Deborah the Prophetess

Also known as

  • Debbora the Prophetess
  • Deborah the Judge
  • Deborah the Matriarch



Old Testament prophetess and judge. Married to Lapidoth. See the passage below from Judges that talks about her.

Name Meaning

  • the bee [hebrew]



At this time the prophetess Deborah, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under Deborah’s palm tree, situated between Ramah and Bethel in the mountain region of Ephraim, and there the Israelites came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak, son of Abinoam, from Kedesh of Naphtali. “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, commands,” she said to him; “go, march on Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand Naphtalites and Zebulunites. I will lead Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, out to you at the Wadi Kishon, together with his chariots and troops, and will deliver them into your power.” But Barak answered her, “If you come with me, I will go; if you do not come with me, I will not go.” “I will certainly go with you,” she replied, “but you shall not gain the glory in the expedition on which you are setting out, for the LORD will have Sisera fall into the power of a woman.” So Deborah joined Barak and journeyed with him to Kedesh. Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men followed him. Deborah also went up with him.

Now the Kenite Heber had detached himself from his own people, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, and had pitched his tent by the tere-binth of Zaanannim, which was near Kedesh. It was reported to Sisera that Barak, son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor. So Sisera assembled from Harosheth-ha-goiim at the Wadi Kishon all nine hundred of his iron chariots and all his forces. Deborah then said to Barak, “Be off, for this is the day on which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your power. The LORD marches before you.” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by his ten thousand men. And the LORD put Sisera and all his chariots and all his forces to rout before Barak. Sisera himself dismounted from his chariot and fled on foot. Barak, however, pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-ha-goiim. The entire army of Sisera fell beneath the sword, not even one man surviving. – Judges 4:4-16

On that day Deborah (and Barak, son of Abinoam,) sang this song:

Of chiefs who took the lead in Israel, of noble deeds by the people who bless the LORD,
Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes!
I to the LORD will sing my song,
my hymn to the LORD, the God of Israel.
O LORD, when you went out from Seir,
when you marched from the land of Edom,
The earth quaked and the heavens were shaken,
while the clouds sent down showers.
Mountains trembled
in the presence of the LORD, the One of Sinai,
in the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel.
In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
in the days of slavery caravans ceased:
Those who traveled the roads
went by roundabout paths.
Gone was freedom beyond the walls,
gone indeed from Israel.
When I, Deborah, rose,
when I rose, a mother in Israel,
New gods were their choice;
then the war was at their gates.
Not a shield could be seen,
nor a lance, among forty thousand in Israel!
My heart is with the leaders of Israel,
nobles of the people who bless the LORD;
They who ride on white asses,
seated on saddlecloths as they go their way;
Sing of them to the strains of the harpers at the wells,
where men recount the just deeds of the LORD,
his just deeds that brought freedom to Israel.
Awake, awake, Deborah!
awake, awake, strike up a song.
Strength! arise, Barak,
make despoilers your spoil, son of Abinoam.
Then down came the fugitives with the mighty,
the people of the LORD came down for me as warriors.
From Ephraim, princes were in the valley;
behind you was Benjamin, among your troops.
From Machir came down commanders,
from Zebulun wielders of the marshal’s staff.
With Deborah were the princes of Issachar;
Barak, too, was in the valley, his course unchecked.
Among the clans of Reuben
great were the searchings of heart.
Why do you stay beside your hearths
listening to the lowing of the herds?
Among the clans of Reuben
great were the searchings of heart!
Gilead, beyond the Jordan, rests;
why does Dan spend his time in ships?
Asher, who dwells along the shore,
is resting in his coves.
Zebulun is the people defying death;
Naphtali, too, on the open heights!
The kings came and fought;
then they fought, those kings of Canaan,
At Taanach by the waters of Megiddo;
no silver booty did they take.
From the heavens the stars, too, fought;
from their courses they fought against Sisera.
The Wadi Kishon swept them away;
a wadi…, the Kishon.
Then the hoofs of the horses pounded,
with the dashing, dashing of his steeds.
“Curse Meroz,” says the LORD,
“hurl a curse at its inhabitants!
For they came not to my help,
as warriors to the help of the LORD.”
Blessed among women be Jael,
blessed among tent-dwelling women.
He asked for water, she gave him milk;
in a princely bowl she offered curds.
With her left hand she reached for the peg,
with her right, for the workman’s mallet.
She hammered Sisera, crushed his head;
she smashed, stove in his temple.
At her feet he sank down, fell, lay still;
down at her feet he sank and fell;
where he sank down, there he fell, slain.
From the window peered down and wailed
the mother of Sisera, from the lattice:
“Why is his chariot so long in coming?
why are the hoofbeats of his chariots delayed?”
The wisest of her princesses answers her,
and she, too, keeps answering herself:
“They must be dividing the spoil they took:
there must be a damsel or two for each man,
Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera’s spoil,
an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil.”
May all your enemies perish thus, O LORD!
but your friends be as the sun rising in its might!
And the land was at rest for forty years.

– Judges 5:1-31

MLA Citation

  • “Deborah the Prophetess“. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 January 2019. Web. 9 December 2021. <>