Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book in both the Christian Bible (Old Testament), and the Hebrew Tanakh. It was originally written in Hebrew, to the people in Israel. The Hebrew word for the book is Shaptiym, which means, 'people of judgment.'
The book contains the stories of many "judges" who were leaders who typically led the people in battle and then served as a civil leader. While not kings, these men were respected and they sometimes decided cases. That is why they were called Judges. One of the Judges was Samson who was a very strong man. He fought against the Philistines. After his girl friend, Delilah, tricked him by cutting his hair, he was made a slave. At his death, he destroyed many enemies by pulling down a building on them. Gideon was another famous judge. He defeated an army of Midianites with only 300 men. Another famous judge was Deborah, possible the most powerful woman in the Bible. She was a military, civil and religious leader.
In the book, there is a pattern which repeats. The people turn from God, and he allows their enemies to harm them. Then they pray to God. He sends them a new judge. This judge helps the people and defeats their enemies. The people are happy for a time, but soon they again turn from God. The cycle repeats itself.
- In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes (21:25)
- IVP New Bible Commentary