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The Triumph of Deborah

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a powerful comparative tale of predominately two women

    As her husband of sixteen years Lapidoth dumps her, prophetess Judge Deborah finds strength in knowing her people need her as war with Canaan is imminent. She knows her personal sorrow is minor when she expects mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters to soon be grieving for their men-folk, but Deborah rallies the Jews persuading General Barak to lead the sword-bearers to attack the overwhelmingly superior Canaanites. Shockingly he and his forces win, bringing back two special prisoners, the daughters of the enemy¿s mightiest king Jabin, legitimate Princess Asherah and illegitimate Princess Nogah. Barak is attracted to both.------------- In her third women of the Old Testament novelizations (see THE SONG OF HANNAH and THE GARDEN OF RUTH), Eva Etzioni-Halevy provides a powerful comparative tale of predominately two women, Deborah and Asherah. The story line focuses on their relative influence on their respective countries especially Deborah who understands deeply with a sad heart the cost of sending the warriors to war as some will die. With obvious modern day comparisons, readers will appreciate this biblical fictionalized biography as THE TRIUMPH OF DEBORAH vividly brings to life a dedicated strong individual who believes deeply in her cause, but truly comprehends the sacrifices she asks of her people.------------ Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2008

    The Conflict of a Lifetime

    My favorite aspect of 'The Triumph of Deborah' was how the illegitimate daughter of the Canaanite king, Nogah, was in constant conflict of who her loyalty should be with, her Jewish mother and her people, or her Canaanite father and his people. The situation was depicted so clearly, to the point where the reader felt Nogah's pain when she realized she could never bring those two worlds together. In the end, Nogah's decision to study Hebrew and the scriptures was rational given that her bond with her mother survived slavery and separation in a very fragile and uncertain world. Nogah's other conflict was disobeying her mother's wishes, and sleeping with Barak, the Israelite warrior, even though he was never loyal to any one woman, and even though he only considered her one of his maids and nothing more. She chose Barak above her pride, her mother's advice and all else, as she loved him with no expectation for anything in return. The reader tries to anticipate what Nogah and Deborah's next action would be throughout the book, and the reader is never disappointed with their choices!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    highly recommended

    the triumph of Deborah tells the story of the three women famous from the bible, who must find their own paths in times of trouble. It is a great read as it is not heavily religious and everyone can understand it. One of the best things about this book is the it protrays the true bible teachings. It is very nicely written without the preachy feeling. Their is no judgement and the focus is straight to the truth. It is heavily informative in the historical details that most people dont know about. This book describes the characters and their feelings straight to a point.
    I have enjoyed this book very much and I think it is very well written. I recommend this books to everyone who likes romance and to those who like biblical or historical based fiction.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Gripping Story

    By Lisa of Night Owl Romance -
    This is a gripping story of a woman's triumph in a time where women weren't usually prominent in leadership positions. Told well, it traces a leader's questions, a woman's triumph, a mother's agony, and an individual's angst in decision-making and personal growth throughout the leadership of the small but growing nation of Israel. Halevy has done not only her profession proud, but also her heritage. Deborah was a joy to read, a true midrash of a pivotal woman in biblical history. Deborah is a wonderful book to add to the bookshelf, do a reading group on, or pass on to a friend. © WEtap MediaT LLC / Night Owl ReviewsT

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Gripping Story

    By Lisa of Night Owl Romance -

    This is a gripping story of a woman's triumph in a time where women weren't usually prominent in leadership positions. Told well, it traces a leader's questions, a woman's triumph, a mother's agony, and an individual's angst in decision-making and personal growth throughout the leadership of the small but growing nation of Israel. Halevy has done not only her profession proud, but also her heritage. Deborah was a joy to read, a true midrash of a pivotal woman in biblical history. Deborah is a wonderful book to add to the bookshelf, do a reading group on, or pass on to a friend.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    Great Historical Fiction

    I've been enjoying a lot of Biblical historical fiction these days, and this book is no exception. Written in the style of The Red Tent or Sarah, The Triumph of Deborah uses everyday interactions, love stories, domestic and epic conflict to expand and animate Bible stories. We know so much of the men of the bible, and so little of the women, and these novels serve to show the cultural and familial importance of the women.

