"New gods were chosen, then war was in the gates." - Judges 5:8. Jill Eileen Smith retells Deborah's story in The Prophetess, book, number two in her Daughters of the Promised Land Series. Deborah is a beautiful, outspoken woman of Israel chosen by God to hear His voice through prophesy. She lives in a time when the people of Israel are living in fear of a mighty warrior, Sisera, commander of Canaan's King Jabin. Women and children are stolen and enslaved. Men are murdered. The spoils of war are made worse by the sheer unspeakable acts of a tyrant. Deborah knows from her visions that false gods have been worshiped and beseeches her people to turn away from these gods who are destroying Israel from the inside.
This story brings Deborah to life as the woman of courage she was in 1126 BC. She is wife to Lappidoth, and mother of his children. She is a judge who daily sits under Deborah's Palm Tree on the knoll to hear case after case brought forth by her people for her to decide fairly. She has the cares of a woman yet the responsibility beyond the scope of any woman in her village.
Moving forward fifteen years, she encounters Barak, a young warrior from Kedesh in Naphtali, who seeks to destroy Sisera, whose band of destroyers killed his young wife. He and his group of soldiers travel to the villages warning of the dangers Sisera has wrought on the villages. Deborah also meets Jael, wife of Heber who has traveled far with his family from his home searching for a place to settle. These people are integral to the story as it unfolds and are fascinating in their own right.
Can peace come to the lands at last? Is the word of the prophetess enough to build an army for Barak to destroy Sisera, and in turn King Jabin? Can the people turn from false idols and believe in the One true God? Deborah's story compelled me to do some research into the times and of course to read Judges 4 & 5 from which this story hails. If you love a good book that brings biblical accounts alive you will enjoy the Prophetess. It is a story of love, war and redemption written as we have come to expect of all Jill Eileen Smith's books.