Judges 19-21

These last 3 chapters are rough!! 

Chapter 19.  A Levite and his Concubine.  This story is crystal clear and does not need a recap.  This story is parallel to Sodom in Genesis 19.  The moral deterioration of Israel is exactly as it was before.  Actually worse!  There is an unwritten law of hospitality in the Middle East that is strong BUT it should never be stronger than God’s Law.  Chapter 19 ends with the Levite chopping up her broken, raped body into 12 pieces and sends it Fed Ex to the tribes as a “call to action” for revenge.

The Gibeah - Bible Maps

This horrible event occurred in Gibeah.  As you can see it happened in the land of Benjamin.   So Chapter 20 now begins a civil war when the Benjaminites side with the offenders.  I am not sure why, as you can see the “story” is already being falsely told on the Levite’s side so I assume the Gibeah side is too.  Or it could be that the Benjaminites don’t want to fight their own land.  Either way, you can see this civil war is 11 tribes against 1.  When the 11 inquire to the Lord “Who should fight first?”, the Lord sends Judah but never promises victory.  The second time they ask “should we fight them?” and the Lord says “yes”. See, the Israelites needed their discipline for fighting against their own tribe, the Benjaminites.  However, on the 3rd request, the 11 show repentance by fasting and offering a burnt offering, so this time the Lord grants them permission to fight again, promising them victory.  The Lord now will discipline the Benjaminites for siding with the offenders.

Chapter 21:  What a hot mess!!  So the men of Israel had taken an oath NOT to intermarry with the Benjaminites.  (Ummmm…God’s Law said not to intermarry with NON-Israelites)  So because of this oath, the Tribe of Benjamin will dwindle out!  Well, we know this can’t happen because we need to have the first king Saul, Queen Esther, and the apostle Paul, who were all Benjaminites.

So these Einsteins come up with a plan.

  • “Let’s find anyone who did not participate on our side in this civil war, we will kill them and their wives and just steal the virgins”.
  • What in Sam Hill!  So they did that and pocketed 400 virgins.
  • “Shoot!  We are still 200 short, what shall we do??”
  • “Oh I know….there is an annual festival in this place called Shiloh, during the festival we can hide in the bushes and the old men can each steal for themselves a woman”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!  Why is there an annual festival in this little place called SHILOH?????

FreeBibleimages :: The altar of witness :: When the tribes east of ...

Can you see the magnitude of the whole scene??  Why are they not commemorating the annual feast as mandated?  Do they even know what the feasts commemorate?

So what started as avenging the rape of 1 woman, ended with the rape of 600 women and many many deaths.

And the final verse in Judges could not be more fitting to the tragic ending

 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

Judges 16-18









The Philippines rules 5 major cities: Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza.  Gaza lay on the Mediterranean coast, in the heart of the Philistine territory. It was probably a popular “Party Town”  on the coast for compromising Israelites, as well as for the pagan Philistines.

As the judge assigned to destroy the Philistines, his presence there for recreational purposes was inappropriate, to say the least. Going to Gaza also reveals Samson’s great self-confidence, since, after 20 years of judging Israel, he was undoubtedly the “most wanted man” in Philistia.

By verse 3 this has already happened!Image: b3h 30 the gates of gaza

Delilah: So the name evidently means “devoted”.  As I researched it, I came to the conclusion that her name was given to her as possibly a temple prostitute.  (the temple to the god Dagon)

Samson, now in enemy territory, posed a great threat to the Philistines! The Philistines” initiated the plan to capture him, and they offered an enormous reward to Delilah, which would have made her extremely rich.  In today’s value, they offered her about $15 million collectively.

Samson eventually gives in to her “nagging”.  (See Todd, I learned this from the Bible!). Samson’s eyes which have been the majority source of his repeated transgressions are gouged out and he is taken to Gaza and imprisoned.  (The very place he showed his strength ripping off the gates).


Verse 23: The Philistines offer a sacrifice to their God: Dagon for putting Samson into their hands. (Correction, The Lord put him in their hands for this moment).  Dagon was the chief god of the grain and harvest.  Many temples were built to worship him and often it included human sacrifice which entertained the crowds.   So everyone came to see the great Samson as a slave.  They celebrated their god was stronger (they assumed).

Samson prayed one last time:

“Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

Even though once again, the prayer was motivated by personal vendetta and not for the sake of God’s people, God still used him to kill more Philistines through this prayer and the death of Samson,  than when Samson was alive.

