The Book of Judges

The time of Judges: Began around 1125 B. C., continued for several centuries.

Author of Judges: A few scholars say Samuel, but others do not find an author.

The Bible Story. In Judges 1-4, we read of the death of Joshua and the stories of Deborah, Barak, and Gideon. There are few things as sad as the declaration in Judges 2 about the apostasy of Israel and how they so quickly fell away from God after the death of Joshua. This shows what can happen when one generation fails to educate the next.

The book of Judges, in contrast to Joshua, is not about well-coordinated campaigns of mass numbers of righteous people; it is about individual initiative. It is about people who were courageous enough to act alone when everyone around them had lost their heads and a time when "Every man did what was right in his own eyes."

"Let your conscience be your guide" is not always good advice. Paul wrote to Timothy about those whose consciences have been seared with a hot iron (I Timothy 4: 2). Conscience can be broken down so that evil and good look just alike. By contrast, Hebrews 5: 14 tells us to exercise our faculties (spriritual senses) by study so that that we can better discern good from evil.

The book of Judges, then, is about the heroic men and women who were able to stand up against tremendous peer pressure to do what was right in the sight of God.

Judges 6-8: Gideon and Midian. Apostasy happens when people don't really FOCUS.

Judges 9-10: The wicked Abimelech son of Gideon. Tola, Jair, Jephthah. Again the people cried out to God for deliverance.

Judges 11-the judgeship of Jepthah. Military victory but personal defeat due to his rash vow which cost his daughter's life.

The question arises: What are some differences between good leaders and bad ones?

Judges 13-16. How could such a righteous one as Samson be carried away by an idolatrous Delilah? Easy . . . It's called the lust of the flesh (I John 2: 15-17)

Judges 17 and 18. Micah and the deceitfulness of the Danites.

Judges 19-21. ". . . every man did what was right in his own eyes." What a pathetic ending!

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