The book of Judges has always fascinated me even when I was still a small child. The amount of disobedience that real pursued, and the overwhelming amount of grace God gave them amazed me. For every transgression the nation of Israel participated in, God provided them with counselors and unmeasurable forgiveness. Another reason I choose this book, was because I’ve never really understood or learned the history or context of these chapters and stories. This paper will explore the historical setting and time period that this book was written in, along with exploring the characters and themes running through the book of Judges.
The book of Judges has no self proclaimed author; nor is there any mention of who this author was. Many speculations and guesses have been made and mulled over, but the traditional Jewish speculation about the identity of the author is that it was written by Samuel, even though there is no way to support this claim. The book of Judges continues on after the end of the book of Joshua. The book of Joshua ends with the death of the leader of israel Joshua (the successor of Moses,) and the book of judges picks up with the Israelites being in the Promised Land that they finally reached after 40 years of wandering, and conveys the Israelites having to conquer and settle into their Promised Land of Canaan. This book is navigates through the time where the Israelites had no leaders except the judges, and ends before the rise of the monarchy and Israel’s first king. However, the book of Judges was a dark time. With moral depravity and corrupt indiviglas plainly displayed throughout the text illustrated what a tumultuous and politically charged time in the history of the Israelites. The name of the book comes from the twelve people called “judges. These Judges not only had judicial authority, but also had military and political influence and leadership roles as well. The book of Judges follow a very predictable pattern: after a period of peace and prosperity in the land, the people would sin, then God would need some foreign power to attack and punish Israel, and the last step would be the people repenting and crying out to God, who would forgive them and provide a judge to deliver them from their enemies. The cycle continues on many times throughout the book.
The purpose in the book of Judges is to show what happened during the years between joshu’s death and the establishment of a king and monarchy system over Israel. The Land was given to the Israelites by God and they were supposed to remain faithful to Him and to His covenant. However, following this, the three phase cycle (which I mentioned in the previous paragraph) of sin, hardship, and repentance continued on the entire duration of Judges. Finally, after many of generations of this cycle has passed many times, God established the monarchy covenant in Israel.
The first theme I am going to explore and discuss in the book of Judges is the crucial role of charismatic council and leadership during this time. What’s important to remember is that during this time, the Judges were not elected, or had the role of office passed down to them; nor could they pass their position onto anyone else, or give their Judge role onto their own children. This role of Judge was a completely unique leadership role, because these leaders arise and took on major leadership roles when they were needed. After realizing this, it can be affirmed that it was the Lord whom empowered these people and when the time came used them to lead the people of Israel once they’ve gone astray. It also appears that God did not choose these twelve judges based on their level of spiritually either. By no means where these judges flawless, or without fault. Samson married and sought companionship with Philistine women, Gideon preformed improper worship, and Jephthah even performed child sacrifices. In reality , the role of the judges boils down to one thing: they deliver the people. God raised them up for that purpose. It is fair to note, that though the judges all fulfilled their purpose and delivered their people, the means by which they accomplished this tasks wasn’t always justified. We see this especially clear in the story of Samson, who after many bad ill-advised choices, he finally fulfilled his purpose act upon his death, where he died tearing down a temple to a foreign god. This illustrates how God uses every choice, every situation whether it be bad or good, and uses it for His will and purpose.
Another Major theme that runs through the book of Judges, is the influence of the Holy Spirit among the Judges. God raises up leaders for the Israelites, but He didn’t stop there. Several times throughout this book, the Spirit of the Lord is mentioned during or before military operations or advancements. Though this isn’t the only case however. During the story of Samson, it is written the the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Samson. This happens three times,
During the events that follow, Samson spills blood and takes lives. In a way perhaps Samson was given authority and a rightful excuse to take life, perhaps not. Either way however, God’s purpose and plan was brought forth which is the ultimate goal of all things. Another time the Spirit of the Lord is mentioned in the book of judges is with two judges: Gideon and with Jephthah. In both cases, the Spirit of the Lord is mentioned before the troops of Serial were brought together. This may imply that the two above mentioned judges was granted by the Spirit of the Lord the power to bring and draw the tribes together and to cooperate with the rest of the tribes.
This book is especially relevant for today’s reading audience. One of the reasons it’s so relevant is because of the times we live in. Especially in America, it is a time of turmoil and lots of sin. Not unlike when the time of Judges took place. Christians especially are failing more pressured to adjust their religious lines in the sand, and their morality as well. The same idea can be applied to the israelites when they entered into the land of Canaan. They probably felt lots of pressure to conform to the various new religious statements, ideas, and ways of living. However, this doesn’t give them an excuse to worship or gods and makwe the real and one true God anything less. Another good reason why observing the Israelites in Judges is a good idea in today’s world: we can observe how the Israelites failed and sinned and gave into the conformity of the land. As a result of this breach of covenant and disobedience, the Israelites were punished by God. When we don’t stand firm in our believes and worship, we won’t receive God’s abundance or blessing.
In closing, the book of Judges is a book filled with examples of God’s mercy, human shortcomings, disobedience, conformity and God avenge His people. The historical implications of this book is great, as it shows the Israelites progress as the strive to take back the land that God promised to them so many generations before. Overall, i enjoyed the book and Judges and i hope more people read it, and understand the book for all it’s worth.