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The book of judges. Israel’s downward spiral. INTRODUCTION. The Historical Setting The historical scope of this period: from the death of Joshua (1390 BC) to the days of Samuel (i.e., the establishment of the monarchy (Saul becomes king in 1051BC)

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the book of judges

The book of judges

Israel’s downward spiral

introduction
INTRODUCTION
  • The Historical Setting
    • The historical scope of this period:

from the death of Joshua (1390 BC)

to the days of Samuel (i.e., the establishment of the monarchy (Saul becomes king in 1051BC)

2. The period of the Judges thus extends from about1390 to 1051 BC, a total of approximately 340 years

2. The purpose of Judges

    • To show the downward spiral of sin and apostasy in Israel
    • To teach Israel her need for a righteous king, thus anticipating king David
israel s need for a righteous king
Israel’s need for a “righteous king”
  • Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (KJV)
  • Judges 18:1 In those days there was no king in Israel:
  • Judges 19:1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel,
  • Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

The book of Judges demonstrates Israel’s need for a righteous king who will lead the nation

introduction1
INTRODUCTION
  • The theological setting for Judges
    • As the book opens, large areas of Canaan remain to be possessed by individual tribes (in notes)
    • What is the main reason for this (allowing some of the inhabitants to remain after Joshua’s campaign)?:

to test Israel, to see whether they would trust YHWH (2:20-22; 3:4)

introduction2
INTRODUCTION
  • The theological setting for Judges
    • Two terrible sins resulted from the refusal to drive out the Canaanites:

1.) Intermarriage (3:5,6)

2.) Idolatry (2:12-13; cf 3:6b)

    • Notice the “cycle of sin”
introduction3
INTRODUCTION
  • Concerning the office of “Judge”
    • Def. of Judge (in notes)
    • The primary responsibilities:
      • military leadership
      • civil leadership (including judging and arbitrating disputes)
    • The number of Judges (in notes)
  • The Structure of the book (in notes)
introduction did israel finish the conquest 1 1 3 6
Introduction: Did Israel finish the Conquest? (1:1-3:6)
  • Answer: NO!
  • Two introductions? 1:1-2:5 // 2:6-3:6
    • Why does Joshua keep dying? (1:1; 2:6-10)
    • 1:1-2:5 = what happened after Joshua died
    • 2:6-3:6 = why ithappened
  • Structure of 1:1-25 as a foreshadow of the Judges
the downward spiral of the judges
The (downward spiral of the) Judges

Othniel

Ehud

Deborah (and her sidekick)

Gideon

Jephthah

Samson

othniel
Othniel

Judges 3:9-11

From Judah

Marries within his tribe

God “raises him up” (only said of Othniel and Ehud)

Related to Caleb, one who stands out for his faithfulness

No defect in Othniel

slide10
Ehud

Judges 3:12-30

The Account

Oppressed by Eglon (king of Moab)

Left-handed man (significance?)

Eglon, a rather large fellow (3:17)

Ehud’s plan

“He’s only covering his feet” (3:24)??

slide11
Ehud

Judges 3:12-30

Significant points

Humor in the story

Idols at Gilgal (3:19, 26)

Is Ehud good, bad, or ambiguous?

Ambiguous

deborah
Deborah

Significant points

Deborah, in tune with God (4:4-7)

Barak, a bit of a coward (4:8)

Didn’t complete the mission, i.e. “kill Sisera” (4:7)

Jael does the dirty work

3rd unlikely judge

Ehud—a left-handed man

Shamgar—a foreigner

Deborah—a woman

Judges 4-5

gideon
Gideon

Was Gideon a good leader?

Not really

Fearful

Disunity

Vengeance

Prideful

Idolater

Judges 6-9

jephthah
Jephthah

Was Jephthah a good leader?

Ends in civil war

Tribal disunity

Slaughter of Ephraimites

No “peace formula”

Years of oppression more than years of judgship

Judges 10-12

jephthah1
Jephthah

Jephpthah’s vow: what was he thinking?

Thinking of a human sacrifice all along?

“out of the doors of my house to meet me”

Chemosh (11:24)

Animal sacrifice?

Judges 10-12

samson
Samson

Chap. 13, a very special dude with a very special mission

Chap. 14, a strong man with a weak heart

Chap. 15, God uses him to defeat the Philistines

Destroys vineyards (15:1-8)

Kills 1,000 men with a jawbone (15:9-20)

Chap. 16, Samson and Delilah

Judges 13-16

concerning samson
Concerning Samson

Was Samson a good guy or a bad guy?

Heb 11:32-33, “For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah…who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness….”

the epilogue judges 17 21 how bad can it get
The Epilogue: Judges 17-21How Bad can it get?
  • 17-18 The religious apostasy of the nation
    • A Levite priest becomes the personal priest to Micah, an unashamed idolater
    • The Danites steal the priest and idols
  • 19-21 The moral depravity of the nation
    • Another Levite takes a concubine
    • Sodom and Gomorrah déjà vu! (Benjamin is compared to Sodom and Gomorrah)
    • Defeat of Ai déjà vu (Benjamin is compared to a Canaanite tribe)—see 20:29, 32, 38b.

Judges 1:1-2, “Now…the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites?’ And the LORD said, ‘Judah shall go up.’”

Judges 20:18, “Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired of God, and said, ‘Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?’Then the LORD said, ‘Judah shall go up first’”

Ezek 16:46-48, “Your younger sister…is Sodom with her daughters. Yet you have not merely walked in their ways or done according to their abominations; but, as if that were too little, you acted more corruptly in all your conduct than they. As I live,’ declares the Lord God, ‘Sodom, your sister, and her daughters, have not done as you and your daughters have done’”

the epilogue judges 17 21 how bad can it get1
The Epilogue: Judges 17-21How Bad can it get?
  • Judges 1-16 talks about Israel’s battles with other nations, while Judges 17-21 talks about Israel battle with themselves.
  • God’s “holy nation” has become like Sodom and Gomorrah, like Ai, a Canaanite city!
  • We need a King!