The Book Of Judges
The Book of Judges is one of the saddest books in the Bible. It is the history of the judges (R. V. saviours) whom God raised up to rule and deliver an oppressed people. Here Israel’s history is set in the shadows and the record tells of Israel’s repeated departures from the living God, and the national decay of the people not merely for forty years but over 300 years. It is often called, “The Book of Failure”.
Key Word: Declension; Key Verse: (21:25).
The writer of the Book is unknown, although tradition assigns it to Samuel, the Prophet Judge. It is a compilation of the history of thirteen judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah-Barak, Gideon, Abimelech, To-la, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson. Some include, Eli the Priest-Judge, and Samuel, the Prophet-Judge making 15 in all. The chief of the judges were — Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson.
The message of the Book is written in the minor key and strikes the dominant notes of rebellion, relapse, retribution, repentance and rest. Another has put it, sin, servitude, supplication and salvation (2:11-19). It shows the perverseness and proness of the human heart to wander from God. While the Book faithfully declares the sad results of apostasy, it also tells out the matchless grace of God in restoration.
There are many things worthy of our special note in the consideration of the Book.
1. The Book unlike others has a double commencement (Chapter 2:69; chapter 1:1-2). Why? God’s order, His people are first seen in independence and then in declension.
2. It records one of the greatest battle songs in the world (Ch. 5).
3. It contains the first record in history of a woman, as Leader of a Nation (ch. 4).
4. It reveals one of the oldest parables in the world (Ch. 9).
5. There are seven apostasies —seven servitudes — seven cries to God — seven deliverances.
6. The Book has an historical value linking with Joshua (Jud. 1:1 to 3:6). (1) The history of the judges (3:7 to 16:31.) (2) An Appendix which reveals the awful spiritual condition and more declension of the times (17-21).
7. The Moral value of the Book—man’s failure met by the faithfulness of God. (a) “And the children of Israel did evil — Lord”; (b) “And the Lord sold them into the hands —”; (c) “And when the children of Israel cried — Lord raised up a deliverer who delivered them.”
Sin, Punishment, Deliverance. (Rom 6:23, Gal. 6:71 Ps. 103:8).
Joshua was a Book of victory. Judges is a Book of defeat.
Joshua treats of the heavenlies, but Judges of the earthlies.
Joshua records the conquest of seven nations in seven years. Judges speaks of seven apostasies, seven oppressions, and seven deliverances.
Joshua teaches us faith and courage: Judges, unbelief and discouragement.
Joshua is the Book of progress, Judges the Book of decline.
Joshua thrills with the song of freedom, Judges travails with the sob of bondage.
Joshua abounds with life in the Spirit, Judges acknowledges the life of the flesh.
1. REBELLION (4-3:6)
Israel in dependence and defeat (1)
Israel in declension (2-3)
(a) The rebuke of the Angel (2:1-5) (b) The death of Joshua Recalled (2:6-10)
Summary of the period (2:11-23)
Summary of the enemies (3:16)
II. RETRIBUTION AND REVIVAL (3:7-16:31)
40 years peace
Moabite, Ammonites, Amalekites 18 years,
Shamgar delivers from the Philistines
80 years peace
Deborah and Barak
40 years peace
40 years peace
Usurpation of Abimelech
Tola and Jair
Jepthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon
31 years peace
20 years peace
III. REJECTION (17-21).
(1) Religious life of the nation. (17-18). Idolatry
(2) Home life of the nation. (10). Immorality
(3) Political life of the nation (2021). Anarchy.