The Pierpont Morgan Library/Art Resource, NY

Although she bears neither arms nor armor and does not engage in combat, Deborah the Prophetess (left) confidently directs an attack on the chariot of the Canaanite general Sisera, a thrust that also topples the Canaanite king, Jabin (far right). This scene from the Morgan Crusader Bible (produced in France in about 1250) illustrates author Daniel Block’s contention that the Book of Judges does not depict Deborah primarily as a military leader, despite her presence on the battlefield. Reviewing the portrayals in Judges of Israelite leaders before the beginning of the monarchy, Block finds that Deborah is pointedly not called a “deliverer,” or military savior. In the accompanying article, Block explores Deborah’s primary role as an intermediary who conveys God’s commands to the Israelites.