Canaan has ravaged Israel. The people are in hiding. All that stands between surrender and hope is one untested woman.
Deborah will never forget the day her father and brothers left to worship at the Lord’s tabernacle–or the wails of her mother after finding their bodies at the city gates. The memories of Canaan’s cruelty haunt her and all of Israel. Now in this dark time, the Lord calls on Deborah to lead His people away from the idols of other nations and back to Him.
Deborah never asked to be a prophetess or a judge over God’s people. Still, she cannot deny His voice or the visions that accompany it. Can her family ever understand? Will her people believe God’s calling on her life? And can the Canaanite menace be stopped?
With her trademark impeccable research and imaginative storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the story of Israel’s most powerful woman in this intriguing and inspiring novel.
Keep reading for my take on another winner from Jill Eileen Smith and for a link to an excerpt from The Prophetess.
What do we actually know about Deborah the prophetess? She is featured in Judges 4 and 5, but little is known of her backstory. We know she was the wife of Lappidoth and that she mediated disputes. Primarily, she is known for leading Israel to victory over a Canaanite enemy. Jill Eileen Smith now continues her Daughters of the Promised Land series with an imagining of this amazing woman.
The story begins on an ordinary day in 1126 B.C. Fifteen year old Deborah is fetching water from the local well when she receives a message from God. She puts it out of her mind because, just three days later, her life is turned upside down when her father and brothers are found murdered. We next meet her ten years later, when she’s married with two sons and another child on the way. The picture presented of her is one of a well-respected woman, whose husband loves and respects her, and recognizes her intelligence. When God does speak to her again, it’s in a public setting. We experience her confusion as she comes out of the vision. Why has He chosen her to be His messenger? As the years pass, Deborah continues to receive messages. She and her fellow villagers also find their lives increasingly restricted by the merciless campaigning of Sisera, the Canaanite military leader. Whenever Deborah asks God why He won’t end their suffering, He tells her that it’s because His people are worshiping other gods. During this time, we also meet Jael, the woman who is ultimately responsible for Sisera’s downfall, and Barack who leads skirmishes against the Canaanites.
Smith’s story of Deborah has many depths. We get to see how the Hebrews lived in a time long before Jerusalem became Israel’s capital and King Solomon built the first temple. It’s a love story between Deborah and her husband and a coming of age tale of their only daughter. Despite Deborah leading the army over Barack, Smith never emasculates him. We learn that God will show His mercy when we are faithful because He is a jealous God and we are a stubborn people, and that during Old Testament times He occasionally used Gentiles to fulfill His promises. If you’ve never read Biblically-based fiction or a Jill Eileen Smith novel before, The Prophetess is as good a place as any to start. It’s definitely a book I recommend.
Thank you to Jill Eileen Smith for my complimentary copy of The Prophetess, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read The Prophetess? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 02 February 2016
Page Count: 368