The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.
The position and character of Deborah and her mission to Israel are suggestive of the Scriptural teaching concerning women and their work.
I. GOD RAISED UP A WOMAN FOR THE DELIVERANCE OF HIS PEOPLE. Deborah appears in the line of deliverers. The others are all fighting men. In the present instance a warrior, Barak, is associated with the prophetess; yet it is not he, but the woman, Deborah, who secured victory, for she tells us that the hamlets were deserted until she arose. The Bible assigns great honour and high privileges to women. In Jewish history they are often prominent and famous for noble services. Women were among the most honoured of the disciples of Christ. In spite of the narrow views regarding the rightful position of women with which St. Paul is credited, that great apostle was ready to recognise the valuable work of women in the Church (Philippians 4:3). Women have peculiar powers for such work as requires sympathy and the gentleness which is at the root of true greatness (Psalm 18:35). And many women who are not called to imitate the heroic career of Deborah may take example from the compassion of Pharaoh's daughter, the hospitality of Abigail, and the charity of Dorcas.
II. THE WOMAN CHOSEN FOR THE DELIVERANCE OF ISRAEL WAS A MOTHER. The peculiar virtue of celibacy is a late invention which finds no basis in the Bible. There marriage is honourable (Hebrews 13:4), and to mothers a peculiar honour is given (1 Timothy 2:15). The joys and cares of maternity deepen the nature of women and develop the noblest and most Divine of all affections - a mother's strong, tender, devoted love. A true mother will not have the less affection for others because her first duty is to her own children. She is no perfect mother, even, whose whole affection and care is confined to her family. With her maternal affection is little more than a form of selfishness, the offspring being regarded as an enlargement of the personality of the parent. The true mother is motherly in her nature, and shows her motherliness in all relations of life; so that to her friends, her nation, and the needy, her thought and care partake of the mother's fond, self-sacrificing devotion. Therefore patriotism is notantagonistic to maternal affection, but offers a field for its noblest efforts.
III. THOUGH A MOTHER IS CHOSEN FOR THE WORK OF DELIVERING ISRAEL, SHE IS NOT CALLED TO SACRIFICE ANY WOMANLY GRACE IN PERFORMING THE TASK. Deborah was no Amazon. Hers was not the fierce fighting of Barak. She was a prophetess. 1, Her mission was to inspire and encourage. This is one of woman's noblest works. Women are unfaithful when they check their sons or husbands in the performance of dangerous duties.
2. Her mission was also to utter God's praises after victory had been secured. Women, more sensitive than men, should be able to arouse songs of thanksgiving, while men may be slower to awake to the full feeling of gratitude. In leading the praises of the Church women have a truly womanly mission. - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.