Date Written: 1050-517 BC
Judges covers the period from Joshua's conquest of the promised land to the life of Samuel. The "judges" are leaders that God raised up in
The book describes a cycle of sin and deliverance which the people of
There are six major judges about whom we know details: Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson. Deborah initiates the defeat of Sisera and his Canaanite armies. The Song of Deborah follows the story of the battle. Gideon is the ideal judge of
There is one "anti-judge" character in Judges: Abimelech. He is one of the many sons of Gideon. In an attempt to empower himself, he executes almost all of the sons of Gideon. But the people who supported him eventually turn on him and he dies a violent death. There are six minor judges who are merely mentioned in the book: Shamgar, Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon and Abdon. Each of them rules
During the period of the judges,
The point of Judges is that God rescues his people when they repent and executes his judgment on them when they rebel. It also shows us that righteous behavior is really important for the proper functioning of society. The Israelites should have conquered the whole land. They should have listened to the judges. They should have avoided idol worship. And they should have stayed away from infighting. We can also learn from the mistakes of the judges themselves: strength and power should be used for good and not for selfish or evil purposes.
By Mark Giszczak