Deborah, a remarkable figure in biblical history, stands as an inspiration to all, regardless of gender. As the only female judge in Israel, a teacher, a warrior, poet, songstress, and a prophetess, she possessed a rare combination of wisdom, leadership, and courage. Her counsel was revered by her people, and even esteemed military leaders like Barak sought her guidance. Despite being overlooked in many regards, Deborah left an indelible mark on history, serving as a testament to the power of women in leadership roles. Her story encourages women to embrace their potential as fierce leaders, while also challenging men to recognize that women have always possessed the ability to lead, even in the scriptures themselves.
Deborah Name, Symbolism & Archetype
The Queen Bee, Deborah, her name which means “bee” in Hebrew, carries esoteric significance. Bees are associated with strength, mystery, universal wisdom, and sacred knowledge. In this video, I mentioned that bees were one of the three gifts given to Abraham in the desert by the High Priest Melchizedek. It is fascinating that bees play a vital role as pollinators for food crops, making them one of the world’s most important creatures. Furthermore, within a bee colony, the queen bee holds great significance as she carries the future of the entire colony and possesses the ability to generate precious honey, often referred to as “liquid gold.” In alchemy, the transformation of lead into gold is considered a crowning achievement. This symbolism associated with bees further emphasizes Deborah’s strength, wisdom, and her ability to bring forth abundance and prosperity.
Just as a hive reveres their treasured queen as the paramount leader, so too did the people of Israel at that time respect and follow Deborah’s leadership adamantly.
A Meeting Under A Date Tree
Deborah used to make her verdicts under a date palm tree, situated between Ramah in Benjamin and Bethel in the region of Ephraim. Date trees are emblematic of prosperity, harmony, and triumph. They also signify ancestral power and wisdom. Date palms bear associations with divine entities like Inanna, Ishtar, Apollo, and Nike, among others. These enigmatic trees are vehicles of profound teachings about the genesis of life. As stated in Psalm 92:12, “The righteous will thrive like the palm tree.”
In ancient times, and even in the present day, individuals often settle under a tree seeking enlightenment and clarity of thought. Could it be that Deborah utilized this date tree as a source of deep comprehension to better connect with God?
Deborah, Athena & Aphrodite
Deborah’s remarkable wisdom, strategic prowess, and involvement in warfare bear striking similarities to the goddess Athena, known for her wisdom and war strategy. Similarly, she embodies the nurturing qualities of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and motherhood. Although Deborah is referred to as a “mother in Israel,” there is no mention of her having physical children. However, her caring and self-sacrificing nature truly shines through as she dedicates herself wholeheartedly to her calling, akin to the role of a mother.
Deborah The Independent Flame?
The Light of Truth & Justice
The prophetess has been portrayed as one reflecting wisdom, ingenuity, strength, and intuition, parallel to the woman depicted in Proverbs 31. Her symbolic representation as a dynamic ‘torch’, ‘lightning‘, or a ‘fiery woman’ encapsulates the energy she exudes. These descriptions converge with attributes of The Holy Spirit, known also as Shekinah, comparable to a fire that cannot be extinguished, as expressed in Jeremiah 20:9, “it’s like fire shut up in my bones.” The likeness is further drawn with the inextinguishable fire of the burning bush that communicated with Moses in Exodus 3. This could suggest that it’s not merely her personality, but a testament to the divine presence residing within her.
The Light of Lappidoth, Wife or Single Flame?
The phrase “‘Woman of Lappidoth‘” can be interpreted as she was referred to as a ‘woman of lightning, fire, or torches’.” Traditionally, women were labeled by their relation to a male figure – father or husband. Yet, this raises a puzzling question: if she had a spouse, wouldn’t he be the one to preside as judge over Israel? Furthermore, the Hebrew term ‘lappidoth‘ exhibits a feminine plural ending. Women and men alike in biblical times could also be known by their place of residence. Among the intriguing points is that the word ‘wife‘ is utilized in Judges 4, which is אִשָּׁ֣ה ‘woman‘ ‘ishshah‘ or “burnt offering by fire“.
