Read Judges 4:1-5; 5:7-9
A Worthy Woman with Wisdom
Throughout the Scriptures, we see a great value in wisdom, and Deborah displayed great wisdom in her leadership as a judge in Israel. We are told in her song that the people “chose new gods” (Judges 5:8). What a sad state of affairs for a nation that had been so blessed by God, delivered through the prior judges. Time and time again the people turned away from the God who saved them.
Deborah was God’s chosen servant to again rescue His people after struggling under the oppression of Jabin, the king of Canaan, and the commander of his army, Sisera, for twenty years. The text identifies her as “a prophetess” and the one who “was judging Israel at that time” (Judges 4:4).
What was involved in “judging Israel”? In the accounts of the judges who served prior to Deborah, the focus was on military exploits. Yet here, before the battle begins, we see that “The children of Israel came up to her for judgment” (Judges 4:5). Evidently, the judges were not only military heroes, but also advised on civil matters.
Who better to rule over such matters than the wise woman Deborah. What does the book of Proverbs say about the “virtuous wife” (Proverbs 31:10)? “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
Inspiration clearly shows that Deborah was wise and feared the Lord. She says in her song that she “arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). She cared for the people as a mother cares for her own children. Deborah serves as a wonderful example for all today.
There is also something noble about the men who followed her leadership. “My heart is with the rulers of Israel who offered themselves willingly with the people. Bless the Lord!” (Judges 5:9). When one considers how women were viewed by the people of the ancient world, it would not have been strange if the men had rejected her. Yet, they recognized her wisdom and followed, not by compulsion, but “willingly.” Are we prepared to follow those who demonstrate such wisdom today?