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According to the Book of Judges
Book of Judges
chapters 4 and 5, Deborah
Deborah
(Hebrew: דְּבוֹרָה‬, Modern Dvora, Tiberian Dəḇôrā, "Bee") was a prophet of Yahweh
Yahweh
the God of the Israelites, the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel and the only female judge mentioned in the Bible, and the wife of Lapidoth. Deborah
Deborah
told Barak
Barak
that Yahweh commanded him to lead an attack against the forces of Jabin king of Canaan
Canaan
and his military commander Sisera
Sisera
(Judges 4:6-7); the entire narrative is recounted in chapter 4. Judges chapter 5 gives the same story in poetic form. This passage, often called The Song of Deborah, may date to as early as the 12th century BC[1] and is perhaps the earliest sample of Hebrew poetry. She is considered a saint in the Catholic Church.

Contents

1 In the Bible

1.1 The Song of Deborah

2 Traditional chronology 3 Gallery 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

In the Bible[edit]

Deborah
Deborah
Beneath the Palm Tree (c. 1896-1902) by James Tissot

Grave near Kedesh
Kedesh
attributed to Barak
Barak
or Deborah

In the Book of Judges, it is stated that Deborah
Deborah
was a prophet, a judge of Israel and the wife of Lapidoth.[2][3] She rendered her judgments beneath a date palm tree between Ramah in Benjamin and Bethel
Bethel
in the land of Ephraim.[4] The people of Israel had been oppressed by Jabin, the king of Canaan, whose capital was Hazor, for twenty years. Stirred by the wretched condition of Israel she sends a message to Barak, the son of Abinoam, at Kedesh
Kedesh
of Naphtali, and tells him that the Lord God had commanded him to muster ten thousand troops of Naphtali and Zebulun and concentrate them upon Mount Tabor, the mountain at the northern angle of the great plain of Esdraelon. At the same time she states that the Lord God of Israel will draw Sisera
Sisera
to the River Kishon. Barak declines to go without the prophet. Deborah
Deborah
consents, but declares that the glory of the victory will therefore belong to a woman. As soon as the news of the rebellion reaches Sisera
Sisera
he collects nine hundred chariots of iron and a host of people.[3] Then Deborah
Deborah
said, according to Judges 4:14:

“Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera
Sisera
into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak
Barak
went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him.

As Deborah
Deborah
prophesied, a battle is fought (led by Barak), and Sisera is completely defeated. He himself escapes on foot, while his army is pursued as far as Harosheth of the Gentiles and destroyed. Sisera comes to the tent of Jael; and he lies down to rest. He asks for a drink; she gives him milk; and while he is asleep she hammers a tent-pin through his temple.[3] The Biblical account of Deborah
Deborah
ends with the statement that after the battle, there was peace in the land for 40 years. (Judges 5:31) The Song of Deborah[edit]

Deborah
Deborah
portrayed in Gustave Doré's illustrations for La Grande Bible de Tours (1865)

The Song of Deborah
Deborah
is found in Judges 5:2–31 and is a victory hymn, sung by Deborah
Deborah
and Barak, about the defeat of Canaanite adversaries by some of the tribes of Israel. Biblical scholars have generally identified the Song as one of the oldest parts of the Bible, dating somewhere in the 12th century BC, based on its grammar and context.[5] However, some scholars have recently argued that the song's language and content indicate that it was written no earlier than the 7th century BC.[6] The song itself differs slightly from the events described in Judges 4. The song mentions six participating tribes (Ephraim, Benjamin, Machir, Zebulun, Issachar, and Naphtali) as opposed to the two tribes in Judges 4:6 (Naphtali and Zebulun) and does not mention the role of Jabin.[7] Though it is not uncommon to read a victory hymn in the Hebrew Bible, the Song of Deborah
Deborah
stands out as unique in that it is a hymn that celebrates a military victory helped by two women: Deborah
Deborah
and Jael. Michael Coogan writes that Jael
Jael
being a woman "is a further sign that Yahweh
Yahweh
ultimately is responsible for the victory: The mighty Canaanite general Sisera
Sisera
will be 'sold' by the Lord 'into the hand of a woman' (Judges 4:9)."[5] Traditional chronology[edit] Traditional Jewish chronology places Deborah's 40 years of judging Israel (Judges 5:31) from 1107 BC until her death in 1067 BC.[8] The Dictionary of World Biography: The Ancient World claims that she might have lived in the period between 1200 BC to 1124 BC.[9] Based on archaeological findings, different biblical scholars have argued that Deborah's war with Sisera
Sisera
best fits the context of either the second half of the 12th century BC[10] or the second half of the 11th century BC.[11] Gallery[edit]

Artistic depictions of Deborah

Deborah
Deborah
and Barak
Barak
in a miniature from the 13th-century Psalter of St. Louis 

Jael, Deborah, and Barak
Barak
(c. 1630) by Salomon de Bray 

A statue of Deborah
Deborah
(1792) in Aix-en-Provence, France 

Deborah
Deborah
depicted in a pendentive of a church dome in Tenancingo, Mexico 

Deborah
Deborah
Judging Israel, west-facing panel at the northwest corner of the Nebraska State Capitol 

See also[edit]

