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The Role of Judges in History

  • Date Submitted: 08/14/2011 01:08 PM
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Nancy McCulloch
Grand Canyon University
BIB 104 Old Testament Historical Perspective
                                  June 3, 2011

The Role of Judges in Israel

The book of Judges deals with that period in Israel’s history when God used “judges” to provide leadership at crucial moments prior to the time of the kings.   The judges were not political rulers. They could not tax people, keep a standing army or pass on their authority to their descendants. Their role was not related to any moral or spiritual qualification. These men and women were raised up at unique times to bring about liberation for some or all of the tribes of Israel.   They were the means by which God was able to continue his oversight of the nation of Israel.
After the conquest of Canaan, the Israelites divided the land into sections and settled there tribe by tribe to establish a nation.   It was not an easy task, so God sent judges to lead them. These judges were not legal experts but military leaders. They were especially empowered to gather an army, defeat the enemy and rule over their district until the situation returned to normal.
      Israel faced threats from both inside and outside the country.   Inside the country the threats came from people who continued to turn away from the Lord. The breakdown of religious adherence and the breakdown of social concerns led to civil war among the tribes; one in which the tribe of Benjamin was nearly annihilated. God would also send enemies from various nations around Israel to attack them. When the people cried out to God during this oppression he would raise up a judge who would rally the armies of Israel and defeat the enemy.(Judges 1-3)
      The challenges the judges faced were cyclical in nature.   Idolatry became the law of the tribes. The people had either forgotten or had never learned of the covenant between God and Joshua.   Another challenge was simply economics. Camels owned by the Midianite tribesmen were eating the produce of...

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