Deborah (Hebrew: דְבוֹרָה, Dvora Dəḇôrā ; "Bee", Arabic: دبورة Daborah) was a prophetess of 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.
The only female judge mentioned in the Bible, 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. The poem may have been included in the Book of the Wars of the Lord mentioned in Numbers 21:14.
In Hebrew, her name, דְּבוֹרָה, translates as bee. The Deborah number, a dimensionless number used in rheology, is named after her.
Famous quotes containing the word deborah:
“Q: What would have made a family and career easier for you?
A: Being born a man.”
—Anonymous Mother, U.S. physician and mother of four. As quoted in Women and the Work Family Dilemma, by Deborah J. Swiss and Judith P. Walker, ch. 2 (1993)