Samson was a representation of Israel.  They both:

  • were set apart by God before birth
  • they could not resist temptations
  • in times of trouble when they cried out the Lord delivered

The rest of Judges shows Israel falling to idolatry, moral decline, and petty fighting. As we read chapters 17 and 18 you need to remember what it was “supposed to look like” so that you can grasp how FAR from the Lord they are.

“Everyone did as they saw fit”. 

Micah turns out to be an idol worshiper.  After he returns the silver to his mother she decides to dedicate the silver to the Lord BUT makes an idol out of it too.  Michah even has a household shrine with an ephod and some idols.  Here is where it gets really interesting:  he hires his own Priest!

  • If you go back to Joshua 21, Bethlemham wasn’t even a Levitical city, so why was a priest there in the first place?
  • If through worship the Levites were provided for, then why does he need to find employment?
  • Is this priest a descendant from Aaron or Phineas? Is he even eligible to be a priest or is he just a Levite?  Idk?
  • The whole thing is just muddy!

Apparently, the Israelites no longer supported the priests and Levites because so few people were properly worshipping God.

Verse 17:6 “In those days Israel had no king, everyone did as they saw fit”.   

They did have a king.  The KING!!

Chapter 18: Why was the tribe of Dan looking for land?? They were given Land. Does anyone want to call in sick and break this chapter down verse by verse to see how much is wrong (how far the tribes have moved from serving the Lord).  I will!!  Reread it slowly!  Your head will explode.


They didn’t trust the Lord to conquer their own land and the Amorites had it so they went out to take land from the other tribes.  Got it!  They found a land that they liked in Laish.

The migration of Danites (Judges 18) | larshaukeland

So on their way there they come across Micah’s idols and hire his priest to be their priest.  (This is a Netflix show!)  When Micah discovers the robbery he goes after the Danites but realizes he has outnumbered and gives up.  The Danites take the land and set up the idols they had stolen to worship.

300 years have passed and we have people setting up their own religious practices.

If you think that is bad….wait until tomorrow!

IF YOU ARE STARTING TO GET CONFUSED, you aren’t.  Your head should be confused and spinning because “In those days Israel had no king, everyone did as they saw fit”.

So if you read a whole chapter and you think “that doesn’t make sense”, then that’s the point.  If you went back and reread today you will see none of it lines up with what God asked them to do.

Judges 13-15

From chapters 13 to 18, the Bible concentrates on the tribe of Dan, which had been one of the largest and most prominent tribes during the wilderness march (Num 2:25-31). In the period of the judges, however, Dan seemed helpless against the Amorites (1:34) and moved northward to find new territory.

The present 40-year oppression by the Philistines did not end until Samuel (1 Sam. 7:6).  Samson only began to deliver Israel from the … Philistines” (v. 5) At the end of his life and story, conditions in Israel were even worse than at the beginning. The Philistines will continue their oppression of the Israelites into King David’s reign. (that’s right I said “king”, right now the Lord is supposed to be King, how is that working out for them.  How is it working out for us today😢)

Chapter 13:

Samson’s birth by a “barren woman” indicated God’s supernatural provision of him for a special purpose. The meaning of Samson’s name may derive from shemesh (“sun”)  meaning “little sun”.  Samson’s mother may have named him in honor of a Canaanite god.  It also can be translated as a “strong one”.   The appearance of the Angel of the Lord (theophany) always marked a very significant event in Israel’s history. The only other birth He had announced so far was Isaac’s (Gen. 18:1). Samson would have an unusual opportunity to serve God.

Samson’s parents vowed him as a Nazirite (dedicated ‘to God’) from his birth (the womb) to the day of his death.  Normally Israelites took the Nazirite vow voluntarily and temporarily. Three laws governed the person under a Nazirite vow, in addition to the Laws written under Moses from God of course: Look back on Numbers 6:

  1.  he was to eat nothing that the grapevine produced (allowing the Holy Spirit to use him consistently). 
  2. he was to let his hair grow without ever cutting it, (public profession)
  3. and he was to refrain from contact with a dead body (Num. 6:1-21). (breaks fellowship with God)

Since he was vowed in the womb, even his mother adhered to the vow during pregnancy.

Look for ALL the clues that he broke every part of the vow.

