The Period Of The Judges

Completed 6/28/12

 

 

The

Bible

Exposition

Commentary

For Laymen

________________________________________________________

Judges

 

 

 

Tom Lowe

NOTE: The King James translation is used throughout, with exceptions noted.

 

Preface

 

 

 

 

 

NUMBER

TITLE

 

PAGES

1

TITLE PAGE

 

i

2

PREFACE

 

ii

3

INTRODUCTION

 

iii, iv, v    

4

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

v, vi, vii

4

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

 

viii-ix

5

LIST OF TABLES

 

xi, xii, xiii

6

LIST OF ARTICLES

 

xiii-xvi

7

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

xvii

 

 

 

 

 

 

introduction

The book bears the fitting name Judges, which refers to unique leaders God gave to His people for their preservation against their enemies. 16Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. 18And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.” (2.16-19).

The book of judges is very unlike the book that precedes it.  In Joshua, the people are obedient and conquer the land because they trust in the power of God.  However, the people had changed by the time they entered the period of the judges.  They were disobedient to God, they were not satisfied with the status quo; they turned to idols many times and they were conquered by their enemies over and over again.

The Hebrew word for Judges is Shophetim.  The thought behind this word has the idea of upholding justice and resolving disputes, but it can also mean “to liberate” and “to deliver.” The judges were men and women that God used to deliver the Hebrew nation, and then they ruled the nation and administered justice. They can be considered to be a type of Christ or Savior for the nation of Israel.

 

Author

There is no way we can know for sure, but Samuel or one of his student prophets may have written the book of Judges. One very reliable source is Jewish tradition as contained in the Talmud, and our study will show that Samuel was a very significant link between the period of the judges and the period of the kings. It is likely, therefore, that Samuel or one of his contemporaries was the author, and that the information was compiled from oral and written sources.

 

Date

A fairly accurate date for the writing of this book can be estimated from certain statements found in the book itself; for instance

         The passages 18:31 and 20:27 show that Judges was written after the Ark of the Covenant was removed from Shiloh (see 1 Sam. 4:3–11).

         The repeated phrase “In those days there was no king in Israel” (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) indicates that Judges was written after the commencement of the monarchy

         The fact that the Jebusites were dwelling in Jerusalem “to this day” (1:21) means that it was written before 1004 b.c. when David took control of the city (2 Sam. 5:5–9)

The events covered in Judges range from 1380 b.c. to 1045 b.c. Evidently, the rulerships of some of the judges overlap because not all of them ruled over the entire land. Judges describes cycles of apostasy, oppression, and deliverance in the southern region (3:7–31), the central region (6:1–10:5), the eastern region (10:6–12:15), and the western region (13:1–16:31).

 

Themes and Literary Structur

The book begins with a description of Israel’s deterioration, continues with seven cycles of oppression and deliverance, and concludes with two vivid examples of Israel’s depravity.

The theme of deterioration is highlighted as Judges begins with short-lived military successes after the death of Joshua but quickly turns to the repeated failure of the people to drive out their enemies. The primary reasons for their failure are a lack of faith and a lack of obedience to God (2:1–3).

Repeated deliverances by God are described in the middle section of the book (3:5–16:31) which presents seven cycles of apostasy, oppression, cry for deliverance, salvation, and rest. Israel fluctuates between obedience and apostasy as the people continually fail to learn from their mistakes. Nevertheless, the times of rest and peace are longer than the times of bondage, and the monotony of Israel’s sins can be contrasted with the creativity of God’s methods of deliverance.

The depravity characteristic of the time of the judges is illustrated in chapters 17–21 with vivid examples of personal and tribal idolatry and immorality. The book as a whole illustrates the sad results of Israel’s disobedience as summarized in 21:25: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

 

Table No. 1: The Period of the Judges

Events and Judges

Years

Israel serves Cushan-Rishathaim (3:7, 8)

8

Peace following Othniel’s deliverance (3:7-11)

40

Israel serves Moab (3:12)

18

Peace follows Ehud’s deliverance (3:12-30)

80

Shamgar delivers Israel from Philistines (3:31)

1

Israel serves Canaan (4:1-3)

20

Peace following deliverance by Deborah and Barak (4:1–5:31)

40

Israel serves Midian (6:1-6)

