The Books of Judges and Ruth (The Bible in Outline Form)

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The opening thus sets out the pattern which the stories in the main text will follow: [5]. Once peace is regained, Israel does right and receives Yahweh's blessings for a time, but relapses later into doing evil and repeats the pattern set forth above. Judges follows the Book of Joshua and opens with a reference to Joshua 's death Joshua ; cf. Judges The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges suggests that "the death of Joshua may be regarded as marking the division between the period of conquest and the period of occupation", the latter being the focus of the Book of Judges.

The main text — gives accounts of six major judges and their struggles against the oppressive kings of surrounding nations, as well as the story of Abimelech, an Israelite leader a judge [shofet] in the sense of "chieftain" who oppresses his own people.

The cyclical pattern set out in the prologue is readily apparent at the beginning, but as the stories progress it begins to disintegrate, mirroring the disintegration of the world of the Israelites. There are also brief glosses on six minor judges : Shamgar , Tola and Jair —5 , Ibzan , Elon , and Abdon — By the end of Judges, the Israelites are in a worse condition than they were at the beginning, with Yahweh's treasures used to make idolatrous images, the Levites priests corrupted, the tribe of Dan conquering a remote village instead of the Canaanite cities, and the tribes of Israel making war on the tribe of Benjamin , their own kinsmen.

Despite their appearance at the end of the book, certain characters like Jonathan , the grandson of Moses and idioms present in the epilogue show that the events therein "must have taken place… early in the period of the judges. Judges contains a chronology of its events, assigning amounts of years to each interval of judgment and peace.


It is overtly schematic and was likely introduced at a later period. It is unclear if any of the people named as judges existed. The basic source for Judges was a collection of loosely connected stories about tribal heroes who saved the people in battle. More recently, this view has been challenged, and there is an increasing willingness to see Judges as the work of a single individual, working by carefully selecting, reworking and positioning his source material to introduce and conclude his themes.

A statement repeated throughout the epilogue, "In those days there was no king in Israel" Judges , , , and implies a date in the monarchic period for the redaction editing of Judges. Since the second half of the 20th century most scholars have agreed with Martin Noth 's thesis that the books of Deuteronomy , Joshua , Judges, Samuel and Kings form parts of a single work. Scholars agree that the Deuteronomists' hand can be seen in Judges through the book's cyclical nature: the Israelites fall into idolatry, God punishes them for their sins with oppression by foreign peoples, the Israelites cry out to God for help, and God sends a judge to deliver them from the foreign oppression.

After a period of peace, the cycle recurs. Scholars also suggest that the Deuteronomists also included the humorous and sometimes disparaging commentary found in the book such as the story of the tribe of Ephraim who could not pronounce the word " shibboleth " correctly —6. The essence of Deuteronomistic theology is that Israel has entered into a covenant a treaty, a binding agreement with the God Yahweh, under which they agree to accept Yahweh as their god hence the phrase "God of Israel" and Yahweh promises them a land where they can live in peace and prosperity.

Deuteronomy contains the laws by which Israel is to live in the promised land, Joshua chronicles the conquest of Canaan , the promised land, and its allotment among the tribes, Judges describes the settlement of the land, Samuel the consolidation of the land and people under David , and Kings the destruction of kingship and loss of the land. This is the theme played out in Judges: the people are unfaithful to Yahweh and he therefore delivers them into the hands of their enemies; the people then repent and entreat Yahweh for mercy, which he sends in the form of a judge; the judge delivers the Israelites from oppression, but after a while they fall into unfaithfulness again and the cycle is repeated.

Further themes are also present: the "sovereign freedom of Yahweh" God does not always do what is expected of him ; the " satirisation of foreign kings" who consistently underestimate Israel and Yahweh ; the concept of the "flawed agent" judges who are not adequate to the task before them and the disunity of the Israelite community which gathers pace as the stories succeed one another. The book is as intriguing for the themes it leaves out as for what it includes: the Ark of the Covenant , which is given so much importance in the stories of Moses and Joshua , is almost entirely missing, [a] cooperation between the various tribes is limited, and there is no mention of a central shrine for worship and only limited reference to a High Priest of Israel the office to which Aaron was appointed at the end of the Exodus story.

Although Judges probably had a monarchist redaction see above , the book contains passages and themes that represent anti-monarchist views. One of the major themes of the book is Yahweh's sovereignty and the importance of being loyal to Him and His laws above all other gods and sovereigns.

