The Prophetess: Deborah’s Story
The Bible is the world’s first storybook, and it is chock full of enthralling tales of adventure. The biblical story of Deborah the Prophetess is infused with intrigue in this reimagined tale of the Old Testament heroine; the book is second in the Daughters of the Promised Land series.
Deborah was a prophet and judge in ancient Israel. The Lord spoke to her through visions, and through those visions, she was able to organize an army to help conquer Israel’s enemies. It was a time when some of the Jews still worshipped false idols, and as punishment, the Israelites came under the rule of the evil Sisera, commander of the Canaanites.
For twenty years, his troops have been plundering Israeli towns, killing the men and kidnapping the women. Like the rest of the country, Deborah fears that Sisera will soon invade her village, despite its being walled and somewhat hidden. In fact, one of the residents of a neighboring village agrees to supply arms for Sisera in the hope that it will maintain the peace. When Deborah foresees that Sisera will be killed by a woman’s hands, she enlists a man named Barak to lead and mobilize the Israeli army. A side story concerns the romantic affections of Deborah’s teen daughter, Talya. Talya is headstrong and independent; she also has her eye on Barak, but he is mourning the death of his first wife.
I loved how the author blended truth and fiction with this story deriving from biblical times while still respecting the original text. Despite their living in tents in ancient times, it is as if the characters are indistinguishable from modern-day people: they love, they fear, they have familial conflicts. Smith’s portrayal of Deborah as a fair and strong woman will likely resonate with many readers, as will the tale of a people with unshaken faith.