In the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11, known by many as the “Hall of Faith” we read in verse 32:
“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—”. (ESV)
Judges and 1– 2 Samuel bridge the gap from the entrance of the people of God into the Promised Land under the faithful leadership of Joshua to their expulsion from the land due to unfaithful kings in 1-2 Kings.
The book of Judges chronicles the moral and spiritual descent of Israel from the relative high point at the beginning of the book (they are in the Promised Land) through a series of downward spirals to the depths of degradation in chapters 17–21, where we read of both religious apostasy with the idolatry of Micah, civil war (Israelites fighting each other), and complete social degradation.
Since the conquest of the land is not complete, the book begins with the question of who will lead in battle (Judges 1:1) and ends with the statement, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (21:25).
Though God raised up a sequence of deliverers—the judges (hence the title of the book)—they were unable to reverse this trend and some even became part of the problem themselves.
Despite all the warnings, promises, and blessings, the Israelites (the people of God) have abandoned Him for pagan gods. They are given over to recurring cycles of oppression by foreign nations, they constantly cry to the Lord for help, and He intervenes on their behalf.
Judges tells the story of these cycles. Despite the people’s continuous rejection of God’s kingship, He is moved to compassion for them. Individual judges, described as those who “saved Israel” are provided by the Lord again and again.
By the end of the book, Israel had become as pagan and defiled as the Canaanites they had displaced. If this trend continued, it would only be a matter of time before the land would vomit them out, as it had the Canaanites before them, a warning we read about in Leviticus 18.
The book of Judges demonstrates what happens to the Lord’s people when everyone does whatever they want. The failures of both people and judges are so significant that they urge us to long for the hero who will never fail.
The need for a king who will lead God’s people into their full inheritance is an important theme. Later in 1-2 Samuel we will read of the establishment of Israel’s monarchy. But they too will eventually fail as they turn from God as described in 1-2 Kings.
Israel in Judges is in bad shape, but a new day is dawning when God will provide, from the line of David, King Jesus — the king of His choosing. AMEN!
Until next time… keep reading!
Excerpts taken directly from: Gospel Transformation Bible, ESV Study Bible, HCSB Study Bible, Bible Knowledge Commentary