Judges Chapter 00



The Book of Judges is a record of violence and bloodshed, so much so, that many wonder at its purpose in the Divine record. It records the great national calamity that overtook apostate Israel, the moral decadence of the nation, their abject failure to live up to the high ideals of the Law of Moses. Basically it is a record of failure, and in this fact, we have the reason for its inclusion in the inspired Scriptures, for as Paul noted: "All these things happened unto them for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages hath come" (1 Cor. 10:11).

Joshua, the man of courage, had done his work well; the nations of Canaan lay prostrate at his feet, and all organised resist ance against Israel was now crushed. It only required individ ual initiative now to seize upon the inheritance that Yahweh had apportioned them. The people had been exhorted when they left Sinai, "Behold, I have set the land before you,- go in and poss ess the land which Yahweh swear unto your Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give unto them, and to their seed after them" (Deut.1:8).

Faithful Caleb obeyed this injunction. His faith was a living faith. He saw the need to co-operate with Yahweh in gaining his inheritance. He took the initiative, having full confidence in Yahweh who had promised him a portion of this land. His words are full of exhortation: "Now therefore, give me this mountain whereof Yahweh spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and the cities were great and fenced; if so be Yahweh will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out as Yahweh said," (Josh.14:12). This outstanding attribute which Caleb manifested whereby he showed initiative based upon confidence not in himself, but in Yahweh, is also seen in his daughter, who finds mention in the first chapter of Judges. There she is seen as the wife of Othniel, the first judge, who being given to him by Caleb her father, was not content with the inheritance allotted to them, but showed her love of the land by requesting of her father a further portion of it in order that she may settle down with her husband to an existence in the Promised Land (Judges 1:15). This spirit was not in evidence in the rest of the people; they lacked faith, and had no confidence in the ability of Yahweh to deliver them.

The great lesson of the Book of Judges is "Failure through Compromise." David, in commenting upon the history of this era, says, "They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom Yahweh commanded them: but mingled among the heathen, and learned their works," (Psa. 106:34-35). Because of this sad fact, Judge became the record of violence that it is. Four times in this book, we have this statement that "There was no king in Israel, every man did that which was right in his own eyes" Judges 17: 6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25, and the shocking record of immorality and of violence is graphic evidence of this truth. For Israel there was no king, when in reality, Yahweh ruled over them. They wished to walk by sight and not by faith, and in so doing, they tragically failed to live up to the high ideals which had been set before them.

In these brief notes on some of the highlights of the earlier chapters of Judges, let us heed the exhortation that is present. To compromise with the things of the truth is to fail, and the tragedies which will overtake us eventually, will only be the result of doing that which is "right in our own eyes."


Time of Writing

We note that during the early history of the Judges Jerusalem was still in the hands of the Jebusites (Judges 1:21). The city was not actually taken until the days of David (2 Sam. 5:6-7), although it would seem that Joshua had captured the city and temporarily held it (Joshua 12:10, Judges 1:7-8), so that we may reasonably infer that the book was written before the actual overthrow and securing of the city by David. It was evidently written after the establishment of the first king in Israel as the writer was familiar with the regal form of government (17:6, 18:1, 19:1).

"Unto this day" is a phrase which occurs throughout the book from chapter 2:6 to chapter 16. The last time this phrase is used ia in chapter 15:19 and so we can infer from this that it was evidently written after the time of Samson, a period recorded in chapter 16.

In Judges 18:30-31, we have mention made of the "captivity of the land". However, this does not appear to be a correct translation of the original, and many read this as the "cap tivity of the ark". This would appear to correspond with a statement in verse 31, "all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh". Taking into account the historical evidence of subsequent events it would appear that these verses should be read in this fashion, "And the children of Ban set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses (not "Manasseh" as in the A.V.), he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the ark, and they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the ark was in the house of God in Shiloh."

In co-relating these facts, the evidence points to Samuel as being the author of the book of Judges: Jerusalem was still in the hands of the Jebusites, the book was evidently written after the first king,' and before the days of David: It would seem to have been written after the time of Samson, and just prior to the captivity of the ark, the record of which is in the first of Samuel chapter 4, and occurred during the days of Samuel himself.

