The name Lappidoth appears only once in the Bible, in Judges 4:4, which states: Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. (NKJV)
Lappidoth was the husband of Deborah, who was a prophetess and judge over Israel during the time before the monarchy. Not much else is directly revealed about Lappidoth in Scripture. However, by examining the context and other Biblical passages, we can gain some insight into who this man was and what role he played.
Here are the key takeaways about Lappidoth:
- He was the husband of Deborah, an influential female leader in Israel.
- His name means “torches” and suggests he provided illumination.
- He supported Deborah’s leadership role, which was unusual for a woman.
- He may have administered justice under his wife’s authority.
- He was likely a man of integrity who walked in God’s ways.
Let’s explore each of these points in more detail.
The Husband of Deborah
The most basic fact we know about Lappidoth is that he was married to Deborah, who served as a prophetess and judge over Israel. Judges 4:4 states:
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
Deborah was an influential female leader who heard cases and settled disputes for the Israelites. The text implies she carried significant authority and wisdom from the Lord.
As Deborah’s husband, Lappidoth must have supported her unique role, which was highly unusual for a woman at that time. God gifted Deborah with spiritual leadership over His people, and Lappidoth embraced rather than resisted his wife’s calling.
The Meaning of His Name
The name Lappidoth means “torches” in Hebrew. It is derived from the word “lappid” meaning “torch.”
Some commentators suggest the meaning of this name provides insight into Lappidoth’s role in relation to his wife Deborah. Just as a torch illuminates the darkness, Lappidoth may have provided wisdom and insight to aid Deborah in her leadership position. His name implies he was a source of “enlightenment” to his wife and the Israelites she judged.
Lappidoth’s name also connects to the “lamp of God” mentioned in the life of the prophet Samuel:
So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD. Then the LORD appeared again in Shiloh. For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD. And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. (1 Samuel 3:19-4:1a NKJV)
Samuel provided illumination to Israel by speaking God’s words. Likewise, Lappidoth fulfilled a supporting role to his wife Deborah as she judged and gave God’s words.
A Supportive Spouse
Lappidoth demonstrated an humble, servant-hearted attitude by supporting the unusual leadership role of his wife Deborah.
In ancient Israelite society, leadership positions belonged almost exclusively to men. Yet God gifted Deborah with exceptional wisdom, discernment, and authority to judge His people. This went against cultural norms.
For a husband to willingly take a “back seat” to allow his wife to operate in her spiritual gifting required great humility and faith on Lappidoth’s part. He embraced a complementary partnership with his wife in which he supported her public leadership role. Their marriage modeled mutual submission, respect, and service under God’s direction.
Deborah was able to fulfill her demanding duties as a judge because she had the support of her husband. Lappidoth empowered his gifted wife to lead at a time when female authorities were rare.
Some scholars believe Lappidoth may have served in an official leadership capacity alongside his wife. The Biblical text is ambiguous on this point, but it is plausible Lappidoth administered justice under Deborah’s jurisdiction.
As a respected husband, Lappidoth could have helped carry out judgments and reinforced Deborah’s rulings with the Israelites. His intimate partnership with his wife in overseeing disputes is hinted at in Scripture.
For example, Genesis 2:18 says:
And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (NKJV)
Lappidoth was a comparable “helper” to his wife Deborah as she carried out her duties. He possibly acted as a co-judge and deputy in executing justice. This explanation fits his supportive role and illuminating name meaning.
However, Scripture does not definitively say Lappidoth judged alongside Deborah. He may have simply encouraged her work from home while avoiding the limelight himself. Either way, he clearly facilitated his wife’s ministry rather than hindering it.
A Godly Husband
Although few specifics are given about Lappidoth, the favorable context suggests he was a man of integrity who sought the Lord. Several indicators point to his godly character and obedience to Yahweh:
- His wife Deborah is described as a “prophetess,” indicating her strong spiritual reputation. It’s likely her husband Lappidoth also walked closely with God.
- He was comfortable allowing his wife to act as a civic authority, which was counter-cultural. This suggests he humbly submitted to God’s plan rather than societal expectations.
- There is no record of Lappidoth inhibiting Deborah’s leadership or engaging in wickedness as the husband of a judge. This implies he supported rather than exploited his wife’s status.
- God appointed judges when the Israelites demonstrated repentance and obedience. The fact Deborah judged Israel suggests the people were living righteously, including her husband Lappidoth.
Based on these indicators, Lappidoth was almost certainly an honorable man of faith who obeyed the Lord. His character permitted his gifted wife to flourish as God intended.
Lappidoth receives little explicit attention in the Biblical text. Yet examining the context around this enigmatic figure provides intriguing clues about who he was.
As the husband of Deborah the judge, Lappidoth supported his wife’s divine calling to lead Israel. His Hebrew name means “torches” – implying he brought illumination to Deborah’s role. He likely administered justice under her jurisdiction as a co-judge. Above all, Lappidoth appears to have been a humble, godly man who walked in the ways of the Lord.
Though largely forgotten by history, Lappidoth exemplified sacrificial service by empowering his exceptional wife. His legacy lives on as a model of servant leadership and faithful partnership in God’s mission.