Notes: June 12, 2008 – Judges 2 & 3

Who were the judges, and what was their purpose?

Today’s reading provides the answers.

  • After the death of Joshua the nation of Israel quickly forgot God, and adopted the religious practices of their pagan neighbors (Judges 2:12-13).
  • God was angry with Israel, and turned His providence against them (Judges 2:14-15, 20).
  • The various Canaanite tribal nations that remained in the promised land were left to test Israel’s devotion to the Lord (Judges 3:1, 4).
  • When the oppression of the Canaanites became great, God would send a judge to deliver Israel from the oppression (Judges 2:16, 18).
  • But it wouldn’t be long before Israel would forget God again and return to its heathen and idolatrous ways (Judges 2:17, 19).

Did the judges live and lead consecutively or concurrently?

  • Questions of chronology and dating can be addressed to Nikolaos through the contact page. He is well-studied on the subject. As we study the judges, make note of the oppressing nation, the years of oppression, and the years of rest from oppression. This is the first step in understanding the chronology.
  • Othniel, Caleb’s nephew and son-in-law, delivered Israel from 8 years of Mesopotamian oppression. Attribute the 40 years’ rest to the presence of the Spirit of the Lord upon him (Judges 3:10).
  • Ehud, a Benjamite (remember Judges 19-21!), brought Israel 80 years of rest after 18 years of Moabite oppression by his daring assassination of Eglon (verses 17-26). Ehud’s rallying cry: “The Lord has delivered your enemy into your hands” (Judges 3:28).
  • Shamgar slew 600 Philistines with a cattle prod (Judges 3:31). Nothing else is known of him (Judges 5:6).

Meditation Points:

Do you see any modern religious groups which mix heathen idolatry with Christianity?

Do you know anyone who cries loudly for God’s help in times of trouble but quickly forgets God when the trouble goes away?

Has God ever used you to help someone else out of spiritual bondage? To do so, you had to judge their condition. Contrary to modern scripture-twisting, judging human conduct is not forbidden, it is commanded (Matthew 7:1-6; John 4:24). Why, God even has a whole book of Judges!

The Christian’s weapons against sin seem little more than ox goads; but be sure that the Word of God empowered by the God of the Word is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).