CONTENT: Because they have not completed the conquest and occupation of the promised land, the Israelites begin to adopt the sinful ways of the surrounding nations. A tragic cycle develops: Israel falls into sin; God disciplines with foreign oppression; the people cry to God for his help; God raises up a deliverer (judge); peace is restored. This cycle of rebellion is repeated 7 times in the book, emphasizing God’s love and forgiveness and the penalty for lack of faith and obedience. The stories of 3 significant judges are discussed in detail; Deborah (chapter 4); Gideon (chapters 6-8); and Samson (chapters 13-16).
Background: This book covers the period following the death of Joshua and the Israelites’ initial conquest of Canaan. During this time the people, wavering between apostasy and repentance, are ruled by individual leaders called judges. The book of Judges records this era of disobedience and defeat.
Date Written: Between 1043 and 1304 B.C.
Author: Unknown (possibly Samuel).