Quartz Hill School of Theology

The Book of Judges

I. Title

          The title, Judges, is the same in both the Hebrew original and in the Greek translation. It was derived frrom the content of the book, rather than its author.

II. Author and Content

          The author of the book of Judges is unknown. The book covers events from Joshua's death, around 1380 BC (taking an early date for the Exodus) until close to the time of Samuel (c. 1075 BC), who can be pictured as being the last judge before the beginning of the monarchal period (although Samuel and his time do not form part of the story of the book of Judges).
          The Hebrew word translated "judge" is not used in the way we would use the word "judge" in a modern western democracy. For us, a judge is someone who presides over a trial, or makes decisions regarding whether a given law or action on the part of the government is constitutional. Ancient Israel did not have this sort of separation of power. A "judge" in the Book of Judges wielded that sort of legal authority, but also could lead armies into battle; in many ways they acted as a king, but without their children inheriting their position. They were closer to being a warloard or dictator than anything else and they were viewed as temporary rulers, arising to deal with a crisis, but then vanishing until the next crisis.
          The purpose of the book is to demonstrate the need for the monarchy; this is clear from the repeated use of the phrase "and there was no king" and "everyone did what was right in their own eyes." (Judges 17:1, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25) The book falls naturally into two parts: part one lists the various judges and their actions (Judges 1-16). The second part describes the way people lived during this time of the Judges, painting a picture of near anarchy (Judges 17-21).

III. An Outline of Judges

I. The Time of the Elders 1:1-2:10
II. The Time of the Judges 2:11-16:31
III. A Picture of Anarchy 17-21

Questions on Judges

1. What is the theme phrase of the book of Judges?
2. Be able to give a biography of each person:

a. Othniel
b. Ehud
c. Shamgar
d. Deborah
e. Gideon (Jereb-Baal)
f. Abimelech
g. Gaal son of Ebed
h. Tola
i. Jair
j. Jephthah
k. Samson
l. Delilah
m. Micah
n. The Levite

3. Describe the war between Israel and the tribe of Benjamin.

Contact Details

Telephone: (661) 722-0891
Email: info@theology.edu
Website: www.theology.edu

Quartz Hill School of Theology
43543 51st Street West
Quartz Hill, CA 93536

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