Biblical Historical Fiction

The Prophetess by Jill Eileen Smith

theProphetessPaperback | February 2nd 2016 | Revell

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Canaan has ravaged Israel. The people are in hiding. All that stands between surrender and hope is one untested woman.

Deborah will never forget the day her father and brothers left to worship at the Lord’s tabernacle—or the wails of her mother after finding their bodies at the city gates. The memories of Canaan’s cruelty haunt her and all of Israel. Now in this dark time, the Lord calls on Deborah to lead His people away from the idols of other nations and back to Him.

Deborah never asked to be a prophetess or a judge over God’s people. Still, she cannot deny His voice or the visions that accompany it. Can her family ever understand? Will her people believe God’s calling on her life? And can the Canaanite menace be stopped?

My Thoughts

The biblical portrayal of Deborah paints the picture of a courageous and wise woman, renowned prophetess, and honored judge over Israel. In her latest novel The Prophetess: Deborah’s Story, Jill Eileen Smith captured every bit of Deborah’s scriptural essence while penning a character to whom modern women will relate. The Prophetess is the story of an ordinary woman called and equipped by God to lead a nation.

This novel found it’s strength in three artfully braided storylines. Much like the account in Judges 4, Barak and Heber the Kenite play large roles in the war against Israel’s oppressors, the Canaanites. The manner in which Smith fleshed out Deborah, Barak, and Heber’s backstories and brought them together cohesively proves she’s mastered her craft.

Jill Eileen Smith, for the purposes of my review I dub thee the “Queen of Conflict.” All joking aside, I found this story to be laden with fear and discord — the fallout of sin. In the wide scope, we see the effects of Israel’s struggle with idolatry (spiritual) and God’s judgement as delivered by the hand of Sisera (flesh and blood). Then on a more narrow scope, individual characters battle pride, grief, bitterness, and unforgiveness. To my relief, Smith is also adept at conflict resolution.

That being said I want to disclose how, for a majority of the book, I felt a niggling irritation over Deborah’s regard for her husband. Having turned the final pages of the book I now can appreciate the author’s choice for a few reasons. First of all, it established the preponderance of arranged marriages during the time period — some were made for love while others were not. Second, it served to highlight Deborah’s human fallibility and gave her character an area for growth. Finally, it allowed the author a means to deliver valuable Christian messages on love, marriage, parenting, and forgiveness. 

For readers a world away and millennia removed, Jill Eileen Smith brings the Old Testament account of Deborah to life. I believe this tale of repentance, rescue, and restoration will resonate with a broad audience. The Prophetess: Deborah’s Story is available now from Revell Books.


I received this book from the author for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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