Introduction to Judges

The book of Judges connects the book of Joshua (about 1050 b.c.) to the first King – Saul (about 1,000 b.c.). The author of the book is unknown, even though some speculate that it was written by Samuel. In the absence of strong central government, the Judges were military and/or civil leaders who were sent by God.

The following is a recurring cycle seen in the book: 1. The people sin (by doing what seemed right to them), 2. God punishes, 3. The people repent, and 4. God sends a deliverer/Judge. A key idea in this book is that God will bless obedience and punish disobedience.

For further study, look at the Ryrie Study Bible and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992) Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor; Volume 3, Judges by Herbert Wolf. The following outline comes from the Ryrie Study Bible:


I.   Background of the Period of the Judges, 1:1- 3:6

      A. The Political Background, 1:1- 36

      B. The Spiritual Background, 2:1- 3:6 II.

II. History of the Period of the Judges, 3:7- 16:31

      A. Mesopotamian Oppression and Othniel's Deliverance, 3:7- 11

      B. Moabite Oppression and Ehud's Deliverance, 3:12- 30

      C. Shamgar's Victory over the Philistines, 3:31

      D. Canaanite Oppression and Deliverance by Deborah and Barak, 4:1- 5:31

          1. The story, 4:1- 24

          2. The song, Jud 5:1- 31

      E. Midianite Oppression and Gideon's Deliverance, 6:1- 8:35

         1. Gideon's call, 6:1- 40

         2. Gideon's conquests, 7:1- 8:35

     F. Abimelech's Tyranny, 9:1- 57

     G. Tola's Judgeship, 10:1- 2

     H. Jair's Judgeship, 10:3- 5

     I. Ammonite Oppression and Jephthah's Deliverance, 10:6- 12:7

     J. Ibzan's Judgeship, 12:8- 10

     K. Elon's Judgeship, 12:11- 12

     L. Abdon's Judgeship, 12:13- 15

    M. Philistine Oppression and Samson's Career, 13:1- 16:31

        1. Annunciation and birth of Samson, 13:1- 25

        2. Marriage of Samson, 14:1- 20

        3. Exploits of Samson, 15:1- 20

        4. Fall of Samson, 16:1- 31

III. Apostasy of the Period of the Judges, 17:1- 21:25

   A. Micah and the Migration of the Danites, 17:1- 18:31

       1. Micah and his private priest, 17:1- 13

       2. Danite migration, 18:1- 31

   B. The Benjamite War, 19:1- 21:25

      1. The reason for the war, 19:1- 20:13a

      2. The execution of the war, 20:13b- 48

      3. The results of the war, 21:1- 25

Review Questions

1. Judges connects the book of ______________ (1050 b.c.) to the first King - _________ (1000 b.c.). Who wrote this book? _______________.

2. The Judges were ___________________and/or _________________ leaders who were _______________ by God.

3. What are the four parts to the recurring cycle in this book? ___________________________________________________________


4. What is a key idea in the book? _______________________________


5. The outline that we are using is coming from where? __________________________________ Which two resources do the Pastor recommend for further study? ____________________________ __________________________________________________________


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