The Prophetess: Deborah's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land, #2) by Jill Eileen Smith {Book Review}

Daughters of the Promised Land, #2
Historical Fiction/Biblical Fiction

Canaan has ravaged Israel. 
The people are in hiding. All that stands between 
surrender and hope is one untested woman. 

Deborah will never forget the day her father and brothers left to worship at the Lord's tabernacle--or the wails of her mother after finding their bodies at the city gates. The memories of Canaan's cruelty haunt her and all of Israel. Now in this dark time, the Lord calls on Deborah to lead His people away from the idols of other nations and back to Him.

Deborah never asked to be a prophetess or a judge over God's people. Still, she cannot deny His voice or the visions that accompany it. Can her family ever understand? Will her people believe God's calling on her life? And can the Canaanite menace be stopped?

With her trademark impeccable research and imaginative storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the story of Israel's most powerful woman in this intriguing and inspiring novel.


My Thoughts

I remember way back in my early Sunday School days learning about Deborah. I was so fascinated by her story. Up until this point most of the women in the Bible were ordinary but suddenly there was Deborah, chosen by God to be a judge for her people Israel. That's exciting type stuff for a young bossy flossy type girl like me.

When I received Jill Eileen Smith's new book The Prophetess: Deborah's Story I couldn't wait to dive in. I knew it would be good but I wondered how she was going to expound on the little we know about Deborah from Scripture. Deborah's story is riveting but it is told in two chapters, Judges 4:1-5:31.

Jill begins Deborah's story by introducing us to Deborah and her eventual husband Lappidoth when they are young teenagers. I appreciated how she set the stage by letting us imagine with her how their personalities were. Eventually we meet Barak and others that are also mentioned in Scripture. 

As I said earlier I am familiar with Deborah's story but it has been a while since I have read through the book of Judges so some of the details were a bit foggy. After I finished the book I grabbed my Bible and reread the story of Deborah. Jill nailed it. Every detail mentioned is told in her story exactly. Yes she added new characters and dialogue but the basics of the story are the same. She masterfully took the skeleton of Deborah's story in Judges and added muscle and flesh and in essence breathed life into the characters. 

I have a high standard for Biblical fiction. I have no use for a book that deviates from the original story just for the sake of heightening the story line. In my opinion it must be accurate above all else. As with all of her other stories The Prophetess meets and exceeds my expectations. 

If you are looking for an accurate account of Deborah's story this is it. Through the telling of this period of Israel's history we're reminded of the cost of turning away from God. But the best part is that we also see the joy of repentance and restoration. There is much to be learned from the life of Deborah.

If you happen to be in a book club I would highly recommend this book to your group. You can find a Reading Group Guide on the Baker Publishing Group's website.  

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