Judges - Apostasy and Failure of the Israelites

  • After the death of Joshua, Israel had judges instead of kings to rule.
  • No clear statement or indication of authorship occurs in the book, but many Bible scholars think Samuel was the author.
  • Judges is filled with sensational stories, as exciting as any of today’s headlines. It includes gruesome murders, sexual exploits, and superhuman feats of strength.
  • It was a period of terrible apostasy and immorality.
  • The period of the Judges is thought to have covered approximately three hundred years, but it could have been longer.
  • This book records seven apostasies, seven servitudes to seven heathen nations, and seven deliverances.
  • Twelve different judges are named in this book (some add Abimelech).
  • The chief judges were Deborah, Gideon, Samson, and Samuel.
  • Five of the judges about whom we know very little were Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon.
  • The judges were chosen by God to deliver the Israelites and then rule with justice.
  • Judges echoes with rebellion, retribution, repentance, and restoration. Then the same cycle repeats itself all over again, some six or seven times.
  • Each judge was divinely appointed and called out for a particular crisis.
  • Archaeology shows that the superpowers of Babylonia, Assyria, and Egypt were relatively weak during the days of the judges.
  • In general, the book of Judges is one of failures on the part of God’s people to trust His word and claim His power.

Warren Wiersbe gives the following suggested outline:

  1. Apathy: Israel’s wars (chapters 1-2).
  2. Apostasy: Israel’s woes (chapters 3-16).
  3. Anarchy: Israel’s ways (chapters 17-21).