A Female Judge Over Israel

Another woman whom God raised up as a leader in Israel was Deborah, who lived during the times of Israel’s judges. She, too, was a prophetess, and was just as much a judge over Israel as were Gideon, Jeptha and Samson during their lives. We are informed that ‘the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment” (Judg. 4:5). So she rendered decisions for men, not just women. There can be no mistaking this: A woman told men what to do, and God anointed her to do it.

Like most women whom God calls into leadership, Deborah apparently faced at least one man who had difficulty receiving God’s word through a female vessel. His name was Barak, and because he was skeptical about Deborah’s prophetic instructions for him to go to war against Canaanite general Sisera, she informed him that the honor of killing Sisera would go to a woman. She was right, and a woman named Jael is remembered in Scripture as the lady who drove a tent peg through sleeping Sisera’s head (see Judg. 4). The story ends with Barak singing a duet with Deborah! Some of the lyrics are full of praises for both Deborah and Jael (see Judg. 5), and so perhaps Barak became a believer in ‘women’s ministry” after all.