I’m a fan of Deborah. The prophetess and judge appears in one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Judges 5, The Song of Deborah. This passage was the focus of my second Hebrew reading class many years ago. It’s a fun chunk of text because it is really, really old.
You see, Deborah has gotten a bad rap over the years, one that, as far as her story in the OT is concerned, is unwarranted.
How often have you heard someone say that Deborah was used as a means of judgment, because God only puts women in leadership in order to judge a nation? Maybe Deborah was usurping authority? She certainly must have had some character flaws. I’ve heard this said on one of the largest news networks on television. And it irks me.
Deborah is often disregarded despite her presence and position in Scripture demanding at least some consideration as to what it means for women in the church. She doesn’t fit the framework of complementarianism and so she is considered an anomaly, or a judgment sentence, or whatever, because she’s a woman. Because she’s in the Old Testament. Because 1 Timothy 2:12 trumps Judges 4 and 5. Because every piece has to fit together. Because, because, because.
Read the text of Judges 4 and 5.
There is nothing there to condemn her.
And if the Scriptures don’t condemn her, then I certainly won’t.
What Judges 5 does says is that Deborah’s leadership resulted in forty years of peace (verse 31).