"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The Judgeship of Deborah and Male Headship
"As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." - Isaiah 3:12 ASV
In Judges, chapter 4, we have the story of Deborah, the only female judge of Israel. In verse 4, she is described as a prophetess and judge, so she is both the political and religious leader of Israel (though I assume there was still a high priest). Believing as I do that both of these offices are parts of God's calling for men, not women (I Timothy 2:12), I was pondering this evening what the significance is of her holding these offices.
Note further in Judges 4:7, where she has delivered God's commandment to Barak, the chief general of Israel, to go out to battle against the oppressors of Israel. His response in the next verse is telling: "If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go." It is as if he said that he needs her to hold his hand, so he won't be afraid of the bogeyman. Deborah bluntly tells him in verse 9 that the glory for the victory will go to a woman. Even Sisera, the enemy general, turns out to be a wimp. Verse 20 reads, "And he said to her, 'Stand at the opening of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, 'Is anyone here?' say, 'No.'" He sends a woman out to guard him as he sleeps!
I think that we have here a disparaging view of the spiritual condition of Israel. Her men had been so feminized and spiritually-castrated that there was no man for God to call into leadership (humanly-speaking; I certainly would never say that God cannot graciously raise a man above his natural ability). Do we not see that condition developing in our own country? I see more and more female preachers on TV. My home state has a female governor. Our federal secretary of state is a woman. The previous speaker of the US House was a woman. Will we soon see our own Deborah?
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43