7

Peace following Gideon’s deliverance (6:1–8:35)

40

Abimelech, king of Israel (9:1-57)

3

Tola’s career (10:1, 2)

23

Jair’s career (10:3-5)

22

Israel serves Ammon and Philistia (10:6–10)

18

Jephthah’s career (10:6-12:7)

6

Ibzan’s career (12:8–10)

7

Elon’s career (12:11, 12)

10

Abdon’s career (12:13-15)

8

Israel serves Philistia (13:1)

40

Samson’s career (12:1–16:31)

20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

Part One: The Deterioration of Israel and Failure

to Complete the Conquest of Canaan (1:1–3:4)

1.1-3.4

1-88

CHAPTER

TITLE

VERSES

PAGES

 

The Failure of Israel to Complete the Conquest

1.1-1.36

1-53

1

Failure of Judah  

1.1-1.20

1-28

2

Failure of Benjamin     

1:21

29-32

3

Failure of Joseph     

1:22–29

33-38

4

Failure of Zebulun     

1:30

39-41

5

Failure of Asher     

1.31, 32

43-45

6

Failure of Naphtali     

1.33

46-48

7

Failure of Dan     

1:34–36

49-53

 

The Judgment of God for Not Completing the Conquest     

2:1–3:4

54-88

8

Angel Announces Judgment     

2:1–5

54-61

9

Godly Generation Dies     2

2.6-10

62-65

10

Judgment of God Is Described   

2.11-19

66-82

11

Enemy Is Left as a Test     

2.20-3.4

83-88

 

Part Two: The Deliverance of Israel

During the Seven Cycles (3:5–16:31)

3.5-16.31

89-747

 

The Southern Campaign    

 3:5–31

89-110

12

 The Judge Othniel    

 3:5–11

89-95

13

The Judge Ehud    

 3:12–30

96-106

14

The Judge Shamgar     

3:31

107-110

 

The Northern Campaign: The Judges Deborah and Barak     

4:1–5:31

111-168

15

Deborah and Barak Are Called   

  4:1–11

111-123

16

Canaanites Are Defeated     

4:12–24

124-137

17

Song of Deborah and Barak     

5:1–31

138-168

 

The Central Campaign     

6:1–10:5

169-418

 

The Judge Gideon     

6:1–8:35

169-321

18

Israel Sins

6:1-6-10

169-182

 

Gideon Called

6.11-6.40

183-223

19

An Angel Sends Gideon to Deliver Them

6.11-6.16

183-199

20

Gideon’s Present Consumed by Fire

6.17-32

200-214

21

Gideon Summons an Army

6.33-6.36

215-219

22

Gideon Asks for Signs

6.37-6.40

220-223

23

The Direction God Gave Gideon for the Modeling of the Army

7.1-7.8

224-236

24

The Encouragement God Gave Gideon to Attack

7.9-7.15

237-245

25

How Gideon Formed His Attack on the Enemy Camp

7.16-7.20

246-253

26

The Success of This Attack

7.21-7.25

254-261

27

Gideon Prudently Pacifies the Offended Ephraimites

8.1-8.4

262-270

28

The Cynical

8.5-8.9

271-277

29

He Bravely Pursues the Flying Midianites

8.10-12

278-280

30

He Justly Chastises the Insolence of the Men of Succoth and Penuel

8.13-8.17

281-285

31

Gideon Honorably Slays the two Kings of Midean

8.18-8.21

286-294

32

He Modestly Declines the Government of Israel

8.22-8.23

295-299

33

He Foolishly Gratified the Superstitious Humor of His People

8.24-8.27

300-310

34

Gideon Kept the Country Quiet for Forty Years

8.28

311

35

He Died in Honor

8.29-8.32

312-316

36

Gideon and his God Were Soon Forgotten By an Ungrateful Israel

8.33-8.35

317-321

 

