Samuel and Deborah, Barak and Saul
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Samuel functioned as a judge (1 Sam. 7:15-17) and placed himself explicitly among the judges (1 Sam 12:11).

Like Deborah, he holds court for the people (1 Sam 7:15, Judg 4:4-5).1 But, there is another pertinent similarity; both command an army of 10,000 men (1 Sam 15:1-4, Judg 4:17-22 — via Barak in Deborah’s case)

We see in these parallels the point of the comparisson is that Barak follows Deborah, while Saul doesn’t follow Samuel. The similarities have to be contrasted in order to see Saul’s precipitous fall. If Saul is contrasted against timid Barak, we know he is acting rather badly.


  1. Samuel and Deborah are the only judges to do what English readers think a ‘judge’ should do — make judgments (the flip side of ‘judge,’ shofetim in Hebrew is ‘deliver’)
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From Madison, Wisconsin. B.A. Biblical Studies: Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. M.Div. Student at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario.

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