The Prophetess Deborah – A Strong Woman of God

Prophetess Deborah Judges | Women of the Bible

A Prophetess and Judge of Israel, Deborah was a fine example of a Godly woman.

The Book of Judges Chapters 4 and 5 record the history of the nation of Israel in the time of the prophetess Deborah. During this period the Israelites, now in the Promised Land after  the military conquests of Joshua, went through a constant cycle of falling into sin, being punished by God via an attack by enemy invaders, crying out to the Lord in repentance and a Judge being raised up to lead the nation back towards God and deliver them from their troubles. Deborah was one of the 12 judges and in her account in  Joshua Chapters 4 and 5 we see the faith, strength and leadership of a  faithful woman of God.

God instructed the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites completely from the land of Israel but they failed in doing so. As a result, their enemies would routinely regroup and try to attack the Israelites once more to reclaim the Promised land for themselves. During the time of Deborah’s term as judge, the King of Canaan saw an opportunity for attack:

And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel. And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. – Judges 4:1-7.

King Jabin sent Sisera, the captain of his army to lead their chariots and soldiers against the Israelites. The chariot at this time in history was one of the most devastating weapons in warfare. It gave the Canaanites a decided advantage in battle to destroy the nation of Israel. In the conflict detailed in this short passage there are several valuable spiritual principles:

– The Israelites cried out to God – The impending attack of the Canaanites came as a result of the sins Israel committed. Once their former Judge, Ehud, passed away, the national fell into sinful rebellion against The Lord. Judges 5 tells us that “they chose new gods” – once again falling into the sin of idolatry by worshiping demons and fallen angels. But what is most important is that once their suffering commenced, the Israelites cried out to the Lord. The same principle applies during the Christian life. While a Christian can never lose their salvation in Jesus Christ, they can certainly be punished on Earth for sins before God. If you are a Christian and you are in sin, expect God to chastise you. In fact, being disciplined by God is confirmation of His love for you:

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? – Hebrews 12:7-9.

Even when you know you are in sin, do not let your guilt keep you from confessing your sins to God and getting right with The Lord. As the passage states, we take correction from our earthly parents, employers, teachers and other authority figures in our lives and respect it. We should give even more respect to The Lord after being punished for our sin. And if you have suffered some hardship for it, rejoice and know that God indeed loves you as His child.

– God Always Leaves a Faithful  Remnant – Even when it feels like an entire nation is fallen into sin, The Lord will still have His people who worship Him and have faith in Him, remaining as well. Deborah was waiting for the Israelites when they sought her Godly counsel. They only needed to seek her out. It is no different today. If you are in distress, seek Godly wisdom from a believer who you trust. Or maybe you will be the remnant for someone else who is going through a trial.

– Solve Earthly Problems with Godly Solutions – Rather than figuring out a battle plan against the King of Jabin or putting together a delegation to go negotiate a peace treaty, the Israelites sought the prophetess Deborah to hear the Word of God. This was yet another sign that they were getting back on track spiritually with The Lord. The Israelites were in a serious crisis. Death was literally knocking on their door in the form of a massive army. And rather than rely on their own “knowledge” and strength, they turned to God for a solution. This is so important for Christians today to take heed of. When you face a crisis, tragedy or are terribly afraid, look to God. Turn to the Word or a Godly leadership for biblical advice.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. – James 1:2-5.

We will have times of trial in this life to test, prove and strengthen our faith in God. They are inevitable as long as a Christian still lives in this cursed, sinful world. The temptation to think of a solution on your own and then pray for God to fulfill it is strong. Many times we think “if I just have ______, I will be out of this problem!” But as the passage from James indicates above, first and foremost a believer should just ask for wisdom to see God’s perspective on the problem you are facing. Pray for God’s wisdom in any crisis and as the Bible says, God will give it “liberally.”

Deborah Inspires The Nation

Deborah and Barak | Women of the Bible

Barak wisely sought Deborah to receive the Word of God.

