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Deborah (judge)
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
Judge over Israel who led the Israelite army to victory over the Canaanites.Deborah judged Israel after Shamgar. When Deborah was raised as a judge, Israel had been oppressed by King Jabin of Canaan for 20 years (Judg 4:2–3). Deborah is also referred to as a “prophetess” (Judg 4:4). She is one of two Israelite women in the Bible—along with Huldah (2 Kgs 22:14)—to be given this designation.Deborah is first introduced in Judg 4:4–5. She judges Israel while sitting “under the Palm of Deborah between Ramal and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim,” which is north of Jerusalem (Soggins, Judges, 64). While she is already serving as judge in the sense of arbitrating disputes, it is not until later in the chapter that she takes on the role of military advisor and leader.In Judges 4:4, Deborah is described as “לַפִּידוֹת אֵשֶׁת‎ (lappidoth esheth),” which can mean either “wife of Lappidoth,” or literally, “woman of torches.” The name “Lappidoth” is elsewhere unattested; Robert Boling suggests that this is because it is a nickname for “Barak” (Boling, Judges, 95). Susan Niditch and others argue for the translation “woman of torches,” suggesting that Deborah is presented as a charismatic leader—not a “domesticated version of the woman warrior” (Niditch, Judges, 62, 65; Ackerman, Warrior, Dancer, Seductress, Queen, 38). The designation “woman of torches” would then mean something like “fiery woman” (Ackerman, Warrior, 38). The presentation of Deborah as charismatic leader fits with the description of “the palm of Deborah” (Judg 4:4), which describes Deborah as “an oracle associated with a sacred tree or space” (Niditch, Judges, 62). Since Deborah fills the role of prophet and judge throughout Judg 4–5, it would be surprising for her to be introduced in the role of wife (O’Connor, “The Women in the Book of Judges,” 279–80).J. Alberto Soggins refers Deborah’s position in Judg 4:4—“judging” Israel—as the “forensic sense of the term” judging. He contrasts it with Deborah’s role as “judge on the political and religious plane.” As the narrative progresses, Deborah moves into her role as judge in this second sense. Soggins notes that “during the exercise of this latter office there is no sign of the former” (Soggins, Judges, 71).
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Deborah the Prophetess
Deborah the Judge (דְּבוֹרָה‎, devorah; “honeybee”). Judge over Israel who led the Israelite army to victory over the Canaanites.Deborah judged Israel after Shamgar. When Deborah was raised as a judge, Israel had been oppressed by King Jabin of Canaan for 20 years (Judg 4:2–3). Deborah is also referred
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Deborah (Person)
DEBORAH (PERSON) [Heb dĕbōrâ (דְּבֹרָה)]. Three persons in the OT and deuterocanonical books bear this name.1. Rebekah’s nurse (Gen 35:8). She is also mentioned, by position but not by name, among those who accompany Rebekah and Abraham’s servant on their return to meet Isaac (Gen 24:59). When Deborah
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Deborah
Deborah. Name of two OT women. The word in Hebrew means “honeybee” (Ps 118:12; Is 7:18).1. Rebekah’s nurse (Gn 35:8). Deborah died as she was traveling to Bethel with her master Jacob’s household. She was buried in a spot remembered as Allon-bacuth (“the oak of weeping”), indicating that she had been
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
Deborah (judge)
2. The prophetess and judge (Jgs. 4–5), who belonged to the tribe of Issachar (5:15), and directed the affairs of the tribes from a spot between Ramah and Bethel, later known as Tomer Deborah, i.e., the palm tree of Deborah (4:5). It has been conjectured that her house may have been at Doberath of Issachar,
Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Deborah
DEBORAH Name of two OT women. The word in Hebrew means “honeybee” (Ps 118:12; Is 7:18).1. Rebekah’s nurse (Gn 35:8). Deborah died as she was traveling to Bethel with her master Jacob’s household. She was buried in a spot remembered as Allon-bacuth (“the oak of weeping”), indicating that she had been
The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated)
Deborah
Deborah (deb´uh-ruh; Heb., “bee”).1 Rebekah’s nurse, who was buried near Bethel (Gen. 35:8; 24:59).2 An Israelite judge and prophet. Though the exact duties of the judges are not clear, some appear to have exercised legal functions, while others were purely military leaders. Deborah combined these
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Deborah
DEBORAH1. Rebekah’s nurse, who accompanied Rebekah to Canaan (Gen 24:59). Her death at Bethel is recorded in Gen 35:8.2. A prophetess who “judged” Israel in the 13th or 12th cen. She was one of those rare individuals who had a special charismatic gift of the spirit of God (cf. Jdg 6:34; 11:29; 14:6);
The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition
Deborah
DEBORAH (Heb. deḇôrâ, ‘bee’). 1. Rebekah’s nurse, whose death at Bethel is recorded in Gn. 35:8; the tree beneath which she was buried was known as Allon-bacuth, ‘the oak (or terebinth) of weeping’.2. A prophetess who appears in the list of judges of Israel (c. 1125 bc). According to Jdg. 4:4ff.,
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Deborah
Deborah (Heb. dĕḇôrâ)1. One of the most notable women in the OT. Deborah (“honeybee”) figures prominently in Judg. 4 and 5, which recount a decisive battle between the Canaanites, under the command of Jabin and his general Sisera, and an Israelite tribal militia force. This episode, set in the period
Catholic Bible Dictionary
Deborah
DEBORAH The name of two women in the Old Testament.1. The nurse of Rebekah (Gen 24:59) who was buried at Bethel (Gen 35:8).2. An important prophetess and judge, the wife of Lappidoth, who was active in the days of the Judges. Deborah was a woman of great courage and was respected as a military advisor
Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Deborah
Deb´orah (a bee). (b.c. 1857.)1. The nurse of Rebekah. Gen. 35:8. Deborah accompanied Rebekah from the house of Bethuel, Gen. 24:59, and is only mentioned by name on the occasion of her burial under the oak tree of Bethel, which was called in her honor Allon-bachuth.2. A prophetess who judged Israel.