Thursday, 17 November 2011

Deborah, Prophetess and Judge

Icon, Righteous Deborah, Prophetess and Judge, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Deborah (Hebrew: דְּבוֹרָה, Dvora‎) was a prophetess of the Lord, the God of the Israelites, the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel, counselor, warrior, and the wife of Lapidoth according to the Book of Judges chapters 4 and 5. Being the only female judge in the vast history of Israel, Deborah led a successful counterattack against the forces of Jabin king of Canaan and his military commander Sisera, the narrative is recounted in chapter 4.

Judges chapter 5 gives the same story in poetic form. This passage, often called The Song of Deborah, may date to as early as the 12th century BC and is perhaps the earliest sample of Hebrew poetry. It is also significant because it is one of the oldest passages that portrays fighting women, the account being that of Jael, the wife of Heber, a Kenite tent maker. Jael killed Sisera by driving a tent peg through his temple as he slept. Both Deborah and Jael are portrayed as strong independent women of faith.

Not much is known about Deborah's personal life. Her name in Hebrew is pronounced Dvora. Some sources, such as, state that she judged Israel from 1107 B.C. until her death in 1067 B.C. The Dictionary of World Biography: The Ancient World, claims that she might have lived from 1200 B.C. to 1124 B.C., which would have made her about 36 years old at the time of the battle against Sisera, and 75 at the time her death. The book also says that she was most probably born in central Israel to the tribe of Ephraim, and was also the author of The Song of Deborah.

To get the complete story, read Judges 4 and 5 in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament.

When I was young, I always enjoyed reading the story of Deborah the judge and of Jael, the wife of Heber, who so cleverly dispatched that nasty villain, Sisera.  I think I first met them in the Children's Bible in a more sanitized version, but then as I got older, I could read the actual Scriptural account.  I do recall thinking that doing God's work in those days seemed to be a rather violent and messy business at times -- I mean driving a tent peg through the head of a sleeping man is not a task for the faint of heart -- but I figured that it was all part of the dangerous and violent times in which they lived.

Now my two favourite passages in the story are the following:  "At that time Deborah, a prophetess ... 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 judgement." (Judges 4: 4-5) from the beginning of the story...
"And the land had rest for forty years."  (Judges 5:31c) from the end of the story.



A friend recently sent me a bunch of Autumn photographs.  I cannot include them all so I chose my favourites.  By now, you all know how much I love this time of year -- mainly because of the colours!  The changing leaves framed by a bright, blue sky bring such joy to my heart. 

I remember reading an account of a young girl in the US who had been painting since about the age of 3 years.  At the time I heard of her she was around 10 years old and was doing very professional looking painting without, supposedly, having any formal training.  According to her, so much of what she painted came from things she had witnessed in visions God had granted her.  She said that He had shown her Heaven and that the colours she had seen there were indescribably beautiful -- and that although she tried to show them in her paintings, it was beyond the power of any earthly palette.  I often think of that statement when I see the colours of Autumn.  Now, scroll through the following and enjoy the beauty.

Autumn Reflections

Did someone paint the train cars to match the trees?

The Water is on fire!

What incredible colours -- so vibrant against the background of green and misty blue.

A Mill back up in those Tennessee mountains in the Autumn.


Let me begin tonight with the latest Suki episode...

Yesterday, I got our superintendent to cart away the old recliner in my bedroom.  This was Suki's favourite chair and for that reason alone, I hated to dispose of it, but because I must use the wheelchair more frequently now in my apartment, I really needed the space to manoeuvre.

To say that Suki was distressed is putting it mildly!  She barely acknowledged me for the remainder of the day and even refrained from asking me for food when I knew she must be hungry.  She just wasn't talking to me.  So, on that unhappy note, I went to bed last night.  Suki did not even come to say goodnight as she usually does.

I fell asleep quickly but was suddenly startled from my sleep by something that sounded like a police siren right underneath me.  At first I couldn't figure out what was going on as I struggled to get up and, at the same time, scan the bedroom by the light from the hallway.  It was then that I saw a terrible sight:  Suki was sitting on the keyboard of my laptop computer which she had somehow managed to turn on.  She had her bum planted on top of the keys and the computer, in protest, was actually screaming!  And most distressingly, it seemed, by the dim light filtering into the bedroom, that Suki was smiling!  I yelled loudly and lunged towards the computer and Suki but was only able to move slowly because of the pain.  Suki broke and ran at the sound of my yelling and was well hidden by the time I actually got to the computer and was able to shut it down again.  I looked at the clock -- I had only been asleep for 45 minutes -- just deeply into that sweet sleep of the first hour.  Now I was wide awake and it took me several hours before I had settled down enough to fall asleep again.  I slept fitfully for the remainder of the night, often awakening.

My questions are twofold:  How was Suki able to turn on that computer? and, is it  possible that cats can really be purposely vindictive?  Let me know what you think!

The poster I created for our December meeting
As for me...

Here is a copy of the poster I created this week for the next meeting of the Seniors' Club at St. Michael's.  As you can see, on the 13th of December (the day before my birthday), I will once again attempt to take the elevator from the main floor to the basement in order to attend the meeting.  Will I make it is the question.

I would really like to attend as the children from the Choir School will be performing and will also lead us in a sing-along.  God alone knows if I will be able to reach the location where it is being held.  Maybe this third try to get the elevator to work and down to the lower level will be successful -- no more being stuck between floors, no more doors that once locked will not unlock, etc.  This entire saga is certainly teaching me more about how to trust God in all things!

Otherwise, I am doing fine -- just a bit sleepier than normal!!

Don't forget to pray for the holy souls during this month of November.

Righteous and holy Deborah, pray for us.

May the peace of God be with us all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sallie: I just had a look at your latest blog entries. I really like Deborah – looks so regal and judicious, like somebody who could really deal with her enemies! The jewels in the crown are especially striking, as is the background. Good commentary as well.
I also read, with considerable interest the latest Suki story. No, I am not at all surprised at her “vindictive” response to the loss of her favourite chair. I could site numerous similar examples, especially from the Oscar/Felix years. We do not know, of course, what exactly goes on in the minds of those little tykes, but I have every confidence in their ability to get even when the occasion demands it. As to how she managed to turn on the laptop computer, I don’t think you will ever find out – unless she happens to do it again sometime and you are able to witness the event.