-A true Prophet of God only preaches God’s Word – Since the Bible was not yet complete at this time, it was the prophets, who were chosen by The Lord to receive His Word and deliver it to the people. The Prophetess Deborah sent for Barak and told him only what God said. This is the the New Testament guideline for Pastors today – to preach God’s Word. Deborah did not add her own opinions, ideas or suggestions to God’s Word. She preached only what “The Lord hath commanded.” How forgotten is this among pastor’s today? Many have twisted scripture, focused on person-centered sermons, self-help advice or just preached against the Bible altogether. Even as the world is moving to water down the Scriptures and apostate churches are following suit, seek a church led by Godly pastors who are not willing to compromise Biblical truths for their own ideas and imaginations.

The passage continues:

And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him. Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.

 

And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. – Judges 4:8-16.

What a victory! Against great odds, the Israelites defeated King Jabin and the Canaanites. And there are more lessons in this passage:

– Deborah respected God’s Order for men and women – As prophetess over Israel, Deborah clearly commanded the respect of the people. As judge and prophetess she was the law-giver to the people and the source of God’s Word. However, she did not rule the nation. Many articles and commentaries on this portion of the Bible call Deborah “ruler of Israel” or a “warrior princess” but this was not the case. The Hebrew word for “judge” in the Book of Judges is shaphat which means “law-giver; one who executes judgment; to decide controversy.”  This is further confirmed in Judges Chapter 8 after the Judge Gideon won a mighty victory for the Israelites over their enemies in Midian. The people, impressed and awed by Gideon wanted to make him their king:

 

 Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you. — Judges 8:22-23.

So it should be clear that Deborah was not a ruler over Israel (in fact there was no human ruler over the Israelites until King Saul). Similarly, she did not lead the army into battle. Barak, whom God had chosen to lead, was in charge of the armies. Even when Barak was apparently too scared to even go into battle without Deborah accompanying him, she agreed to join him on the trip but stayed back at mount Tabor to let Barak lead and the armies “went after him.”
Rather than usurp Barak, she encouraged him to obey God. This should be an example for a Godly woman. God has ordered the male to lead in certain areas of life and under the Mosaic law, only men over the age of 20 were to go into battle (Numbers 1:1-3). And in other chapters, some of the male judges did indeed take on the role of “deliverer” and fought in battles (Deborah is never given that title in Scripture).

Rather than seeking her own glory or saying “I’m the one who speaks directly to God, I’m in charge here!”, Deborah humbly submitted to God’s plan and wisdom over her own. This was not an example of a woman “doing the job because a man would not step up.” Rather, it was a Godly woman called by Lord, sharing God’s Word in the manner and order God had clearly outlined. Yet today, in the age of apostasy, many women have taken on the role of pastor despite the Bible saying the Pastor should be the “husband of one wife.”  Ironically, many of these women defend their disobedience to Scripture on the grounds that they have “the anointing” or that they were “called of the The Lord.”  Are they following Deborah’s example of faithful obedience or their own agenda?

In the end, God has his own plan for Barak. As the Scriptures detail, God determined that while Barak would be victorious in battle, the death of the wicked Canaanite captain Sisera would be accomplished by a woman. So God dealt with Barak’s indecision the way He saw fit.

– God Provided the victory – As Deborah had preached from the beginning, it was God who provided the victory for the Israelites. God literally went and defeated the armies of Sisera. Webster’s 1828 dictionary (which was based on the language of the King James Bible) defines the word ‘discomfited’ as “Routed; defeated; overthrown.” This of course is a picture of a Christian’s salvation. It is not through any work, plan or action of our own that a person is saved. It is only through the work of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. The duty of the person is to believe in it. Jesus Christ fought the battle against sin and death by taking on the sins of humanity and dying as a sacrifice to receive God’s wrath and provide freedom from sin and eternal life for all who believe.

Similarly Barak was able to achieve the victory just by having faith in God’s Word and leading the men into battle. By the time they showed up, God had already won the battle and the armies of Israel only needed to chase down the last of the fleeing Canaanite soldiers. And as Jesus is described in Ephesians leading the souls of the righteous to Heaven, so too did Barak “lead thy captivity captive”

Deborah Gives God The Glory

Prophetess Deborah Judges |   Godly Women Bible Study

“Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.”

Judges chapter 5 is a song of praise and worship the Deborah sings to The Lord:

 

Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves. Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel. LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel. – Judges 5:1-5.

 

– Giving God credit for all – Rather than throw themselves a victory parade, Deborah and Barak sang praises to The Lord for their victory.

