Overview of the Period of the Judges Judges 1:1-3:6
Judges 2:20-3:6 God’s Purpose for His Not Driving Out the Nations of the Land, cont’d.
Judges 3:1-6-A list of the nations (Philistines, Canaanites, Sidonians, Hivites) that God allowed to stay in the land in order to be a test for Israel's faithfulness and obedience. They failed the test.
Judges 3:7-11 Oppressor: Mesopotamians…Deliverer: Othniel
How quickly Israel forsook the Lord. They had been in the Promised Land for hardly no time at all when they did the very things that God had warned them not to do. As a result…God used the pagan nations to punish their disobedience and to turn them back to Himself.
Israel was oppressed by Cushan-rishathaim (king of Mesopotamia) for 8 years. When the people cried out, God raised up Othniel (Caleb’s younger brother) as a judge and there was rest for 40 years.
“Baal” was a rain and fertility god of the Canaanites and the “Asheroth” were some kind of wooden representation of his female deity cohort (:7). Worship of them included animal sacrifices, male and female prostitution, and at times human sacrifice.
Judges 3:12-30 Oppressor: Moabites…Deliverer: Ehud
Israel was next oppressed by Eglon (king of Moab...he was very fat) for 18 years. God raised up Ehud as a judge and there was rest for 80 years. Ehud told Eglon that he had a message from God for him. Then, when they were alone, he killed him with a sword.
Judges 3:31 Oppressor: Philistines…Deliverer: Shamgar
Judges 3:31-The Philistines then oppressed Israel, so God raised up Shamgar as a judge. Shamgar killed 6,000 Philistines with an oxgoad. An oxgoad was a pole that could be up to eight feet in length. It generally had a grip, or handle on one end and a blade on the other end that was shaped like a spear, and sometimes it would have a sharp hook or chisel on it, as well. It served to purposes. One, was to goad, prod, or poke an animal such as an ox to make it move, or work. The word Hebrew root word means “to teach, to train.” Second, it was used to clean a plow.
Judges 4:1-5:31 Oppressor: Canaanites…Deliverer: Deborah and Barak
Judges 4:1-24-Israel was oppressed by Jabin (king of Canaan-his commander was named Sisera) for 20 years. God raised up Deborah (a prophetess, the only female judge) as a judge. She told Barak (his name means “lightning”) to gather an army and go to war against Sisera. But he told her that he would not go unless she went. She told him that as a result, he would not get the credit for the victory, but a woman would. When Israel began to win the battle, Sisera fled to the camp of Heber, the Kenite…a descendant of the father-in-law of Moses (cf. 1:16; 4:11). The Canaanites and the Kenites were at peace with each other. When he arrived, he was greeted by Heber’s wife, Jael. She hid him in her tent under a rug and gave him some food. Then, when he fell asleep…she drove a tent peg through his head.
Judges 5:1-27-The victory song that Deborah and Barak sang. Since the Canaanites controlled the highways, the Israelites had to use other roads (:6). When called to war, Reuben, Gilead, Dan, and Asher refused to come (:15-17). There was rest in Israel for 40 years (:31).
Judges 5:28-31-Here, the scene shifts to the home of Sisera’s mother. She is concerned that he has not yet returned from battle. Her counselors tell her not to worry. Surely the reason for his delay is that it is taking so long to divide up the spoil of their victory. Little does she know that he is dead.
Prayer: Lord, over and over the Israelite’s were in the same pattern. They became comfortable with the sinful society that they lived in and became a part of it. They moved into the society and then the society moved into them. It is hard living in a culture where You are either not worshipped at all, or only nominally. Please keep me from cultural and nominal faith in You. Help me to live totally and completely for You no matter what the consequences.