Deborah would be one of the most impressive female characters in the Old Testament mostly because ‘she is the only woman to be a Judge of Israel’ (http://www.essortment.com/old-testament-deborah-judge-44017.html). Regarding to her title, it is argued that being a prophetess and judge meant to be ‘the equivalent of king’ (ibid) and as for the historical point of view, it is also said that ‘Her story takes place between the years 1209 and 1169 B.C’ (ibid).
According to the Old Testament, when Deborah was a judge of Israel, her country was occupied by Jabin, king of Canaan, who ‘reigned in Hazor (and) the captain of whose host was Sisera (Judges 4:2), who had ‘nine handred chariots of iron’ (Judges 4:3). As a prophetess, Deborah delivers the God’s command to fight against Jabin’s army and by being asked from Barak, her general, she even goes to the battle field together with him, to lead the army that is obviously outnumbered to the enemy.
The story says that the battle was fought near mount Tabor, where ‘the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak’ (Judges 4:15), and in this way, it says that Deborah and Barak won a great victory and successfully recovered their territory from the king of Canaan.
However, there is no explanation on how Deborah came to be chosen to her position in the Judges book nor is it plausible to assume that a woman could have a legitimate candidacy to be chosen to such positions in ancient Israelite society. Thus, as far as historical authenticity of the story concerns, it can be only described with large amount of possible presumptions, as the following quotation shows:
‘The occurrence of the name Jabin in the books of Joshua and Judges has made some critics question the accuracy of the biblical record. However it is explained by the use of the name as a royal dynastic title (similar to Pharaoh for the rulers of Egypt) and it is quite possible that several kings carried the name Jabin during these historic periods’ (http://www.biblebasics.co.uk/natcit/hazor.htm).
Ivy Books (1991), The Holy Bible, King James Version
Published by Ballantine Books, New York
Demand Media (2010), The Old Testament: Deborah the Judge, essortment (electrically accessed 02/03/2011)
Bible Basics (year unstated), Hazor (electrically accessed 02/03/2011)