Chapter 14:The first recorded indication of Samson’s superhuman strength is his ability to tear apart a young lion with his bare hands. Even though God strengthened him, Samson used that strength for his own purposes, not to fulfill God’s will.  After going to the vineyard, he scraped the honey out of the lion’s carcass with his hand (v. 9).  Not only did he desecrate his own body by going near a carcass, but he also desecrated his parents.  We can assume also that he drank wine since he was at a Feast.

The riddle would have been impossible for the Philistines to decode:

“Out of the eater, something to eat;
    out of the strong, something sweet.”

However, Samson’s told his fiance (not married yet) and was obligated to give the reward of the clothing.  Chapter 14 highlights Samson’s weaknesses as a human.

Chapter 15: The chapter begins by stating it was the “wheat harvest”.  When Samson returned to consummate the marriage and could not,  he used the foxes to burn down their harvest. This method of retaliation or revenge in ancient times was very serious.  The Philistines retaliated by burning the father and fiance.  Samson then goes to Etam:

Map - Etam - BibleBento.com

Samson flees to Judah territory and rather than the Israelites recognize Samson as a Judge God raised up to save them, they support the enemy!

Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave in the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?”  Ummm, what??

He answered, “I merely did to them what they did to me.”

They said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up and hand you over to the Philistines.”

The Spirit of the Lord comes over him again and he defeats 1,000 men with a jawbone.  Samson gives credit to the Lord for his defeat and leads Israel for 20 years.

Judges 10-12

  • 2nd post (the last one had the wrong chapters in the title)- sorry. Sometimes I am too tired to proofread. 😴
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  • Good morning. So let me ask you, are you amazed at how much of the Bible we really don’t know until we actually sit down and read it like this. If we made a pie chart of all the things we put first, how small a sliver would reading your Bible be (before this read).  I am just thinking out loud as I reflect on the Lord’s forgiveness and grace for our disobedience too.

As you can see we continue to cycle.  We have read about Judges 1-5, and today we will read 6-11 all in one day. Leaving Samson for Sunday!


The Judges and their Tribes:
1. Othniel – Judah
2. Ehud – Benjamin
3. Shamgar
4. Deborah – Ephraim
5. Gideon – Manasseh
6. Tola – Issachar
7. Jair – Manasseh
8. Jephthah – Manasseh
9. Ibzan – Judah
10. Elon – Zebulun
11. Abdon – Ephraim

12. Samson – Dan (Sunday)

We have two “minor” judges Tola and Jair raised up to save Israel.  Then we have this long story about Jephthah #8.

What we are reading is not just a deterioration of the Israelites but also of the judges.  The evil the Israelites commit is clearly specified as apostasy evident in the long list of foreign gods they are worshiping as well as they have completely forsaken the Lord and no longer serve him at all. (look for details like how long or short their reign was or how their wealth accumulation is growing 😢)

They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the Lord and no longer served him, he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites.

Before you shake a finger at them. What is the desire of your heart?

:Pray for America-What Are Your Idols? | Dr. Michele Burke- Esther's Warriors Ministry

This text is also setting up the scene for Samson and the Philistines.  However, this story grows as they move from the east side of the Jordan to now the west side.   The Lord initially refuses to save the people telling them to go cry to the gods they serve (ouch).  Instead of waiting for the Lord to raise up a Judge to deliver them, they enlist Jephthah.

Jephthah was half Hebrew, half Canaanite (his mother was a prostitute.)

I am not sure of you caught it, but just in case you didn’t…1The king of the Ammonites answered Jephthah’s messengers, “When Israel came up out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peaceably.”

Jephthah could have just said “Liar, Liar pants on fire!” but he didn’t.  He did something better: he schooled them on their history.  Israel did not take land from the Ammonites, he took it from the Amorites!  NOW the Ammonites are trying to take what isn’t theirs.  Tsk Tsk!!

Unlike Gideon who shows doubts about his ability without the Lord’s help, Jephthah feels confident in himself and his band of hoodlums to get the job done.

Prior to this, we see Judges that show concern for the suffering of Israel, as the people deteriorated in their sins.  Jephthah’s motivation is self-interest.  He has a dialogue about the land with the Ammonite king.  He argues:

  1. When Israel came out of Egypt they did not steal land, rather the Moabites did.
  2. The land taken away from the Amorites was given from the Lord (King Sihon battle)
  3. They had the land the Lord gave them for 300 years,  He sarcastically adds we will keep the land our Lord gave us, you keep the Land your god, Chemosh,  gave you. (this god will come up again when we read about Solomon)
  4. And concluded with: “I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the Lord, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.”

