Friday, February 26, 2010

Judges in Israel

One of the books of the Old Testament is called the Book of Judges and is a history of fifteen people who were called judges in Israel. These judges were not at all like what we picture a judge to be. You and I hear the word judge and we think of someone in a black robe sitting at a bench listening to disputes or legal trials, determining who is right and who is wrong, and then giving out a punishment. But instead of sitting in judgment over the people, the Old Testament judges were more accurately people who brought about judgment by being vindicators of the people. They were special deliverers, sent by God to free the Israelites from oppression. They were champions.

One of these fifteen judges was the prophetess Deborah. Deborah, whose story is told in Judges 4-5, was the only one of the judges to be called a prophet and the only one that was a woman. The word Deborah means “bee” and anciently it was believed that, of all the animal kingdom, the bee ranked highest in intelligence. It has been said of Deborah that she “made honey but knew when and how to sting.”
Deborah lived when the Caananites oppressed Israel and as she says in the Psalm of Deborah, “I arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7) to save Israel. According to the Oxford English Dictionary a mother is “A person, quality, institution, place, etc., that produces, protects, nurtures, or sustains people, ideas, etc.” We don’t know if Deborah had children or not, but she protected, nurtured, and sustained the house of Israel and was a mother.

In our modern world mothers are sometimes disparaged, but when we realize that a mother is not just someone who bears children, we realize that as women we have the responsibility to do all we can to protect the House of Israel against all that is evil. Like Deborah of old, we should nurture wherever we are and in whatever we do. We should promote the ways of righteousness and produce goodness in our daily endeavors. We are judges—champions—of Israel!

1 comment:

Wendi said...

This is interesting. Thanks for sharing the things you've learned with us. :)