    To me, the book is primarily about two women: Deborah, a revered Israelite judge, and Nogah, a woman born of a Canaanite king and an Israeli slave. Deborah is divorced by her husband when she shows preference for a young, Israelite warrior named Barak. Barak leads the Israelites to victory, and returns with both the acknowledged daughter and slave daughter of the slain Canaanite king. A complicated love triangle follows between Barak and the women. It concludes with a deeply satisfying ending in which all of the characters experience growth and redemption.

    Ms. Etzioni-Halevy is a skilled writer. The book has a formality of language that gives it an air of myth-which I thought worked well for the text. Every page in the book sizzles with conflict and suspense, and it's hard to put down.

    Overall, I found this book a unique and fascinating look at the power and influence of women guiding men in history. It is a testament to their independence and courage. I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Etzioni-Halevy.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Compassionate Leader Made of Steel

    "The Triumph of Deborah" by Eva Etzioni-Halevy is a Biblical novel about Deborah, the Judge and Prophetess of Israel. With great precision and creativity Eva Etizioni-Halevy draws a historical picture of the history of conflict between Israel and Canaan. It is a time of turmoil. Those in power one day are not in control the next day. Those in slavery became free according to who conquered and who became conquerors. It is a time when women had a huge role to play in history. For instance, Deborah, the Israelite, who prophecies and commands the strategies of the Israelites war against the Canaanites. There is Jael, another woman, who will murder a Caananite leader, King Sisra, for the sake of her people.

    There is also a slave girl named Nogah. Nogah crossed the boundaries of both the Israelite world and the Caananite world because she was born biracial. Through her eyes Eva Etzioni-Halevy gives a view of Nogah's life. Her father is King Jabin, a Caananite. Her sister, Asherah, is Caananite, and her mother, Reumah, is an Israelite. Because of a complex racial and religious heritage her life, in these Biblical times, is fragile and fascinating.

    Then, there is Barak who carried out the commands for the soldiers that were spoken by Deborah. Barak is another complex character. He wears the blue fringe around his garments which testify to the fact that he is a keeper of Torah law. Sadly, his flesh is weak. Too often, like Samson, a pretty woman can dismember his values like a Levite priest might disjoint an animal for sacrifice. It's not surprising how many lives are disrupted by his boundless appetite.

    I loved Uriel, the scribe. Uriel becomes Nogah's tutor and protector. He is old and wise beyond his years. There are many characters to despise and love in "The Triumph of Deborah." Along with the well rounded characters, there is interesting history. The gods and goddesses worshipped by the Caananites, the thirty day mourning period of the Israelites and the healing arts used during this era. For birth control, "insert a rolled-up strip of linen, coated with an ointment of beeswax mixed with olive oil..."

    It is impossible to read this book without feeling transported to another world. Eva Etzioni-Halevy has written a wondrous novel. I am left trying to hum The Song of Deborah in order to remember the journey I have taken in the past few days. I look forward to reading more books by this talented author, Eva Etzioni-Halevy. This is truly a magnificent novel.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    Marvelous in Every Way

    Ever since I was a little girl, and my parents took me to Church each and every Saturday morning, I have loved a good Bible story. I love hearing about people who lived so long ago that it almost seems unreal. And so, when I began to read The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy, I had high hopes. I was not disappointed.

    First off, it contains elements of some of my favourite things - A Bible story, history and a strong woman. Or shall I say strong women. The main female characters, Deborah, Nogah, Asherah/Oshrah and Reumah (and even Jael who wasn't around a lot, but had a HUGE role) are all powerful ladies, even in times of trial. They know what they need to do and they get it done - no matter what - with God's help and their own 'hutzpah'.

    The characters in the book are written in such a way that while I was reading, I could see them in my mind's eye and therefore lost myself within the story several times. I came to love so many of them, found I was worried about their well-being, wanted them to triumph and they became people I wanted to meet and know. (if only) The land also became a character to me. I love how Eva described the scenery so beautifully that I could imagine I was there and picture it perfectly even though I have never been to that part of the world before.