    The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.

Let the games begin!

Chapter 11: When preparing for war Jephthah makes a vow with the Lord:  “If you give the Ammonites into my hands,  whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

Go back, who was his mother and father?  His mother was a Canaanite, and his brothers hated him for it.

  • One of the Cannonite practices was ‘bartering’ with their god.
  • One of the Israelite commands was keeping your vow.

We see here what happens when you mix 2 religions- it’s mud.

Just like many Christians know “a little” about the Bible and OFTEN take scriptures out of context. He knows “a little” about the Law of Moses and takes it out of context.  He should have known that the Lord would never want a human sacrifice.

Chapter 12…Lord have Mercy!  AGAIN!!  The Ephraimites cross over the Jordan to complain like babies AFTER the battle, “why weren’t we asked to fight in your battle”.  This time threatening to burn down Jephthah’s house.  Gideon handled this diplomatically when it happened to him…Jephthah on the other hand, obviously not in the mood to dialogue like Gideon had, calls on the Gileadtes to fight them.  They cut off their path to escape back to the other side of the Jordan and kill 42,000 Ephraimites.

If all this is confusing with all the names just remember that the Ephraimites are ISRAELITES.  The conflicts are now internal and escalating in intensity.

Jephthah led Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in a town in Gilead.

It does not say ANYTHING about years of peace following this Judge.  I am thinking ‘days’ in my head.

Three Minor Judges are then listed Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon. If you have time take a moment to look back on the Printables (that you don’t need to print I keep them in the Menu at the top for you)

Sadly,  the Israelites are still in the ‘disobedience’ stage.  We haven’t even reached the ‘disgrace’ stage yet.  I wonder what stage the Lord would say the world is in today?  I wonder in his eyes what “chapter’ we resemble.  Well, let’s keep reading this week and see what happens next.


Judges 8-9

Before you read today I want to point out in Chapter 6:32 Gideon was given the name Jerub-Baal ‘let Baal contend’ when he broke down his father’s  (Joash’s) Baalm altar.  I wanted to point that out for this reading.  I am honest with you when I have skimmed in the past, so I will be honest with you and say I had to read this several times to comprehend all that was happening.

Chapter 8

Gideon had not invited the men of Ephraim to join him in the battle yesterday, instead, he recruited the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulon, and Naphtali.   So now that Ephariam sees the battle was a victory they say “awww man, I would have been a part of that!  Gideon must have read Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ since he defused the situation by complimenting them for past battles.😜

“Denying them the bread”.  The first time I read this I thought”what’s the big deal, Israelites are denied help all the time”.  What I did not catch was they had crossed the Jordan to the East and they were in Israelite territory (Transjordan tribes).  The Israelites denied feeding Israelites!

Gideon at this point for me starts to “lose his marbles’.  I can deal with the “needing affirmation” Gideon, but today we read a totally different Gideon.  In verse 18 he asks Zebah and Zalmunna “who did you kill?” and follows it with “those were my brothers, and if you had spared them I would have spared you”.  Ummmmm I don’t remember reading that when Moses and Joshua read the laws about entering the Promised Land!  Wrong on so many levels!

  1. This now becomes an execution (not a killing through battle)
  2. This becomes a “personal” vendetta rather than a defeat for the nation.
  3. Even his son, Jether, as a boy understood this was all wrong.

In Verse 22, the Israelites began to beg for someone to rule over them.  Gideon refuses telling them the Lord will rule over them BUT Gideon obviously has aspirations of being “king-like” deep down.

  1. He takes the rings off the Camel’s neck AND asked for the “rings” which a “kingly” request. (accumulating wealth)
  2. He takes MANY wives and concubines
  3. He names one of his sons (from his concubine, from Shechem) Abimelek: which means “My father is King”.

The chapter ends with Gideon creating an Ephod (what the Priests would wear on their chest under their breastplate) out of gold.  This became a snare to both Gideon and his family as something to worship.Mr Biblehead: Gideon, the Rest of the Story (Judges 7 & 8)

Gideon dies.  If you were to sum up the life of Gideon what would you say?  I would love to hear your comments because they would be so different depending on what the Lord “highlighted” for you.

Chapter 9:

A Totalitarianism Judge – Rip-Roar Get High On Life

The son Abimelek, his mother was the concubine,  had a meeting with his mom’s family and talked them into letting him be the ruler.  In order to do this, he had to eliminate his 70 brothers.  BUT the youngest brother (half-brother) Jotham “The Lord is Perfect”,  escaped and warned the Shechamites about Abimelek with a parable.

