Thinking about Deborah in modern times…

I have been thinking a lot about Deborah from the book of Judges lately. In fact, for about a year now this biblical story has been on my mind. I hear from a lot of women that they are longing for the men of the Church step up and not shy away from preaching and upholding the truth against the enemy within and without. So, after reading my bible I did a little bit of research on Deborah and leadership.

I really feel that we have reached a time similar to the story of Deborah. This is not a good place for the Church. I really feel that we women should be upholding the men up in prayer and support, those men who know the truth. I know of some very strong men in the Church today and I will continue to pray for these same men to remain true and faithful to Christ. I pray that the men that have become like Barak, that God convicts them and strengthen and counsel these men.


I have a theory as to why it seems that many men have become like Barak… one word. Feminism. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for equal education, job opportunities, pay equality, etc… but when it comes to leadership in

the Church men have this role. This may not go down well in this day and age, but it certainly is biblical.

There is much more I could say about this issue, but I am still working my way through it and want to understand it biblically. Deborah sat under a Palm tree she lived in the Mountains of Ephraim which I think holds significance. Ephraim, along with Manasseh were the only two sons born in Egypt to Jacob. Egypt is a midrash of the world, and we have come out of the world through the new birth. The Church is not meant to be part of the world but to be salt and light. I know there is something more to this as we have a very worldly Church in the West, so we have the Deborah’s and the Barak’s in a worldly church.

Ephraim’s descendants would be greater than Manasseh’s. Ephraim, although being the second son, received the greater blessing. Jesus is the Second Adam. The greater blessing for us is to be born in Christ, the second birth.

Manasseh and Ephraim represent the two dividends of galut: challenge and opportunity. In naming his first son Manasseh (“forgetting”), Joseph referred to his struggles in an alien environment, in an Egypt intent on eradicating all memory of home and roots. In his battle against forgetting and disconnection, the Jew in exile uncovers his deepest and strongest potentials. He brings to light reserves of commitment and determination never tapped in his days as a tranquil stream flowing along an unobstructed bed.

But exile is more than a stimulant for unrealized potential. It is also a resource. It is a dam to be overcome and then enlisted as an ally — an obstruction whose very mass enables the soul to achieve even more than the optimum of its own finer prowess. So after the Manasseh challenge is met, Ephraim is born — Ephraim, so named because “G-d has caused me to be fruitful (hifrani) in the land of my affliction.” The land of affliction itself is made to be fruitful and productive.


The story of Deborah and Barak does not advocate a general principle that women should lead men. And yet having said this, I would agree that our text does teach us about leadership. I would go even farther. I believe that Deborah did lead here. Indeed, I would say that Deborah led and that Barak followed. But there were definite limits as to how far Deborah was willing to go. I would also say that Deborah did not lead to the degree that Barak seems to have desired. She did not lead the Israelite army in war; Barak did. Deborah followed Barak into battle, as did the others (Judges 4:10). Deborah does give Barak the word to go to war in 4:14, but she is merely repeating what she had already said. Barak should have seen that it was the time to fight on his own, based upon what God had already said. Deborah plays a crucial role in this battle. She operates behind the scenes as much as she can. Barak’s reticence to lead and his insistence that Deborah go with him are portrayed as weakness on his part, for which he is rebuked. That a woman gets the glory is to be viewed as a divine rebuke, not a compliment.

I believe our text informs us that Deborah did have a leadership role at this point in Israel’s history. This is not portrayed as a good thing, to be imitated by women later in history. Barak is portrayed as a man of weakness, whose faith God strengthens. Deborah did lead, but only within certain limits. Deborah led, but in such a way as to promote male leadership, and thus to keep herself in a subordinate role. Deborah did not seek a prominent leadership role, and in fact she actively sought to avoid it. She made it clear that God had designated Barak as the leader, and that God was commanding him to lead.

