And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth
Deborah was a name common to women with the eastern people, see ( Genesis 35:8 ) ; as Melissa, which is of the same signification with the Greeks, and both signify a "bee"; and to which Deborah answered in her industry, sagacity, and sweetness of temper to her friends, and sharpness to her enemies: she was a "prophetess", and foretold things to come, as the drawing of Sisera and his army to a certain place named by her, the victory that should be gained over him, and the delivery of him into the hands of a woman. Who Lapidoth was, or what is meant by the name, is not certain; most take it to be the name of her husband, which seems best, but who he was is not known; the Jews will have him to be the same with Barak, there being, as they think, some agreement in the names, Barak signifying lightning, and Lapidoth, lamps; but the whole context shows the contrary, that he was not her husband. Some render the words, "a woman of Lapidoth", taking it for the name of her native place on habitation; but where there was a place of this name no account can be given: some say she was so called from her employment before she was a prophetess and judge, making wicks for the lamps in the sanctuary, as Jarchi relates; and others take it to be expressive of her excellencies and virtues, which shone in her as lamps; the first sense is best:
she judged Israel at that time;
toward the close of the twenty years' oppression under Jabin, being raised up of God as other judges were, and eminently endowed with gifts and grace; she endeavoured to convince the people of their sins, exhorted them to repentance, and was a means of reforming them, and administering justice and judgment in all cases brought before her; and which Jabin might admit of, cone at, or take no notice of, she being a woman, of whose growing power and interest he had no jealousy.