The book of Judges is part of the Old Testament and of the Hebrew Tanakh, being part of thehe Jewish deuteronomic history and according to tradition Christian belongs to the historical books biblical.
Judges begins his story with the arrival of the Israelites, guided by JoshuaThe book tells the story of the passage of the Hebrew tribes to the land of Canaan, the settlement of the Hebrew tribes in the conquered land, and ends with the beginning of the monarchy. It recounts the transition from a nomadic and pastoral people to a consolidated and agricultural nation.
The content is not only a historical description of that period but also shows from a religious point of view all the vicissitudes of Israel to survive and its weaknesses in order to obey the law and to be faithful to God. It also exposes a God who helps and defends them, in spite of their sins, miseries and abandonment. This book teaches the cycle of the sin which begins with unfaithfulness to the Lord, God's punishment, the people's repentance and their plea for divine help and the sorry mercy of the Father to his people and again the beginning of this cycle.
It is a period that covers more than 300 years of history (from 1400 B.C. to 1050 B.C.), where through leaders or judges the ups and downs of the chosen people in their faith and fidelity to the Lord are described; a book where it is evident that Israel was disorganized as a nation, that it did not have institutions or rulers that unified the tribes into a single nation. The Israelite tribes were surrounded by hostile peoples who were more organized militarily and who through their cults and beliefs perverted the people, inducing them to renounce their laws and doctrines.
The author of these stories, according to the biblical tradition is SamuelIt is a book of narrative and historical genre that describes the history of thirteen judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah (and Barak), Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abelon and Samson.
The name Judges comes from the Hebrew verb that means to lead, to govern rather than to judge, that is, the name Judges is related to the heroes or leaders who in times of difficulty of the people, fought and guided their brothers to get out of a time of oppression or war; they were leaders chosen by the Lord to defeat the enemy and bring mercy and peace to his people.
The characters of the thirteen judges are men and women who do not have common characteristics among them, who acted in very different ways to solve the different situations they lived through, but their achievements always show the power of God who forgives and helps his repentant people in the most difficult moments in spite of their infidelities and sins.
The book of Judges The following elements are schematically presented in all the stories:
- When there is no Judge or leader, the Israelites are unfaithful to God and commit idolatry by imitating the people around them.
- The Lord punishes Israel and delivers them into the power of the enemy.
- The repentant people beg God for His mercy and He sends them a leader or chieftain who delivers them from the slavery or oppression to which they have been subjected.
- The leader or judge, while he lives, helps the people to be faithful and obey the laws of the Lord, allowing a period of peace to the people, but when he dies this cycle is repeated; which lasted approximately 300 years.
The main sections of this book are:
- Two Introductions (1-3.6) describing the settlement of the Jewish tribes in Canaan and an overview of the period of the judges.
- History of the Judges (3.7-16.31): Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah (and Barak), Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abelon and Samson.
III. Two appendices (17-21) containing
- The migration of the Danites and the founding of the sanctuary of Dan.
- The crime of Gibeah and the war against the tribe of Benjamin.