Favorite classical female character: Deborah (Day Twenty-Six)

Deborah from the Bible

Deborah Under the Palm Tress by Adriene Cruz
Deborah Under the Palm Tress by Adriene Cruz

When I was in religious school, my 7th grade theology teacher skipped over the story of Deborah, and really, all the stories about women in the Bible as they just got too incongruous with the view of the patriarchy we were learning. As a budding feminist and a quick reader, I decided to read these stories while he was going on a tangent I could ignore.

Deborah is featured in the Old Testament in the Book of Judges. She is the only female judge. The judges are warrior-leaders of God and deliver His word to the people.

Deborah is a prophetess who leads the Israelites against the Assyrians. She foretells the coming battle and clearly sees how the Israelites can win. Deborah is portrayed as strong and independent, perhaps hearkening back to the matriarchal roots of Judaism as her story could come from 12th century BCE.

Deborah’s story also features another woman Jael. Jael is actually the one who kills the Assyrian leader when he seeks refuge in her tent.

This story stands out for me because my teacher skipped it, and I read it anyway and was pleased to find out that Deborah was awesome. So awesome she also has a dimensionless number named after her. Read Deborah’s story in Judges.

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