Earlier, we talked about Joshua. He was a pretty cool guy, and he led Israel very well. But after he died, things just kind of fell apart. The Judges Era was a really dark period of Jewish history. As Anders remarks in his book, “They had lost their spiritual moorings, and … ‘everyone did what was right in his own eyes.'” I think it’s really sad that this, the darkest period, directly followed one of the brightest periods–that of the conquest.
Unfortunately, the Judges Era was a long one–spanning about four hundred years.
Here’s a review of what we’ve learned so far, as well as our current storyline summary.
There are four major subjects covered in the Judges Era: Judges, Rebellion, Cycles, and Ruth (I guess Ruth just fits in time-wise; I don’t remember any judges being mentioned in that book). There are also four major judges Anders identifies: Deborah (there she is – one of the earliest judges was a woman!), Gideon, Samson, and Samuel (I didn’t realize he was a judge as well as a prophet!).
Anders also identifies a series of seven cycles that can be found throughout the book of Judges: sin, conquest, repentance, deliverance, and freedom. But remember: this is a cycle, so just as soon as Israel gains its freedom it sins and finds itself being conquered again. As I said, there’s some pretty heavy stuff that goes on in this book.
But then, following Judges, comes Ruth. Anders calls this a “refreshing contrast” to the darkness and sin of judges. As he says, “Her story is one of love, purity, and commitment.” And it’s totally true!
Here’s the self test for this chapter. As I said before, these keep getting longer and longer.
I learned a lot in this chapter. Obviously, I didn’t know very much about the book of Judges, even though I have read it before. For instance, I never really knew that the judges were military leads more than they were legal arbiters. I just assumed a judge then was the same as a judge now. How wrong I was!
Tomorrow, we’re going to take a look at the Kingdom Era. This is another part of the Bible I’m not too familiar with, so I’m looking forward to learning a lot. How about you?