The Name Deborah’s Palm
Our inspiration comes from an ancient Israelite woman named Deborah…a powerful and well-respected woman in her time, when women were considered nothing more than chattel. She was regarded for her courage and wisdom, and would sit beneath a palm tree, as people sought her advice. It is in that same spirit, that we hope to offer our expertise and resources, in order to reach out to those who come through our doors.
Deborah comes to us in the history of Israel from the Hebrew Scriptures, Book of Judges, Chapters 4 and 5. She is the 4th and only female Judge of Israel. Deborah lived between 1200 and 1125 BCE (before common era.)
She became famous for giving counsel, guidance and judgments to people under a Palm Tree, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim (Israel). Her name can be translated as “bee.” She also was said to be the wife of Lapidoth, which means “torch.” However, some translate lapidoth not as a proper name, but as meaning “Deborah, a woman with a fiery spirit.”
Deborah also became known for her strength, wisdom and courage, advising the commanding military leader, Barack, to fight the oppressive Canaanites, leading Israel to a 40 year history of peace.
Chapter 4 of Judges gives us Deborah’s history and Chapter 5 tells us her story in poetic form. Written around 1200 BCE, it is likely the earliest sample of Hebrew poetry. Some people refer to Deborah as the “Mother of Israel,” as she is titled in the biblical “Song of Deborah and Barak,” in Chapter 5.
We at Deborah’s Palm together emulate Deborah’s sharing of wisdom and strength. She offers us her “fiery spirit” to enlighten and light our ways together.