The Triumph of Deborah [NOOK Book]


The richly imagined tale of Deborah, the courageous Biblical warrior who saved her people from certain destruction

In ancient Israel, war is looming. Deborah, a highly respected leader, has coerced the warrior Barak into launching a strike against the neighboring Canaanites. Against all odds he succeeds, returning triumphantly with Asherah and Nogah, daughters of the ...
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The Triumph of Deborah

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The richly imagined tale of Deborah, the courageous Biblical warrior who saved her people from certain destruction

In ancient Israel, war is looming. Deborah, a highly respected leader, has coerced the warrior Barak into launching a strike against the neighboring Canaanites. Against all odds he succeeds, returning triumphantly with Asherah and Nogah, daughters of the Canaanite King, as his prisoners. But military victory is only the beginning of the turmoil, as a complex love triangle develops between Barak and the two princesses.

Deborah, recently cast off by her husband, develops a surprising affinity for Barak. Yet she struggles to rebuild her existence on her own terms, while also groping her way toward the greatest triumph of her life.

Filled with brilliantly vivid historical detail, The Triumph of Deborah is the absorbing and riveting tale of one of the most beloved figures in the Old Testament, and a tribute to feminine strength and independence.

The third book in Eva Etzioni-Halevys novels featuring women of the Bible. This is biblical fiction at its best.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In her third novel depicting women of the Old Testament (after The Song of Hannah and The Garden of Ruth ), Etzioni-Halevy, professor emeritus at Bar-Han University in Israel, turns to Deborah for inspiration, portraying her as the wise Jewish prophetess that she was in history. In ancient Israel, Deborah convinces the warrior Barak to proclaim war against the Canaanites. Against all odds, he succeeds in overpowering the much larger army, and Deborah is hailed as a true visionary. At the same time, a romantic triangle develops between Barak and his two female captives, one the recognized daughter of the King of the Canaanites and the other, the illegitimate daughter. Etzioni-Halevy breathes fresh life into a time period when women ruled both by spiritual force and by feminine wiles. Deborah, recently cast off by her husband, must struggle to not only provide for herself but also to carry the mantle of legal mediator for the tribes of Israel. This novel will be devoured by lovers of historical fiction and romance alike.-Marika Zemke, Commerce Twp. Community Lib., MI

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101219355
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/26/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 335,244
  • File size: 380 KB

Meet the Author

Eva Etzioni-Halevy is professor emeritus of political sociology at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She has published fourteen academic books and numerous articles, as well as two previous biblical novels. Born in Vienna, she spent World War II as a child in Italy, then moved to Palestine in 1945. She has also lived in the United States and spent time in Australia before taking up her position at Bar-Ilan. Eva lives in Tel Aviv with her husband; she has three grown children.
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Reading Group Guide

(NOTE: We recognize that reading is a personal experience, and we hope that the author interview and questions below will provide a springboard to provoke a lively discussion.)

Tensions between the Israelites and the Canaanites have been mounting for years, but finally Deborah—the wise and revered judge of the Israelites—decides it is time to strike out against the enemy before the enemy strikes in full force against them. She calls on Barak, an equally revered warrior, to lead the call to war. Under his leadership, the Israelites destroy the Canaanite army, and Barak takes as his prisoners the daughters of the late Canaanite king.

Deborah’s decision to rely on Barak, however, costs her dearly. Her husband Lapidoth divorces her, knowing Barak’s reputation as a womanizer and suspecting the warrior of ulterior motives in his dealings with her. Deborah, cast off and lonely, begins to develop an attraction for Barak—all the more complex because Barak has begun to develop feelings for his royal prisoners.

While Deborah, Barak, and the Canaanite princesses Asherah and Nogah struggle with their loyalties to their pasts and their present desires, the nation of Israel struggles to maintain its tenuous peace in the wake of a victory over its neighbor and enemy.

A romantic, masterfully written piece of fiction, The Triumph of Deborah celebrates the wisdom and the superior guidance of one of the Bible’s most powerful and wise women, while also exploring the complex nature of loyalty: to one’s nation, to one’s family, and to one’s own sense of self.


Eva Etzioni-Halevy is professor emeritus of political sociology at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She has published fourteen academic books and numerous articles, as well as two previous biblical novels. Born in Vienna, she spent World War II as a child in Italy, then moved to Palestine in 1945. She has also lived in the United States and spent time in Australia before taking up her position at Bar-Ilan. Eva lives in Tel Aviv with her husband; she has three grown children.

