Book of Judges

A review of the “Book of Judges” from the Old Testament.

This paper discusses how the “Book of Judges” is an important section of the Old Testament both for its theological content as well as for its historical information. It studies its background from both an historical as well as liturgical standpoint, including an examination of the questions that the book leaves us with. It provides an overview of what is contained in the “Book of Judges” which is conventionally divided into three distinct sections and how derives its name from a class of temporary leaders in Israel who bore the title of judges during the historical period covered. It presents an historical examination of events in Israel beginning with the death of Joshua (one of the most important and visionary of Hebrew leaders) up to the point in Jewish thinking and Israel’s history just before the birth Samuel, another of the most important of the prophets. This period thus corresponds with the time that extends from the end of the Israelite conquest of Canaan (which occurred about 3300 years ago) to the beginning of monarchy two hundred years later.
The second section of the Book of Judges (from 2:6 to16:31) relates a series of trials visited on the nation of Israel by God. This section describes how were the people of Israel were delivered into the hands of their enemies time and again for the explicit reason of testing the nation of Israel. Each time the Israelites are tested, a new hero comes forward (or sometimes a heroine) to save the nation, by which the Israelites learn to trust that God will not deliver them into a situation from which they cannot escape.