Friday, August 3, 2012

Deborah "Bee"

"A famous woman who judged Israel and encouraged Barak against Sisera [in battle]. The well-known song of Deborah and Barak commemoated the Israelitish victory." --- Bible Dictionary

Scriptures to read:
Judges 4-5
LDS Bible Dictionary, 655

I have never actually heard the story of Deborah before. I have no idea why. But, it is such an awesome story. Let me share it with you. ;)

The Israelites were captives... again... of the Canaanites. Their "jailer" was Sisera, captain of Hazor.
Deborah was a judge in Israel at this time. Deborah approached Barak and said, "Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded saying, 'Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee 10,000 men of the children of Naphtali and of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army and with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand'."
Barak replied, "If though wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me then I will not go."
"I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Deborah said.
So they went to battle with 10,000 men. Sisera fled when he saw this and went towards his friend's home, Hever. But, instead of going to Heber's tent, he chose to go to Heber's wife's tent. Her name was Jael. She covered him and gave him curdled milk to drink and then hammered a 3' long stake through his temple.
Barak arrived and Jael showed him to the dead body of Sisera.
Meanwhile, back in Hazor, Sisera's mother was waiting for her son to come back and bring her gifts from the spoils of war. She especially coveted the brightly covered items because of the high price of dyes.
Deborah sang a song recounting the tale and giving credit to the Lord the the victory and their freedom.

Isn't that one of the coolest stories? I thought it was awesome!

The pride cycle seems to be repeating over and over again in the book of Judges. Here is the one which led to Deborah being a prophetess.
Israelite Pride Cycle
  1. The children of Israel did evil in God's sight. (Judges 4:1)
  2. The Lord sold them to an enemy nation. (Judges 4:2)
  3. The children of Israel cried unto the Lord. (Judges 4:3)
  4. God raised up a deliverer -- Deborah. (Judges 4:4)
  5. Victory was won and peace restored. (Judges 5:31)
Deborah was the only judge in the Book of Judges who was also declared a prophet(ess). An Israel judge was to serve the people by defending, avenging, delivering, and pronouncing punishment on the Israelites independent of economic status or race.

"Mother in Israel", this term originates from Deborah when she calls herself one in Judges 5:7. There is no evidence of her having biological children. Instead, she was a mother figure to her people. "She lvoed the people she served as a mother loves her own children. Deborah nurtured, protected, taught, and inspired the people of Israel to trust in God, act in faith, and work with Him to restore freedom, peace and opportunity within the land. She led her charge to the source of salvation... A mother sees beyond daily survival to eternal and spiritual progression. She recognizes that she can never save her children but He can. Armed with this knowledge and conviction, she selflessly seeks to bring others to the same truth." (Camille Fronk Olsen, Women of the Old Testament, pg 114)

What do you think it means to be a Mother in Israel?

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