 

-- Deborah embraces her role – In verse 7, Deborah calls herself a “mother of Israel.”  While not a Queen or military leader, she took her role of mother over her people very seriously and faithfully. She followed God and led her children, the Israelites to put their faith in The Lord to deliver them from their enemies. In this she is a fine example and role model for Christian women (and men) today.  In her song, you can hear her compassion for the people of Israel, her rejoicing over God’s defense of her nation and her desire for righteous judgment of the enemies of God.  Her strength came through her reliance on God and she was blessed with helping to save her nation from destruction and bringing peace to her land. The close of her song typifies Deborah’s faith and the Christian life, ever looking to glorify God and trusting in His promises to glorify us in eternity:

So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years. – Judges 5:31.

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Comments

  1. Any time someone tells me “God cannot/will not/does not use women to do _________,” I always point to Deborah. I often mention other women as well, of course, but I like to start with Deborah, because she really stands out.

    I do have a question, however. On the one hand, I can see where there is a very clear distinction between “ruling” and “leading.” However, it seems as though you are seeking to make the distinction to the point of saying “God does not use women to lead.” If that is the case, may I ask why?

    Again, an excellent read, BaE. Keep up the good work!

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    • Hey RETS,

      A mother is certainly a leader. And Prophets are leaders in the spiritual sense. They lead people back to God from their sinful ways via God’s Word. Deborah most certainly did this and is a leader. I just wanted to make sure that the article gave a Biblically-accurate portrayal of who she was. There are many books, commentaries and articles that call her “Queen” or “warrior princess” as if she was ruler of Israel or in the latter case, fought in the battle against Sisera’s army. Neither is true. Israel in its pre-Saul days was a theocracy in which God was its King. This is an important concept because it reflects God’s original plan of government – where He is King over the people. This will be the case in the Millennial Kingdom when Christ reigns out of Jerusalem. So I wanted to note that Deborah respected God’s authority and order. That being said, you are absolutely right. She was a great leader and servant to our Lord.

      Glad you liked the article! Thanks!

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    • Hello Rets,

      My name is Deborah Correia and I have been gifted with visions and actually hearing GOD’s voice. I am very kind, gentle but very strong in my faith.

      I am not the Deborah of that time but I have written to Barack Obama and given him advice as Deborah did in the BIBLE.

      Chat soon

      xxx

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    • Greeting Rets and all GODS wonderful people,

      I must share this. I recently saw an ANGEL. Let me tell you something truly great. I could see his stomach that was filled with strong muscle, he had wings attached to his body like I have never seen on any bird on earth. He flew past me faster than the speed of light. He gave me a split second glimpse of himself and if that is one of GODS angel coming with JESUS CHRIST of NAZARETH when HE returns to rule and be the KING of ISRAEL then I am absolutely certain that the WAR will be filled with might and strength like we cannot simply can never ever comprehend.

      Deborah (the busy like I am) was chosen by GOD to assist Barak and help him to make the correct decision. She was no pastor or ordained in any way by the church but GOD chose her because he knew she would obey him and was very loyal to GOD.

      I have made many mistakes in my life but I believe profusely in GOD our creator and HIS son that was sent for our SALVATION (JESUS CHRIST – of Nazareth), I would have done as Deborah did in the BIBLE without a doubt. I believe Deborah was a Prophet and not a Pastor. A judge and leader.

      Love to all

      Deborah Correia

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  2. Seeking The Truth says:

    Hi B&E, I just wanted to get something clear, you don’t believe women are called to be pastor’s? In my interpretation of Deborah’s story I see a woman being called to be a messenger of God. She received God’s message and relayed it to the people. Isn’t that what pastor’s do?

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    • Hi Seeking,

      It’s not really about what I believe, but what the Bible says, first and foremost. Deborah was certainly a prophetess. She had direct communication with The Lord and led the nation of Israel spiritually to get back on track with God and find victory in His protection. And there are other prophetesses in the Old and New testament. However the Pastor or Bishop was an office established in the New Testament. And the Bible lists the requirements:

      A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. – 1 Timothy 3:2-6.

