For a fine study of the “judges” who do not “judge,” see Ellis Easterly, “A Case of Mistaken Identity: The Judges in Judges Don’t Judge,” BR 13:02. However, Easterly makes the same mistake most do when he says “only one judge—Deborah—in only one reference, judges in a legal sense.”



George Foote Moore, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges, International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1895), pp. 112–113.


For a bibliography, see Daniel I. Block, Judges, Ruth, New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1999), pp. 185–186.


This is an abbreviated and modified version of an earlier, more detailed study: Block, “Deborah Among the Judges: The Perspective of the Hebrew Historian,” in Faith, Tradition, and History: Old Testament Historiography in Its Near Eastern Context, ed. Alan R. Millard, James K. Hoffmeier and David W. Baker (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1994), pp. 229–253.


Deleting v. 5 as secondary, Moore found the weight of this evidence so convincing that he argued for translating hiÆsûoµpeátaÆet yisŒraµeµl as “she delivered Israel” (Judges, p. 114).


This is an expression used by Marc Brettler (“The Book of Judges: Literature as Politics,” Journal of Biblical Literature 108 [1989], p. 407).


For Ugaritic, see F. Charles Fensham, “The Ugaritic Root sûpt.,” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages (JNSL) 12 (1984), pp. 63–69; Henri Cazelles, “Mtpt à Ugarit,” Orientalia 53 (1984), pp. 177–182. For Akkadian, see T.J. Mafico, “The Term sûaµpitum in Akkadian Documents,” JNSL 13 (1987), pp. 69–87.


For a detailed comparison of Samuel and Deborah, see Block, “Deborah Among the Judges,” pp. 237–238.


See Block, “‘Israel’-‘Sons of Israel’: A Study in Hebrew Eponymic Usage,” Studies in Religion 13 (1984), pp. 301–326.


James S. Ackerman (“Prophecy and Warfare in Early Israel: A Study of the Deborah-Barak Story,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 220 [1975], p. 11, following Robert G. Boling, Judges/Introduction, Translation and Commentary [Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975], pp. 81, 95) has argued convincingly that the action described in v. 5 represents an exposition on v. 3a, “the Israelites cried out (saµaq) to Yahweh.”


Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Exodus (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1967), p. 380. For a detailed study of the Urim and Thummim, see Cornelius Van Dam, The Urim and Thummim: A Means of Revelation in Ancient Israel (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1997).


In the last instance, the narrator adds an explanatory note concerning the reason why they went to Bethel: The Ark of the Covenant was there in those days, and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, Aaron’s son, “stood before it.”


See esp. Ackerman, “Prophecy and Warfare,” pp. 5–13.


For a more detailed discussion and a bibliography on this subject, see Block, “Deborah Among the Judges,” pp. 247–249.


The generally more sermonic tone of Pseudo-Philo’s version of the Song of Deborah (32:1–18, esp. v. 14) and a concluding farewell address (33:1–6) lend support to this “prophetic” interpretation of Deborah’s role. For a translation of these texts, see Daniel J. Harrington in James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), vol. 2, pp. 345–348.