And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, judged Israel at that time.
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George Leo Haydock
Lapidoth, signifies "lamps "and Barac, "thunder "which has given rise to various conjectures, as if they were the same person. St. Ambrose thinks that Debbora was a widow at this time, and the mother of Barac. But St. Jerome says there is no proof of either. Others suppose that the excellence of the gift of prophecy would not permit her to cohabit with her husband. It is not unusual for women to possess this gift. Mary, the sister of Moses, Holda, the blessed Virgin, the daughter of St. Philip, were prophetesses. The devil most commonly chose women to explain his oracles.
Judged. Many deny that this word is taken in the same latitude here, as when it is applied to men. The Jews exclude women from government, and Athalia was only a tyrant. The Roman laws will not admit women to exercise the right of judicature. But the text, as it is explained by the Fathers in general, will not permit us to refuse the prerogatives of a judge to Debbora. Her authority was not merely voluntary, in consequence of the people's high opinion of her, as many would believe, with Salien, Worthington, (Haydock) but she gave decisions which were binding on the Israelites; and she seems to have continued in the exercise of her functions along with Barac, after the victory which they gained over Sisara. The government of the latter was perhaps limited to the tribes which he had rescued from slavery. (Calmet)
He is guided by her counsel, as Christian princes ought to be by their spiritual superiors. (Origen) (Worthington)