Deborah did play a crucial leadership role in our text, but note the outcome of her leadership. From 4:23-24, we learn that this battle was a turning point in the relationship between Israel and the Canaanites, who dominated the Israelites for 20 years. In the “song of deliverance” in chapter 5 (verse 2), we see that because of Deborah’s ministry, the leaders assumed their leadership roles, and the workers followed them (not her). Deborah did not seek to overturn the way leadership was supposed to function, but affirmed it. Because of her ministry, God’s designated leaders did lead, and followers actively followed by volunteering for service. That is the way it is supposed to work. That is the way it did work when Deborah played out her role in Israel’s history.

Barak became the leader he was supposed to be, thanks in large part to the role that Deborah played. I would suggest that more often than not, when a man becomes the kind of leader that God wants him to be, there is a “Deborah” somewhere nearby, perhaps out of the spotlight, but very much standing behind the man, encouraging him and strengthening his faith in God. Many of the great deeds of faith performed by men find their roots in the godly actions and prayers of a woman—a wife, a mother, a daughter, a prayer warrior. I have often thought that whatever success I have ever experienced in my ministry was more related to the prayers of my wife than to my faithfulness or skills in ministry. Would that there were more Deborahs today.

Let me mention one last thing as I close. In those dark days of the judges, the leaders shrunk back, and there were few who were willing to follow. The bottom line was that there seemed to be no one to fight the enemy, the Canaanites. Through the ministry of this great woman, Deborah, leaders and followers emerged, and the battle was fought and won. Today, it is very little different than in Deborah’s day. There is a great deal that needs to be done in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are Sunday School classes to be taught, new believers to be discipled, evangelism to be carried out, and on and on the needs go. And yet today there are all too few willing to step forward and assume leadership positions. And there are even fewer people who are willing to follow. In our church, as in most others, there are jobs that need to be done, and not enough people willing to do them. What has God called you to do? Has He called you to serve? Then volunteer, and be a supportive follower. Do what needs to be done! Are you called to lead? Then do it, trusting in God to work through your weakness in a way that makes you strong. [source]

Anyway… I would love to hear you thoughts on this. I would really like to explore this more, so please comment and put forth your ideas and thoughts on this.

A Judge or Not a Judge? Deborah’s Story

INTERVIEW – Wayne Grudem, Part Three – Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism


5 thoughts on “Thinking about Deborah in modern times…

  1. Hi Vee,

    Really find your posting interesting. I just did a teaching on this very thing last week with a major element of the teaching covering Deborah. Didn’t pick up on the significance of Ephraim and Manasseh so have some meat to chew on there. But the interesting thing for me is that out of 8 female prophets in scripture, aside from women prophesying in the Corinthian church, – Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna and four prophet daughters of Philip ( guess we could also refer to Eve, Elizabeth mother of John and Mary mother of Jesus as prophetesses also) it is only Deborah who exercises authority over men. No other woman does this. Barak is proved week but there is no sense of chastisement concerning Barak’s failure to judge under a palm tree. Deborah was supposed to render decisions and Barak was supposed to deliver and that seems just the way God wanted it in this situation. The fact that she was the wife of Lappidoth seems important in her role as judge. This is the only example in scripture of female authority over men in God’s camp that was ordained by God and thus is a complete exception never to be repeated, though Israel prove ungodly in many other eras God never repeats the phenomenon. So why this single exception. I believe the idea of God’s shepherds as judges is significant concerning the idea that we will judge the world, which will involve settling disputes as foreshadowed by what Paul commands concerning church discipline 1 Cor. This dominion was originally given to Adam and Eve who were to both exercise dominion with Adam as head which is why in the family both father and mother rule over their children and not father ruling and mother and children follow. Mother’s word to the kids is just as good as father’s words. But Adam was the head and had greater responsibility. The fact that Deborah is sat under the Palm Tree is very significant. The Palm has much connotation with victory, joy and especially with the feast of tabernacles which has much to do with Jesus rule on earth. It is hard to go in to all the examples of this on this posting. In the ressurection there will no longer be marriage but we will be like angels, and Gal makes in very clear that both men and women are children of Abraham and heirs. In that future state glorified women will no longer have earthly heads, their head will only be Christ alone. I believe Deborah judges as a hint to illustrate the New Testament revelation that there is no male or female in salvation but all are equally heirs of Abraham who will inherit the world. But Deborah was Importantly the wife of Lappidoth. I believe that has a major significance to Deborah’s ruling. It is also an encouragement to godly women. Your faithfulness to submit to male authority, not assuming authority to teach or have authority over men in the church and your godly influence in your husbands lives and your teaching of your children, your ministries conducted in and out of your home all are significant for the place that God will place you in the kingdom when Christ brings it. If you are also as Deborah, under the authority of Lappidoth, accepting male headship and authority now (as well as cultivating godly character and service) in your mortal body, you will also be as Deborah under the palm tree in your resurrection body. There is more I could write but this is long enough. Shalom. Salvi


