Judges: Introduction

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The Book of Judges

  • The Book of Judges describes the life of Israel from the death of Joshua to the rise of the monarchy (circa 1375-1050 B.C.).
  • Israel was established in the Promised Land and many of God's covenant promises had been fulfilled.
  • Israel was to enter into rest and as God's chosen people, be His army and loyal citizens in His kingdom.
  • But Israel quickly forgets God's faithfulness, deliverance and His demonstration of power and direction. Israel settles down and associates with Canaan's people, morals, gods, religious beliefs, and practices (see Joshua 23:16).
  • Israel rejects the Kingship of the Lord and disobeys His laws for daily living.
  • The Lord uses foreign oppression to chasten His people. Israel cries out to God in distress. The Lord answers by raising up deliverers (judges) to restore peace and maintain His kingdom.
  • The recurring cycles of disobedience, oppression, cries of distress, and deliverance brings to view God's faithfulness and amazing patience towards His people during this unsettled period.
  • Judges 17:6 sums up Israel's behavior, "In those days, Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit."
  • Major Judges: Othniel (3:7-11), Ehud (3:12-30, Deborah (chs. 4-5), Gideon and his son Abimelech (chs. 6-9), Jephthah (10:6-12:7), Samson (chs. 13-16).
  • Minor Judges: Shamgar (3:31), Tola (10:1-2), Jair (10:3-5), Ibzan (12:8-10), Elon (12:11-12), Abdon (12:13-15).


  • According to tradition, Samuel wrote the book, but it is uncertain.
  • Some think it was possibly the prophets Nathan and Gad compiled material (see 1 Chronicles 29:29).
  • Date of composition is unknown, but most likely written during the monarchy.

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Note: The material for this introduction was adapted from the NIV Study Bible, New International Version, Zondervan, (Introduction to Judges, pp. 322-325).

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By Kevin Haag. © New Testament Christian. Website: new-testament-christian.com. Email: admin@new-testament-christian.com.

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