This is an introduction to and reflection on Judges before I began rereading the book. The author, date of authorship, and name origins are discussed.


Judges is the 2nd of the historical books and the 7th book of the Old Testament. The events of the book pick up where Joshua left off and continue through a series of lows experienced by Israel, covering approximately 300 years. The name of the book is derived from the english translation of the Hebrew name given to the people called upon by God to deliver Israel: shophetim. shophetim, which is usually translated as judges, could also mean governor.[1]

Dating the Book and Authorship

Judges was written anonymously, but unlike the Books of Law, there isn't any confirmation as to who the author is anywhere in the Bible. Pinpointing the author would be easier if scholars could pinpoint when the book was written. The events in the book span from approximately 15th century bc to 11th century bc. The final date of editing for Judges has been estimated to 722bc, 586bc, and 686-642bc. Since references are made to the fact that they were in the days when Israel didn't have a king, the book must have been written after the first king of Israel (otherwise, there would be no need to make a distinction). However, the text had to be before King David, since Jerusalem and Gezer still aren't Israelite territories in the text. The Jewish Talmud credits Samuel for writing the book since he was alive and writing during that time period.[1][2]

Themes & Ideas

Judges is full of unlikely heroes—unlikely in the context of the time period). Left-handed people, who were considered weak or deformed, were raised into champions. Women, who were considered a subservient gender, were raised into leaders. Judges is the book for underdogs!

Like Joshua, this book is about battles and conquests. However, this time the battles are a consequence of Israel's idolatry. Judges continues the Israelites nature of ping-ponging between obedience and idolatry. Each time they fall they are oppressed by the surrounding nations, and then God sends a deliverer (or judge) to lead them out of oppression. Note that some of the judges must have been raised up during the same time period.[1][2]

God made sure we would know the trials and tribulations Israel went through for a reason. This book shows the wrath God displays at the failure to obey His commands, but it also shows the mercy He displays in sending a leader to lead them back to Him. Judges can serve as both a warning and a beacon of hope.

Memorable People

When I hear judges, I automatically think Deborah and Samson; the other judges elude my memory. When I reread this book, I want to pay closer attention to their stories. They may not have done something large and memorable, but God thought they were important enough to move someone to record their story in the Bible, so they must me important enough to remember.


  1. Holman Bible Publishers. Holman KJV Study Bible. pg. 407-410. 2014
  2. MacDonald, William. Believer's Bible Commentary. pg. 261-265. 1988

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