“And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.”
King James Version (KJV)
4:4 A prophetess - As there were men - prophets, so there were also women - prophetesses, as Miriam, #Exod 15:20|. Huldah, #2Kings 22:14|, and divers others; but the word prophets or prophetesses is ambiguous, sometimes being used of persons extraordinarily inspired by God, and endowed with the power of working miracles, and foretelling things to come; and sometimes of persons endowed with special gifts or graces, for the better understanding and discoursing about the word and mind of God. Of this sort were the sons of the prophets, or such as were bred in the schools of the prophets. who are often called prophets, as #1Sam 10:5|,10. And because we read nothing of Deborah's miraculous actions, perhaps she was only a woman of eminent holiness, and knowledge of the holy scriptures, by which she was singularly qualified for judging the people according to the laws of God. Judged Israel - That is, determined causes and controversies arising among the Israelites, as is implied, ver.#5|. And this Jabin might suffer to be done, especially by a woman. Yet the frequent discharge of this part of the judge's office, whereby she gained great power and authority with the people, did notably (though not observed by the tyrant) prepare the way for her sliding into the other part of her office, which was to defend and rescue the people from their enemies.