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People of the Bible: Deborah

Book of the Bible: Judges 4-5

Who was Deborah?

  • A prophet and a judge

  • The only female judge in the book of Judges

What’s a Judge?

  • The book of Judges tells us about the time in Israel’s history after Joshua and before King Saul. During this time, there was no king. So, God would raise up a man or woman to lead the country and make sure they kept their sights on God.

  • However, Israel was caught in a cycle. When they had a judge leading them, they did well. But after the judge died the people would turn their backs on God again. The Israelites did this over and over again throughout the book of Judges.

After the previous judge died, the Israelites had again done evil in God’s sight. So, God handed them over to the Canaanites. The Canaanites oppressed Israel for twenty years until Deborah stepped up.

Deborah called for a man by the name of Barak and prophesied to him what God was commanding him to do. She told him that God had called him to gather an army and to go fight the Canaanites and their commander, Sisera. But Barak didn’t want to do this without Deborah’s help. So, Deborah and Barak went out to fight. Deborah fully trusted in God and believed that they would win, and they did.

Sisera saw he was losing the battle so he fled and entered Jael’s tent. Jael took care of Sisera until he fell asleep but then she killed him by hammering a tent peg into his head. When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael showed him that she had killed him. The Bible says that from that day one, Israel became stronger and stronger and they eventually defeated the Canaanite king and experienced 40 years of peace.

Deborah ruled fairly and led the people of Israel during these last 40 years of her life. The people honored God and Deborah and God provided protection for them. Deborah was obedient to the call of God, and she had the courage to trust God in the fight. Without her, Israel could have fallen further into sin and they would have been under Canaanite oppression even longer.

The time of the judges shows us how the Israelites would fall into sin and need to be delivered. God would appoint a judge, and that judge would help rescue the people from the strongholds their sins had caused. In this way, Jesus is the greatest judge of all. We have all fallen into sin and turned away from God causing oppression to fall on us. But God sent Jesus and a savior and deliverer to bring us out of this oppression. When we follow Jesus’s lead and believe in him, he breaks us free from our sins and their consequences.

Key Takeaways:

  • Be Obedient

  • Have Courage

  • Follow Jesus, the greatest judge of all!

Parents, 3treesKIDS will be covering “Deborah", both in-person and online this week. Be sure to check out their lesson at

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