Jill Eileen Smith writes some of the best Biblical fiction I’ve read. I enjoy her storytelling and appreciate that she always lets the reader know, at the end of her stories, which parts are true and which parts are fiction. She brings well-known, as well as lesser-known, Biblical characters to life.
“The Prophetess” is about Deborah, but major players from the Bible are also Barak and Jael. Considering someone at church once introduced me as the woman most like Jael from the Bible (long story) … I found her part in this story intriguing.
Deborah is the only woman judge to serve the nation of Israel. She serves at a dark time in the nation’s history, when Canaanite terrorists are a constant threat. In her heart she knows this is the result of her people turning away from Adonai to the false gods of the people of Canaan. She hears the cases brought before her and counsels the people to destroy their idols and return to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even so, it takes twenty years of oppression until Adonai answers her prayers and liberates her people.
I enjoyed this story. Deborah is fleshed out as both a wife and mother, as well as judge. Her relationships with her family and friends bring the story to an intimate level with the reader. There are a few places where the story drags a bit, but after all, they had to wait those twenty years. There is some violence, as there is in the Biblical account, so this story is best for older teens on up.