The Judge Abimelech     

9.1–9:57

322-407

37

Abimelech King of Shechem

9.1-9.6

322-331

38

Jotham’s Fable

9.7-9.15

332-346

39

Application of the Fable

9.16-9.21

347-357

40

The Shechemite’s Quarrel With Abimelech

9.22-9.25

358-362

41

Gaal’s Call to Rebellion

9.26-9.29

363-370

42

Abimelech Appraised of Gaal’s Move

9.30-9.33

371-374

43

GaaL Driven Out

9.34-9.41

375-382

44

Destruction of Schechem

9.42-9.45

383-389

45

Tower of Schechem Burned

9.46-9.49

390-395

46

Campaign Against Thebaz

9.50-9.55

396-404

47

Moral of the Story

9.56-9.57

405-407

48

The Judge Tola    

 10:1, 2

408-411

49

The Judge Jair     

10:3–5

412-418

 

The Eastern Campaign: The Judge Jephthah     

10:6–12:7

419-550

50

Introduction    

 10:6-10.18

419-445

51

The Man Jephthah     

11:1–11.3

446-455

52

Recall of Jephthah

11.4-11.11

456-473

53

Defense of Israel’s Right to Trans-Jordan Territory

11.12-11.28

474-503

54

Defeat of Ammonites

11.29-11.33

504-514

55

Fulfillment of Jephthah’s Vow

11.34-11.40

515-532

56

Jealousy of the Ephraimites

12.1-12.7

533-550

 

The Second Northern Campaign     

12:8–15

551-559

57

The Judge Ibzan     

12:8–10

551-554

58

The Judge Elon     

12:11, 12

555-556

59

The Judge Abdon     

12:13–15

557-559

 

The Western Campaign: The Judge Samson     

 13:1–16:31

560-748

60

Editorial Introduction     

13.1

560-569

 

Samson’s Origins     

13.2-13.25

570-615

61

The Angels Visitation     

13.2-13.7

570-583

62

Manoah’s Prayer

13.8

584-586

63

Answer to Manoah’s Request

13.9-13.14

587-592

64

Manoah’s Sacrifice

13.15-13.23

593-606

65

Birth and inspiration of Samson

13.24, 25

607-615

 

The Woman Timnah

14.1-14.20

616-682

66

Samson’s First Love

14.1-14.4

616-624

67

Slaying of the Lion

14.5-14.9

625-635

68

Marriage of Samson

14.10-14.20

636-650

69

Samson’s Return

15.1-15.8

651-663

70

Samson’s Arrest and Retaliation

15.9-15.20

664-682

71

The Harlot of Gaza

16.1-16.3

683-695

 

Samson and Delilah

16.4-16.22

696-747

72

Delilah’s First Attempt

16.4-16.9

696-707

73

Second Attempt

16.10-16.12

708-710

74

Third Attempt

16.13-16.15

711-714

75

Final Attempt

16.16-16.22

715-727

76

The End of Samson

16.23-16.31

728-747

 

Part Three: The Depravity of Israel in Sinning

Like the Canaanites (17:1–21:25)

 

748-819

 

Relocation of the Danites and the Origin of Their Sanctuary     

17:1–18:31

748-819

77

Micah’s Image     

17:1–6

748-761

78

Micah’s Levite     

17.7-17.13

762-772

79

The Danite Spies

18.1-18.6

773-783

80

Report of the Spies

18.7-18.10

784-790

81

Response of the Danites

18.11-18.13

791-794

82

Seizure of Micah’s Cultic Objects

18.14-18.20

794-803

83

Pursuit of the Danites

18.21-18.26

804-811

84

Capture of Laish

18.27-18.31

812-819

 

The Offence of Gibeah    

 19:1–21.25

820-

85

The Levite and His Concubine     

19:1–9

820-838

86

Return Journey    

 19:10-15

839-845

87

Hospitality of the Ephraimite

19.16-21

846-854

88

Rape of the Concubine     

19.22-26

855-865

89

 Reaction of the Levite     

19.27-30

866-871

90

Israel Gathering at Mizpah

20.1-7

872-884

91

Israel’s Decision

20.8-11

885-888

92

Ultimatum Rejected

20.12-17

889-899

93

Seeking Divine Guidance

20.18

900-903

94

First Encounter

20.19-23

904-909

95

Second Encounter

20.24-28

910-918

96

Third Encounter

20.29-36

919-928

97

Another Tradition of the Last Encounter

20.37-44

929-937

98

Flight of the Benjaminite Survivors

20.45-48

938-946

99

Mourning the Fate of Benjamin

21.1-7

947-959

100

Expedition Against Jabesh-gilead

21.8-12

960-966

101

Embassy of Peace

21.13-15

967-970

102

Maidens from Shilow

21.16-25

971-985

 

 

 

 

Table #2: LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

Bible Translations and Versions

 

    NLT

    ASV

    DB

    CEV

    GNB

    KJV

    NAB

    NCV

    NKJV

    NLT

    NRSV

    RSV

    TLB

New Living Translation

1901 American Standard Version

1890 Darby Bible

Contemporary English Version

Good News Bible

King James Version

New American Bible

New Century Version

New King James Version

New Living Translation

New Revised Standard Version

Revised Standard Version

The Living Bible

Books of the Bible

 

  Old Testament

 

    Gen.