Q. This is your third novel written about biblical heroines. What about Deborah’s particular story did you find compelling?

A. I found Deborah’s personal tale, as described in the Bible, particularly intriguing. The scripture tells us that when Deborah instructed warrior Barak to go out to war against the Canaanites, who threatened Israel with destruction, he demanded that Deborah accompany him to the battlefield. It further recounts that she ended up going with him to his hometown as well. Yet she was a married woman and a mother, and the text does not indicate that the husband, Lapidoth, accompanied her, and certainly her children would not have gone out into the battlefield.

Long before deciding to write the novel, as I read the story, I began asking myself: what did her husband have to say about that? What would any husband say if his wife went off to distant parts with another man? It makes good sense that this created marital problems between them. Would they be able to overcome those problems? Further, I asked myself, what transpired between Deborah and Barak when they were together with no husband in sight? These were the aspects of Deborah’s story that I found most compelling, and they prompted me to write the novel, in which I used my imagination to answer these questions.

Q. You’ve had to do a significant amount of research in the past to write about the ancient Israelites. Did this new book require new research?

A. In addition to the research I used for my previous novels, I visited the major sites in which the action of The Triumph of Deborah takes place, not once, but twice. These sites include the River Kishon, Mount Tabor, Hazor, where there are excavations of King Jabin’s castle (although you need to use a bit of imagination to visualize how it looked then, in contrast to what it looks like now), and a nearby museum that displays artifacts from the castle.

By the way, as a teenage girl, I lived for three years in a town, which is close to both the River Kishon and Mount Tabor, so I have been familiar with the sites since my youth.

Q. One of the subjects of the novel is judgment. There’s Deborah’s revered judgment atop the Mountains of Efraim; the Canaanites’ judgment of the Israelites, and vice versa; and then individual characters judging one another (with or without enough information to make a sound judgment). Did you have a particular theme in mind when you began writing the novel? Did it ever change? What would you consider the most powerful message of the book?

A. The theme of judgment is certainly prominent in the novel. But, importantly, The Triumph of Deborah brings to life one of the most beloved biblical figures, Deborah, who was not “merely” what we might call today the Chief Justice of the land. In addition, she was also a prophetess, that is, the highest religious authority and an adored political leader, something in the nature of a contemporary president. Arguably, Deborah was the most eminent woman in the Bible (Old Testament.)

To my mind, the most powerful message of the novel, directly based on that of the Scripture, is that Deborah succeeded in attaining this outstanding position, despite the fact that the circumstances for women—their legal position and status in the family—were most limiting at the time.

Further, the novel shows that in her own life Deborah was very much a woman, and that her femininity did not detract from her stature as national leader. Thereby it pays tribute to Deborah’s feminine strength and independence, from which present-day women, seeking to build lives of their own and assert themselves in whatever they choose to do, may derive inspiration. The lesson that women today can learn from Deborah is: “I can do it. No matter how difficult the circumstances, I can overcome them.”

As with Deborah, so also with women attaining high-ranking positions today: There is no evidence to show that they are less feminine (attractive, gentle, showing empathy to others, motherly) than stay-at-home moms.

Finally, The Triumph of Deborah describes a prominent woman leader who led her people to war but also to peace. Hence it should be of special relevance in an American presidential election year in which a female candidate is a frontrunner, a year in which the topic of female leadership in time of war and peace will be most prominent on the agenda.

The message that emerges between the lines of the novel is that a woman leader is capable of leading her nation to war whenever necessary, and to peace whenever possible.

Q. Do you see yourself continuing to explore your roots through these stories about biblical heroines? What do you find most rewarding about creating historical fiction that is also based in your faith?

A. It so happened that rather late in life, as part of searching for my Jewish roots, I began reading the Bible on my own, and I was fascinated by it.

What enthralled me was that the people described in it, although they lived thousands of years ago, were so strikingly similar to us in their hopes and fears and anxieties. That so much has changed, yet human nature has not. I took an amazing journey thousands of years back in time, yet when I arrived, I felt myself back at home.

I was also enchanted by the fact that the people in the Bible, even the most exalted heroes and heroines, are described not as angels, but as true human beings, with strengths but also with weaknesses, many of which stemmed from their sexuality, and also by the fact that the women in particular are presented as intensely sexual persons.

I began to identify in particular with the women, whose feelings and impulses I could visualize as if they were my own. So I began to write about them, stories of love and betrayal and redemption through more love and friendship, written for reading pleasure, yet meticulously faithful to the Bible—a divine yet also a very human collection of books.