Battle of Mount Tabor (biblical) The Deborah
Deborah
number Handel's Deborah
Deborah
(Handel)

References[edit]

^ Coogan, Michael D. (2011), The Old Testament, A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, Oxford University Press, pp. 214, 219  ^ Judges 4:4 ^ a b c "Deborah", Jewish Encyclopedia ^ Judges 4:5 ^ a b Coogan, Michael D. (2009), A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in its Context, Oxford University Press, p. 180. ^ Frolov, S. (2011). "How Old is the Song of Deborah?". Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. 36 (2): 163–184. doi:10.1177/0309089211423720. :'To be sure, the consensus outlined here is by no means perfect; several publications that appeared in the 1980s and 1990s diverge from it, sometimes in a major way. In particular, Alberto Soggin, Ulrike Schorn, and Barnabas Lindars see the Song, or at least the bulk thereof, as a product of the early monarchy; Ulrike Bechmann and Manfred Görg place it in the late pre-exilic period; Michael Waltisberg advocates early post-exilic provenance (fifth to third centuries BCE); and B.-J. Diebner shifts the composition’s date all the way to the turn of the eras.' (p.165); 'With the text’s internal parameters and the external conditions of its existence considered in a systematic fashion, what we know as Judg. 5.2–31a presents itself as an integral part of the Deuteronomistic oeuvre and should be dated, accordingly, between c. 700 and c. 450 BCE.' (p.183) ^ Nelson, Richard (2006). "Judges." The Harper Collins Study Bible, Revised Edition. Eds. Attridge, Harold and Wayne Meeks. New York: HarperCollins, p. 353. ^ Chabad.org - Jewish History: Deborah
Deborah
the Prophetess ^ Northen Magill, Frank and Christina J. Moose (2003-01-23). Dictionary of World Biography: The Ancient World - Deborah. ISBN 9781579580407. Retrieved 1 April 2013.  ^ Albright, W. F. (1937). "Further Light on the History of Israel from Lachish and Megiddo". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (68): 22. doi:10.2307/3218855. JSTOR 3218855.  ^ Mayes, A. D. H. (1969). "The Historical Context of the Battle against Sisera". Vetus Testamentum. 19 (3): 353. doi:10.2307/1516506. JSTOR 1516506. 

Further reading[edit]

Bird, Phyllis (1974). "Images of Women in the Old Testament". In Rosemary Radford Ruether. Religion and Sexism: Images of Women in the Jewish and Christian Traditions. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-21692-9.  Brown, Cheryl Anne (1992). No Longer be Silent: First Century Jewish Portraits of Biblical Women: Studies in Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities and Josephus's Jewish Antiquities. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster J. Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-25294-X.  Deen, Edith (1955). All the Women of the Bible. New York: Harper & Row.  Lacks, Roslyn (1979). Women and Judaism: Myth, History, and Struggle. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-02313-8.  Otwell, John H. (1977). And Sarah
Sarah
Laughed: the Status of Woman in the Old Testament. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. ISBN 0-664-24126-3.  Phipps, William E. (1992). Assertive Biblical Women. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-28498-9.  Schroeder, Joy A. (2014). Deborah's Daughters: Gender Politics and Biblical Interpretation. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-999104-4.  Williams, James G. (1982). Women Recounted: Narrative Thinking and the God of Israel. Sheffield: Almond Press. ISBN 0-907459-18-8. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Deborah.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Bible, King James, Judges#Chapter 4

Book of Judges
Book of Judges
article, Jewish Encyclopedia Debbora, Catholic Encyclopedia Biblical Hebrew Poetry
Poetry
- Reconstructing the Original Oral, Aural and Visual Experience Song of Deborah
Deborah
(Judges 5) Reconstructed

Preceded by Shamgar Judge of Israel Succeeded by Gideon

v t e

Book of Judges
Book of Judges
Chapters 4 and 5

People

Deborah Barak Jabin Sisera Jael Heber the Kenite Sisera's mother Lapidoth

Locations

Mount Ephraim Harosheth Haggoyim Hazor Kedesh Zaanaim Kishon River

Military campaigns

Battle of Mount Tabor

v t e

Prophets in the Hebrew Bible

Pre-Patriarchal

Abel Kenan Enoch Noah (in rabbinic literature)

Patriarchs / Matriarchs

Abraham Isaac Jacob Levi Joseph Sarah Rebecca Rachel Leah

Israelite prophets in the Torah

Moses (in rabbinic literature) Aaron Miriam Eldad and Medad Phinehas

Mentioned in the Former Prophets

Joshua Deborah Gideon Eli Elkanah Hannah Abigail Samuel Gad Nathan David Solomon Jeduthun Ahijah Shemaiah Elijah Elisha Iddo Hanani Jehu Micaiah Jahaziel Eliezer Zechariah ben Jehoiada Huldah

Major

Isaiah (in rabbinic literature) Jeremiah Ezekiel Daniel (in rabbinic literature)

Minor

Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah (in rabbinic literature) Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi

Noahide

Beor Balaam Job (in rabbinic literature)

Other

Amoz Beeri Baruch Agur Uriah Buzi Mordecai Esther (in rabbinic literature) Oded Azariah

Italics indicate persons whose status as prophets is not universally accepted.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 501469973472188924

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