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Author: There is no statement or implication about the authorship of this 21 chapter book. Inspiration does not give us this information and we have only a tradition attributing the book to Samuel.
Situation: The book is a continuation of the history of the Jews in Canaan after their God-led deliverance from Egypt and the conquest of the land by Joshua. It is a book about and to the children of Israel (Judges 1:1).
When Written: The date of the book of Judges can be set with fair accuracy. Since the book is a continuation of history following the book of Joshua it is obvious that it was written after the death Joshua, or after 1421 BC.
It was written even later than this, for Judges 18:1 and Judges 19:1 imply that there was a king in Israel at the time of writing. That would necessitate a date of 1095 BC or later.
Based upon Judges 1:21, Judges 1:29, it is believe that the book was written about 1000 BC. That would be during the lifetime of Samuel and the reign of the kings. There is neither an inspired statement nor an implication as to the place of composition.
Why Written: The book of Judges is chiefly a history of the Jews under 13 of the 15 judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elan, Abdon and Samson. Eli and Samuel are found in the book of First Samuel.
We see a cycle of four stages of behavior that the people of the time of the Judges continually repeated: (1) sin, (2) oppression, (3) repentance, and (4) deliverance.
The book seems to have been written to give the Jews a history of their life in the promised land. However, the message that seems prominent is: Obey God and enjoy blessings; disobey God and suffer oppression. It is also seen that people can, and often do, depart from God. There has always been a need for someone like the judges to call God’s people back to Him.
Lesson: Let us remember that we can fall from God’s grace (cf. also Hebrews 12:15). May we realize that repentance is necessary when we fall and that repentance and obedience will bring deliverance.
I. Social and Religious Decay after the Days of Joshua - ch 1-2
1. Failures - Ch. 1
2. Compromise, Departures, God’s Anger - Ch. 2
3. Heathen scourges, Religious-political cycles - 3:1-4
II. Oppressions and Deliverers - 3:5 - 16:31
1. Mesopotamians - 1. Othniel - 3:5-11
2. Moabites - 2. Ehud - 3:12-30
3. Philistines - 3. Shamgar - 3:31
4. Canaanites - 4. Deborah - ch. 4 - 5
- 5. Barak -
5. Midianites - 6. Gideon - ch. 6 - 10
- ?. Abimelech (?)
- 7. Tola
- 8. Jair
6. Ammonites - 9. Jephthah - ch. 11 - 12
7. Philistines -13. Samson - ch. 13 - 16
-14. Eli - (1 Samuel)
-15. Samuel - (1 Samuel)
III. Insets -- Incidents of the Judges Period - Judges 17 - 21
1. The State of Religion Depicted
a. Religion of Micah and his house of gods - ch. 17
b. Religion of the Danites - ch. 18
2. The State of Social Life Depicted
a. The outrage of Gibeah - ch. 19
b. Civil war - ch. 20
c. The plight of Benjamin - ch. 21
Applications and Lessons From the Book of Judges
1. Judges depicts a cycle of history often repeated:
a. The people fall away from God (apostasy)
b. God permits enemies to fall upon them (oppression)
c. Under oppression the people repent and call upon God (repentance)
d. God called out a leader to deliver (deliverance)
2. National decay and religious problems will always happen when "Every man does that which is right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6; Judges 21:25).
a. Today in our nation, every man largely does that which is right in his own eyes and national decay has set in.
b. In religious circles no central source of authority is recognized.
c. "No king in Israel" was the reason for the anarchy in Israel. God was still King, but wasn’t recognized as such. That is our situation also today.
3. Difficulty led the Jews back to dependance upon God and with renewed dependance upon God they comprehended the need for repentance.
a. Samson’s cry was typical (Judges 16:28).
b. Difficulties become avenues leading back to God.
4. God uses men to achieve His will.
a. He raised up judges among the Jews.
b. He raised up the apostles in first century.
c. God’s work needs god-fearing leaders.
5. "In his own eyes" is a trouble in the church today.
a. The Jews sank lower and lower living to own desires.
b. Christians sink lower-- living to own desires.
6. Like the Jews we have received a rich spiritual heritage.
a. The generation after Joshua "which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel." (Judges 2:20)
b. Our heritage began at Pentecost, Acts 2:42.
c. What heritage will we pass on to younger generation?
7. Ruth’s choice sets before us a great example (Ruth 1:16)
a. She chose the true God- "Thy God shall be my God"
b. She chose the right path- "Whither thou goest I will go."
c. She chose a godly home- "Where thou lodgest I will lodge."
d. She chose godly associates- "Thy people shall be my people."
e. She made a wise choice-- a personal choice-- a determined choice-- and she was rewarded for her choice.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Judges 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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