      So not only does the Bible clearly says that a Pastor should be a man, it should be a married man. And yes, I absolutely believe what the Bible says, 100%. Now the offices of Prophetess/Prophet and Pastor are different. A Pastor has a set group of followers who are already believers (the church). They are to edify and build up believers for the ministry. Ephesians 4 says the role of a Pastor is: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” . Pastors are there to build up the body of saints in a church so they can be discipled and go out into ministry.

      A prophet proclaims God’s Words to a people or nation whether they want to hear it or not. Elijah was a great Prophet and man of God, but was he a Pastor? no. He had no flock. Jeremiah not only had no following, no one ever listened to him. The people hated him.

      So with these examples from Scripture, can a woman proclaim God’s Word to people? Absolutely. But can they hold the office of Pastor? no. The Book of Titus confirms the same:

      If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. — Titus 1:5-9

      Notice in this verse there are a number of requirements listed. If a Pastor is a lover of “filty lucre” , or is abusive or an angry man, they should be disqualified as well.

      I would love to hear your thoughts on how you interpret these passages? Please note that I am a student of the Bible, just like you. I am not a Pastor. I am learning and growing in Christ along with everyone else and trying my best to interpret and righly follow our Lord’s Scriptures. Thanks for your comments and God bless you abundantly.

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  3. Beginning and End:
    Hi Seeking,

    It’s not really about what I believe, but what the Bible says, first and foremost. Deborah was certainly a prophetess. She had direct communication with The Lord and led the nation of Israel spiritually to get back on track with God and find victory in His protection. And there are other prophetesses in the Old and New testament. However the Pastor or Bishop was an office established in the New Testament. And the Bible lists the requirements:

    So not only does the Bible clearly says that a Pastor should be a man, it should be a married man. And yes, I absolutely believe what the Bible says, 100%. Now the offices of Prophetess/Prophet and Pastor are different. A Pastor has a set group of followers who are already believers (the church). They are to edify and build up believers for the ministry.Ephesians 4 says the role of a Pastor is: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” .Pastors are there to build up the body of saints in a church so they can be discipled and go out into ministry.

    A prophet proclaims God’s Words to a people or nation whether they want to hear it or not. Elijah was a great Prophet and man of God, but was he a Pastor? no. He had no flock. Jeremiah not only had no following, no one ever listened to him. The people hated him.

    So with these examples from Scripture, can a woman proclaim God’s Word to people? Absolutely. But can they hold the office of Pastor? no. The Book of Titus confirms the same:

    Notice in this verse there are a number of requirements listed. If a Pastor is a lover of “filty lucre” , or is abusive or an angry man, they should be disqualified as well.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on how you interpret these passages? Please note that I am a student of the Bible, just like you. I am not a Pastor. I am learning and growing in Christ along with everyone else and trying my best to interpret and righly follow our Lord’s Scriptures.Thanks for your comments and God bless you abundantly.

    You know, BaE, I’d be very interested in getting your understanding on something, in light of all you’ve said here. You point to the statements that a pastor or elder must be the “husband of one wife.” I agree that is what it literally says. So, with that understood, do you believe that only men are guilty of, say, covetousness? Or murder?

    I’m not intending to insult your intelligence here, but there’s a reason I ask this.

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    • Hey RETS,

      No insult taken at all. It’s just simply a matter of looking at the text. The Scripture does not say the Pastor should be someone who is not “guilty of being covetous.” It says it should not be someone who “is covetous”, as in, that is their normal everyday disposition. Just like being a “brawler.” There is a difference between a guy who has gotten into a fight in his life and someone who is known as a “fighter” or “always ready to throw down.” One is a set incident in time, the other is an attribute someone displays on a regular basis. This is what these requirements are speaking to – one’s lifestyle, not an individual incident.

      Just as 1 Timothy says a Pastor should be “apt to teach.” Does this mean that if you have a conversation with a Pastor and they do not try to teach you something, they are kicked out? No. It means, in general, they should be inclined to teach God’s Word. And as I said, I believe all the requirements still apply today, not just the gender one. I hope that clears things up. God bless.

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      • But you would agree that women can be covetous?

        I ask because within the Ten Commandments, the tenth is EXTREMELY gender specific. By the logic you’ve put forth, only men can be guilty of covetousness.

