I am encouraged by The Essential 100 Bible Guide. Many will be greatly helped by [the] choice of texts, insightful comments, and practical suggestions.”Charles W. Colson,
Chairman, Prison Fellowship
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Here in Australia "equal opportunity" is an employment law concept: the principle that everyone, regardless of gender, disability, race, etc. will be given an equal opportunity to be appointed to a job. In today's passage, God shows a complete disregard for any gender prejudice which might have been prevalent at the time of the Judges.
Deborah is both an ordinary woman (a wife and mother--see 5:7) and an extraordinary woman (a prophetess so filled with the Holy Spirit that she speaks the very words of God). The people of Israel trust and respect her to decide their disputes, and "heroes" such as Barak refuse to go to war without her beside them!
Notice how Deborah describes God as "the Lord, the God of Israel" (6) when she is talking to Barak rather than "the Lord your God." Barak is part of a generation that "did not know the Lord or any of the things he had done for Israel" (2:10 CEV). He is not content with God's promise of victory, he wants the wise woman there with him. A people saturated in idolatry always seek and worship what they can see and touch. And so the honor goes to: a woman.