Book of Judges



With the reading of Judges we find Israel in the land and beginning to live under the law. Their leaders Moses and Joshua now are dead, but they have the Word of God. Two major things will be seen in this book.

First, there is the cycle of disobedience. They would be faithful as long as their leader was alive.   Then they would do evil in the sight of the LORD and serve other gods (2:11-13; vs. 17; 19). With such unfaithfulness to God would come the wrath of God (2:14; 20). God would then raise up various peoples of the land to oppress Israel (2:15).  After a period of such oppression, Israel would return to the LORD and petition for mercy.  The LORD would then raise up a deliverer (a judge, a military leader) who would defeat the oppressor and set Israel free (2:16; 18).  Then they would begin the cycle over.  [see the chart below, taken from Wilbur Fields, Old Testament History]

This cycle resulted in 13 such deliverers. These were not nationwide events. Sometimes the various oppressions and judges overlapped each other. This makes it difficult to actually date the events in the book although it gives such info as "the land had rest for 40 years" (3:11). The book itself covers about 300 years of history and fits into the period of 1350-1050 B.C.

The other outstanding point that is made is at the end of the book. "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25).  This reminds you of James statement that the wisdom of man is "earthly, unspiritual, demonic," and results in "selfish ambition, disorder , and every vile practice" (James 3:15-16).  When people turn away from God and His word it results in evil times.