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Judges 1-5


A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                                             
Thru the Bible in a Year
       Judges is the story of Israel from conquest to the Monarchy.  Its title is that of the leaders God provided to lead His People before there were kings.  In Judges 2:16, God’s plan is described:  “Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them [Israel] our of the hands of . . . raiders.”  As God is the One who permits the raiders and provides the deliverers, He may be considered the ultimate Judge and Deliverer (as Gideon explicitly states in 8:23).
       Traditionally, Samuel is credited as writer of this book, and the repeated phrase, “In those days Israel had no king” suggests it was written after the monarchy had been established (either during the lifetime of Samuel or sometime after).
       The book is a series of cyclical events:  the people are blessed; they sin; they are punished; they repent; God sends a judge to deliver them; there are restored; they sin; etc.  Always the problems arise when everyone does what is right in his own eyes.
         In the first section, the men of Judah succeed in their conquest of territories, and while the tribes of Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulin, Ashur, Naphtali and Dan enjoy some success in their efforts at conquest, they fail to drive out all the people living in the territories assigned them.  As a result the Jebusites (who will control Jerusalem to the time of David), the Canaanites and Amorites remained in the land.
        Because several of the tribes fail to fully obey God’s directive to conquer the entire area, He withdraws His support (2:1-3).  Joshua dies at the age of 110 years, and immediately the cycle begins:  “...the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD...”  An explanation of this cycle is given in the remainder of chapter two.
        Othniel, nephew of Caleb (the other faithful original spy with Joshua), Ehud and Shamgar are each in turn raised up as judges to save the people from the consequences of their own sin.
        Deborah, one of the most famous, is the key character of two chapters.  She leads the Israelites against Hazor and predicts that a woman will kill the general of its army because the men have been so timid.  Her song of victory is one of the highlights of Hebrew poetry, and certainly once of the most ancient.
       Today ask yourself if you are listening to God, or doing what is right in your own eyes, perhaps without consulting Him at all.  Have you ever experienced His deliverance?  Give Him thanks for His patience in your life and make it a point to pray several times throughout this day.         
A. Eugene Pearson 2011