The Divisions of the Book

There are three main divisions of Judges:

Section 1: Chapter 1:1 - 3:6

The failure of Israel to consolidate their inherit ance.

Section 2: Chapter 3:7 - 16

History of the twelve jud ges.

Section 3: Chapter 17 - 21 Two appendices to the Book

Appendix 1 - Chapters 17 and 18 - Corruption of Doctrine

1. Includes:

The story of Micah the petty thief, a man of Ephraim who set up a false worship in his home and hired a Levite to be his priest. Judges 17.

2. The history of the tribe of Dan, who having failed to take their inheritance from the Philistines who were settled on the Maritime Plain, now turned inland seeking another region to settle their tribe. In their journey-ings they passed by Micah's home, persuaded the Levite to leave Micah and to go with them and from then they trav elled northwards where they settled down in a new inher itance adopting the Levite's apostate religion and estab lishing it in the north of Israel. Judges 18.

Appendix 11 - Chapters 19 and 20 - Corruption of Practice

1. This deals with the outrage of the Levite's concubine by the man of Gibeah. The incident illustrates the moral decline amongst the people of Israel (Judges 19 and 20).

2. The virtual extermination of the tribe of Benjamin as a form of punishment against the men of Gibeah and the restoration of that depleted tribe (Judges 21).

These incidents recorded in the last four chapters of Judges evidently took place early in the history of the book, probably in the days of Othniel, for the following reasons:


1. In Judges 19:1, we have the phrase, "It came to pass in those days" which connects the two appendices so that both stories relate to the same period of history.

2. In the second appendix, Dan was already established in the north (Judges 20:1). Their establishment there is recorded in Judges 18:29.

3. In the second appendix, we have mention of Phinehas the son of Eleazar (Judges 20:28), who was a prominent figure during the wilderness wanderings of Israel prior to their entrance into the land. He it was who was instrumental in overthrowing Baalamite influence in Israel. (Numbers 25:7-8) and in the hostilities that arose soon after the settlement of the tribes, he again is prominent in the reconciliation which took place at that time (Joshua 22: 13-14). In reviewing these facts, it will be appreciated that Phinehas must have been in the first generation that entered into the Promised Land, and that if he is mentioned in the second appendix of the Book of Judges, which in point of time precedes the first, it will be obvious that both appendices relate to the earliest history of the time of the Judges.






Othniel (Judah)

€ Force of Ail €



Ehud (Benjamin)

€ United €


Eglon of Moab, Ammon & Amalek

Shamgar (Naphtali) to

€ Cup-bearer €



Deborah (Ephraim)

"Bee" ("Orderly motion.")

4 and 5

Jabin and Sisera North Canaan

Gideon (Manasseh)


6 to 8


Tola (Issachar)

"Crimson Grub"



Jair (Gilead € East of Jordan)

€ Enlightener €



Jephthah (Gilead East of Jordan)

€ He will open €



Ibzan (Zebulon)

€ Splendid €



Elon (Zebulon)

€ Oak € € € Grove €



Abdon (Ephraim)

€ Slave €



Samson (Dan)

€ Brilliant sunlight €

13 to 16



FAITH is a necessary factor in overcoming the difficulties of life. The principle is enunciated by David that, "No king is saved by the multitude of an host, a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. "(Psalm 33:16). In the Book of Judges, Yahweh used the most insignificant means to impress the lesson of faith.

Deliverance came to Israel by means of:

  1. A left-handed man and a dagger (3:15-16).

  2. An ox-goad (3:31).

  3. A tent peg (4:21-22).

  4. A woman (5:7).

  5. Three hundred men with pitchers and lamps (7:6,16).

  6. A woman and a stone (9:53).

  7. A social outcast, Jephthah (11:2-3).

  8. The jawbone of an ass (15:16).

Another grand principle of the Book of Judges is the fact that SIN brings SUFFERING, whilst SUPPLICATION brings SALVATION. The constant repetition of this principle is seen in the six major portions of the Book of Judges, as demonstrated in the follow ing illustration:






Israel did evil.-they served Baalim

The anger of Yahweh hot against Israel Sins. Cushan-Rishathaim.