David Pawson "Unlocking the Bible" - Judges & Ruth Pt1- on 5th April, 2014

Indeed, the authority of the judges comes not through prominent dynasties nor through elections or appointments, but rather through the spirit of God. However, the last few chapters of Judges specifically, the stories of Samson, Micah, and Gibeah highlight the violence and anarchy of decentralized rule. Judges is remarkable for the number of female characters who "play significant roles, active and passive, in the narratives. Most of the great women in the Bible either are married to a great man or related to one. Deborah stands exclusively on her own merits.

The only thing we know about her personal life is the name of her husband, Lapidot. Easton's Bible Dictionary New and revised ed. Nelson and Sons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Seventh book of the Bible. This article is about the biblical book. For other uses, see Judge disambiguation. It is not until the second defeat of 18, more, that suddenly Israel connects the dots and realizes that they are themselves under the curse of God.

They come to full repentance and for the first time, they weep, fast and sacrifice peace offerings to YHWH. Although there is no mention of putting off their foreign gods and idols, this clearly is what has now happened. Israel was defeated because of their sin and now they have fully dedicated their hearts to YHWH, they enquire a third time. Now God says go up again and they will now defeat Benjamin. Parallels between the third battle at Gibeah and the Battle at Ai. Both suffered initial defeat where worriers died because of sin in the camp. Israel sets up the identical an ambush plan they had used to defeat Ai.

After a few of them get killed, they retreat, drawing out the warriors in the city. Then the ambush team entered the city, destroyed everyone and set it on fire. The smoke was a signal for those retreating as bait, to turn back and attack the Benjamin army which was then defeated. Both the soon to be defeated army of Ai and Gibeah flee due east, but are captured and defeated. Immediately after defeating Ai, the Gibeonites surrender to Joshua at Gilgal. It is these same Gibeonites who may have been responsible for the moral decay and sodomy in the current city of Gibeah 5 km east of Gibeon that is under attack.


Remember Gibeon and Gibeah are two different towns about 5 km apart. As the Benjamin arm flee east, they take refute at the Rock of Rimmon, pomegranate rock with is close by Gibeah about 2 km away. The actual site is unknown. These men are trapped at the Rock of Rimmon for four months.

In a central and key verse in the entire book of Judges, Israel asks God why one of the twelve tribes are extinct. The reader immediately realizes that years later, 10 tribes are now extinct at the hands of the Assyrians in BC. This irony is underscored in the fact that the very tribes who wept to God that one tribe is extinct, are now all themselves extinct The cared greatly for their neighbor at one time for then they cared about themselves. To further amplify just how upset the ten tribes were about one tribe going extinct, the writer of the book of judges shows how much effort was put into saving Benjamin from total extinction, given there were still men at the rock of Rimmon.

An oath had been made to not give any women to Benjamin and the remaining tribes bend over backwards to find a way to get them some "incubators of the Benjamin state" so they could survive and recover.

  • The Book of Judges.
  • Epistemologia e soggettività. Oltre il relativismo (Studi e saggi) (Italian Edition).
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They discover that no one from Jabesh-Gilead came to help in the battle. This was a grave offence, considering the stern warning Moses had given all the Transjordan tribes that they must cross the Jordan to help their brothers take the land under Joshua years earlier. Later under Deborah, the Transjordan tribes again breeched their promise to Moses and failed to join her battle. But there were still men without wives to produce offspring, so a second clever plot was hatched at the annual feast celebration at Shiloh. Most likely this would have been a major required religious feast like Passover, Pentecost or feast of the first fruits of harvest.

As an act of religious dedication, young virgins would dance at these festivals in worship to God.

Forbidden Love - The Book of Ruth

The remaining men of Benjamin would hide in the vineyards and grab the virgin of their choice and haul her off to become his baby maker in Benjamin. The story highlights the disregard of women of the time. First the choice of giving a women to the sodomites, whereas Eph teaches the opposite that the man should die to protect his wife, not the other way around. Also the virgin women of Jabesh-Gilead were ripped from their families, towns and culture and given, without consideration of their own desires, to be baby factories for the once evil Benjaminites.

Yet this was a blessing because their future, once destruction, is not bright as one of the tribes that would survive the BC extinction. Then the lack of consideration for the women at Shiloh who were kidnapped and made Benjamin wives. The religion of children is determined by the mother and the commitment to that religion is determined by the father. But to this point, the Benjaminites had made poor choices in their religion. What a blessing in disguise were these highly spiritual virgins who, instead of staying home and partying with their friends, chose out of dedication to YHWH to travel to Shiloh and worship God front and center in religious dance.

It may well be that the survival of Benjamin depended on the repentance of the virgins of Jabesh-Gilead, who understood in time why their wicked town was destroyed and the positive role models of the virgins of Shiloh.