DATE: 1050-1000 B.C.
The events of this book cover the turbulent period in Israel’s history from the conquest of Palestine to the beginnings of the monarchy (circa 1380 to 1050 B.C.).
Under Joshua, the land had been conquered and occupied, but many important Canaanite strongholds still remained, leaving Israel vulnerable. The book of Judges describes an ongoing warfare, as the Hebrews tried to complete their occupation of the land.
God set up a system of judges to rule over His people. The judges were military and civil leaders who ruled over regions and therefore some judges ruled concurrently.
The author of Judges is unknown, but the Talmud suggests it was Samuel. The book was written after the death of Samson and after Saul became King of Israel, but before the conquest of Jerusalem by David about 990 B.C. (see 1:21; 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).
Historically, the book of Judges serves to link the conquest of Palestine and the monarchy. Theologically, the book provides many examples of the principle that obedience to the law brings peace, whereas disobedience means oppression and death. Spiritually, the faithfulness of God in forgiving the sins of His people is seen clearly in this time when “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25).
OUTLINE OF JUDGES
I. Background of the Period of the Judges, 1:1-3:6
A. The Political Background, 1:1-36
B. The Spiritual Background, 2:1-3:6
II. History of the Period of the Judges, 3:7-16:31
A. Mesopotamian Oppression and Othniel’s Deliverance, 3:7-11
B. Moabite Oppression and Ehud’s Deliverance, 3:12-30
C. Shamgar’s Victory over the Philistines, 3:31
D. Canaanite Oppression and Deliverance by Deborah and Barak, 4:1-5:31
1. The story, 4:1-24
2. The song, Judg 5:1-31
E. Midianite Oppression and Gideon’s Deliverance, 6:1-8:35
1. Gideon’s call, 6:1-40
2. Gideon’s conquests, 7:1-8:35
F. Abimelech’s Tyranny, 9:1-57
G. Tola’s Judgeship, 10:1-2
H. Jair’s Judgeship, 10:3-5
I. Ammonite Oppression and Jephthah’s Deliverance, 10:6-12:7
J. Ibzan’s Judgeship, 12:8-10
K. Elon’s Judgeship, 12:11-12
L. Abdon’s Judgeship, 12:13-15
M. Philistine Oppression and Samson’s Career, 13:1-16:31
1. Annunciation and birth of Samson, 13:1-25
2. Marriage of Samson, 14:1-20
3. Exploits of Samson, 15:1-20
4. Fall of Samson, 16:1-31
III. Apostasy of the Period of the Judges, 17:1-21:25
A. Micah and the Migration of the Danites, Judg 17:1-18:31
1. Micah and his private priest, Judg 17:1-13
2. Danite migration, 18:1-31
B. The Benjamite War, 19:1-21:25
1. The reason for the war, 19:1-20:13
2. The execution of the war, 20:14-48
3. The results of the war, 21:1-25
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