Deborah is one of the most interesting if the judges because her presence and her leadership of the men of Israel confounds many males in churches today. Yep, she was a woman; she was chosen by God; she was even the Commander in Chief of a general of God’s army.

The Bible doesn’t explain how God called her. It just says that God was allowing an enemy of Israel to push the nation hard because they had again turned from God to idols. The Bible says of the time, “Now Deborah, a prophet, … was leading Israel at that time.” The Bible adds that she held court and settled disputes among the Israelites.

When the time came for rescue, God directed Deborah. She was instructed to tell Israeli general, Barak, to take the army to a place named by God, where God would deliver the enemy into his hand. It is obvious that Barak did not receive the message from God personally, because his reply to Deborah was, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”  So, Deborah, General Barak, and ten thousand Israeli soldiers set out. This tells us that not only was Deborah the only woman to serve as a judge, but she was respected by the common people and the military leaders.

To finalize Deborah’s position as God’s chosen leader of the people, we see the climax of the day of battle.  “Deborah said to Barak, ‘Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera (the enemy leader) into your hands. Has not the Lord gone on ahead of you?'”  God delivered Sisera and his army into the hand of General Barak, as He had promised.

This victory under the leadership of God and his chosen leader brought a return by the people to God, and the nation enjoyed forty years of peace.

We don’t know if judges served for life, or if they melted back into their former lives when the danger to the nation had passed. We do know that none tried to take over as king (or queen), nor did they try to establish dynasties.

sue wilson