The book of Judges is the sequel to Joshua. It is the seventh book of the Old Testament. It recounts stories and events from the death of the hebrew leader and prophet Joshua to the birth of the hebrew Samuel. That is roughly, from the end of the Israelite conquest of Canan in the 13th Century B. C to the begining of the monarchy in the 11 th century B. C.
It tells about the hebrews from Joshuas Death to the time of Samuel. It was written in about 550 BC, on tablets named the Ras Shamra tablets. The Ras Shamra tablets where later discovered in the early 20th Century, even though the stories and acountings of the judges where already known and written. The book of Judges belongs to a specific historical tradition which is called the Deuteronomic history. The author of the book of Judges, was in exile in Babylonia.
While in exile he was deeply concerned with foreign domination. So he wrote many of his stories on the migration of the tribe of Dan to the North and the sins of the Benjamites. The author emphasized that Israel was being influenced by foreign powers and the loss of freedom and prosperity. Recurring throughout the book is the stereotyped formula: “The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the lord. ” Then after each period or subjection the author introduces another formula: ” But when the people of Israel cried the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people.
Through-out the book, the book of judges tells about prophets, rulers and influencial people such as: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tilian and Samson. There are also many more minor people. The name of the book is very deceptive, because there werent any judges at all, nor any judges notified of this book been written. The word Judges was actually a translation for the hebrew word “Shofet” which signifies a ruler or a great military ruler, which through out the book, influencial people such as Samson and or even Joshua are described as the Judges. The book of judges is supprisingly part of the book of prophets, because many prophets are mentioned and reported apon. The stories start with the conflict then end usually with the resolution.
The resolution is often the Israelites asking for Gods forgiveness. The structure of the book of Judges is quiet complex. The introduction of the conquest of Canaan and a characterization of the period of the judges. The main body of the book consists of narratives about the judges. The book concludes withe supplements about the migration of the tribe of Dan to the North and about the sins of the Benjamites.