Notes on Judges
A. Israel’s failure to hold land against the Canaanites. Progressive compromise, leading to judgment. 1:1–2:5.
B. Israel’s idolatry, the cycle of judges, and war as God’s chastisement. 2:6–3:6.
C. Northern Gentiles (Mesopotamia), and Othniel. 3:7-11.
D. Lot: Moab, and Ehud. 3:12-13.
E. Minor judge: Shamgar. 3:31.
F. Canaanites opposed. Women crush the serpent’s head. Deborah & Barak. 4–5.
G. Gideon’s faithfulness. 6:1–8:26.
YAHWEH’S KINGSHIP REJECTED
G’ Gideon’s fall. 8:27-32.
F’ Canaanites embraced. Woman crushes the serpent’s head. “King Abimelech.” 8:33–9:57.
E’ Minor judges. 10:1-5.
D’ Lot: Ammon, and Jephthah. 10:6–12:15.
C’ Southern Gentiles (Philistia: Egypt), and Samson. 13-16.
B’ Israel’s idolatry. 17-18.
A’ Israel’s faithfulness in destroying “Canaanites.” Faithfulness, leading to blessing and resurrection. 19-21.
The Twelve Judges
Othniel – Judah (lion, Gen. 49)
Ehud – Benjamin
Shamgar – likely Judah (son of Anath // Beth-Anath, Josh 15:59; Philistines in southern area)
Deborah – Ephraim
Gideon – West Manasseh (Machir)
Tola – Issachar
Jair – East Manasseh (Gilead)
Jephthah – East Manasseh (Gilead)
Ibzan – Naphtali (not Bethlehem-Judah; this is in the north)
Elon – Zebulun
Abdon – Ephraim
Samson – Dan (lion, Dt. 33)
Othniel – Judah (Leah’s lion, Gen. 49)
Ehud – Benjamin (Rachel)
Shamgar – likely Judah (Leah)
Deborah – Ephraim. Barak of Naphtali assisted her.
Gideon – West Manasseh (Machir) (almost fought Ephraim)
Tola – Issachar (Leah)
Jair – East Manasseh (Rachel)
Jephthah – East Manasseh (fought Ephraim)
Ibzan – Naphtali
Elon – Zebulun (Leah)
Abdon – Ephraim (Rachel)
Samson – Dan (Rachel’s lion, Dt. 33)
”Chicks in Chainmail”
Joshua is about men conquering. Judges adds the theme of women preserving. We move from named women who form archetypes, to unnamed archetypes in the second half of the book. Delilah is the exception, and she is named archetype of the Harlot. The movement is Daughter, Mother, Wife in each cycle. This leads me to suspect that Delilah was indeed an Israelitess, and hence the Harlot-Daughter. She is followed by the Harlot Mother in ch. 17 and the Harlot Wife in ch. 19.
1. Achsah – the Daughter
4. Deborah – the Mother
5. Jael – the Wife
9. Unnamed – the stone-thrower
11. Unnamed – Jephthah’s Daughter
13. Unnamed – Samson’s Mother
14. Unnamed – Samson’s Wife
16. Unnamed – Samson’s Harlot
16. Delilah – Samson’s Babe
17. Unnamed – Micah’s Mother
19. Unnamed – Levite’s Wife
21. The Daughters of Israel
Things to Notice
- AdoniBezek and the 70 kings: symbol of world rulership and world conquest.
- After initial victory, pictures of compromise, each worse than the previous: vv. 27, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34.
- Judgment, but then sacrifice and peace.
- A. 2:14-19 – God raised up plunderers, then deliverers (“Joshuas,” yasha’)
- B. 2:20-3:6 – God left Canaanites around, to teach the antithesis.
- enemy from outer edges of world: The Ethiopian from the Land of the Two Rivers
- The incense-filled Tabernacle of Gilgal versus the poop-filled tent of Eglon.
- Enemies killed at fords of Jordan; 7:24; 12:28 — official border of land.
Deborah, Warrior Princess:
- Women and reformation: Miriam, Jephthah’s Daughter
- War of Mothers: Barak’s “Mom” versus Sisera’s Mom
- Head Crushing Chicks: Jael, 9:53, and Delilah
- Women songwriters: Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Mary
- wheat being threshed in winepress: Secret Kingdom; Buried Kingdom
- Angel of Yahweh’s conversations with Gideon parallel with Moses:
O Valiant Warrior!
You can do it!
- Fleecy allegory:
wet fleece = Spirit on Gideon
dry fleece = Spirit passed from Gideon to deliver Israel
- Evangelistic warfare:
Name of Deliverer
- 7:25 – now who hides in winepress?
- 8:27 – fall of Gideon, pivot of book
- brother murder to establish kingdom — Cain
- parable of the hardworking trees
- revolution breeds revolution: Gaal and his motorcycle gang
- 7-fold idolatry, v. 6
- 7-fold deliverance, vv. 11-12
- beginning of next two stories, v. 7
- wisdom with words, before war
- sought dynasty
- did not burn up his daughter
- Daughter is same age as Samson and Samuel, part of reformation
- Ephraim getting more and more arrogant — part of long history
- miraculous birth; cp. Samuel (same year)
- Spirit-impelled offer of marriage: evangelism
- Riddle-life: events are all eye for eye, but how?
- Sphinx: lion, riddlemaster
- After 20 years, fall into sin
- Visit to harlot, contrast Rahab
- Defeat by Delilah: more riddles
- Samson began work same time Ark taken to Philistia (1 Sam. 5), and his visit to Philistia is parallel
- Samson destroyed the entire leadership of Philistia immediately before the victory at Mizpah (1 Sam. 7), and is the reason for that victory
An Anti-Exodus (ch. 17-18)
- spoils from woman build false tabernacle
- new priest ordained
- movement through wilderness
- conquest of area not given to Israel
- establishment of Dan as center of idolatry
- event happened early, and Samson’s family is part of remnant of Dan that did not participate in this evil.
- no king in Israel because Levites failing in their jobs.
- Bethlehem: Where David was from.
An Anti-Passover (ch. 19)
- Sodom as proto-passover; Lot left with unleavened bread
- passage marches through the night; bride killed, not delivered
- Levite failing in his job: no king in Israel, wickedness and anarchy rule
- Gibeah of Benjamin: Where Saul was from.
The War Against Benjamin (ch. 20)
- first two battles lost; then worship, and victory
New Birth for Benjamin (ch. 21)
- not a series of evil events, but a new beginning
- Massacre of Jabesh-Gilead is in accordance with law (Dt. 17:7; Judg. 20:13). It’s possible Saul’s ancestry included one of the maidens (1 Sam. 11).
- The dance of the maidens is “writhing/twirling” and is a Husband-Catching Dance. There is no reason to think any maiden was forced to go off with a man she did not like.
- Judges ends on hopeful note.
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