Deborah, Prophetess, Wife and Judge

Deborah, Prophetess, Wife and Judge

Judges 2:11-23




1.  Deborah is mentioned in Judges 4 as the fourth judge of Israel.

2.  The period of the judges was characterized by a cyclical pattern.

3.  Chapter 2 says that after the death of Joshua there arose a generation who did not know the Lord, nor the work which He had done for Israel (v. 10).

4.  2:11-23 is a further description of the circumstances.

5.  When the people were oppressed, they would cry to the Lord.  He would send a deliverer and judge and for a period they would serve the Lord.  Then they would do evil again, and an adversary would be raised up to oppress them.  This cycle had been repeated 3 or 4 times before Deborah became judge.




I.  She is described as a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, and a judge in Israel (4:4).


   A.  That she is a woman permeates her life story and reveals something about the 

        circumstances of her time.

        1.  It is not unusual that God should use a woman.

        2.  He has always used women.  There are many examples.  Ex. Eve, Sarah, 

             Miriam, Rahab, Mary, Lydia, Dorcas, Mary Magdalen, and others contributed to 

             the work of Jesus and the disciples (Lk. 8:1-3).

        3.  That she is serving in the capacity that she is, may suggest that the men were 

             taking a diminished role in leadership.  This is suggested in the text (Judges 


    B.  She is a prophetess.

          1.  This means that she is receiving communication from God (cf. Num. 12:2).

          2.  She is responsible therefore to teach and to lead in the way of the Lord.

    C.  She is judging Israel.

          1.  Ex. 18 gives context as to what this means.

          2.  People came to Moses to inquire of God (18:13-16).

          3.  Judges taught and applied the laws of God among the people (18:17-27).

          4.  Clearly her role is a place of leadership, but not just any leadership.  She is 

               leading people in the way of the Lord.

          5.  The office of judge was not hereditary.  It was for those recognized as gifted 

               to perform it.  This meant obvious acquaintance and skill in understanding 

               and interpreting the law of God.  It meant wisdom in making application (cf. 1 

               Kings 3:28).


II.  Deborah received a communication from God to march against Jabin, the king of Canaan who reigned in Hazor and against Sisera, the commander of his army (4:6ff).


    A.  She communicated this to Barak, commander of the army of Israel.

         1.  Evidently, he is a man weak in faith.

         2.  He will not obey the voice of the Lord unless Deborah goes with him.

         3.  Her faith is unwavering.  Yes, she will go.  She is certain of victory.

    B.  But she makes it clear to Barak that the honor for the victory will go to a woman.

    C.  Preparations for battle are made.

    D.  Deborah speaks, “Arise!  For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera 

         into your hands; behold the Lord has gone out before you” (4:14).

    E.  “The Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the 

         sword before Barak.”  Barak pursued Sisera.  All his army was destroyed.  Sisera 

         fled into the house of Jael the wife of Heber (cf. 4:11).  Weary from battle she 

         provided milk and a place to hide out for him.  But seizing a tent peg she drove it 

         through his temple while he slept.


III.  Deborah and Barak sang a song of victory praising God (5:1ff).


     A.  They had led an ill-equipped army (5:8) against 900 chariots of iron (4:3) and by 

          God’s power they had defeated them.

     B.  Some tribes were commended for engaging the battle (5:12ff).

     C.  Some tribes were questioned (16-17, 23).

     D.  Jael was blessed (24-27).

     E.  The mother of Sisera lamented (28ff).


IV.  “What does all this have to do with us?”


     A.  God has called on us to engage in a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:10ff).  Will we act in 

          faith at the level of Deborah?  Will our faith act only when “others go with us”?

     B.  Will we be like Meroz and not come to the help of the Lord (Judges 5:23)?  Like 

          Reuben, have great resolves of heart and sit among the sheepfolds (Judges 

          5:16)?  Will we be like Gilead and remain across the Jordan, or like Dan who 

          stayed in ships, or like Asher who sat at the seashore?  OR like Zebulun and 

          Naphtali who despised their lives even to death (Judges 5:18)?  Are there Jael’s 

          and Deborah’s among us who trust in the Lord and act?

     C.  Will we sing the songs of praise to God in victory?

     D.  Are you like Deborah?  So well acquainted with the law of God, its wisdom and 

           understanding that people recognize your ability to apply the law to their lives?  

           To lead them to the victory that the Lord provides?




1.  Are you known as one who redirects away from the idolatry of the world and to the faith of the living God?

2.  Were your life story written by the author of Judgeswhat would they say?  A prophet(ess), a wife/a husband, a judge in Israel?

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