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It was a type of authority perfectly expressive of the faith and constitution of early Israel: the God-King's direct leadership of his people through his spirit-designated representative." Though Bright wrote, as quoted above, that "the judge . "They [Israel's judges] had no power to make laws; for these were given by God; nor to explain them, for that was the province of the priestsbut they were officially upholders of the law, defenders of religion, avengers of all crimes, particularly of idolatry and its attendant vices." "The judges were by no means men of identical character. 19), is a slice of life out of the period of the judges that shows the immorality that characterized Israel's social life.

Some (e.g., Gideon) rose to their task at the behest of a profound experience of divine vocation; one (Jephthah) was no better than a bandit who knew how to strike a canny bargain; one (Samson) was an engaging rogue whose fabulous strength and bawdy pranks became legendary. The behavior demonstrated in this story was the fruit of departure from God.

Some ruled in one area of Israel at the same time that one or more others ruled elsewhere, in some cases. Oppression under the Moabites and deliverance through Ehud -30 2. As already mentioned, Israel's history during this period resembles a downward spiral. Nevertheless, in Judges, there were six revivals of the peoples' faith in God and commitment to Him.

The Book of Judges does not record the ministries of all of Israel's judges. Oppression under the Philistines and deliverance through Shamgar C. These revivals cycled on and off in Israel's history at this time.

In the broadest sense, the Hebrew word shophet, translated "judge," means "bringer of justice." These "judges" were like a cross-mixture between a mayor, a marshal, a prophet, and a general. This was the Israelites' "civil war," in which 11 of the tribes almost annihilated the twelfth: Benjamin (chs. Instead of utterly destroying the Canaanites, God's people had allowed them to live among them, while the Israelite tribes proceeded to destroy one another. When Christians stop carrying out their God-given task (cf. Three characteristics marked the social chaos in Israel during the period of the judges: Lawlessness characterized national life.

God "endowed" them with certain qualities and identified them in various ways, as being those He had chosen to lead His people. People were afraid to go out in public, and traveled the byways rather than the highways of the land (5:6).

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The Israelites failed because their hearts turned from Yahweh, and then their heads forsook His covenant.It demonstrates that they recognized it as God's "selective history" of the period, designed to teach spiritual lessons more than simply to record historical facts. Therefore the writing of Judges must date between 10 B. Jewish tradition suggests that Samuel wrote Judges. According to Wood's figures, the book would span 335 years, and according to Merrill's, 282 years. When the Israelites repented and rededicated themselves to God, He brought political deliverance and restored social order.God revealed Himself through the events of life and history, as well as through the messages of the prophets. However, at the time of writing, Jerusalem was still under Jebusite control ("the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem," ). This was the opinion of the writers of the "Talmud," the collection of Jewish writings (commentaries) that proliferated around revealed Scripture, beginning very early in Israel's history. If Samuel did write Judges, he probably did so between 1051 and about 1021 B. Scope In contrast to Joshua, which spans only about 35 years of Israel's history, Judges covers a much longer period of time. The period of rule by the judges, however, extended well beyond the events that Judges recorded, all the way to Saul's coronation in 1050 or 1051 B. Wood and Merrill agreed on this date, which Edwin R. This date assumes that Saul reigned 40 years (Acts ), David reigned 40 years (2 Sam. Therefore it is very important to deal with the spiritual issues that lie at the root of other problems in modern life. The root cause of Israel's deterioration was religious apostasy. They did not drive out the Canaanites as God had commanded (, 27-33). Rather than destroying the pagan altars, the Israelites served idols and forsook the Lord (-12, 17, 19). The same process takes place on the personal level as well as on the national level, but it is easier to observe on the national level in Judges.

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