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Unwarranted criticisms by evangelical scholars of Deborah’s leadership in Judg 4–5 continue to devalue her work as “abnormal,” “wrong,” something done only in private or even in subservience to Barak. Some rabbinical scholars go so far as to brand her an arrogant woman who deserves God’s punishment. In contrast, this paper argues that a close reading of her story and song reveals an ’eshet hayil, a “woman of valor” (cf. Ruth 3:11, Prov 12:4, 31:10). This is evident not only in the direct references to her, but also in the narratives regarding her associates Barak and Jael.

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Rooted
in my kitchen chair,
your eyes blue flashing
fire,
leaping from soul, flare
where burn flames hottest.

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In you I find peace my Lord
In you I find strength my God
I find contentment resting in Yahweh’s arms

Desires of the flesh consume me
They block out the light from Yahweh’s face
Until I find myself lost in an all too familiar place
I’ve heard this Siren song before, calling me,
Calling me further into the darkness
Where the face of my Savior is shrouded

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Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came to her for judgment. (Judges 4:4–5, NASB)

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Forefoot, arch, then ball
are held steamy in the moist cloth, 
held with both hands
by a woman in Oregon caring
for a homeless man, 
now shaved and fed.

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I look at it every now and then.
We both held Him.
I and a grave share that honor.

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She holds His shoes in her hands.
They are worn shoes,
but the only clothes not stolen
by Romans and priests and elders
and everyone else who always wanted
a piece of Him. But they cannot have

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As night gives birth to a billion stars

when day is gone

darkness is ever destined to be

the herald of dawn;

out of a place where hope is not

must hope be born.

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Behold a child is softly crying

who will save a world lost and dying,

the wooden trough where he is lain

precursor to a cross of pain.

 

 

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Like Mary waiting on Easter morning
regretting a dream she thought was dead
in a world whence God had seemingly fled
leaving her weeping, perplexed, forlorn,
but daring to ask “Where is the Lord?”
and hearing at last the holy word,

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