According to the Bible Deborah’s title and hence office/vocation was prophetess

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭ESV‬

It is true that she was making judgment calls for those who came to her men and women alike.

“She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭4:5‬ ‭ESV‬


The question is, was she making judgment in the quality and office of a prophet who sits in the council of God and hears God’s decrees which she passed onto the people as per the definition of a true prophet (contrasting false prophets). That’s essentially being a mouthpiece for God and not the progenitor of the judgments

“For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened?” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭23:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Or did she stand in judgment in the quality and office of a judge with God given wisdom as per Solomon who exercised wisdom and made the decisions himself not standing in the council of God to hear God’s decisions.

“And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.” ‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭3:28‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Or was it some other explanation I’m not aware of

Consider her “judgments” and whether they sound like prophecies or pronouncements.

“She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, "Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, 'Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand'?"” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

That doesn’t sound like her initiative or judgment call

“And she said, "I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

That sounds like prophecy and not a prouncement.


The reason I ask is because Deborah is used as an example for women in ministry. But the NT only points to men in (spiritual authority) ministry however allows for the expression of spirituals gifts of both men and women and allows administrative roles/ministry to both men and women i.e. deacons and deaconesses. And the only exception for a woman in ministry is when she is ministering to other women. I don’t want the subject in the footnote addressed, I’m just setting the context of where this question came from and why.

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    It's hard to avoid the footnote! It's also hard to avoid the conclusion that the interpretation of Deborah's role is going to be influenced by one's views on women in ministry elsewhere in the NT. My personal view is that (1) I disagree on your NT views on women in leadership; and (2) in context, Deborah functions as judge in the same way the men in that book - Samson, Gideon, Jephthah etc - functioned as judges. Apr 18 '19 at 21:07
  • @PeterKirkpatrick If you can point to one example of a woman in ministry that wasn’t a deacon (administrator) with her husband present, in the NT then I would be interested to hear why you disagree. As for Deborah judging as the other judges that was my question and one sentence in the comments isn’t sufficiently to my liking. Certainly you’ve not made a strong case Apr 18 '19 at 21:49
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    I wasn't trying to make a case. That's why it was a comment and not an answer. Your reply tends to prove my main point, which is that it's going to be hard for anyone to answer the question without being side tracked by your footnote. Apr 19 '19 at 22:06

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