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Bible Commentaries

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' CommentaryMeyer's Commentary

- Judges

by Frederick Brotherton Meyer

Outline of Judges

Israel’s Apostasies and Deliverances

Introduction, Judges 1:1-36 ; Judges 2:1-23 ; Judges 3:1-4

1. The Movements of the Tribes, Judges 1:1-36

2. The Angel of the Covenant , Judges 2:1-5

3. The Passing of Joshua and his Generation , Judges 2:6-10

4. The History in Outline , Judges 2:11-23 ; Judges 3:1-4

Rule of the Judges, Judges 3:5-31

Following repeated apostasy and oppression, the Israelites were successively delivered:

1. From the King of Mesopotamia by Othniel , Judges 3:5-11

2. From the King of Moab by Ehud, Judges 3:12-30

(Shamgar), Judges 3:31

3. From the King of Canaan by Deborah and Barak, Judges 4:1-24 ; Judges 5:1-31

4. From the Kings of Midian by Gideon , Judges 6:1-40 ; Judges 7:1-25 ; Judges 8:1-35

(Story of Gideon’s sons),Judges 9:1-57; Judges 9:1-57

(Rule of Tola and Jair),Judges 10:1-5; Judges 10:1-5

5. From the King of Ammon by Jephthah, Judges 10:6-18 ; Judges 11:1-40 ; Judges 12:1-7

(Rule of Ibzan, Elon and Abdon), Judges 12:8-15

6. From the Philistines by Samson , Judges 13-16

Appendix, Judges 17:1-13 ; Judges 18:1-31 ; Judges 19:1-30 ; Judges 20:1-48 ; Judges 21:1-25

1. The Migration of the Danites and the Story of Micah, Judges 17-18

2. The Outrage at Gibeah and the War between Israel and Benjamin, Judges 19-21


This is a history of the chosen people during the 400 or 450 years which intervened between the death of Joshua and the time of Eli, Acts 13:20 . It is not a connected history, but a collection of outstanding incidents, which determined the fortunes of the chosen people, and gave special illustrations of the power of faith in God. The chief lesson of the book is the intimate connection between loyalty or disloyalty to God and the corresponding results in well-being or misery. This is distinctly stated in Judges 2:11-23 .

The judges were extraordinary agents of the divine pity and helpfulness, raised up as the urgency of the people’s need demanded, to deliver Israel from their oppressors, to reform religion, and to administer justice. Their administration was generally local, as Barak among the northern tribes, Samson in the extreme south, and Jephthah across the Jordan in Gilead.

It must not be supposed that Israel perpetrated an unbroken series of apostasies. Though these and their special deliverances occupy the major part of the book, there were evidently long interspaces of fidelity and prosperity. And in the darkest hours, there were probably large numbers who, amid the abominations, sighed and cried for a better day.

There are two appendices, relating events which took place not long after Joshua’s death, and therefore preceding the greater part of the history. We may almost consider the book of Ruth as the third. The touches of human characteristics are very vivid and instinctive, and the book deserves much more attention than it receives from the ordinary reader.

e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Judges in the printed edition

Review Questions on Judges


( a ) By what title may the book be described?

( b ) How many special deliverances are recorded?

( c ) What incidents are related in the Appendix?


( d ) What period of Hebrew history is covered by this book?

( e ) Who were the Judges?

( f ) What is the chief lesson of the book?

Judges 1-16

Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments.

1. What did God require the Israelites to do with the land He had given them?

2. What great mistake did the Israelites make in occupying their new land?

3. Why did the people forget Jehovah after, the death of Joshua and Caleb?

4. How did God discipline His people when they forsook him?

5. What were the Israelites taught by God’s discipline?

6. How could Ehud’s act be called’ a “message from God” to Eglon?

7. Compare the faith of Deborah with that of Barak.

8. What prompted Jael’s deed?

9. How did Deborah celebrate the victory over Sisera?

10. How had the forces of nature fought on the side of Israel? Why was Meroz cursed?

11. Why were the Midianites able to oppress the conquerors of Sisera?

12. How did God call Gideon to deliver His people from the Midianites?

13. How did the messenger convince Gideon that he was the Angel of the Lord? What was Gideon’s first act?

14. What assurance did Gideon ask of God?

15. How was Gideon’s army selected?

16. Describe the defeat of the Midianites.

17. What was Gideon’s attitude toward the men of Ephraim?

18. What act of Gideon tended to lead the people astray?

19. By what crime did Abimelech seek to become king of Israel?

20. What was Jotham’s parable?

21. Why and how was Abimelech opposed?

22. How was Abimelech punished?

23. What was Israel’s besetting sin?

24. How did Jephthah overcome the handicap of sinful parents? What pledge did he demand from the elders of Gilead?

25. What attempts did Jephthah make to effect a peaceful settlement with his enemies?

26. What was Jephthah’s mistaken vow?

27. How had the tribe of Ephraim shown itself unwilling to help the Gileadites?

28. What evidence is there that Samson’s parents were true to Jehovah?

29. What was the promise of Samson’s youth?

30. What mistakes did Samson make in seeking a wife?

31. How was Samson’s first wife untrue to him?

32. Why did the men of Judah deliver Samson to the Philistines?

33. Wherein lay the secret of Samson’s strength?

34. How did Samson meet death?

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