“The Prophetess” by Jill Eileen Smith
Book 2 in the Daughters of the Promise Land Series (each can be read alone)
Review copy source: Revell
My rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
About the book:
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 has another plan for her. Israel has been under the near constant terror of Canaan’s armies for twenty years, and now God has called Deborah to deliver her people from this oppression. Will her family understand? Will her people even believe God’s calling on her life? And can the menace of Canaan be stopped?
A story about Deborah, the judge, in the Bible sounded intriguing – I’ve never read a fiction adaption of that account before, so I was interested.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t really ‘click’ with the book, and didn’t like the portrayal of Deborah. All throughout this book, there were the “strong females” who were shown as better than the men – they were all headstrong, and disobedient, and it was portrayed as if it was a good thing. It disappointed me greatly.
I know everyone’s perception of Biblical accounts are different, but my personal thoughts are that if God chose Deborah for a judge, it was because He saw Himself in her – yes, she would’ve been human like the rest of us, but she would’ve had a heart after God, and would have been obedient to her husband as that is one of the traits God has desired in us.
There were several parts that had me rather appalled…
“She fought the urge to awaken Lappidoth and complain profusely to him. Complaining did no good….but she could complain in her prayers,” – she complained to her husband constantly, and was very discontent in all things. And though I know we do it, God instructs us not to complain – He doesn’t encourage it. Yes, we can bring all things to Him in prayer, but He does desire for us to make an effort to “give thanks in all things”. Now, I’m not saying I’ve never complained (I sadly do, too), but the way it was shown in the book…it was more like nagging. And Biblical book characters should be encouraging and uplifting, not frustrating.
“If God were a Canaanite goddess, Deborah would have her answer. Anat the warrior goddess stood behind Sisera’s success. Asherah stood behind Canaan’s fertility. Baal stood behind Canaan’s king.” – This did not sit well with me at all. She was comparing God to the fake goddesses, and making it sound like God was inadequate and not as strong as those goddess’.
“You push too much, Jael.” “It’s a wife’s job to do so, my lord.” – No. This saddened me. The overall theme of this book screamed of headstrong women and their disregard for their heads. Every one of them. We should not encourage this in books.
As the verse says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and he will not soon depart from it” – that verse applies to all of us. In our endeavor to write Christian fiction, it should be our goal to help train others up in the way of God – in every way. Not giving the opposite message.
Therefore I cannot recommend this book. :(
There were also a few historical inaccuracies – one of the things I’ve seen many times in different Biblical fiction is “she forgot her headscarf” – a Hebrew young maiden would certainly not have forgotten this. It was a sign of her purity, her modesty, her respect.
Also, in this book, Deborah quoted a piece of scripture that David wrote in Psalms, and she wouldn’t have had that in her time.
But really, my main concern and dislike for this book was the head-strong-ness and disrespect. It grieved me a great deal.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.*