Today we are going to start our study for the month of February, reading the book of Judges. This book has a lot of important characters in it. These leaders that arise, come up in a time of oppression and chaos and lead the Hebrew people out of their oppression. However, there is a major cycle that happens throughout this book (and most of Jewish history). First, the people start to lose faith in God and begin following the ways of their Pagan/Gentile neighbors. Then, to punish them for their disobedience, God allows the Hebrews to become oppressed by the people they are following. After a time, the Hebrew people turn back to God and ask for salvation. He then rises up a leader, called a Judge, to drive out the oppressors. Several years later, the cycle starts all over again.
At the beginning of Judges, the author (probably Samuel) gives some historical context for the rest of the book. It connects the gaps between the end of Joshua, where the Israelites took over the promised land, to where the story within Judges starts at 2:10. This first chapter tells the story of all the tribes attempting to take over their allotted lands. Judah and Simeon were the only tribes that were successful in their conquest. Starting in verse 19 to the end of the chapter, it is told what tribe failed to conquest where.
Fast forwarding to today, why do we care? Historical context is key when doing any kind of Bible study. This matters even more today, since we are at least 2000 years away from the world that these texts were written in. We cannot understand what God is revealing to us, if we do not understand the context in which it was given. This chapter gives us an understanding of what the people of Israel were doing after Joshua’s death, and before the time of the Judges. If you are unfamiliar with Israel’s history, I would suggest flipping through the first 6 books of the Bible (Genesis-Joshua) to get an idea. Tomorrow we will be getting into the stories brought out in Judges.
Psalms to Pray: Psalm 38