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According to the timeline of the shoftim in the Artscroll Tanakh (supposedly based on the Vilna Gaon), Barak and Devorah served as judges of Israel at the same time. Why was it necessary for them both to be shoftim?

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  • The answer might be related to the midrash that states that Barak is Lapidot, aka Devorah's husband.
    – Harel13
    Apr 6, 2020 at 16:46

2 Answers 2

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The answer is in their story in Shoftim. Barak didn't want to be a Shofet unless Devorah agreed to lead with him.

Shoftim ch 4

8 But Barak said to her [Devorah], “If you will go with me, I will go; if not, I will not go.” 9 "Very well, I will go with you,” she answered....

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  • How does this answer the question?
    – Daniel
    May 27, 2014 at 16:33
  • Clarified answer
    – Shmuel
    May 27, 2014 at 19:06
  • So why call Barak a shofet at all? What did he do that is deserving of the title? It seems like he was really more of a general than a shofet.
    – Daniel
    May 29, 2014 at 16:30
  • Why is Shimshon called a Shofet? He didn't lead at all?! Thus, we see that one doesn't have to be an actual leader to get the title.
    – Shmuel
    May 29, 2014 at 18:52
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The Tanna D'vei Eliyah Rabbah 9 writes:

וכי מה טיבה של דבורה אצל ברק והלא דבורה במקומה וברק במקומו אלא כך אמרו חכמים ברק היה משמש את הזקנים בחייו של יהושע וכן חזר ושמש לאחר מיתתו לפיכך הביא הקב"ה אותו ונתן אותו אצל דבורה

Because what is better than Devorah besides Barak? Is it not (better) Devorah in her place and Barak in his place? Rather the Sages say that Barak served the elders in the lifetime of Yehoshua, and similarly he returned and aided them after his (Yehoshua's) death. Therefore, Hashem brought him and placed him beside Devorah.

So aside from being married, (as has been mentioned) which anyway ensured that they were in close proximity to one another, they also conceivably complemented one another from a judging perspective.

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