By Practical Christianity Foundation, (PCF)
The book of Judges is the seventh book in the order of the cannon of Sacred Scriptures as assembled in the English bible. It comes after the Book of Joshua and precedes the book of Ruth. The book of Judges is one of the historical books mainly concerned with Israel's history immediately after they settled the promised land beginning with the conquest and capture of Jerusalem.
The Book of Judges tells the history of Israel following the death of Joshua. It is not a pretty story. Israel failed to obey Joshua’s instructions as they settled the land. They did not drive out its inhabitants as they were commanded. Instead, in some places they allowed the religious sites of the Canaanites to remain. As a result, the Israelites entered a period of instability, constantly threatened by their pagan neighbors. Often they succumbed to the temptation to worship the idols that dominated the religious landscape of their neighbors.
For nearly two hundred years following the death of Joshua, Israel survived as a nation without a king or a formal kingdom. They went through periods of terrible disobedience, sometimes conquered by the Canaanite tribes around them. Then the Lord would raise up a judge to bring some degree of stability. Often this judge was a warrior, who would raise an army among the tribes and drive out their oppressors.
The Book of the Judges of Israel also recounts the deeds and the biographies of the Judges who reigned over Israel during the pre-monarchical rule of the nation. during the judge’s lifetime, the people of Israel would worship the Lord and follow His commandments given to them by Moses. After the death of the judge, the people would slowly slip back into their previous disobedient ways, and the Lord would judge them with hardships and temporary subjection to neighboring nations. The cycle is repeated many times, under the judgeship of such leaders as:
However, it was not the threat of occupation by neighboring tribes that caused the fabric of the Hebrew people to unravel. It was the moral decay from within which brought destruction upon them. At the beginning of the book, the Lord told the people that He would no longer help them occupy the land. Instead, He told them: “So I have this to say, ‘I will not force them out of your way. They will be like thorns in your sides, and their gods will become a trap for you’.” Their conflict with the Canaanites was simply the Lord’s way of bringing them back to Himself. Even then, after the Lord had saved them from their enemies, the people returned to foreign gods. Because of their chronic rebellion and disobedience, their condition continued to deteriorate so that after Gideon’s death, the land no longer enjoyed peace.
Although the cycle of disobedience, restoration, peace, and then renewed disobedience repeats throughout the book, the story of Judges could be summarized as a history of Israel's downward spiral, and God's boundless mercy, Grace, and Providence which kept them from annihilation. . The fact that Israel survived is nothing short of a miracle. The Book of Judges records the witness that the hand of God saving His people despite themselves.
For more inspirational content: please visit our website.