Through the Bible in a Year: Judges 1-5

This Week’s Reading Schedule

Today’s (Monday’s) Bible Reading is Judges 1-5.
Tuesday, April 17:Judges 6-8
Wednesday, April 18: Judges 9-12
Thursday, April 19: Judges 13-16
Friday, April 20: Judges 17-21

Next week we will read Ruth, then spend some time in Psalms and Proverbs.

The overall year’s plan is here.

Judges 1

Judges 1 recaps a lot of the events of Joshua. It also details the places where Israel was unable to conquer the Canaanites. A reason for their failure is given in chapter two.

Note that "the Negev" (v. 9) comes up often in the histories. It means "the South" and refers to all of Israel south of Judah and Simeon. It was a desert area. The "Wilderness of Zin" and the land of Edom.

Wilderness of Zin

Zin Valley in the Negev.
By Daniel Baranek, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Used with permission.

Judges 2

Judges 2 sums up what we’ll read about in the rest of Judges. The people worship the Lord while they’re judged by a strong leader, but they quickly turned to the false gods of the Canaanites as soon as he died.

Notice the problem at the heart of their falling away. A new generation rose up "that had not personally experienced the Lord’s presence or seen what he had done" (v. 10, NET). If we are going to see our own next generation serve the Lord, we are going to have to bring them into a personal experience of the Lord’s presence and let the see and experience answers to prayer.

At the end of the chapter, God says that he left some of the Canaanites in the land to test the Israelites and to teach them war.

Judges 3

Chapter 3 begins the cycle outlined in chapter 2. Othniel judges Israel, Israel falls away, then Ehud delivers them and judges Israel.

Shamgar is mentioned as the third judge, but there’s no indication as to how long he led. Chapter 4 begins by saying that the people fell away after Ehud died, so Shamgar is just a one-sentence note in Israel’s history.

Oddly enough Shamgar is mentioned in Deborah’s victory song in chapter 5 (v. 6). The song suggests that the Deborah and Barak’s victory over King Jabin and General Sisera happened during the days of Shamgar. Yet Deborah is said to have been leading Israel at the time (4:4).

Clarke’s Commentary makes the clever suggestion that Shamgar was judging Israel in the west, while Ehud was an eastern judge. The fact that we don’t hear anything about the Philistines during this portion of Judges is a sign that Shamgar doing a good job.

Judges 5:7-8, however, may indicate that Shamgar was simply an ineffective leader, as that passage says that Israel had no warriors until Deborah arose.

All of that is speculation. We only have two verses on our third judge.

Judges 4

Judges 4 is a great story. Stories like this captivate children, as do the stories of our Lord while he was on earth.

King Jabin was a Canaanite king, and the city of Hazor is in the main Israelite territory on the west side of the Jordan. This was not oppression from outside but from among the Canaanite people who were not conquered. (Way up north, south of Dan.)

Judges 5

This is Deborah and Barak’s song of triumph.

Again, I don’t think this needs any commentary. See you tomorrow!

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