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25 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — Intro to Judges

Study 0 From the Book of Judges is: The Introduction of the Book of Judges


The author of the book of Judges is not known. The most likely date for the completion of the book is during the reign of David or the early part of Solomon’s reign (observe the favourable attitude to the monarchy implied in 19:1; 21:25).

The book opens with an introductory section, in two parts.  The first (1:1-2:5) gives extracts from a history of the conquests, stressing the failure of many of the tribes to possess their ‘lots’. It also tells how they were rebuked by the angel of the Lord.  The second (2:6-3:7) show the failing away after Joshua’s death and provides a summary of the salient features of the period.  The main portion of the book (3:8-16:31) gives the history of the judges, of whom twelve are mentioned, namely, Othoniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephtah, Ibazan, Elon, Abdon and Samson. It will be noted that the usurper Abimelech is not included. Six of the twelve judges (Othoniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephtah, and Samson) receive extended mention, whilst the other six are little more than named (for which reason they are sometimes referred to as ‘the minor judges’). The final section of the book (17:1-21:25). Narrates two instances of the moral and religious declension which characterized the period of the judges. The apostasy, lawlessness and immorality which they reveal are a vivid witness to a situation when ‘every man did what was right in his own eyes’ (17:6; 21:25).

The book bears testimony to the faithfulness of God, showing both His righteousness and His enduring mercy.  It contains some memorable examples of faith, and reveals also the hideous blackness of human sin. There is also much instructive teaching in it on the workings of God’s providence, especially in regard to the instruments which He can use in the working out of His purposes.