The Prophetess: Deborah's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #2)Jill Eileen Smith, Jill Eileen Smith, Jill Eileen Smith
Outspoken and fearless, Deborah has faith in God but struggles to see the potential her own life holds. As an Israelite woman, she'll marry, have a family, and seek to teach her children about Adonai--and those tasks seem to be more than enough to occupy her time. But God ha... Read More
- Store Only: Yes
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Jan 5, 2016
- UPC: 9780800720353
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 368
- Publish Date: Feb 2, 2016
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC042030"
- ISBN: 0800720350
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- Review from Rambles of a SAHM by Fitzysmom on 3/8/2016
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.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
- I found the plot to be somewhat monotonous and it took a lot of effort to get through the story; thus, it was just okay for me. by Sparrowhawk on 3/7/2016
I’m rather disheartened to say that while book two in the Daughters of the Promised Land series, The Prophetess was a competent book, it simply did not live up to my expectations. I found the plot to be somewhat monotonous and it took a lot of effort to get through the story; thus, it was just okay for me.
WHAT I LIKED
+ Featuring one of the most renowned female prophets in biblical history, I truly admired the original perspective and take on depicting Deborah’s story, and despite my quibbles below, this is a story that gives hopes and dreams to all women alike. That is to say, no victory is too big or too small for any woman and I am certain that many female readers will glean inspiration from the book.
+ A few of my favorite scenes in the book were when Deborah drifted into a vision or encounter with God. They were breathtaking, to say the least, and her wrestling with the Lord was just as affecting too.
+ At the conclusion of the story, Jill Eileen Smith personally address the reader, giving an account of her bittersweet experience in penning Deborah’s story. This is where she won my respect and appreciation, because, despite my resultant reaction, I laud her achievement in fulfilling such a daunting task.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- With a large preface concerning the overall plotline, I’d like to clarify that as a longtime lover of both Christian Fiction and Biblical Fiction I do understand that there is a lot of speculation on what is factual and what is fictional when it comes to these narratives. To boot, while I do not know firsthand the amount of time, effort and dedication it takes for authors such as Jill Eileen Smith, Lynn Austin and Francine Rivers (to name a few) to pen stories such as The Crimson Cord, Keepers of the Covenant, and Voice in the Wind, I do know that their good intentions and ambitions are always to stay true to the original stories.
Having said that, taking on Deborah’s story is no easy feat; namely because she is mentioned only briefly in Scripture. Thus, what muddled my overall experience with The Prophetess were the surrounding sub-plots that didn’t allow me to truly appreciate Deborah’s character arc. There was Jael, the Kenite woman who played a more significant role in the prose than that of Deborah; Talya, Deborah’s audacious daughter whose reckless haste habitually challenged Deborah’s parenting style ; Barak, the Israeli warrior chosen by God for such a time as this; and Sisera, the antagonist who was underdeveloped and simply overlooked.
- The storytelling was sluggish and there wasn’t enough driving force to keep things interesting for me. It stands to reason that, the battle scenes and antagonistic elements in the plotline were vague and resolved all too quickly.
- There’s no denying Smith’s extensive research and study. There were plenty of Jewish traditions and customs, and Hebraic expressions that were peppered throughout the story which in turn gave the book a taste of authenticity; however the one aspect of the book that was jarring, at least for me, were the Jewish names that were given to a few characters; particularly, Deborah’s son Shet and Barak’s right man Keshet. It could just be my ignorance, (and I’m betting it all on that), but am I the only who found these names rather peculiar?
The honest truth is when it comes to historical fiction―particularly, biblical historical fiction―there plainly needs to be some level of entertainment to fully embrace the story. For this reason, The Prophetess fell short for me. Will I continue with the series? Absolutely! In fact, I am extremely eager to see who the next Daughter of the Promised Land will be!
- "And God Chose What the World Thinks Weak..." by Tickmenot on 2/23/2016
Can a woman tell a man what to do? How about an entire country, would they listen to her? What if this woman lived thousands of years ago, when men treated women like property; what would the chances be of a woman being in charge then? This is the story of Deborah, a beautiful woman living in an arranged marriage, who had just such a thing happen to her. This woman heard from God, and the entire nation followed what she said.
Deborah was an ordinary woman with a headstrong teenage daughter, and a husband whom she appreciated, but had never learned to love. But she was also an extraordinary woman who sat beneath a palm tree to listen to people who had come from all over the nation to seek her advice and judgment.
The times Deborah lived in were scary. A brutal enemy of Israel, Sisera, had been mounting terrorist attacks against them for years. Barak, the leader of Israel's army, wanted to go to war, but waited for Deborah to tell him when God said to go. The longer he waited, the more Barak questioned following Deborah.
In the meantime, the people of Israel tried to live invisibly. No festivals or wedding celebrations had been held in years for fear of signaling Sisera of their location. When he did discover any of them, he usually swept down killing some, and captured many to be tortured. Despite Deborah warning the Israelites to stop worshiping foreign idols, many still did not turn to God with their whole hearts. While attempting to lead the nation, even into war, Deborah also tries to protect her headstrong, attractive daughter from capture.
