|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
(1.) Rebekah's nurse. She accompanied her mistress when she left her father's house in Padan-aram to become the wife of Isaac (Genesis 24:59). Many years afterwards she died at Bethel, and was buried under the "oak of weeping", Allon-bachuth (35:8).
(2.) A prophetess, "wife" (woman?) of Lapidoth. Jabin, the king of Hazor, had for twenty years held Israel in degrading subjection. The spirit of patriotism seemed crushed out of the nation. In this emergency Deborah roused the people from their lethargy. Her fame spread far and wide. She became a "mother in Israel" (Judges 4:6, 14; 5:7), and "the children of Israel came up to her for judgment" as she sat in her tent under the palm tree "between Ramah and Bethel." Preparations were everywhere made by her direction for the great effort to throw off the yoke of bondage. She summoned Barak from Kadesh to take the command of 10,000 men of Zebulun and Naphtali, and lead them to Mount Tabor on the plain of Esdraelon at its north-east end. With his aid she organized this army. She gave the signal for attack, and the Hebrew host rushed down impetuously upon the army of Jabin, which was commanded by Sisera, and gained a great and decisive victory. The Canaanitish army almost wholly perished. That was a great and ever-memorable day in Israel. In Judges 5 is given the grand triumphal ode, the "song of Deborah," which she wrote in grateful commemoration of that great deliverance. (see LAPIDOTH, JABIN .)
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
deb'-o-ra (debhorah, signifying "bee"):
(1) Rebekah's nurse, who died near Bethel and was buried under "the oak of weeping" (Genesis 35:8 margin).
(2) A prophetess, fourth in the order of the "judges." In aftertime a palm tree, known as the "palm tree of Deborah," was shown between Ramah and Bethel, beneath which the prophetess was wont to administer justice. Like the rest of the "judges" she became a leader of her people in times of national distress. This time the oppressor was Jabin, king of Hazor, whose general was Sisera. Deborah summoned Barak of Kedesh-naphtali and delivered to him the Divine message to meet Sisera in battle by the brook Kishon. Barak induced Deborah to accompany him; they were joined by 10,000 men of Zebulun and Naphtali. The battle took place by the brook Kishon, and Sisera's army was thoroughly routed. While Barak pursued the fleeing army, Sisera escaped and sought refuge with Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, near Kedesh. The brave woman, the prototype of Judith, put the Canaanite general to sleep by offering him a draft of milk and then slew him by driving a peg into his temple.
Thus runs the story in Jud 4. It is on the whole substantiated by the ode in chapter 5 which is ascribed jointly to Deborah and Barak. It is possible that the editor mistook the archaic form qamti, in 5:7 which should be rendered "thou arosedst" instead of "I arose." Certainly the ode was composed by a person who, if not a contemporary of the event, was very near it in point of time. The song is spoken of as one of the oldest pieces of Hebrew literature. Great difficulties meet the exegete. Nevertheless the general substance is clear. The Lord is described as having come from Sinai near the "field of Edom" to take part in the battle; `for from heaven they fought, the very stars from their courses fought against Sisera' (5:20). The nation was in a sad plight, oppressed by a mighty king, and the tribes loth to submerge their separatist tendencies. Some, like Reuben, Gilead, Dan and Asher remained away. A community by the name of Meroz is singled out for blame, `because they came not to the help of Yahweh, to the help of Yahweh among the mighty' (5:23; compare the Revised Version, margin).
Ephraim, Issachar, Machir, Benjamin were among the followers of Barak; "Zebulun. jeopardized their lives unto the death, and Naphtali, upon the high places of the field" (verse 18). According to the song, the battle was fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; Sisera's host was swept away by "that ancient river, the river Kishon" (verse 21). Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, receives here due reward of praise for her heroic act. The paean vividly paints the waiting of Sisera's mother for the home-coming of the general; the delay is ascribed to the great booty which the conqueror is distributing among his Canaanite host. "So let all thine enemies perish," concludes the song; "O Yahweh: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might." It is a song in praise of the "righteous acts" of the Lord, His work of victory which Israel's leaders, `the long-haired princes,' wrought, giving their lives freely to the nation's cause. And the nation was sore bestead because it had become faithless to the Lord and chosen new gods. Out of the conflict came, for the time being, victory and moral purification; and the inspiring genius of it all was a woman in Israel, the prophetess Deborah.
(3) Tobit's grandmother (the King James Version "Debora," Tobit 1:8).
Max L. Margolis
Deborah (10 Occurrences)
Genesis 35:8 Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; and its name was called Allon Bacuth. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 4:4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, she judged Israel at that time. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 4:5 She lived under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 4:9 She said, "I will surely go with you: nevertheless, the journey that you take shall not be for your honor; for Yahweh will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman." Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 4:10 Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh; and there went up ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 4:14 Deborah said to Barak, "Go; for this is the day in which Yahweh has delivered Sisera into your hand. Hasn't Yahweh gone out before you?" So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 5:1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 5:7 The rulers ceased in Israel. They ceased until I, Deborah, arose; Until I arose a mother in Israel. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 5:12 'Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, you son of Abinoam.' (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 5:15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah. As was Issachar, so was Barak. They rushed into the valley at his feet. By the watercourses of Reuben, there were great resolves of heart. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)