Traditionally, Judges is reviewed through the following lens.
Israel “does evil in the eyes of Yahweh“,
The people are given into the hands of their enemies and cry out to Yahweh,
Yahweh raises up a leader,
The “spirit of Yahweh” comes upon the leader,
The leader manages to defeat the enemy, and
Peace is regained.
Once peace is regained, Israel does right and receives Yahweh’s blessings for a time, but relapses later into doing evil and repeats the pattern above.
There is another way to look at the cycle.
A judge/prophet leads Israel.
The judge sets up an administration that becomes corrupt. Israel becomes a mess.
A new judge is called. Eli and Samuel are great examples even if they are in the next book(s).
1In his old age Samuel appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second son was Abijah. They were judges in Beer Sheba. 3But his sons did not follow his ways. Instead, they made money dishonestly, accepted bribes, and perverted justice.
Much of Judges is a cautionary tale of how leaders and their families can lead us astray.
That theme continues through the Old Testament. Jeremiah condemning corruption in the Church
Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord.
The theme continues into the New Testament which has Christ warning of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Studying Judges is a good way to understand the frailties and weaknesses of all human institutions. Just like studying Aaron is a good warning about following leaders blindly, Judges highlights that pattern.
Looking back, what did you take away from studying Judges?
What lesson does it have for us today?