Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 12: Year 2
“At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment.” (Judges 4: 4 – 5)
Women, in particular the strength of women, is often overlooked in the Bible. Today, in our Daily Office Readings from the book of Judges we have two women who are revealed as very strong human beings. Deborah the Prophet, and Jael, who I would bet was a builder of tents, inasmuch as she could drive a tent peg with the best of men.
While the Bible says that Deborah sat under a tree named after her, I believe it was her presence that gave the tree the name. And all Israel came to her for judgment, for guidance and direction. They needed her presence so much that Barak, son of Abinoam, would not go to war unless she accompanied him. (verse 6).
God has always included women in the carrying out of life and the promise of salvation. Men have too often overlooked this important fact. But this does not negate what God intends for all people in the fulfillment of what God is doing. This is true even in the conflict of war itself.
During a battle with Sisera, the cowardly leader opposing Barak and Deborah, he fled to the protection of Jael. “But Jael wife of Heber took a tent-peg, and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, until it went down into the ground—he was lying fast asleep from weariness—and he died.” (Judges 4: 21)
Some of this language never comes up in “polite” company or our Sunday Lectionary. But it is among our holy writings. It definitely shows God’s hand at work in women and that God’s wrath can also be made manifest in the leadership of women. We need to see, and be aware of, God’s will being made manifest in all human beings. This is the way God, has worked, is working, and always will work. This includes you, whoever you are.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John