Highlights of the Bible: Book of Judges

Highlights From the Book of Judges - Information for personal study


A vigorous account of the deliverances that Jehovah repeatedly performed for Israel through the Judges when Israel abandoned idolatrous practices and earnestly sought his help
Likely written by Samuel, the book covers about 330 years between the conquest of Canaan and the beginning of the monarchy
Background for conditions prevailing during time of the Judges (1:1–3:6)
After Joshua’s death, the tribes of Israel fail to drive the remaining inhabitants of Canaan out of the land
Instead, they intermarry with these pagans and are ensnared by their false religion
Jehovah abandons them to their foes; but from time to time he raises up Judges to deliver them
Deliverances from oppression when Israel abandoned false worship and called out to Jehovah for help (3:7–16:31)
Through Othniel, Israel is delivered from an eight-year subjugation to the Mesopotamian king Cushan-rishathaim
The 18-year domination by Moabite King Eglon ends when he is killed by Ehud, who then assembles an Israelite army and subdues the Moabites
Shamgar single-handedly strikes down 600 Philistines, thus saving Israel
Barak, encouraged by the prophetess Deborah, defeats Jabin, thus ending his 20-year oppression of Israel; Jabin’s army chief, Sisera, is killed by Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; Deborah and Barak commemorate this victory in song
Gideon is commissioned to deliver Israel from seven-year harassment by Midianites; Jehovah grants victory after he reduces Gideon’s army to just 300 men; Gideon subsequently refuses kingship
Tola judges Israel for 23 years, and Jair judges for 22 years
Israel suffers at the hands of the Ammonites; Jehovah provides deliverance through Jephthah, who subsequently carries out his vow to surrender his only child, a daughter, to Jehovah’s service
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon judge Israel a combined total of about 25 years
Jehovah gives Samson enormous strength and uses him to release Israel from a 40-year domination by the Philistines; his betrothal to a Philistine woman from Timnah gives him occasions to act against them; his betrayal by Delilah eventually leads to a situation in which he kills more Philistines at his death than he had killed in his lifetime
Further undesirable situations that developed during the time of the Judges (17:1–21:25)
In Ephraim, Micah sets up an image in his home and employs a young Levite as a priest
Certain Danites come to Micah’s house and later steal his idolatrous objects; they also take the Levite to serve as their priest
Men of the Benjamite city of Gibeah are guilty of a mass sex crime against the concubine of a Levite; failure to hand over the guilty ones for punishment prompts the other tribes to undertake a punitive war against Benjamin; the tribe is almost annihilated

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