Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford: Ch. 2 Annotation – Deborah, the Prophetess

Gaskell Blog © Katherine C.

Then came Miss Jenkyns— Deborah, as she liked Miss Matty to call her, her father having once said that the Hebrew name ought to be so pronounced. I secretly think she took the Hebrew prophetess for a model in character; and, indeed, she was not unlike the stern prophetess in some ways, making allowance, of course, for modern customs and difference in dress. Miss Jenkyns wore a cravat, and a little bonnet like a jockey-cap, and altogether had the appearance of a strong-minded woman ; although she would have despised the modern idea of women being equal to men. Equal, indeed! she knew they were superior.

Hebrew Pronunciation: Dəḇôrā

The Prophetess Deborah was the only female Judge of pre-monarch Israel.  She was powerful and fiery and asked Barak, the leader of their army to battle against the King of Canaan to which he agreed on condition that she would accompany  them in battle; despite the odds they were victorious.

Miss Jenkyns has strong and powerful opinions. Her judgment is taken as rule in the Cranford society and she is ready to do battle with anyone who threatens her town or opinions.


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