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Introduction to Judges

The book of Judges narrates events that occurred in the History of Israel after the demise of the faithful Joshua who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. The long desired entry into the Promised Land however is not the happy ending the nation Israel hoped for. The accounts mentioned in the pages of the Book of Judges shows the gradual deterioration in the moral, social and religious fabric of the Israelite community, which quickly turns from following God to the fancy practices of the nations they displace.

Israel’s idolatry which leads to God abandoning His people and letting foreign powers oppress them, followed by Israel’s cry for help to God and His deliverance in the form of ‘Judges’ or leaders is the pattern that characterizes the entire Book of Judges. This flow of events does nothing to alter the commitment of the Israelites to God. Rather Israel plunges into every form of wicked and vile deeds, all the while purporting to worship the God for their fathers. Even the ‘Judges’ sent by God fail to bring the people of Israel into a right relationship with God.

The concluding chapters of the Book of Judges describe a vile offence committed by the tribe of Benjamin that brings the other tribes together to eliminate the offending Benjamites. Though the Israelites run to God for guidance and counsel to eradicate the ‘sinful’ conduct of their brethren, it can also be seen that Israel ends up clearing the mess, mostly with human wisdom.

The events in the Book of Judges make the reader wonder why God still stepped in to deliver Israel despite such disloyalty. Did the Israelites manipulate God’s mercy? Rather, God preserved the Israelites, remembering His covenant with Abraham. While it is true that God did step in to deliver the Israelites, they also suffered the consequences of their sin.

The author of the Book of Judges is unknown though it is popularly believed to be Samuel. The Book of Judges is not a strict chronological account and there are not enough details to establish a definite time when the book was penned.

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