        Again, I’m not wishing to stir up a fight: My point is that I believe that God is capable of using anyone, anywhere, for any reason or post- And that includes women as pastors when there are no men willing to actually BE men.

        One of my constant sticking points to the traditional argument, which I believe you’ve presented here, is that the entire Bible is very male-specific when speaking in general terms. Part of that problem, I believe, comes from the fact that there really are not many gender neutral languages; and quite honestly, the idea of “gender neutrality” in general has not been a issue for very long in comparison. In days past, one could use male oriented terminology and it was understood by the mixed audience that one was referring to both genders. I believe that the concept of gender neutrality has muddied the waters in more way than one.

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        • This is definitely one of the most interesting objections to male pastors I’ve seen. But I don’t really follow as I don’t know what the 10th commandment has to do with the requirements to be a pastor.

          The Bible is very, very gender specific when it intends to be:

          “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” – Exodus 20:12.

          “And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. 8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.” Exodus 21:7-8.

          “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.” — Exodus 21:17

          “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.” – Exodus 21:20.

          “If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.” –Exodus 21:20.

          And these are just a few examples from 2 chapters. My point here is that when the Bible wants to be gender specific, it absolutely is. Are there verses that use the term “man” to refer to humanity? Absolutely. Which only further proves my point: that when the Bible wants to make a distinction between genders, it does so quite clearly.

          The verses in 1 Timothy and Titus does not even say “man.” They say “husband of one wife.” how could this be interpreted any other way? There is no generality here. It is as specific as it gets.

          “My point is that I believe that God is capable of using anyone, anywhere, for any reason or post- And that includes women as pastors when there are no men willing to actually BE men. “

          I believe that Scripture actually says the exact opposite. This is precisely the situation King Saul found himself in 1 Samuel 13 when the Philistines were mounting a counterstrike and the Israelites literally ran for the hills in fear. Saul was told to wait for the prophet Samuel to come see him and instead acted out on his own:

          “When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. 7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. 8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. 11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.” - 1 Samuel 13.

          Saul, wanted to consult God so he offered a burnt sacrifice. Except there was one major problem – Burnt offerings were only to be offered by Levites. Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin. But since there was no Levite priest around (remember, the people had scattered in fear), Saul thought he could “step up” and play the role of priest. Remember – it is very important to note that Saul was trying to contact and commune with God. This was not an evil scheme. It was a genuine attempt to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. And Not only did Samuel rebuke him for his sin against God, this was the moment that God took the Kingdom of Israel from Saul to give to David. It was the beginning of the end of Saul’s special relationship with God.

          Of course, a few chapters later, Saul again, disobeys to try and do something special for God and Samuel tells him: to obey is better than sacrifice. So if anything, this passage shows that we should never presume to know better than God’s prescribed order for things as stated in His Word. We don’t tell God how to do things. We obey His Word and let Him provide the spiritual growth. And with respect to Pastors being a husband of one wife, that is what God has clearly stated. And even if I don’t fully understand the reasoning, I still humbly obey The Lord whose thoughts are much higher than mine.

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          • Okay. Again, I understand where you are coming from- I was raised toe same way. I’ve come to a different understanding, but I do not hold that against anyone, as I hope none hold my differences against me.

            The tenth commandment states:
            “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s.” (Ex. 20:17)

            Now, as you can plainly see, there is nothing there to indicate that the Lord, in this commandment, is speaking to women. Yet, I believe we both can agree that women can indeed be covetous. So, what I personally found myself having to do is begin with my basic belief:

            1. Is the Bible the inerrant Word of God?
            Absolutely and without question- YES.

            2. If it is inerrant, can there be any flaw to it?
            Flaws within the Word would prevent it from being without error, so no- There can be no flaw.

            3. If it is without flaw, can there be contradiction?
            Again, contradiction within the Word would be a flaw, and a great one at that. So once more, NO, there can be no contradiction.