  • The trees represented the people (different statuses represented by olive trees, fig-trees, and vines.
  • The thornbush represents Abimelech.

(The parable could be against Kingship altogether)

Jotham defends Gideon, as the deliverer (as a judge).  Gideon risked his life to save the Israelites, only being repaid by the deaths of his sons.  Verse 19: “So have you acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too!  But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!”

Abimelek ruled for 3 years.  Then, the Lord stirred up animosity to avenge the killing of Gideon’s 70 sons since they fell in the category above “But if you have not” Matters get worse when Gaal uses the same tactic Abimelek used earlier.  However, Abimelek’s deputy Zebul reports back to Abimelek and defeats Gaal.  War breaks out and when the Shechamites hide in a tower Abimelek burns it down,  (As Jotham said…”they were destroyed by fire”.

Abimelek continues his attacks on surrounding towns and the people in Thebez KNOW about his previous “tower fire” so they use it to lure him to the bottom of it and then a woman drops a millstone on his head…but does not kill him instantly.

52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.

54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home. (Insert eye roll from all the women out there)

Abimelech.Death Of.BibleOutlines | The Daily Office in Quarantine

This was a complicated read (for me), keeping the names straight was the hardest part (who is on who’s team??). It is Good Friday, so I think you most certainly can find some time to read it twice.

Trivia: What does the name: “Abimelek” mean?

I am still researching something…if I figure it out, I will put it in the comments.

Judges 6-7

I think we can all relate to Gideon.  He needs a “sign”….many signs when called to do something we feel is impossible. But more space is devoted to Gideon in the Book of Judges (100 verses) than to any other judge, and Gideon is the only judge whose personal struggles with his faith are recorded.

The Midianites were nomads that descended from the line of Abraham.  At this point, all the enemies are confusing me, so take a moment to remember some of these…look for the “ites” at the end of their names.

  • Find Ham: (the cursed son of Noah).   When you read “These were the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites” (often lumped together by the name the Canaanites)
  • Find the Moabites and the Ammonites (Lot’s daughters after they slept with him)
  • Find the Midianites (Abraham’s son from Keturah)

So again we fight the Midianites. It was not their strategy to kill the Israelites and take over their land, they preferred to let the Israelites sow and harvest their crops, and then steal what God’s people had labored so hard to produce!  So the Israelites had to hide their harvested crops and other valuable possessions caves and clefts of mountains.  When we meet Gideon he is threshing wheat in a cave.  Let me show you how oppressed the Israelites were:

Normally, a harvester would pick up a load of wheat and toss it into the wind in order for the lighter chaff, which was useless, to be blown away.  The chaff would then be swept up and burned, while the good grain settled into a pile. This process was winnowing the wheat.  The fact that Gideon had to do this in a winepress (lowland, no wind) so that the Midianites wouldn’t steal it,  made threshing nearly impossible.

I say all this because we are going to talk about ‘threshing’ a lot.  Example:  John speaking of Jesus in Luke 3:16:  John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

In calling Gideon to deliver the Israelites, God revealed Himself twice. The first time, God appeared to Gideon and spoke directly to him as “Angel of the LORD” (Theophany).  The second time, God commanded Gideon to destroy the local Baal worship, and renew the worship of The Lord. In the first case, God acknowledged Gideon, and in the second, He called on Gideon to acknowledge Him.

Gideon could not understand why the Israelites were suffering as they were, “if” the Lord was “with” His people (“if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? a very common phrase still today). He failed to realize that their condition was the result of their abandoning God, not His abandoning them.

This act of tearing down the family’s pagan altar was a public confession of Gideon’s commitment to the Lord. It was necessary for him to take this stand personally before the nation would follow him as its judge. This sacrifice served a twofold purpose: First, burnt offerings of worship made atonement and symbolized the offerer’s total dedication to the Lord. Secondly, Gideon’s sacrifice was a rejection of Baal worship, since the “bull” was the sacred animal in the Baal fertility cult.

Gideon Le A Mi 300 Kong | Baibal Tuanbia | Bible images, Gideon bible,  Bible pictures

The Israelite soldiers numbered only 32,000 while the Midianites numbered 135,000 warriors. God clearly revealed His purpose in reducing Israel’s army to ONLY 300 men. He wanted everyone to recognize that the victory was His work rather than Israel’sGideon in the Bible - Scripture Quotes & SummaryIf the men were instructed to carry a horn in one hand and a lantern in the other, how could they use a weapon?  Oh, yeah, God was the ONLY weapon they needed.