A viable interpretation might be “woman of flames”— the word אשה (ishah) could denote either “wife” or “woman,” while לפיד (lapid) signifies a “flame.” Although one theory posits that “Lappidoth” (לפידות) may be Deborah’s husband, there is no other mention of this name in Israel’s Scriptures. Interestingly, the designation “woman of flames” feels apt given that Deborah accompanied her warrior, Barak (ברק)—a name meaning “lightning”—into battle. Given that lightning can ignite fires when it strikes the earth, it seems fitting that these two military figures—dubbed the man of lightning and the woman of flames—should march onto the battlefield side by side.
A generally accepted theory is that she was the bona fide wife of a man named Lappidoth, who held a significant role in, or contributed to, the Temple. The term ‘lapid’ meaning torch, may thereby refer to her profession, which involved preparing the wicks for the Tabernacle. Some suggest that this interpretation could be an effort by subsequent church leaders to downplay the influence of female leaders, thereby providing current female figures with examples of possessing equal or potentially superior teaching and ruling capabilities compared to men.
Deborah Practicing Divination
The title “a wielder of flames” could be indicative of her method of prophecy – channeling divine messages from God via Pyromancy or Lampadomancy, which involves interpreting flames of fire, a lamp, or a candle. The theory aligns with her occupation of making candle wicks, as well as her name’s connection to the fire. Furthermore, if we interpret “lighting” in her name as a reference, her method of divination could have entailed reading lightning and thunder through the art of Ceraunoscopy or Keraunoscopy.
Deborah & Tarot
Deborah is emblematically embodied by two Tarot cards, The Queen of Wands and The Queen of Swords. The Queen of Wands symbolizes a fiery, maternal, feminine force known for its fierce independence and intensity, effectively captured by the Leo symbol. This hints towards a potential connection with the Tribe of Judah. On the other hand, The Queen of Swords embodies the air element, as indicated by her position in the clouds, implying an impenetrable defense against deceit. Her right hand grips a sword, aimed heavenward, while her left hand extends, as if in offering. The Queen of Swords bestows upon us the capacity for judicious daily choices, combined with the openness to learn from others. This card, aligned with Libra, the sign of partnerships and justice, hints at Deborah being from the Tribe of Dan, known for its emblem of scales. The card also resonates with the planetary energy of Uranus, which is under the influence of Aquarius.
Deborah Teaching & Leadership
It is mentioned in the Midrash is an ancient rabbinic interpretation of scripture. Aggadah is rabbinic narrative that Deborah was an exceptionally virtuous and commendable woman. She is portrayed as an educator of the Torah and a contributor to the Temple. It’s noteworthy to mention that her instruction was open and unrestricted within Israel, encompassing not just women and children, but also men. This point has stirred considerable discussion considering the ongoing debate about women’s authority to teach men.
SisStarhood | The Women Save the Day
The Bee & The Goat Overflow
Two vibrant women are ingeniously employed to safeguard Israel. In her mission to protect Israel from annihilation, Jael or Yael (mountain goat) enchants the terrified Sisera, soothing him to slumber with a serving of milk. She collaborates with Deborah, the brave “bee,” in maintaining the land’s prosperity, epitomized as “flowing with milk and honey.”
The enduring connection the two women share reflects both camaraderie and valor, mirroring the essence of sisterhood and warriorship. Their courageous acts resulted in the safety of their people, thereby fortifying their legacy. The two personifications embody persistent bounty and richness, drawing parallels with the renowned biblical phrase that speaks of a “land overflowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).
In general, Deborah stands as one of the Bible’s most underestimated females, but she is undoubtedly one of its most potent female leaders. Unparalleled in her leadership, strength, and instruction, and as a role model throughout history, she encapsulates all admirable qualities. Her magnanimity and demonstration of virtue surpass any gender barriers. She is indisputably the primary biblical model for women’s equality and rights.