This is an amazing story based on Deborah's Biblical story in The Book of Judges. It has romance, love, action, war and miracles from God. Although the author used poetic license when recounting this tale, the underlying anchor of the danger of turning away from God, along with the unusual circumstance of having a woman leading Israel remain. This tale is fast paced, and will draw you in, and keep you turning the pages to the end. The author brings this portion of the Bible vividly to life, and you will never look at this story the same again. I highly recommend this 5-star book to anyone who likes well-written stories based on historical events.
The publisher has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The Prophetess, through Revell Publishing for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27
- Christian Shelf-Esteem's Review of The Prophetess by Amanda on 2/12/2016
The biblical portrayal of Deborah paints the picture of a courageous and wise woman, renowned prophetess, and honored judge over Israel. In her latest novel The Prophetess: Deborah's Story, Jill Eileen Smith captured every bit of Deborah's scriptural essence while penning a character to whom modern woman will relate. The Prophetess is the story of an ordinary woman called and equipped by God to lead a nation.
This novel found it's strength in three artfully braided storylines. Much like the account in Judges 4, Barak and Heber the Kenite play large roles in the war against Israel's oppressors, the Canaanites. The manner in which Smith fleshed out Deborah, Barak, and Heber's backstories and brought them together cohesively proves she's mastered her craft.
Jill Eileen Smith, for the purposes of my review I dub thee the "Queen of Conflict." All joking aside, I found this story to be laden with fear and discord — the fallout of sin. In the wide scope, we see the effects of Israel's struggle with idolatry (spiritual) and God's judgement as delivered by the hand of Sisera (flesh and blood). Then on a more narrow scope, individual characters battle pride, grief, bitterness, and unforgiveness. To my relief, Smith is also adept at conflict resolution.
That being said I want to disclose how, for a majority of the book, I felt a niggling irritation over Deborah's regard for her husband. Having turned the final pages of the book I now can appreciate the author's choice for a few reasons. First of all, it established the preponderance of arranged marriages during the time period — some were made for love while others were not. Second, it served to highlight Deborah's human fallibility and gave her character an area for growth. Finally, it allowed the author a means to deliver valuable Christian messages on love, marriage, parenting, and forgiveness.
For readers a world away and millennia removed, Jill Eileen Smith brings the Old Testament account of Deborah to life. I believe this tale of repentance, rescue, and restoration will resonate with a broad audience. The Prophetess: Deborah's Story is available now from Revell Books.
4 Stars/Very Good
I received this book from the author for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
- The sound of the Bridegroom will ring again! by Anne on 2/11/2016
Wow! The Prophetess, second in the Daughters of the Promised Land series, is a wonderfully written historical novel. Deborah, little-known and the only female judge noted in the Scripture, comes to life at the hand of author Jill Eileen Smith. God's people, beaten down by the enemy, have cried out for help from Adonai and He calls on Deborah to bring them hope and deliverance. Smith draws her fictional account from the book of Judges and fleshes out the characters of this Biblical account, crafting them into characters that are believable and have issues that readers can connect with. Deborah, a trusted leader and judge yet not without flaws herself. Barak, commander of Israel's army yet continually troubled by sorrow at the death of his wife. Sisera, captain of the enemy army, an evil terrorist who has wreaked havoc throughout the land. Jael, a simple metalworker's wife living in fear yet the woman God uses to carry out his justice. Smith tastefully covers the savagery of murder, war, rape, and death while keeping the reader's attention with dynamic dialogue and a story that flows well. The Prophetess is a story of repentance and forgiveness, a story of brokenness and restoration, a story you do not want to miss.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.
- Compelling and Realistic Portrayal of Israel's Female Judge by Ellie Faye on 1/27/2016
Jill Eileen Smith expertly brings the intriguing Old Testament character of Deborah to life in The Prophetess. As a young woman in 1126 BC Israel, Deborah expects to live a typical life taking care of her home, a husband, and children. When the male members of her family are killed by the ruthless Caananite Sisera, she finds herself married to a man she never would have chosen, and with the special, God-given gift of prophecy. Will Deborah find the courage to let go of her expectations and become the wife, mother, prophetess, judge, and leader of Israel that God has called her to be?
While relying on what little narrative is available about Deborah in Judges, Smith masterfully paints her protagonist— who can easily be perceived as perfect and untouchable— as a woman who struggles with the doubts and insecurities that plague most women. Can she learn to love and respect her husband as the man he is, rather than what she wishes he would be? How should she deal with a daughter who displays the same stubbornness and fearlessness she herself has been accused of? Why would God choose her to judge His people?
In addition to Deborah herself, Smith tells the compelling stories of many other Israelites. The leader of Israel’s army, Barak, fights for justice and healing after his young wife’s brutal death at the hands of the Caananites. Deborah’s daughter, Talya, gradually learns to trust the wisdom of her parents, rather than her own impetuous desires. Fellow Israelite Shet struggles with bitterness and pride after his wife’s betrayal. And Deborah’s own husband waits with excruciating patience and kindness to finally win his wife’s whole heart.
Along with a beautifully realistic cast of characters and entertaining story-telling, Smith also prods her readers to delve into the very nature of God’s character, His promises, and His unfailing love for His people.
I received a copy of this novel for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.