Judges – In Those Days Israel Had No King


in the book of Judges, the Tribes had compromised God’s command to drive out the inhabitants of the land.  Incomplete removal of evil often means disaster in the end.  We must beware of compromising with wickedness.

Repeatedly we see the nation of Israel sinning against God and God allowing suffering to come upon the land and the people.  Sin always has its consequences.  Where there is sin we can expect suffering to follow.  Rather than living in an endless cycle of abandoning God and then crying out to him for rescue, we should seek to live a consistent life of faithfulness.

Despite the efforts of Israel’s judges, the people still would not turn wholeheartedly to God.  They all did whatever they thought was best for them.  The result was the spiritual, moral, and political decline of the nation.  Our lives will also fall into decline and decay unless we live by the guidelines God has given us.

The book of Judges spans a period of over 325 years, recording six successive periods of oppression and deliverance, and the careers of 12 deliverers. Their captors included Mesopotamians, Moabites, Philistines, Canaanites, Midianites, and Ammonites. A variety of deliverers – from Othniel to Samson – were used by God to lead his people to freedom and true worship. God’s deliverance through the judges is a powerful demonstration of his love and mercy toward his people.

As you read the book of Judges, take a look at these heroes from Jewish history. Take note of their dependence on God and obedience to his commands. Observe Israel’s repeated downward spiral into sin, refusing to learn from history and living only for the moment. But most of all, stand in awe of God’s mercy as he delivers his people over and over again.


Like the authors of several other historical books of the Old Testament, the author of Judges is unknown. But internal evidence indicates that the book was written after the events described in Judges, probably during the days of King Saul or King David, about 1050 to 1000 B.C.

Purpose of Judges

To show that God’s judgment against sin is certain, and his forgiveness of sin and restoration to relationship is just as certain for those who repent.

Historical Setting of Judges

Israel’s entry into the Promised Land under Joshua was not so much a total conquest as an occupation. Even after the land was divided among Israel’s twelve tribes, the Israelites continued to face the possibility of domination by the war-like Canaanites during the 300 year period of the judges, from about 1375 to 1050 B.C.

God had helped the Israelites conquer Canaan, which had been inhabited by a host of wicked nations.  But they were in danger of losing this promised land because they compromised their convictions and disobeyed God.

Theological Setting of Judges

Judges speaks of humanity’s need for an eternal deliverer or a savior. The deliverance of the human judges was always temporary, partial, and imperfect. The book points forward to Jesus Christ, the Great Judge (Psalms 110:6), who is King and Savior of His people.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Book of Judges and what is its significance in the Bible? The Book of Judges is a historical narrative found in the Old Testament of the Bible. It covers a period in Israel’s history after the death of Joshua, where the Israelites lived in a cyclical pattern of sin, oppression, repentance, and deliverance through various judges. The book highlights the consequences of disobedience to God’s laws and the importance of seeking God’s guidance.

Who were the judges in the Book of Judges, and what were their roles? The judges were charismatic leaders chosen by God to deliver the Israelites from oppression and lead them back to righteousness. They served as military leaders, mediators, and spiritual guides. Some well-known judges include Deborah, Gideon, Samson, and Samuel.

What are some key themes explored in the Book of Judges? The Book of Judges delves into themes such as the consequences of idolatry and disobedience, the faithfulness of God in delivering his people, the importance of repentance and turning back to God, and the need for strong leadership and obedience to God’s law.

How does the Book of Judges relate to contemporary issues and lessons for today’s readers? Despite being set in ancient times, the Book of Judges addresses timeless issues such as moral decay, social injustice, and the consequences of forsaking God. It reminds readers of the importance of faithfulness, justice, and reliance on God in navigating life’s challenges.

What can we learn from the stories of the judges and their experiences? The stories of the judges offer valuable insights into human nature, the consequences of sin, the power of repentance, and the faithfulness of God. They inspire readers to seek righteousness, trust in God’s provision, and strive for justice in their own lives and communities.

Recommended Bible Study Resources

ESV Study BibleStudy Bibles give you a deeper understanding of God’s Word with tools for life application like commentary, maps, charts, concordance, and study notes. Search our popular translations- NIV, ESV, NKJV, KJV and more!

Believer’s Bible Commentary: Second Edition – A Bible commentary is a written, systematic series of explanations and interpretations of Scripture. Commentaries often analyze or expound on individual books of the Bible, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Some commentary works provide analysis of the whole of Scripture.

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – The best concordance for word study! This exclusive new edition of a legendary classic puts generations of biblical research at your fingertips. A valuable tool for pastors, teachers, and students of the Bible.

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – This classic word study resource allows you to study the meaning of biblical words in the original languages without spending years learning Greek or Hebrew. A great resource for students, seasoned pastors, and anyone who enjoys biblical word studies–even if they have little to no formal training in Hebrew or Greek.

Halley’s Bible Handbook – The beloved and classic Bible companion has been thoroughly updated, while retaining its time-honored features and Dr. Halley’s highly personal style, to offer even greater clarity, insight, and usefulness.

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