Book of Judges Summary: Leads to the Book of Ruth
As we prepare to study the biblical book of Ruth, let’s first make an attempt at a book of Judges summary. As we arrive at such a summary, I think what we encounter in the book of Ruth will be all the more encouraging.
Book of Judges Summary: Moses, Joshua, …?
So, Moses got Israel to the Jordan River. He dies, and Joshua takes over. Both Joshua and Moses lead the people righteously. Then Joshua dies. And who takes over for Joshua?… No one, really. Every tribe had their own leader here and there. They’re known to us as “Judges”.
Book of Judges Summary: Who Were the Judges?
And these Judges ranged in their quality, didn’t they?
Book of Judges Summary: Othniel
You had Othniel. Godly man. Gave a big deliverance to God’s people.
Book of Judges Summary: Ehud
Ehud. He was pretty good, too. But you had to kind of laugh and/or cringe at the details of how he did away with the big fat Eglon, king of Moab.
Book of Judges Summary: Barak
Then Barak was somewhat disappointing. He really didn’t seem to take the lead he should have taken.
Book of Judges Summary: Gideon
Then Gideon is even worse. Father was an idolater. Gideon was a fearful, nearly-faithless man. He showed some real brutal tendencies. And in the end, he made an object that Israel used as an idol. Plus, his boy Abimelech was nothing but brutal and ruthless – “serving” (if you can use that term) as Israel’s first king.
Book of Judges Summary: Jephtah
Jepthtah’s next. Son of a prostitute. Driven out of the land by his siblings. He ends up sacrificing his own daughter due to his rash oath.
Book of Judges Summary: Samson
And the last judge – Samson. Selfish to the core. Delivering Israel from their enemies only when it served his own piddly self-centered purposes. He lives with the enemies. Dies with the enemies. We do see him pray to the Lord. Once he prays for water. The other time he prays for revenge for the enemies poking out his eyes.
Book of Judges Summary: By Faith…
The good things that these guys did manage to do was all done through faith, as Hebrews tells us. How else do you explain any measure of success that these kinds of men had – especially the last four of them?
Book of Judges Summary: National Failures
We also saw the state of the nation as a whole. They start the book by failing to drive out the Canaanites militarily. Then we discover that the people failed because they weren’t listening to God. They were actually intermarrying with these pagans.
Book of Judges Summary: No King!
Then the book of Judges ended with the nation spiraling out of control. Adultery, idolatry, sexual violence, murder, theft – all these and more were found in Israel in the days of the Judges. Why? Well, the narrator wants us to know that all these things were happening because Israel had no king. No one to lead them to do right in the Lord’s eyes. So, without a king, Israel was doing only what was right in their own eyes.
Book of Judges Summary: Bethlehem
Now, much of the ending of the book of Judges took place in or around or involving the city of Bethlehem. The idolatrous Levite who served as a priest to Micah and then to the tribe of Dan was from Bethlehem. The adulterous concubine who cheated on her Levite husband and then died at the hands of perverted men in Gibeah was from Bethlehem. Is there any hope for this tiny city in Judah?
Book of Judges Summary: Next Up — Ruth!
And – more importantly – what about that king that the writer of Judges led us to anticipate?
So, hope for Bethlehem. Anticipation of a king. These two issues are addressed in this book that we’ll be studying for this lesson and the one in two weeks.