Judges 4 is one of my favourite chapters in the Bible.
Deborah sits under her palm tree in her glory, which is to be the one to whom all Israel comes to judge their disputes.
Jael stands at the entrance of her tent in her glory, which is to be the one through whom the Israelites are saved from their oppressor Sisera.
And in the Gospel reading, the woman in the synagogue is unable to stand, bent over by accusation, by voices subtle and not-so subtle that keep putting her in her place. Except, of course, that this is not her place, was never meant to be. Jesus cuts through the crap, and restores to her her own glory –
and follows it up with an explosive parable in which he describes God as a woman.
In a world where women are so often kept in their place, the glory of Lappidoth is to release his wife into the fullness of her glory and not seek to contain, constrain or control, but be content to stand in her shadow. The glory of Barak is not in defeating Sisera, but in walking in Deborah’s shadow, her as his helper just as God is Israel’s helper. The glory of Heber is not in an alliance with King Jabin, but, like Lappidoth, in his wife being queen of her own realm. And the glory of Jesus is in restoring a woman constrained for eighteen years.
Here’s to the women. And to the men who know them as sister.