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The book of Judges tells a tale of the young theocracy known collectively as "the children of Israel."  The stories cover a period from the death of Joshua in 1367 BC and the time of Samuel (c. 1064--1044 BC).  With the Hittites to the north and the Egyptians to the south, the tribes faced unfriendly native tribes that sought to regain land lost in the days of Joshua.  Not many people listened to the priests and Levites (town counselors) who were supposed to run the theocracy).  And so, periodically God would empower "judges " to help restore order.  Many are listed, and some have interesting stories.  The purpose of the book, it seems, is to remind the people that when men rule, things can go wrong.

AuthorshipEdit

Due to the long period related in this book, it is clear that whatever was written down was relayed to many people.  No clear author emerges, though Samuel or one of his disciples seem quite likely.  From notes at 18:1 and 19:1, it is apparent that edits were made as late as the early period of the united kingdom (under Saul).

Outline[1]Edit

I. The Conditions of apostasy and defeat: Israel's compromise in the land  1:1--3:4

A. Partial Conquest of Canaan  1:1--2:9
B. Pressing Need for judges  2:10--3:4

II  The Cycles of oppression and deliverance: Israels's contest for the land  3:5--16:31

A. Arameans versus Othniel  3:5-11
B. Moabites versus Ehud  3:12-30
C. Philistines versus Shagmar  3:31
D. Northern Canaanites versus Deborah and Barak  4:1--5:31
E. Midians versus Gibeon  6:1--8:35
F. Rise and fall of Abimelech  9:1-57
G. Judgeship of Tola  10:1-2
H. Judgeship of Jair  10:3-5
I.  Ammonites versus Jephthah  10:6--12:7
J. Judgeship of Ibzan  12:8-10
K. Judgeship of Elon  12:11-12
L. Judgeship of Abdon  12:13-15
M.  Philistines versus Samson  13:1--16:31


III  The Consequences of apostasy: Israel's corruption by the land  17:1--21:25

A. Idolotry: the Levite of Micah and Dan  17:1--18:31
B. Incontinence: the Levite's concubine  19:1--21:25

ReferencesEdit

  1. The King James Reference Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishing, pp. 401-2)