    Now I come to Barak. Like all the women in the story, I found myself falling in love with this powerful man! He's handsome and frightening and sweet all rolled into one. He's a good man, despite his faults.

    The Triumph of Deborah is rich in detail - both the people and the land. It's evident that the author left no stone unturned in her research and effort of being true to history and Biblical times. The sexual content is beautifully penned and not at all vulgar. I didn't want the book to end and was sad to see it do so. I already miss the people and wonder about how their children might have turned out had the story kept going. And now, without a doubt, when asked the question of which people in history I would 'have supper with if I could', Deborah is going to the top of my list. She is absolutely facinating to me.

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Triumph of Deborah Review *also posted at*

    I have always been a huge fan of Biblical fiction. I think it's in part due to the fact that the Bible is a never ending wellspring of characters with little information provided about their backgrounds. The possibilities for great stories to emerge are limitless and Deborah's story is certainly one of these.

    The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy is a page-turner that I could not bring myself to put down. The novel focuses on the great prophetess and judge, Deborah. Deborah is divorced by her husband of sixteen years, Lapidoth, due in part to her choosing the great warrior Barak as the leader of the Israel army in its battle against the Canaanites. The decision causes much upheaval in her personal life, but Deborah never wavers in her resolve, knowing that Barak is the only one who can save God's people.

    Deborah is not the only central figure in the novel; she is merely the powerful force that lays the groundwork for the plot. Her power and influence is not lost on the three other main characters or the events that transpire. Barak captures the beautiful and mesmerizing Canaanite princess Asherah after defeating the Canaanites. Along with Asherah, he brings back all the Israeli women held captive in the castle of Canaanite King Jabin. One of these women, Nogah, a half-Israeli half Canaanite slave girl, is also the half sister to Asherah. Nogah, with a heart of gold and the brain of a scholar, begins to fall in love with Barak even though he is bound and determined to marry Asherah.

    Barak is gruff, rugged, lovable, and completely delirious to what is transpiring between the half sisters in his household. He knows nothing of Nogah's ancestry and has become quite attached to her, yet remains fixated on her sister. Asherah, on the other hand, is hell bent on revenge for the deaths of the Canaanites, while also plotting to rid the house of Nogah.

    Deborah returns to judge the situation between the sisters, fully realizing the situation that is taking place. Nogah leaves the comfort and protection of Barak and his household when he marries Asherah, warning everyone to reveal nothing of her whereabouts. Her heart breaking, Nogah undertakes a journey of her own. Later seeking the council of Deborah, Nogah's path becomes clear. What she does not know is that the man she loves is desperate to find her.

    Deborah is a truly respectable character and woman, and this respect is not lost on the other characters. As Asherah, Deborah, Nogah, and Barak all find their respective ways, Eva Etzioni-Halevy brings their stories together. There are no loose ends in this beautifully descriptive book.

    Eva Etzioni-Halevy has also written two other books of Biblical Ficton, The Song of Hannah and The Garden of Ruth. I am anxious to read both of these and I hope they are as fluid, descriptive, and enjoyable as The Triumph of Deborah was.

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  • Posted May 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    highly recommended

    I had a sudden urge to read a historical novel this weekend. Since I own only a couple, the choice was easy. I had read a lot of reviews of 'Triumph of Deborah' and knew it was generally liked. So I didn't hesitate to pick it up.

    And yes, I liked it. In fact, I loved it. I had absolutely no knowledge about Deborah. So before reading the book I googled a little and found out that she was a highly respected prophet, a judge and a leader of Israel. And the fact that she was a woman and yet respected so much during that era was inspiring.

    Okay, let's jump to the book. Inspire of all her efforts, Deborah is unable to establish peace between the Canaanites and her people. Seeing that she has no choice but to go to war, she decides to appoint Barak as the chief. Barak is very young and inexperienced but she decides to trust him based on his past victories. Barak, although resistant at first, feels like he has no option. He leads Israel to victory against Canaanites.

