Introducing the Book of Judges

January 4, 2016  |  Dave Goffeney


Sunday 1/10 we are beginning a 7-week series in Judges. Below are some key themes and common threads that unite the book and help us understand this often neglected portion of scripture.

KEY THEMES

The most well-known and important statement in Judges comes from 17:6 and 21:25—“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Not only does this wording appear identically in these two verses, but is alluded to in 14:3, 14:7, 18:1, and 19:1. It provides two of the major themes of Judges.


1. The people of God reject God as king. The phrase “there was no king in Israel” is not meant to communicate that Israel’s main problem was the lack of a human king, but that Israel had rejected God as their king. Though the people will continue to think their problem was a lack of military or political power, their true problem is that they increasingly forget and reject God.


2. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. This phrase is the flip-side of rejecting God as king. The people of Israel, much like people today, begin to think that they can be their own lord and master. Disaster ensues.


3. The Canaanization of Israel (i.e. The church becomes like the world). Though Israel was called to be a light to the nations, she succumbs to the power of idolatry and drifts into the godless and evil practices of the Canaanites around them. The people of God are, thus, ‘Canaanized.’ In fact, by the end of the book some of the most grievous sins in the Bible are committed—not by the nations, but by Israel!


OVERVIEW OF JUDGES

The structure of Judges is relatively simple. The book begins with an Introduction (1:1-3:6), then moves to a description of the Cycle of the Judges (3:7-16:31), and closes with a disturbing Conclusion (17:1-21:25).

The cycle that will continue (though the later parts of the cycle break down toward the end) throughout the book is:

[1] Sin – Israel does evil in the eyes of Yahweh

[2] Oppression – Yahweh sends a foreign enemy to oppress Israel

[3] Supplication – Israel cries out to Yahweh for help

[4] Salvation – Yahweh raises up a deliverer who rescues Israel

[5] Rest – The land experiences rest

cycle-words3

We challenge you to commit to coming for the full 7-weeks of Judges. Our prayer is that this series would spur you on to love and serve Jesus in all of life and see the greatness of our God’s mercy and love towards His people.

-the above post was modified from a document written by Redemption Gateway’s lead pastor Luke Simmons.