Genesis

    Ex.

Exodus

    Lev.

Leviticus

    Num.

Numbers

    Dt.

Deuteronomy

    Jos.

Joshua

    Jg.

Judges

    Ru.

Ruth

    1 Sam.

1 Samuel

    2 Sam.

2 Samuel

    1 Kg.

1 kings

    2 Kg.

2 Kings

    1 Chr.

1 Chronicles

    2 Chr.

2 Chronicles

    Ezr.

Ezra

    Neh.

Nehemiah

    Est.

Esther

    Job

Job

    Ps.

Psalms

    Prov.

Proverbs

    Ec.

Ecclesiastes

    SoS

Song of Songs

    Isa.

Isaiah

    Jer.

Jeremiah

    Lam.

Lamentations

    Ezek.

Ezekiel

    Dan.

Daniel

    Hos.

Hosea

    Jl.

Joel

    Am.

Amos

    Ob.

Obadiah

    Jon.

Jonah

    Mic.

Micah

    Nah.

Nahum

    Hab.

Habakkuk

    Zeph.

Zephaniah

    Hag.

Haggai

    Zech.

Zechariah

  New Testament

 

    Mt.

Matthew

    Mk.

Mark

    Lk.

Luke

    Jn.

John

    Acts

Acts

    Rom.

Romans

    1 C.

1 Corinthians

    2 C.

2 Corinthians

    Gal.

Galatians

    Eph.

Ephesians

    Phil.

Philippians

    Co.

Colossians

    1 Th.

1 Thessalonians

    2 Th.

2 Thessalonians

    1 Tim.

1 Timothy

    2 Tim.

2 Timothy

    Tit.

Titus

    Phm.

Philemon

    Heb.

Hebrews

    Jas.

James

    1 Pet.

1 Peter

    2 Pet.

2 Peter

    1 Jn.

1 John

    2 Jn.

2 John

    3 Jn.

3 John

    Jude

Jude

    Rev.

Revelation

    NT

New Testament

    OT

Old Testament

 

 

 

 

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE NUMBER

TITLE

PAGE NUMBER

1

Period of the Judges

iv, v

2

Map of Old Testament World

20

3

The Period of the Judges (1375–1050 b.c.)

21-28

4

When the Events of Judges Occurred

2

5

Israel’s Cycle of Idolatry and Redemption

15

6

Destruction of Shechem and the People

387

7

Map of Shechem and Surrounding Area

385

8

Destruction of Shechem By Abimelech

395

9

Amon and Surrounding Area

459

10

Timeline: Micah Through Samson

471

11

Map of Syria in the Second Millennium BC

482

12

 

 

13

 

 

14

Map Showing Kingdom of Edom

485

15

 

 

16

 Ebimelech Killed

406

17

Compare Judges 11.19-22 to Numbers 21.21-25

488

18

The Seven Nations of Canaan Which God Said for Them to Destr4oy

490

19

Religions of the Ancient Near East

495

20

Compare Judges 11.29, 6.34, 13.25

505

21

Typical Vows

508

22

Jephthah’s Vow

 

23

Map of Mizpah and Surrounding Region

518

24

His Daughter In Cincert With Other Virgins

524

25

Compare the Similar Complaint of the Ephraimites to Gideon and to Joshua

537

26

Timnah and Territory

622

27

He Rent Him as He Would a Kid

 

28

Map of Ancient Israel (Gaza is #39)

688

29

Delilah, The Teasing Tempress

668

30

Samson’s Death

742

31

Money

769

 

 

 

 

