Week 4

The book of Judges is all about sin and redemption.  Israel is not the nation that it will become but they are free from slavery in Egypt and can govern themselves now.  With the passing of Moses and then Joshua a generation later, Israel has no national leader.  This ushers in the era of judges where God raised up a regional leader to deliver the Israelites from their oppressors.

Because the judges are not national leaders, there is some overlap in their reigns.  One judge may rule in the north while another is delivering freedom in the south.  Invariably peace would last for some time during the judge’s reign but then the Israelites would fall into sin once again.

The era of judges ends with Samuel when the people cry out for a king to lead them.  They will get what they ask for but ultimately the result isn’t any better than under the judges.

You’ll undoubtedly recall some of the judges such as Samson and Gideon while others like Deborah you may remember the name but none of the story.  And then there are judges who for whatever reason barely get a mention in the Bible.  This doesn’t make them any less important to Israel’s history but perhaps less noteworthy for the events of their reigns.

Required reading

Judges 1-21

Corresponding articles and videos on this site

We have written on topics covered in this lesson.  You can either read the article or watch the video, both cover the same material.  These provide good supplemental thoughts to go with your Bible reading and may help you answer some of the questions below.

Optional reading 

A History of Israel: From the Bronze Age Through the Jewish Wars – chapters 12-13

An Historical Survey of the Old Testament – pages 147-184

Discussion questions

The first question is required.  You may choose any of the remaining two questions to answer.  Answers should be 100 words or more. You are welcome to use resources that you may have or search the internet for help.

1) The Israelites continually fall into sin during the judges era.  Why do you believe that they never seem to learn their lesson?

Answer two of the following:

2) Who is your favorite judge?  Why?

3) What can we learn from Samson’s failures?

4) Do you think it is wrong to test God the way that Gideon did?

5) Why did God choose Deborah as a judge?

6) How does the final verse in the book of Judges summarize the entire book?


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