a judge, people came to her for advice, help, and counsel. She did not have a great court room – no, she had a simple palm tree2, but the impact reached all in the land!
    • She understood teamwork! – she understood the importance of her faith as a woman of God, and the strength of the men in their capacity and mandate. She called Barak into action! 10,000 men followed him, and he worked with her. At first, he was sceptical, not so sure. This was understandable, as it involved his credibility as a commander.
    • She understood wisdom and strategy! – she did not have to convince 10,000 men, she convinced one, the one in authority, and he convinced the rest!
    • Authority with humility – is strength – at the end of the battle she never took the glory for herself (Judges 5:2). She pointed out the leaders, (some failed horribly – did not even come), but she gave glory to those that did and praised them!

We learn from this woman the beauty of submission, power, authority and spirituality, all flowing through God’s yielded vessel. Only two chapters in the Bible describe this woman’s life, yet through centuries we keep learning from her, lessons of character and authority.

References: New King James Version (NKJV) Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

1 to be found in Judges 5:7; 2 to be found in Judges 4:5