Author: The Book of Judges does not specifically name its  author. The tradition is that the Prophet Samuel was the author of Judges.  Internal evidence indicates that the author of Judges lived shortly after the  period of the Judges. Samuel fits this qualification.

Date of  Writing: The Book of Judges was likely written between 1045 and 1000  B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The Book of Judges can be  divided into two sections: 1) Chapters 1-16 which gives an account of the wars  of deliverance beginning with the Israelites’ defeat of the Canaanites and  ending with the defeat of the Philistines and the death of Samson; 2) Chapters  17-21 which is referred to as an appendix and does not relate to the previous  chapters. These chapters are noted as a time “when there was no king in Israel  (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).” The Book of Ruth  was originally a part of the Book of Judges, but in A.D. 450 it was removed to  become a book of its own.

Key Verses: Judges 2:16-19: “Then the  LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet  they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods  and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in  which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD’s commands.  Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved  them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD  had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted  them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt  than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping  them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.”

Judges 10:15: “But the  Israelites said to the LORD, ‘We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think  best, but please rescue us now.’”

Judges  21:25: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw  fit.”

Brief Summary: The Book of Judges is a tragic  account of how Yahweh [God] was taken for granted by His children year after  year, century after century. Judges is a sad contrast to the book of Joshua  which chronicles the blessings God bestowed on the Israelites for their  obedience in conquering the land. In Judges, they were disobedient and  idolatrous, leading to their many defeats. Yet God has never failed to open His  arms in love to His people whenever they repent from their wicked ways and call  upon His name. (Judges 2:18)  Through the 15 judges of Israel, God honored His promise to Abraham to protect  and bless his offspring (Genesis  12:2-3).

After the death of Joshua and his contemporaries, the  Israelites returned to serving Baal and Ashtaroth. God allowed the Israelites to  suffer the consequences of worshiping false gods. It was then that the people of  God would cry out to Yahweh for help. God sent His children judges to lead them  in righteous living. But time after time they would turn their backs on God and  return to their lives of wickedness. However, keeping His part of the covenant  with Abraham, God would save His people from their oppressors throughout the  480-year span of the Book of Judges.

Probably the most notable judge was  the 12th judge, Samson, who came to lead the Israelites after a 40-year  captivity under the rule of the ruthless Philistines. Samson led God’s people to  victory over the Philistines where he lost his own life after 20 years as judge  of Israel.

Foreshadowings: The announcement to Samson’s  mother that she would bear a son to lead Israel is a foreshadowing of the  announcement to Mary of the birth of the Messiah. God sent His Angel to both  women and told them they would “conceive and bear a son” (Judges 13:7; Luke 1:31) who  would lead God’s people.

God’s compassionate delivery of His people  despite their sin and rejection of Him presents a picture of Christ on the  cross. Jesus died to deliver His people—all who would ever believe in Him—from  their sin. Although most of those who followed Him during His ministry would  eventually fall away and reject Him, still He remained faithful to His promise  and went to the cross to die for us.

Practical Application:  Disobedience always brings judgment. The Israelites present a perfect  example of what we are not to do. Instead of learning from experience that God  will always punish rebellion against Him, they continued to disobey and suffer  God’s displeasure and discipline. If we continue in disobedience, we invite  God’s discipline, not because He enjoys our suffering, but “because the Lord  disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6).

The  Book of Judges is a testament to God’s faithfulness. Even “if we are faithless,  He will remain faithful” (2 Timothy  2:13). Though we may be unfaithful to Him, as the Israelites were, still He  is faithful to save us and preserve us (1  Thessalonians 5:24) and to forgive us when we seek forgiveness (1 John 1:9). “He will keep  you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord  Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ  our Lord, is faithful” (1  Corinthians 1:8-9).

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