What I find particularly rewarding is that I was attracted to those heroines as part of searching for my roots in my faith, and the more I wrote, the more my faith was strengthened. Certainly I hope to continue in this vein.

Q. Are you writing anything new right now? What can we expect to see from you next?

A. I am now working on my fourth novel about women in the Bible, tentatively named The Ruse of Tamar. It concerns the second Tamar in the Bible, the daughter of King David, she who was the victim of incestuous rape by her brother Amnon. Based on the biblical text, the novel depicts the trauma that the abuse caused the young girl to suffer, and then goes on to show how in time she succeeds in rebuilding her life through her feminine strength and her love for a mysterious young man, whose true identity is revealed only toward the end of the novel. All this takes place against the backdrop of various intrigues in King David’s court, which are described in the Bible and elaborated on in the novel.

However, the novel is still at an initial and rudimentary state, and I can only hope that my readers will bear with me for a while, until I bring it to its conclusion.


  • This book begins with two women looking out from “high places”—Deborah, from the mountain where the battle between the Israelites and the Canaanites had begun, and Asherah, the beautiful young daughter of Deborah’s enemy, the Canaanite king, from the roof of her father’s castle. The book also follows a third young woman, Nogah, the product of King Jabin’s affair with an Israelite slave woman. Whose story did you personally find most compelling? Which woman did you sympathize with the most, and who did you sympathize with the least?
  • At the start of the novel we learn about Deborah’s problems with her own husband of sixteen years, Lapidoth, and his jealousy of her relationship with Barak (which, up to that point, is a professional one). Was Lapidoth’s divorcement of Deborah as surprising to the reader as it was to Deborah?
  • When Deborah not only agrees to consider Barak’s terms, but willingly fulfills those terms upon his return from battling the Canaanites, how does her character change? Is she wiser or more foolish for her affair with Barak? Consider how this particular experience affected her ability to judge people fair and objectively.
  • Discuss Sisra’s death. Did Jael deserve to be ostracized for her actions, or were they actually heroic? Consider the difference between Deborah’s approval of Jael’s actions, and Barak’s reaction. How very different would the story have been if Sisra had died in a more expected manner?
  • Nogah goes from being a slave in the royal Canaanite palace to becoming one of its noble members almost overnight. This transition allows her to appreciate both aspects of her heritage—that of her Canaanite father and her Israelite mother. Discuss how Nogah’s knowledge and respect for both people make her a key player in the conflict between the two nations.
  • While the book follows primarily the thoughts and actions of its female characters, it also allows brief glimpses into the psyche of Barak, the courageous and cunning warrior who stops the Canaanite threat to Israel. How do we see Barak change over the course of the novel? How would you describe him at the onset of the conflict with the Canaanites, and what qualities does he take on (or shrug off) by the novel’s end? Is he a likeable character? Is he as compelling to the reader as he is to Deborah and Nogah?
  • While Asherah has had a far more privileged background than any other character in the book, she proves to be intelligent and resourceful as she plots to kill her new husband as revenge for the death of her first husband, and as she tries to diminish Nogah’s place in Barak’s household, and in his heart. Discuss how her own allegiance to her Canaanite background is both her saving grace and her undoing. Compare her devotion to her homeland to Nogah’s devotion to Israel and its people.
  • Nogah’s trip to see Deborah, and then to leave the scroll she has created with Gilad in the house of the Lord in Shiloh, marks a transformation in the young woman’s life. Discuss the extent of her accomplishment: obtaining Deborah’s version of the tale, plus the Song of Deborah, and gaining Deborah’s approval; then traveling to Shiloh and convincing the elders to house the scroll there. What does this do for Nogah’s sense of self, and for how others view her? How does she change as a result of the trip?
  • Describe the trajectory of the relationship between Nogah and Barak, and how both characters became better people for their interaction with one another. What was Barak forced to realize and accept? What did Nogah teach him? What did Nogah learn about the desires of the human heart—similar to what Deborah learned through her separation from Lapidoth?
  • When Lapidoth fathers another child with a servant, what parallel emerges between the Israelites and the Canaanites? Consider the way Deborah dealt with the news of the servant girl’s pregnancy, and how it affected her relationship with Lapidoth. What good came out of this situation?
  • Consider the final meeting of the Canaanites and the Israelites under Mishma’s roof. What does this scene tell us about what has been gained and what has been lost by both nations?
  • How realistic is Etzioni-Halevy’s portrayal of ancient Israel? Does this story feel true to its biblical roots? What makes these characters from an ancient time relevant to twenty-first-century readers? What common struggles do we share?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • 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 September 10, 2008

