No, Deborah did not have authority over men nor did she arise as a teacher, priest, ruler, or queen in Israel. She prophesied and said herself, in case it wasn’t clear,
I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel. (Judges 5:7)
Did we forget what the definition of “mother” was in patriarchal Israel? We all know how patriarchal it was, right? Did we forget that women were not allowed to serve in the tabernacle or temple and that they could only serve at the entrance?
Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. (Exodus 38:8 NASB)
In her song Deborah opens with praise to the “leaders who took the lead” (5:2) which obviously does not refer to herself because that would be narcissistic. The leaders are later defined in verse 9 of the song as “the commanders of Israel” which were most definitely not women (see Numbers 1, 1 Kings 2:5, 1 Chronicles 28:1, 2 Samuel 24:2).
This is one of the most abused passages and Bible characters in the whole Bible. I really feel sorry for Deborah. Deborah has become a product of so much political agenda that the real truths and meanings of her story have been completely overlooked and lost. If women were really learning from Deborah’s example they would be calling out (prophesying!) to the men to take charge as the Lord commanded them just as Deborah called out Barak to take charge as the Lord commanded him (4:6). That’s what makes the feminist exploitation of this verse so very, very ironic and not to mention quite telling of just how little attention they are really paying to it. They would also be singing songs in praise of men taking the lead as Deborah did. Women praising men in song and dance?
As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments.And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,
“Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:6-7)
But many women simply won’t have that. They insist on ripping one verse completely out of the entire story (4:4) and running with it through the aisles of the churches as though they had an Olympic torch while proclaiming that men are chauvinists and need to step out of the way. Yes, that’s the song we get from our women. And it royally, acutely, painfully, sucks.
The example of mother Deborah calling out the men to take charge and then praising them for it has been scorched beyond recognition by the feminist movement in the Church. Who would’ve thought?