Summary: But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them.
Dakota Community Church
October 30, 2011
Judges – Week One
Introduction & Historical Context
Judges is named for the military and civic leaders who were raised up by GOD to deliver Israel from its oppressors in the roughly 350 (1380-1050 AD) year period between the death of Joshua and the coronation of King Saul.
(Joshua a book of victory – Judges the other side of that coin.)
Author: Unknown, however the Babylonian Talmud attributes it to Samuel.
Date: The exact date of its composition is not known. Internal evidence indicates that it was written in the first years of Saul’s reign between 1050 and 1000 B.C.
Background: Judges covers a chaotic period in Israel's history between the years 1380 and 1050 B.C. Under Joshua's leadership, Israel had conquered and occupied, roughly speaking, the land of Canaan, but extensive areas hadn't yet passed into the hands of the individual tribes.
The pattern: Israel did evil - GOD delivered them into the hands of various oppressors - the people cried out to the LORD for help - a judge brought God’s deliverance AKA: The cycle of sin
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.
Once again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel.
After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD. 2 So the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin, a king of Canaan
You get the idea.
What we see is a repeated cycle throughout the entire book – a cycle of sin, bondage, repentance, devotion, followed by sin and bondage again.
Israel would follow the Lord when there was a leader who reminded them of the ways in which they should walk, but with his death they again wandered off into idolatry.
In spite of this cycle we should not fail to see that there were long periods of time, while the judges ruled, that Israel did remain free and enjoy victory.
Notice that in most cases the period of time spent in freedom was considerably longer than the time in bondage.
Opening Scripture Passages:
1 After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the LORD, “Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?”
2 The LORD answered, “Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands.”
But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. 28 When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely. 29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, who remained among them; but they did subject them to forced labor. 31 Nor did Asher drive out those living in Acco or Sidon or Ahlab or Aczib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob, 32 and because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. 34 The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain.
Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
Throughout the Book we see a few important themes:
God is the faithful, covenant keeping deliverer
The judges are weak and unworthy of the positions of authority they are given
Deliverance is an unmerited response to cries for mercy
The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9 But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them.