LIST OF ARTICLES

ARTICLE NUMBER

TITLE

PAGE NUMBER

1.1

The Limits of Early Israelite Control

3

1.2

Jebusites [JEBB you sites] (descendants of Jebus)

12

1.3

Kenite

17

1.4

BENJAMIN, TRIBE OF

30

1.5

Canaanites

31

1.6

Fortified cities

41

1.7

Zebulun, Tribe Of

41

1.8

Asher, Tribe Of

44

1.9

Naphtali, Tribe Of

47

2.1

Theophanies

58

4.1

Israel Oppressed By Their Enemies

113

4.2

The Battle Between Sisera and Barak

128

5.1

Two Versions of Judges Chapter 5

165

6.1

The Angel of the Lord

185

6.2

Terebinth Tree

188

6.3

The Valley of Jezreel

215

6.4

 Maimonides

218

6.5

Putting Out the Fleece

223

7.1

Tests

224

7.2

Divine Election And Man’s Free Will

234

7.3

Do what God Says

238

8.1

Zebah and Zalmunna

288

8.2

Mount Tabor

290

8.3

Urim and Thummim

297

8.4

The Breastplate and Ephod of the High Priest — an Important Part of Worship in the Temple

305

8.5

The Ephod

307

8.6

Baalim

318

8.7

Baalberith

318

9.1

SHECHEM

 

324

9.2

Mount Gerizim

324

9.3

Tower of Shechem

390

9.4

Thebez

397

9.5

Millstone

399

9.6

Armor-bearer

402

10.1

The Judge Tola

409

10.2

The Judge Jair

413

10.3

Gilead

416

10.4

Havoth-Jair

417

11.1

The Judge Jephthah

447

11.2

The Land of Tob

454

11.3

Ammon; Ammonites

484

11.4

Elder

465

11.5

Mizpah

470

12

Kadesh

483

13

Edom

484

16

Moab

486

11.6

Chemosh

493

11.7

Balak

497

11.8

Heshbon

498

11.9

Aroer

499

11.10

Targum

507

12.1

The History of the Philistines

567

13.3

The Nazarite

578

13.4

Manoah—The Father of Samson

584

13.5

Angels

594

13.6

Samson

608

16.1

Gaza

686

16.2

The Judges—A Case Study in Disobedience

687

16.3

Harlot

687

16.4

Adultery

688

16.5

Samson Carries the City Gate on His Shoulders

692

16.6

Hebron

694

16.7

Delilah

698

16.8

Valley of Sorek

699

16.9

Seduction: Rooted in a Lie

702

16.10

Dagon

730

16.11

Temple

735

17.1

Micah’s Unfaithful Mother

752

17.2

Teraphim

758

18.1

Levite

764

18.2

Dan (A Judge)

776

18.3

Laish

813

19.1

The Levite’s Defenseless Concubine

825

19.2

Divorce

828

19.3

Sons of Belial

856

20.1

The Levite’s Half-True Report

880

20.2

Nabal

882

21.1

Jabesh-gilead

963

 

 

Bibliography

1599 Geneva Study Bible

A Layman’s Harmony of the Gospels

Adam Clark’s Commentary

Ages Pulpit Commentary

Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament

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Believer’s Bible Commentary

Collected Writings of W.E. Vine

Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans by Charles Hodge

David Guzik’s Commentary on the Bible

Easy English Bible Commentary

Easy to Read Commentary by Practical Christianity Foundation

       Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon

Illustrated Manners and Customs of the Bible

James Burton Coffman’s Commentary: Whole Bible

Jameson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

King James Bible Word Book

KJV Bible Commentary

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary

New International Bible Commentary

Romans, God’s Good News for the World by John Stott

Scofield’s Study Notes

Smith’s Bible Dictionary

The Bible Exposition Commentary

The Bible Knowledge Commentary

The Broadman Bible Commentary

The Four-Fold Gospel by J W McGarvey and P Y Pendleton

The Gospel of Mark by William Barkley

The Interpreter’s Bible

The MacArthur Commentary

The New International Commentary on the Gospel of Luke

The New Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words

The New Testament Commentary on Luke by William Hendriksen

The People’s New Testament

The Teacher’s Commentary By Hobbs

The Teacher’s Commentary by Richards

Thru The Bible Commentary by J. Vernon McGee

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary

Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

With the Word Bible Commentary

 

 

 

 

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