About this book
The book of Judges tells how the Israelites kept rejecting the Lord and worshipping idols. Each time they did this, the Lord punished them by letting other nations attack and defeat them. As a result, the Israelites turned back to the Lord and asked for his help, and he sent a special leader called a “judge”, who helped them defeat their enemies. A time of peace followed, and the Israelites were faithful to the Lord for as long as the judge lived. But then they again rejected the Lord. All these things happened time after time.
Some judges may have led the entire nation, but usually a judge led a few tribes at the most. Israel at this time was a loosely-bound group of tribes, and the Israelites did not think of themselves as being a single, united country. They did not yet have a king, and so during this time “everyone did what they thought was right” (21.25). But the people had to learn that they were to worship only the Lord, and when they were unfaithful, the Lord punished them.
A quick look at this book
1. Israel captures only part of the land (1.1–36)
2. The Lord chooses judges for Israel (2.1—3.6)
3. Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar (3.7–31)
4. Deborah, Barak, and Jael (4.1—5.31)
5. Gideon (6.1—8.35)
6. Abimelech (9.1–57)
7. Tola, Jair, and Jephthah (10.1—12.7)
8. Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12.8–15)
9. Samson (13.1—16.31)
10. The tribe of Dan and their place of worship (17.1—18.31)
11. Civil war against the tribe of Benjamin (19.1—21.25)