    In the Canaan country, the King gives the responsibility of war to Sisra who also marries his daughter Asherah renowned for her beauty. The King has another daughter Nogah from an Israeli slave and whose knowledge is kept a secret.

    When Barak captures the Canaan Castle, he is smitten by Asherah's beauty, so he takes her as his captive. Nogah accepts a job as a maid in Barak's mansion. Thus begins a love triangle between Barak, Asherah and Nogah. Barak is smitten by Asherah and Nogah is in love with Barak, but Asherah hates Barak because she thinks he is responsible for her husband Sisra's death. She waits for an opportunity to kill Barak and make him pay for his deeds.

    Deborah, meanwhile, through her prophecies and her visions helps avoid another was between Israel and Canaan. In the end, Deborah, Barak, Asherah and Nogah help in bringing peace to the land.

    Deborah is very strong willed and admirable. She is true to her people and is willing to sacrifice her personal life as well. I was surprised that I had never read much about the love triangle in any of the reviews. Considering it takes up more than half of the book, it's a major part of 'Triumph of Deborah'. I love romance books so I was in fact happy that there was this angle to it. But I do think some people might be annoyed by the number of chapters dedicated to it. So I just thought of mentioning it here.

    I learned a lot about Deborah as a biblical character. The writing style is simple which makes it easier to get engrossed in the story. Although I won't call it a character driven novel, I felt strongly about all of them; be it Deborah, Nogah, Asherah or Barak. In fact I hated Barak. He was a womanizer and he let his lust overpower all his senses. Nogah, I thought, was a fool for loving a man like Barak. But love has no logic right?

    Conclusion: I highly recommend this book. I am definitely going to be on a lookout for Eva Etzioni-Havely's other books- The Song of Hannah and The Garden of Ruth.

    Rating: 4.5 rounded to 5

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  • Posted March 4, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    A voice given to biblical women

    I have read the third book of Eva Etzioni-Halevy " The Triumph of Deborah' and like her other two books" The Song of Hannah' and "The Garden of Ruth", I could not put the book down before reading to the last page. For these past few busy years I could not bring myself to finish one book, so reading The Song of Hannah, The Garden of Ruth and The Triumph of Deborah have really re-awakened my old love of reading.

    I have found the books so touching and have given me a new understanding of the lives of Biblical women. I have come to understand also the strife and pain of women having to be subjected to share their husband with another wife (as so vividly portrayed by Pninah and Hannah in the Song of Hannah). But we also see the intellectual, intelligent, strong and brave side of these women like Osnath in the Garden of Ruth" and the prophetess Deborah herself in "The Triumph of Deborah" In her remarkable talent Ms. Etzioni-Halevy has shed much light on these women who are portrayed as normal as one can ever be. Their everyday life is described to the minutest detail of how these women wore, ate, drank, cooked, thought, slept, struggled, felt and loved - so much so that these biblical figures come back to life and for the very first time women of ancient times are given a voice, an identity and a place in history along with their men,as they rightly deserve.

    The author brings us a new approach to the Bible - as seen through the Jewish matriarchs' eyes. And this is so much more interesting, more realistic and so much more captivating!

    I have enjoyed reading the book not only for the biblical story but for the wisdom and tenderness of only a woman that Eva Etzioni- Halevy has managed to portray to the reader. I am a Roman Catholic and I feel that Roman Catholics can adopt 'The Triumph of Deborah' (and the other two books ) of these Jewish biblical figures and make them their own as much as they belong to women of Jewish faith. The Bible especially the Old Testament is a book that binds together different faiths and books like "The Triumph of Deborah" can bind us all together even more.

    I will be looking forward to reading similiar books especially written by this great author!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2008

    A Great Read

    How wonderful to read of biblical female characters like Deborah who have qualities of strength and intuition, but yet have the ever present female side of love, and as every good story shows, confusion in love. Who has not wanted to run off with the man in uniform who leads the battle? Etzioni-Halevy does a brilliant job of taking us into the thoughts, minds and hearts of her characters, while at the same time painting a biblical visual backdrop that transports the reader as if you were actually living in those times. A great read. Sharon Greenspan, Attorney-Author, Riverwoods, Illinois

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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