            4. If there can be no contradiction, what is the explanation for what I’m seeing?
            Well, one conclusion is that there are two separate standards that God holds humanity to: One for males and one for females. Another is that there has been a translation error over time, thus leading me to see an apparent contradiction in logic. Finally, it may be that I am approaching this with my own understanding, and am thusly in error myself.

            a. Does God hold a double standard?
            No. We see time and time again that God despises those who do, and He cannot do what He hates. That is, what He calls sin He is incapable of doing, limited by His nature and not by His power. Thus, God does not hold men and women to two separate standards.

            b. Could this be the result of a translation error over time?
            It could be. However, if it is the result of error, where is the error more likely to be: With the oldest record, or the newest? Logic dictates that the oldest is more in danger of being mistranslated, and thus we wind up back at the first suggestion within this section, point a.

            c. Could my own understanding of Scripture be wrong?
            When all else is considered, this is the only possibility. Point a is an impossible explanation while point b only brings us back to point a. Thus, my own understanding must, in some way, be flawed.

            After all of this, the question was: How is my understanding of this mistaken? Enter my second round of questions…

            1. Is it true that God has ordained a specific order; that there were gender specific roles set out from the time of Creation?
            The answer is yes, of course. Eve was taken from the side of Adam, as the old saying goes, not to be the head or the foot but to be the help-meet. Adam came first, (bodily at any rate, but that’s a different topic), and thus Eve was specifically designed to follow. So yes, from the beginning, there has been a specific order.

            2. Is the order set in place originally still in place today?
            Here we run into a problem, because as you’ve pointed out in this entry, Deborah was a prophet; a leader. If the original order was that woman follows man, then Deborah is out of order. However, no one can deny that God used Deborah in a powerful way. Thus, the original order, like everything else in Creation, was warped and twisted in some way. So the answer is no, that original order is no longer in place.

            3. If the original order is no longer in place, what explains the apparent inconsistency seen here?
            The answer is very interesting. At the time all of this was written, there was not a lot of concern over gender neutrality: That is, where folks use “folks” to refer to people as a whole, this was not done when speaking formally. In other words, the phrasing of the tenth commandment does not exclude women from being guilty of covetous behavior, and thus the sin of breaking that commandment; instead, the phrasing includes them.
            Put quite simply, there is no inconsistency within the Word, merely with human understanding and comprehension of the message therein.

            After this second round of questioning, prayer, reflection and meditation, I really needed to understand more about the WHY and the HOW behind my own misunderstanding of such a simple concept. This is how that particular exchange went.

            1. How do I explain my error in understanding?
            I can explain it through two contributing factors- Tradition and failure to study.

            a. Tradition. Tradition states and dictates that women cannot be in any sort of official church leadership based entirely upon the phrasing of the passages in question. There are some who state that women cannot be in any sort of leadership at all, based upon the same passages. This, however, is a case of human reasoning shaping the Scriptural understanding, rather than the other way around. Tradition does not take into account any other factor except letter of the law; thus, to challenge anything tradition states is bordering upon heresy. (One reason I’m sooooo popular among the Catholic crowd!)

            b. Failure to study. This is not to say that I did not study at all; due to tradition, however, I’d only ever studied and read these portions through the lens of preconceived notions and ideas. I never truly allowed the Spirit of God to open this up, because my heart and mind were so set against it. Proper study, however, led me to understand the importance of context.
            For instance, one of the most famous supporting Scriptures for women not holding church leadership is written by Paul, who writes “I do not allow women to teach men.” Taken without context, it literally forbids women to teach any but women. Taken with minor context, we understand that women can teach, but are not meant to actually do so in a pastoral or similar fashion.
            However, proper context shows the situation to which Paul was writing. At the time, the early followers of Christ were worshiping together on the first day of the week, (Sunday), and gathering together with Jews in synagogue or temple on Sabbath (Saturday). Bearing in mind that Paul also wrote a great deal more on behavior in this same grouping of letters, culminating with “whatever you do, live at peace with one another,” (paraphrased), we must understand that there was a specific situation he was addressing. The question, then, is what was that situation?
            We discover later on that women were taking the God-given freedom they’d been granted and attempting to stand up to teach the men; not something out of the ordinary in the rest of the Bible, really. Yet, Paul cautions against it- Why? Because the only place in Jewish community where a woman was not allowed to speak was within synagogue/temple on Sabbath.
            Throughout the Talmud, even, there are cases wherein a woman’s testimony was heard and taken over that of a man. Within the Bible itself, we find women teaching men throughout the history of Israel. Thus, this section is situation specific, yet it has sadly been twisted out of context and used to suit the whims of a thoroughly male dominated world for quite some time. (Remember that Eve was not created from the foot; woman was not made to be dominated, but led.)