    Wonderful Telling of Deborah's Compelling Story

    Originally published at BlogCritics magazine by Barbara Barnett The Biblical story of Deborah tells of a strong woman a leader within her tribe. Found in the book of Prophets (Judges, chapters four and five), it is unique in several ways. Deborah was a rarity in the Bible (again, in several ways): she was one of only a very select few female prophets, and, unlike so many other women in the Bible, she had a name. But similar to her antecedents Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah and even Miriam, she was smart, strong and brave. The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevi novelizes and speculates about the characters and situations in the already very dramatic story of Deborah, her general Barak, Yael and Sisra. She is part of a long tradition¿an ancient tradition of mining Biblical texts to craft stories and present underlying meaning to the nearly-always sparely written ancient prose. It is an art called ¿Midrash¿ in Jewish tradition. We don¿t know how a woman got to be a ¿judge¿ (a tribal leader), and how she came to know and command Barak. We don¿t know anything about Deborah¿s husband except his name, Lapidot. We know only that Deborah sat beneath her tree and ruled. She went to war against a powerful enemy of ancient Israel and triumphed to become a legendary national hero. Likewise, we know little about Yael, the young woman who ended the life of the General Sisra, who led Jabin¿s army against the Israelites. We know only that she lured the battle-fatigued Sisra into her tent with the promise of milk and food. And then she drove a tent peg into his head. (Dramatic stuff, even for the Bible.) The Triumph of Deborah gives us much drama (and melodrama) upon which to chew. It¿s a very nicely written novel, filled with rich detail and a sense of history, that has appeal for anyone who wants to read the story of a great (and very human) heroine. Although it is set in ancient Israel, Deborah¿s story as told by Etzioni-Halevi is timeless and a good read. It¿s an excellent addition to a growing genre.

    2 out of 2 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2015

    freee Free christian novel

    Full disclosiour of the anthorus intent in writing this book

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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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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Strong Women of the Bible

    The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-HalevyGenre: Biblical FictionThree women, each from different worlds, have their lives thrown into turmoil by the Israelite warrior Barak.Deborah, a prophetess and judge of Israel, offers him her body if he will take command of the Israelite warriors and defeat the Canaanites. When he does these things _ she gives what she promised and falls for him.Naava is a Canaanite princess _ but not your traditional one. She is the daughter of the king and a woman he kept as a slave. She has worked as a slave her entire life. When Barak takes the castle and takes her as one of his captives he doesn't know of her royal status. He takes her as one of his many lovers and Naava falls hard for him.Asherah is also a Canaanite princess. She is beautiful and smart and married to the leader of the Canaanite warriors. Like her sister, Barak takes her as one of his captives and decides he is going to make her his wife. Unlike her sister, she does not fall for Barak but instead wants revenge for the loss of her husband.The characters in the book were a mix of historical and fictional, but the way they are represented and described, you would never know which are which. Each character has a well developed back story, personality, desires, life. You develop an attachment to the characters and want what they want (I was especially attached to Asherah's story, right from the beginning). I didn't know anything about this period in time or the people in this book and like usual I went outside the text to find some background information. Interestingly, almost everything I found (from biblical texts as well as general internet searches) was included in the book. The author did an amazing job of keeping the book true to what is known to have happened while filling in the gaps history left behind.These women are strong women. Each one faces hardships, tests of character, moral decisions _ like each of us face every day. Even though these events took place a very long time ago _ they are still relevant to today. Women still face similar hardship and can still respond in similar ways.I have never been to the part of the world where this story is set, but the author takes careful time to describe it and it feels now like I have been there. It is so real to me and beautiful.Eva Etzioni-Halevy has 2 other books about strong biblical women out currently and is working on a fourth.4.5 out of 5 stars

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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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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 September 7, 2009

    Unfortunate Take on a Godly Woman (and Man)

    While Eva Etzioni-Halevy can definitely spin a tale, I am flabergasted that she would take two historical figures and assume they were so obsessed with sex that it drove all their decisions. I have studied both Deborah and Barak at length and very little in her novel even remotely resembles truth where those two are concerned. It is a sad day when God's people are trashed in such a manner and advertised as a good book. I wonder if Ms. Etziono-Halevy would enjoy someone taking such liberties with her life story.

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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

    more from this reviewer

    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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