Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) Rebekah's nurse. She accompanied her mistress when she left her father's house
in Padan-aram to become the wife of Isaac ( Genesis 24:59 ). Many years afterwards
she died at Bethel, and was buried under the "oak of weeping", Allon-bachuth (
Genesis 35:8 ).
(2) A prophetess, "wife" (woman?) of Lapidoth. Jabin, the king of Hazor, had for
twenty years held Israel in degrading subjection. The spirit of patriotism seemed
crushed out of the nation. In this emergency Deborah roused the people from their
lethargy. Her fame spread far and wide. She became a "mother in Israel" ( Judges
4:6 , 4:14 ; 5:7 ), and "the children of Israel came up to her for judgment" as
she sat in her tent under the palm tree "between Ramah and Bethel." Preparations
were everywhere made by her direction for the great effort to throw off the yoke
of bondage. She summoned Barak from Kadesh to take the command of 10,000 men of
Zebulun and Naphtali, and lead them to Mount Tabor on the plain of Esdraelon at
its north-east end. With his aid she organized this army. She gave the signal
for attack, and the Hebrew host rushed down impetuously upon the army of Jabin,
which was commanded by Sisera, and gained a great and decisive victory. The Canaanitish
army almost wholly perished. That was a great and ever-memorable day in Israel.
In Judges 5 is given the grand triumphal ode, the "song of Deborah," which she
wrote in grateful commemoration of that great deliverance. (See LAPIDOTH, JABIN
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
word; thing; a bee
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(a bee). (B.C. 1857)
(1) The nurse of Rebekah. ( Genesis 35:8 ) Deborah accompanied Rebekah from the
house of Bethuel, ( Genesis 24:59 ) and is only mentioned by name on the occasion
of her burial under the oak tree of Bethel, which was called in her honor Allon-bachuth.
(2) A prophetess who judged Israel. Judges 4 , 5. (B.C, 1316.) She lived under
the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim, ( Judges 4:5
) which, as palm trees were rare in Palestine, "is mentioned as a well-known and
solitary landmark." She was probably a woman of Ephraim. Lapidoth was probably
her husband, and not Barak as some say. She was not so much a judge as one gifted
with prophetic command ( Judges 4:6 , 4:14 ; 5:7 ) and by virtue of her inspiration
"a mother in Israel." The tyranny of Jabin, a Canaanitish king, was peculiarly
felt in the northern tribes, who were near his capital and under her jurisdiction.
Under her direction Barak encamped on the broad summit of Tabor. Deborahs prophecy
was fulfilled, ( Judges 4:9 ) and the enemys general perished among the "oaks
of the wanderers" (Zaanaim), in the tent of the Bedouin Kenites wife, ( Judges
4:21 ) in the northern mountains. Deborahs title of "prophetess" includes the
notion of inspired poetry, as in ( Exodus 15:20 ) and in this sense the glorious
triumphal ode, Judges 5, well vindicates her claim to the office.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
deb'-o-ra (debhorah, signifying "bee"):
(1) Rebekah's nurse, who died near Bethel and was buried under "the oak of weeping"
(Genesis 35:8 margin).
(2) A prophetess, fourth in the order of the "judges." In aftertime a palm tree,
known as the "palm tree of Deborah," was shown between Ramah and Bethel, beneath
which the prophetess was wont to administer justice. Like the rest of the "judges"
she became a leader of her people in times of national distress. This time the
oppressor was Jabin, king of Hazor, whose general was Sisera. Deborah summoned
Barak of Kedesh-naphtali and delivered to him the Divine message to meet Sisera
in battle by the brook Kishon. Barak induced Deborah to accompany him; they were
joined by 10,000 men of Zebulun and Naphtali. The battle took place by the brook
Kishon, and Sisera's army was thoroughly routed. While Barak pursued the fleeing
army, Sisera escaped and sought refuge with Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite,
near Kedesh. The brave woman, the prototype of Judith, put the Canaanite general
to sleep by offering him a draft of milk and then slew him by driving a peg into
Thus runs the story in Judges 4. It is on the whole substantiated by the ode in
chapter 5 which is ascribed jointly to Deborah and Barak. It is possible that
the editor mistook the archaic form qamti, in Judges 5:7 which should be rendered
"thou arosedst" instead of "I arose." Certainly the ode was composed by a person
who, if not a contemporary of the event, was very near it in point of time. The
song is spoken of as one of the oldest pieces of Hebrew literature. Great difficulties
meet the exegete. Nevertheless the general substance is clear. The Lord is described
as having come from Sinai near the "field of Edom" to take part in the battle;
`for from heaven they fought, the very stars from their courses fought against
Sisera' (Judges 5:20). The nation was in a sad plight, oppressed by a mighty king,
and the tribes loth to submerge their separatist tendencies. Some, like Reuben,
Gilead, Dan and Asher remained away. A community by the name of Meroz is singled
out for blame, `because they came not to the help of Yahweh, to the help of Yahweh
among the mighty' (Judges 5:23; compare the Revised Version, margin).
Ephraim, Issachar, Machir, Benjamin were among the followers of Barak; "Zebulun
.... jeopardized their lives unto the death, and Naphtali, upon the high places
of the field" (Judges 5:18). According to the song, the battle was fought at Taanach
by the waters of Megiddo; Sisera's host was swept away by "that ancient river,
the river Kishon" (Judges 5:21). Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, receives
here due reward of praise for her heroic act. The paean vividly paints the waiting
of Sisera's mother for the home-coming of the general; the delay is ascribed to
the great booty which the conqueror is distributing among his Canaanite host.
"So let all thine enemies perish," concludes the song; "O Yahweh: but let them
that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might." It is a song in
praise of the "righteous acts" of the Lord, His work of victory which Israel's
leaders, `the long-haired princes,' wrought, giving their lives freely to the
nation's cause. And the nation was sore bestead because it had become faithless
to the Lord and chosen new gods. Out of the conflict came, for the time being,
victory and moral purification; and the inspiring genius of it all was a woman
in Israel, the prophetess Deborah.
(3) Tobit's grandmother (the King James Version "Debora," Tobit 1:8).
Max L. Margolis
barak, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, deborah, define, jabin, lapidoth, palm tree, prophetess, rebekah's nurse