            Well…. I just looked back and realized that I’m writing a book. If you’re interested in discussing this further, I’ll continue, but for now I’ll end by simply saying that I believe there are very good, sound and Scriptural reasons for both views: I just believe, as does everyone with firm conviction, that those I hold are the right ones. lol Fortunately, this is not an issue where differences threaten salvation, so we are free to disagree and discuss.

            “As iron sharpens iron.” God bless, BaE!

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            • I really don’t think we have to overthink this issue so much. The 10th Commandments make a gender specific reference with respect to a neighbor’s wife. So what does that mean? Precisely what it says. Maybe The Lord felt the need to stress this to men. Again, we know, as the verses I cited above show, that God does indeed make gender-specific references and laws when He sees fit.

              As for the idea of tradition entering Scripture, I just think it all comes back to this:

              All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
              - 2Timothy 3:16-17.

              God wrote the Bible, not men. So to say that traditions or the issues of Paul’s time affected his writing is to say his writings were not God-breathed. He was merely the vessel to record what God saw fit. This is one of the major lines of demarcation in the church today. But I fall on the side of believing that 100%.

              “Here we run into a problem, because as you’ve pointed out in this entry, Deborah was a prophet; a leader. If the original order was that woman follows man, then Deborah is out of order. However, no one can deny that God used Deborah in a powerful way. Thus, the original order, like everything else in Creation, was warped and twisted in some way. So the answer is no, that original order is no longer in place.”

              As I said, there were prophetesses in the Old and New testaments. Nowhere in the Bible does it say a prophet shall only be male. So God’s order was not twisted or warped. And from a plain reading of Joshua 4, Deborah was not the leader of the nation. God was. She also did not lead the army, Barak did. Was she used in a powerful way? Absolutely. Was she used in a way that contradicted scripture? No. And she specifically deferred all leadership of the military to Barak. Of all the judges Deborah was not a “deliverer.” Why? Because she did not fight nor did she lead an army. Deborah was faithful and Biblical in the role ordained for her. If anything, her entire account just remphasizes how much she respected God’s order. She was clearly a famous and influential person. Yet she did not usurp a man. And in her own song, she calls herself a “mother of Israel.”

              But let’s go to the actual verse itself:

              “This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) — 1 Timohty 3:1-5.

              Verse 5 gives a re-emphasis that this is talking about a role for a man. Just as he is head of the house, as ordained by God, he should be head of the church of God. The scripture is very, very clear. How else can you interpret when the reasoning listed is based on the gender-specific role of man as head of a household? I would assume you still agree that is God’s order for the home, right??

              “Women not teaching” — I just want to touch on this verse you mentioned. Let’s look at the whole chapter to get the context:

              For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. – 1 Timothy 3.

              Notice Paul gives a specific reason for why woman are not to teach or usurp authority over the man. And it has nothing to do with tradition, culture, Talmud, etc. He then goes on to note that the benefit women uniquely get as women is that they can have children. How do you interpret these verses? I mean, Paul is providing the reason here. If it is wrong or somehow obsolete, you should explain why.

              And I’m always down to sharpen iron bro. God bless.

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              • You must also remember that when this word was given, the scriptures were written in gender form because only the men were part of the reading of the scriptures in the temple. T”he women were required to be withdraw and silent. Therefore, it was the man’s responsibility to translate the scriptures and apply the standards within their own homes.

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            • BTW- This discussion clearly warrants its own article so be on the lookout for that!

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  4. Beginning and End:
    BTW- This discussion clearly warrants its own article so be on the lookout for that!

    Looking forward to it!

    Oh, yes… The part about Adam and Eve.

    Because we believe that all Scripture is God-breathed, (which I do), we tend to discount the reasons for the letters within the New Testament. Just as an example: What Scripture was Paul referencing when he was writing?