Judges 3-5

If you have lost your reading schedule like me, Click here to print a new one. (but it is always in the handout section)

Chapter 3 begins with: “These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan”.  Faith is tested.  The younger generation had not fought in the major battles, so they would need Faith to overcome their enemies.  However, by verse 5 we read: The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.”

This book is subdivided into 6 eras of Apostasy.  Apostasy means a falling away, a withdrawal, a defection They believed in God, but they abandoned Him.  Click here if you would like a detailed list of the judges.

Here is a cheat sheet:

AOCI Bible Training Institute (ABTI) - Old Testament Survey: Books of History

Judge #1

Othniel:  (Hebrew means “Lion of God” or “Strength of God”)

Was “raised up” (think of the Cross), as the first judge of the Israelites.  He was Caleb’s younger brother. (yesterday I said to put his name in your pocket)

  • 8 years of oppression
  • 40 years of rest

Judge #2 Ehud (means union or united)

King Egon from the Ammonites,  teamed up with the Ammonites and the Amalekites. (they should sound familiar).  God raised up Ehud from the tribe of the Benjaminites.  He was left-handed meaning Ehud could not use his right hand at all for some reason.  God used this in a mighty way.  Ehud was able to sneak his sword in on his right side because the guards would only have checked his left side for a weapon.  He conquered this King by plunging the sword into him causing his bowels to discharge.  The smell must have been horrible!  This puts the whole scene together as to why the servants assumed he was “relieving himself” and Ehud had time to escape.

An unlikely hero | Feeling God's Pleasure

Judge #3 Shamgar-  Shamgar is one small verse but one powerful Judge.  Here is what we know:

  1. Shamgar’s leadership followed Ehud’s
  2. He was the son of Anath,
  3. He killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad
  4. He saved Israel.

Because the name Anath referred to a Canaanite goddess, some have suggested Shamgar was a son of a mixed Israelite-Canaanite marriage or had some other connection with the Canaanites.

An oxgoad wasn’t even a weapon, it was a herding tool for animals that Ehud used as a weapon.  God is amazing.

British Museum - Image gallery: elephant-goad

NOTICE: These are not just “battles”, this is God showing himself to the next generation.  600 Philistines…the weapon wasn’t the Oxgoad.  The weapon was God!

Are you paying attention to the cycles!

#4 Deborah- (hold on a second, I need to go find my Whitney Houston cassette and blast “I’m Every Woman” while I read this.🎶🎶

Deborah, upon receiving instructions from God, called Barak, an Israelite warrior, to bring 10,000 troops up Mount Tabor to attack Sisera, Jabin’s commander of troops.

Barak responded by saying “If you will go with me, I will go; if not I will not go” (Give me a break.  Take his man card from him!)

In the next verse, Deborah agrees to go to battle with Barak and the troops but says: “However, there will be no glory for you in the course you are taking, for then the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman” You bug wimp. (I added the last part)

Ok, a little background.  Moses’ father-in-law was a Kenite. They lived among the people Israelites under the tribe of Judah (1:16).  God used this alliance to his advantage.  Even though the Kenites had moved North and were friendly with Jabin’s army (well, who wouldn’t be…his army was HUGE and sophisticated with 900 chariots made of iron).  Jael gives him milk and a blanket to help him sleep and then…drives a tent peg through his temple! Lord have mercy!  I named my daughters Elliot and Charlie, I might change them to Deborah and Jael!

Deborah and Jael – Most Courageous Women | My Lord Katie

Chapter 5: The Song of Deborah  (it’s really not a song of Deborah, It is a song of the Lord).  This song was to teach the next generations (and the enemies to come) that it was not the Judges who saved Israel but the Lord that raised up the Judges.  It is a song of Praise.  Verse 2 and 9…” Praise the Lord”.

Notice in the song who did NOT fight. 😢

Over 200 years were read today.

Solution to the Chronology of the Book of Judges!