And when Israel cried unto the Lord

The Lord raised up a deliverer even OTHNIEL

Israel did evil again in the sight of Yahweh

The Lord strengthened Eglon King of Moab

But when the children of Israel cried to Yahweh

The Lord raised up a deliverer even EHUD

Israel did evil in the sight of Yahweh when Ehud was dead...

And Yahweh sold them into the hand of Jabin, King of Canaan

But when Israel cried unto Yahweh

Deborah a prophetess. judged Israel at that time. He called also Barak

And the children of Israel did evil

And Yahweh delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years

And the Children of Israel cried unto Yahweh because of the Midianites

And there came an angel unto GIDEON

And the Children of Israel did evil and forsook Yahweh

And His anger was hot and He sold them into the hand of the Ammonites

And the Children of Israel cried saying, "We have sinned against thee."

Then the spirit of Yahweh came upon Jephthah.

And the Children of Israel did evil again in the sight of Yahweh

And He sold them into the hand of the Philistines forty Years

Cry probably included in Judges 10:15

And the angel of Yahweh said he (Samson) shall begin to deliver Israel.


The Book of Judges fits into a historical setting that is highly typical of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are four books of the Bible which in sequence, tell the story of the first and second advents of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are - Joshua, Judges, Ruth and the Books of Samuel. In the Book of Joshua, we see how Joshua made it possible for every individual Israelite to gain his inheritance in the land. In the Book of Judges we read of the failure of Israel to make the most of their opportunities, whilst in the Book of Ruth we have a record of individuals manifesting faith and courage dur ing the turbulent period of the judges. When we come to the books of Samuel, we see the kingdom set up under David, who as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, rules over a united Israel exercising dominion over a world empire, with justice and righ teousness being the established order of David's reign.

Now like Joshua, Jesus has conquered that which holds all man-king in slavery and bondage, the power of sin (Heb. 2:14). By so doing, he has made it possible for individuals to find sal vation and an inheritance in the Kingdom of God (Eph. 1:11). During his leadership of Israel, Joshua exercised a tremendous influence for good upon the people: so we read concerning him, "And Israel served Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua." (Joshua 24:31).

Similarly with the Lord Jesus Christ, we find the ecclesia well organised and faithful to their cause due to the work of Jesus and his apostles. When they passed off the scene, we find in the Book of Revelation the tragic decline of those ecclesias. In keeping with this typical history, the record of Judges shows the state of Israel once Joshua and the elders had pass ed into the article of death. It was an era when "every man did that which right in his own eyes", when there was no vis ible king in Israel, and when salvation was emphatically an individual matter.

Today we live in the anti-typical period of the Judges. It be hoves us to make a realism of the presence of our King, to make sure we walk not according to what we think is right in the sight of our own eyes. For an illustration of the way in which we can conduct ourselves midst a perverse and degenerate soc iety, we can turn to the book of Ruth. Here we note in ch.l verse 1 the statement, "Now it came to pass when the judges ruled € ; midst all the violence and corruption of the day Boaz conducted his affairs with the utmost dignity and with due re gard to the laws of God. He was a man of principle, who influenced all those who came under his jurisdiction, and who 2 to maintain a household of faith midst a nation immersed in apostacy. Ruth, a Moabitish woman, not of the Commonwealth of Israel after the flesh, came into this society and embraced that hope of Israel which had been taught her by Naomi. Here we see an outstanding example of faith; a Gentile woman embracing the Jewish hope, when Israel themselves had abandoned it in favour of the gods of Canaan.

In type, Ruth exhibits the Gentile ecclesia called out from the land of death (Moab), into the glorious liberty and freedom of the land of Israel, where she lived in accordance with Divine principles, even though on every hand there was the evident token of unbelief and disobedience.

Finally, in the Book of Samuel, we find David elevated to be king over all Israel; Yahweh had at last raised up "a man after His own heart, who would perform all His pleasure." Like Christ whom he typified, David brought a measure of stability into the Kingdom of Israel, "David reigned over all Israel, David executed judgment and justice unto all his people" (2 Sam.8:15).

We await the time when the Lord Jesus Christ shall return to take up his power and bring Divine justice to bear upon the nations, and in the intervening period of waiting we must re sist all the encroachments of this present way of life and not succumb to the world as Israel did, to the nations of Canaan.


Swahili Title
Waamuzi sura ya 1
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