    • Hiya Salvi. Thanks for your great response. There is so much to think about when we think of Deborah in the bible and our Church today in the West. I clarify the Western Church as being much different than the persecuted Churches in the developing countries or those countries that don’t allow Christianity. Those Churches are strong and much healthier than ours.

      Thanks again, there is a lot to think about in regards to your comment.


  2. God wants homes ruled by loving caring patriarchs. Matriarchal rulership is not found in scripture. It is ungodly. When the woman has to step up to be the spiritual head of the home, she replaces the intended order.
    When we reverse the order, we open the door to many problems. The first is ADD, ADHD or learning disabilities from hyperactive to mid-range, to learning disabled.

    When there is ungodly order in the home, we pervert the plan of God. Then we have diseases such as dyslexia, gender disorientation, or autism. Each of these represents various facets of the breakdown. We find it is generational. In fact, it’s amazing to me that when I find learning disabilities, especially ADD or ADHD, without exception I find strong females and weak males; or the male may be passive aggressive.

    Some women marry these passive men because he seems so quiet. They mistake that quietness for gentleness. It isn’t gentleness; it is passivity. When they get married and have children, the woman has to be responsible for the finances and where to go to church, the spirituality and discipline of the children and usually everything else. The women find they don’t like it and it may open a door to bitterness.

    Often they try to confront him to bring him back to where they think he should be because they sense they are supposed to follow someone. Then that quiet little fellow either becomes a monster or passive-aggressive. This is because the woman has just exposed the weakness he has been hiding. So now she has a war on her hands.

    That war is because the deaf and dumb spirits have surfaced. Why deaf and dumb spirits? From the neck up is our thought. In ungodly order in the home, the first thing to go bad is thought, because the headship is perverted. The flow of God is changed and all kinds of spirits come in to bring dysfunction. Ungodly order in the home is the highest level of dysfunction.

    Autism is an interesting expression of ungodly order. Autism is fruit of the anger. It is complicated because now both members of the marriage are angry. She’s angry; he’s angry. That spirit of bitterness due to their anger now is transferred to the children.

    Numbers 14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

    Godly order is:
    The head of the woman is the man.
    The head of the man is Christ.
    The head of Christ is the Father.

    When that is interchanged and the woman becomes the head of the man, there is nothing but confusion and every kind of breakdown.
    There will be breakdowns in the family, in relationships and in spirituality. Then it is transferred as iniquity in the generations.

    It can be changed. However, it cannot be changed unless you see it. Then when you see it, both parties have to be committed to change it.

    I mentioned women are very spiritual, because God created them to follow someone. But when there is not someone to follow, they still attempt to rise up spiritually and then the enemy comes to justify their actions. But it is not the right spirit. His influence makes that woman controlling and manipulative.

    The controlling actions are rooted in fear. Since they are not covered by their husband, those spirits of fear join them to help them rule.

    Now they have to move all the pieces around lest anything go wrong. They are vulnerable to wrong spiritual influences due to no covering by their husband as the head of their marriage. When they take over and out of fear, control and manipulate their husband or their circumstances, it is matriarchal witchcraft.

    They take control because they are committed to holding something together. But God did not intend for women to be that strong. The Word says the women are the weaker vessel. It doesn’t mean that women are inferior. It means that someone stronger needs to be there to protect them and cover them in order to help them and their children feel safe.

    The church has a problem in that the minute you try to teach generational inherited curses, most pastors will ask you to leave their church because they say you are already free. Yet, your families are as goofy as a three-dollar bill and nobody is admitting it. Now that’s not a negative statement. It’s an honest one.