The Judges and their Tribes:
1. Othniel – Judah
2. Ehud – Benjamin
3. Shamgar
4. Deborah – Ephraim
5. Gideon – Manasseh
6. Tola – Issachar
7. Jair – Manasseh
8. Jephthah – Manasseh
9. Ibzan – Judah
10. Elon – Zebulun
11. Abdon – Ephraim
12. Samson – Dan

Judges 1-2

The Israelites were given instructions to destroy the Canaanites and take possession of their land.  Israel begins by asking the Lord which tribe should lead the way, and Judah is chosen.  Judah naturally asks the Simeonites to join them since Judah is allowing them to live in their land (Simeon lost his right to own land when he plotted vengeance on the Shechamites after they tricked them into getting circumcised and then attacking them) (click here if you want to re-read Genesis 34)

“Adoni-bezek” meaning “lord of Bezek” was the title of the king of Bezek rather than his proper name. The Israelites cut off this man’s thumbs so he could not wield a sword, and his big toes so he could not run away, as well as to humiliate him.  This was an act of disobedience from the Israelites. The Israelites were commanded to completely destroy them, not torture them.Jabesh Gilead and Tribes - Bible Maps

Bezek is in the region of Manasseh.

(Put this name in your pocket for a short time:1Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage.)

The Military failure: What do verses 1:21, 1:27, 1:32, and 2:23 all have in common? DID NOT DRIVE OUT followed by “Nor did” “Neither did”.  They did not follow through driving out their enemies.

Chapter 2:The angel of the Lord  (a theophany) 😁 went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.”

Unfortunately Yes.  Yes, they will!

The next generation of Israelites now grows up who did not know the Lord nor the might acts he had don’t for their parents in battles (2:10).  Remember the “Shema” verse in Deuteronomy 6:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Well, they ignored this too.

  • Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals (Canaanite gods of rain and agriculture) and the Astoreths (the mother god of love, war, and fertility) They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them.
    • They aroused the Lord’s anger, in his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them.
    • He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 
    • Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

Look at the cycle the Americans Israelites are in:

Click here to print this (I put several handouts in the overview last night)

If you read in a Bible rather than on-line, go back and underline the cycle in the second half of Chapter 2.  You will see it.

This became a cyclical pattern BECAUSE their crying out was not an act of repentance, simply a cry for help (wrestle with that application in your own life, I do that ALL the time)  Look at verse 19: when the judge died, the people returned to the ways even MORE corrupt than those of their ancestors.

Have you ever struggled with scriptures like this:

  • Deut: 5:9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,”

Now you get it.

20: Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. 22 I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” 23 The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.

So now begins the cycle.

Judges Overview

Look how far we are into the Old Testament!!

The book of Judges is a continuation of Joshua. Now that they are in the Promised Land (Canaan) , Israel has to learn that no matter how great their leaders were (Moses and Joshua) ultimately God is in command.

When the Israelites entered Canaan they were one nation.  Now they are divided into 12 groups, each responsible for driving out the remaining enemies in their own territory. Spoiler Alert: The book of Judges records their failure to do this.

It is hard for us to understand why God would command the Israelites to execute ALL the people.  Seems cruel.  However, God is the “ultimate” Judge, and just like he brought judgment onto the Israelites descendants to wander for 40 years and never enter the land, executing all the Canaanites is a judgment too.  They are wicked people and this is God’s judgment on them.  If you are still struggling with this command from a loving God, think of it as an infected leg that needs to be amputated to save a life or a disease in the body that will spread if not removed.  You can’t leave just a “little” or it will still infect the body.

So why don’t the Israelites follow the commandments they have been given?  Well, for the same reason, I don’t…

  1. They have been fighting for a long time and they are too tired
  2. Their enemies were strong and it would take work
  3. After Joshua dies, they really don’t have someone leading them (or keeping them accountable)
  4. They thought they could handle the temptation

Basically, they just didn’t follow through with their commitment!!

God’s agreement to help Israel conquer the land is broken BUT his Covenant to make Israel a nation whom the whole world will be blessed (through a Messiah) always remains valid!

The Judges and their Tribes:
1. Othniel – Judah
2. Ehud – Benjamin
3. Shamgar
4. Deborah – Ephraim
5. Gideon – Manasseh
6. Tola – Issachar
7. Jair – Manasseh
8. Jephthah – Manasseh
9. Ibzan – Judah
10. Elon – Zebulun
11. Abdon – Ephraim
12. Samson – Dan

We will read the WHOLE book in 1 week….so don’t fall behind just because you want to watch Netflix, scroll Facebook, or mindlessly watch TikTok.  🤪

Here are some handouts you can take a look at.  Print only the ones you really like.