Sermon Series – An Exposition of the Old Testament book of Judges

Overview of the Old Testament Book of Judges

Introduction to the Old Testament Book of Judges

An Old Testament book named after the prominent leaders raised up by the Lord to deliver his people.

The word “judge” in Hebrew also denotes the activity of governance, including warfare.

Author:

The book reflects a final editing of the material in the period of the early monarchy. No author is given but the Jewish Talmud, identifies Samuel, the last Judge and first prophet as the author.

Date:

The Period of the Judges ran from 1360 – 1017

Purpose and Theological Teaching:

The cycle of apostasy, judgment, cry for deliverance, and God’s raising up of a judge reflects a Deuteronomy perspective with its warnings concerning disobedience and judgment. The repetitiveness of the cycle supports the contention of the anonymous narrator that Israel remained unchanged by the grace of God.

The purposes of the book are;

  • to demonstrate the meaninglessness of this stage Israel’s development
  • to explain why the tribes did not occupy all the land promised to the patriarchs
  • to justify the way of God, who was gracious and patient with Israel’s repeated acts of disobedience
  • to set forth the legitimacy of a “shepherd” king in contrast to a despotic form of kingship
  • to explain the urgent need for a new momentum, lest Israel succumb to the Philistines and inter-tribal warfare

The period of the judges began with the death of Joshua (Judges 1:1; 2:8, 9). The Israelites had inherited a legacy from Joshua: the Law of the Lord (Joshua 23:6; 24:26), the land, a challenge to obey the Lord and a promise of God’s presence and help in subduing the Canaanites

The Judges of Israel

Judge

Old Testament Passages

Major Enemy

Dates

Othniel

Judges 1:3; 3:7-11

Mesopotamia

1361-1353

 

Ehud

 

Judges 3:12-30

 

Moabites

 

1313-1295

 

Shamgar

 

Judges 3:31; 5:6

 

Philistines

 

?

 

Deborah/Barak

 

Judges 4-5

 

Canaanites

 

1215-1195

 

Gideon

 

Judges 6-8

 

Midianites

 

1155-1148

 

Abimelech

 

Judges 9

 

 

1108-1105

 

Tola

 

Judges 10:1-2

 

 

1149-1126

 

Jair

 

Judges 10:3-5

 

 

1126-1105

 

Jephthah

 

Judges 10:6-12:7

 

Ammonites

 

1105-1099

 

lbzan

 

Judges 12:8-10

 

 

1081-1075

 

Elon

 

Judges 12:11-12

 

 

1075-1065

 

Abdon

 

Judges 12:13-15

 

 

1065-1058

 

Samson

 

Judges 13-16

 

Philistines

 

1085-1064

 

Eli

 

     I Samuel 1-4

 

Philistines

 

1107-1067

 

Samuel

 

I Samuel 1:20

 

Philistines

 

1067-1017