Bible Study – Book Outlines (7): Judges

The Author

  1. Two time markers suggest Samuel – it was written when there was a king in Israel and it was written before Jerusalem was completely captured by David (1:21).
  2. There is some overlap in the accounts of the judges. Perhaps there were judges in different localities concurrently. Chapters 17-21 are concurrent with chapters 1-16. Events in Judges were occurring during events in the book of Ruth, and the lives of Samson and Samuel may well have overlapped each other. Samson began to deliver from the Philistines (13:5) and Samuel completed it (1Sa 7).
  3. Difficulty with timing of 1:1-3:6 since the death of Joshua is mentioned in both 1:1 and 2:8
  4. Time is probably 1380-1043 BC, from Bronze Age to Iron Age

The Atmosphere

  1. A nation that began the book fighting and destroying other nations closes the book by fighting between tribes and self-destruction.
  2. The character of the book is seen in the two similar questions of 1:1 and 20:18; only the latter had to do with fighting their brethren, the Benjamites.
  3. While it may seem that there is a very negative pall over the book, the years of rest are more in number than the years of servitude.
  4. The Spirit of God includes four men in Hebrews 11 from Judges.

The Aim

A Contrast with Christ and our Deliverance: The Judges were men of imperfection.   Our Savior is perfect. Their victories were temporary and limited. His is eternal.

  • The Canaanization of the Nation
  • The Conflicts of the Nation
  • The Constancy of God
  • The Circumstances which led to a King

The Architecture

Seven Cycles of:

  • Sin
  • Servitude
  • Supplication
  • Savior
  • Struggle
  • Security

The Attributes of the Book

  1. Jehovah occurs 178x and Elohim 62x
  2. The Angel of the Lord (an appearance of the Lord Jesus) seen 19x and the Angel of God 3x
  3. The Spirit of God comes upon four people: Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson
  4. Twelve Judges are raised up by God from different tribes and backgrounds. These men were not so much judges as we think of judges but were deliverers, decision makers.
  5. He raised up the judges from eight of the tribes – all but Reuben, Simeon, Gad, and Asher.

The Arrangement of the Book

A. Causes – Elements – Ingredients for Israel’s Failure – Spiritual Inconsistency (1:1-3:6)

  • Incomplete Obedience (ch.1)
  • Idolatrous Worship (ch.2) – compare chs.17-18
  • Intermarriage (ch.3:1-6)

B. Course – Examples – Individual Judges – Specific Instances of Apostasy and Judgment (3:7-16:31)

  • Othniel – Mesopotamia (3:7-11)
  • Ehud, Shamgar – Moab (3:12-31)
  • Deborah and Barak – Jabin (chs.4-5)
  • Gideon and Abimelech – Midian (6:1-10:5)
  • Jephthah, Ibzam, Elon, Abdon – Ammon and Philistines (10:6-12:15)
  • Samson – Philistines (chs.13-16)
  • Samuel – (1 Samuel)

C. Conditions – Expression – Insight into a Nation – Solemn Insight into Nation’s Condition – Likely contemporary with events in the early part of Judges (17:1-21:25)

  • Religious Bankruptcy (chs.17-18)
  • Spiritual Bankruptcy (ch.18) – link with ch.2 and idolatry
  • Moral blight (chs.19-20)
  • Internal Division (ch.21)