What is the Book of Judges about?
- The book covers the period between the death of Joshua and the time of the judge Samuel, roughly 450 years.
- During that time there was no king in Israel.
- God was the king, and the judges were his servants who led the people.
- From time to time the people would turn away from God and God would send an enemy upon the land.
- The people would cry to God for help and he would set up a judge to lead them to victory.
- This pattern repeated throughout the generations until the time of Samuel.
Who were the main judges of Israel?
Othniel: Chapter 3
- Delivered the Israelites from the king of Mesopotamia.
Ehud: Chapter 3
- Assassinated Eglon, a very fat man, king of Moab.
- Led the Israelites in a victory against the Moabites.
Deborah and Barak: Chapters 4 & 5
- Fought against Jabin, king of Canaan, resulting in victory.
- Jabin’s army captain, Sisera, was killed by a woman, Jael, with a tent peg.
Gideon: Chapters 6 – 8
- Defeated the Midianites with only 300 men, in a night attack, using trumpets and torches concealed in pitchers.
Jephthah: Chapter 11
- Led the Israelites in victory against the Ammonites.
- Vowed to sacrifice to God the first thing that came out his house on his way home from victory.
- Unfortunately this was his daughter – although some think her sacrifice was merely a life devoted to temple service.
Samson: Chapters 13 – 16
- A Nazarite from birth – a special vow to God meaning he did not drink alcohol, or cut his hair.
- Samson had exceptional strength and used it to help fight the Philistines, Israel’s current oppressors.
- He was in love with Delilah, a Philistine woman, who enticed the secret of his strength out of him – his long hair – and betrayed him to the Philistines.
- Captured by the Philistines and chained in their temple, God gave him strength one last time.
- He pulled the supporting pillars down, destroying the temple, and killing all the Philistines and himself as well.
Lessons from Judges
- Although God sent judgment on the people, he always listened when they turned back to him.
- His mercy and concern for His people was ever present.
- The judges point the way to Jesus, the great Judge.
Next time – Bitesize Book of Ruth!