    The part about Adam and Eve, coming back to topic, is of great interest to me. Paul writes that the transgression was upon Eve, not Adam. Yet, going back to Genesis, the understanding that they were “naked” did not dawn until Adam ate. So, Eve may have been deceived by the serpent, but it was Adam that brought the entire world into chaos.
    Now, Paul was a student of the Law, but also of the entire Scripture. He would have known this. So why, then, would he make such a statement- Especially when speaking to followers of Christ who are no longer “bound unto the law?” The only answer that actually stands with full Scriptural support is that which comes with an understanding of history and culture: That is a uniquely Jewish teaching, and as such, Paul was addressing matters in light of the Christians’ presence among the unsaved Jews.

    Again, looking forward to this article, as I think we’ll have a great deal to talk about; and who knows… Perhaps even get a really large discussion going as a result!!

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  5. Deleted at request of poster.

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    • Wow, um… When I stated I was writing a book, I was actually stating that I had written a very long comment.

      With that said, I am writing one that looks at this and other issues within the church, (and have been intending on asking BaE to give his contrasting views for it as well), so I’ll be sure to let you know when that has been released.

      Can I reach you at tropaagud.dk?

      (Sorry for this, BaE- Kind of took me by surprise!)

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      • Hey RETS,

        No worries at all. The poster asked for her post to be removed, which I obliged. But so you know, once you put thoughts out there as doctrine for others to learn from (as I do as well), you are now responsible to God. So again, I urge you to go to Scripture on this issue of female pastors because you are teaching a doctrine that I believe contradicts God’s Word.

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  6. Would you please delete my comment?

    Thank you.

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  7. Beginning and End:
    Ha ha. And what verse would that be?

    I thought we’d already gotten into that! lol

    I’ll be getting you that chapter as soon as it’s written so you can give a rebuttal– If you’re interested.

    Let me know about other theological differences you’d be interested in weighing in on as well. I’m trying to contact James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries to do a rebuttal of KJV Only doctrine… I’m not sure where you stand on that, but just giving you an idea of what all will be in this compilation project.

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  8. Shire biblical truth, to God be the glory. Great work B&E.

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  9. Hello,

    My name is Deborah. GOD has spoken direct;y to me as well and given me many dreams and visions.

    I believe that he is coming soon as he is getting to the four corners of the world and mans sin is an abomination beyond human control. It is now only for GOD to d=save HIS people as we ourselves can only call upon our Father to intervene and HIS SON to SAVE the WORLD.

    Dear GOD please help the people in your WORLD we need your LOVE.

    Thank you for hearing my prayer

    Deborah

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  10. i want that book of deborah the mother of israel i am an indian

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  11. Straight Gate Narrow Road says:

    But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. – 1 Timothy 3.
    Hello Everyone,
    Just thought I would join the discussion.
    Now pertaining to the above verse in Timothy. The way I see it Paul is referring to women who are married not to DOMINATE their husband because women bare children to just one man or should and it says if THEY continue in faith and charity………the THEY meaning husband and wife. Now this church was particularly notorious for the worship of female sexuality as seen in todays music videos so the women were spoiled are used to been worshiped as Goddess’s……….hence the name that men use for strippers these day. Can you imagine dating Nikki Minja or Maddonna both who are women used to being worshipped.
    God in actual fact detests ALL forms of dominating behaviour. If we look to the Corinth were the men where attempting to force the women to cover their heads Paul rebukes the men and states that “we have no such traditions”
    To the two disciples who’s mother wanted them to sit at the right hand of God and be ABOVE everybody else……to be exalted Jesus says it cannot be so.
    In Corinthians God also explains why the disciples where chosen………not because they were men but because they were WEAK, FOOLISH and DESPISED things of world………..why……….SO THAT NO MAN MAY BOAST IN HIS PRESENCE.
    No many to boast in his presence!!!………….So the only thing you can say when you see JESUS is NOT……….Lord I was a great leader a pastor in your church…………..no……no…….so the only thing you can say is…………….LORD I AM A SINNER AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD FORGIVE ME……….that’s the ONLY thing any of us can say to Christ.
    THERE ARE NO LEADERS IN THE LORDS CHURCH………..ONLY SERVANTS.

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    • Straight Gate Narrow Road says:

      How does that saying go we all learnt as children………TO MANY CHIEFS AND NOT ENOUGH INDIANS. in the church its TOO MANY LEADERS AND NOT ENOUGH SERVANTS.

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