Judges

by Arend Remmers

21 chapters

  1. Author and Time of Writing
  2. Purpose of Writing
  3. Peculiarities
  4. Overview of Contents

1.     Author and Time of Writing

As in many other books in the Old Testament the author of the book of Judges is not mentioned either. According to ancient Jewish tradition the author was Samuel the prophet, who lived at the times of Saul and David around the year 1000 BC.

The book of Judges describes the time after the death of Joshua (Judges 1:1; 2:8) up to the end of Samson's life (Judges 16:31).

The following statements in Judges indicate its origin at the beginning of King Saul's reign:

2.     Purpose of Writing

After Joshua's death the failure of Israel was more and more visible in

The unity of the people of Israel suffered much under these circumstances. God punished the tribes by subduing them to their enemies. But in answer to their crying unto Him the Lord sent them twelve judges and liberators. And yet these judges demonstrated their failure more and more.

The book of Judges is a book of human failure but also of God-given revivals and deliverances. We find the blessings of the people of God and their taking possession of them typically in the book of Joshua. In Judges the first decline of the people of Israel is described. Similarly the church (after a short period of blossom) quickly declined by sins and errors although God also sent her "liberators" many a times who produced short spiritual revivals.

3.     Peculiarities

a)     Seven Times of Decline and of Salvation

Chapter

3:8-11

Oppression by Chushan-rishathaim and Salvation through Othniel

Chapter

3:12-31

Ehud and Shamgar liberate Israel from the Moabites and Philistines

Chapter

4 - 5

Deborah and Barak defeat Jabin

Chapter

6:1-8:32

Gideon defeats Midian

Chapter

8:33-10:5

Tola and Jair

Chapter

10:6-12:15

Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon and Abdon

Chapter

13-16

Samson and the Philistines

b)     Periods of 40 Years (= Times of Trying, Testing)

- 40 years of peace under Othniel (chap. 3:11)
- 80 (2 x 40) years of peace under Ehud (chap. 3:30)
- 40 years of peace under Deborah (chap. 5:31)
- 40 years of peace under Gideon (chap. 8:28)
- 40 years of trouble under the Philistines (chap. 13:1)

- 40 years of decline under Eli (1 Samuel 4:18)

c)     Chronology of the Times of the Judges

The various indications of time concerning the periods of the judges are best explained as follows:

4.     Overview of Contents

I. Judges 1:1 - 3:7 Introduction - The Failure of Israel after Joshua's Death

Chapter

1

Israel's increasing Weakness in Fighting the Canaanites

Chapter

2 - 3:7

Israel's Apostasy after Joshua's Death

II. Judges 3:8 - 16:31 Seven Oppressions and Salvations

Chapter

3:8-11

Oppression by Cushan-rishathaim and Salvation through Othniel

Chapter

3:12-31

Ehud and Shamgar liberate Israel from the Moabites and the Philistines

Chapter

4 - 5

Deborah (with Barak) gains Victory over Jabin

Chapter

6:1-8:32

Gideon defeats the Midianites)

Chapter

8:33-10:5

Abimelech's Tyranny; Tola and Jair

Chapter

10:6-12:15

Jephthah slays the Ammonites; Ibzan, Elon and Abdon

Chapter

13 - 16

Samson and the Philistines

III. Judges 17 - 21 Appendix - Idolatry and Moral Decline in Israel

Chapter

17 - 18

Micah's Idolatry and the Tribe of Dan

Chapter

19 - 21

Immorality in Gibeah and Fratricidal War of Israel against the Tribe of Benjamin

Arend Remmers

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