    Let me tell you men what you must do to change ungodly order in your home. First, as a male who is passive, you know it, but you have never had anybody understand you and you have never had any tools to help you have the faith to believe you are not supposed to be that way. So rather than accuse you any further which is going to drive you deeper into your passivity, why not allow us to come beside you and love you as we begin to instruct you?

    Because we understand that you really hate the passivity too.

    We also understand you haven’t had any tools to help you deal with a kingdom of iniquity that is resisting you. You may have a wife who hears a teaching like this, looks at you, and says, “I told you so.” If she does, she is out of order. The man is supposed to be the priest of the home. So that won’t help and may cause a big fight and the result is he withdraws into his passivity even further.

    If you don’t want autism, gender confusion and learning disabilities in your families, you are going to have to acknowledge what I just described in order to defeat it.

    It is amazing how this shows the power of iniquity because this is a generational thing; the daughters of this ungodly order will marry the men of the other ungodly order. What brought you together was not love. God didn’t put you together. Devils did.

    If men will step into the place God created for them, we can redeem the next generation for God.

    Husbands, you can do this. Wives, please deal with your fear. Let your husband do what God destined for him as your husband and as your children’s father.
    When God’s family order is broken, one of the first spirits that can enter the family dynamics is the dumb and deaf spirit. This spirit inhibits our ability to communicate with God.

    Without vital, clear communication and godly order as a family, we are unable to fully comprehend the abounding measure of His love and direction for our lives. The husband/father cannot clearly represent the love, guidance, purpose and nurturing of his family because he himself does not have it. He is not in the proper order that God created for “correct flow” and thus confusion and other spirits can gain access to the family.

    2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

    The power, love and sound mind that is his birthright as a son of God and a priest of his home is now berated. The blessing or benefit of godly order is diminished or totally absent.

    Instead of love pouring down through the man in godly order to the family, you have fear. The wife also is driven into fear which leads her into taking control and leadership in the home to try to diminish the fear that she has of being uncovered.

    Furthermore if a spouse places his/her relationship with the children above the covenant marriage relationship, chaos and rebellion will come in like a flood. This can be subtle, even well meaning, like taking care of a child that is demanding or ill or who has special needs. It may emerge from over involvement as in sports or home schooling which leaves little or no time for the spouse. This is still out of God’s order because the children are usurping time that would be better spent and more profitable to all if spent with the spouse reflecting God’s plan for families and His blessings.

    It is important for families that we choose God’s order.
    By Henry Wright


  3. This resonates big time with me! I have for a LONG time felt that proper roles of men and woman is a bed-rock issue that effects all of life on the planet! Whether folks are believers or not, it still effects them… we, our very beings were created to be our best and most content within these roles. Outside of them things will not be right. Any bit of kilter naturally causes an effect which causes a kilter which causes an effect and on and on. Out of balance! All society suffers. Churches, families, work places, cultures, politics… everything.


    • Here is a great testimony c/o the benefits of traditional families by Anita Hill:

      I did personally minister to a young boy about nine years old who had autism and was in special classes even though he was going to the regular school. His skills were almost nil to none.

      When his parents came in, I learned the wife was a psychologist and very domineering. They were a Spanish couple and he cowered every time she spoke. I had to ask them to let me have the child leave the room because she was coming against her husband in such a strong way. She said she was going to divorce him and there was no negotiation about it. She could no longer live with him because he was not really taking his role in the home. I could see there was really no room for him to take his role even if he wanted it! The parents came back for one more visit and I dealt with the ungodly order in the home. That was the major issue. I ministered to the parents. I did little or no ministry to the child. I just spoke healing to him.

      By the end of the second session, they had decided to maintain the marriage and within a few weeks the child was in regular classroom. He was no longer taking any special classes except for physical education because neurologically he had been sort of out in left field for a while and that was now improving. He was able to maintain eye contact with me and initiated a hug at the end of the session.

      That is a marvelous testimony of the healing of an autistic child, but the point is the major work was with the parents.


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