Judges, a book about those who ruled and delivered Israel from oppressors. A judge served as a precursor to the kings of Israel, as they acted as rulers who led the people.
Judges picks up where Joshua left off, and it doesn’t take long for things to get nasty, real nasty. By Judges 2:10 we get this sad commentary, “…there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” What a sad testimony to the current and former generation. One failed to teach, and the other failed to listen. It simple was not enough that they adapted to the lifestyle of their parents… they needed to accept their God as well. They knew about God, but they did not know God.
The book of Judges works in vicious cycles over and over and over and over and over again! Many have described this cycle like a merry-go-round going around and round. They would disobey God, God would send judgment, they would cry out to God, God would send a deliver/judge, they would be obedient to God... and repeat.
Unfortunately, this imagery is only a half truth. Indeed, they went through this cycle round and round over and over, but each time it got worse. Each rotation they got further and further from God, and deeper and deeper into sinfulness. By the end of the book, we almost cannot recognize them anymore, as they are hacking a woman into twelve pieces and shipping her body all over the land. Morbid, I know, but this is the depths sin had taken them to. A better description of this book would be a spiral slide. Each rotation took them to new lows instead of an equal plane and starting point.
The book of Judges has thirteen judges, some more prominent than others, within its twenty one chapters. A major theme throughout the book is that Israel had failure because they failed to obey God in driving out the people. Instead they intermarried the people and served their gods. Those who were supposed to influence the world for God, were now being influenced by the world away from God.
The book covers a period of three hundred and fifty years of Israel’s history. It begins with the judge Othniel and finishes with the final judge Samuel. Some of the most well known judges are Gideon and Samson. The other Judges are: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, and Samuel.
As you read this book, see the warnings of God that straying from Him only results in heartache, failure, and disaster.