The Book of Judges followed the same pattern as the Book of Joshua by eliminating the main character again. First it was Moses and then Joshua. It’s actually kind of a let down. Is each main character now only going to make it one round? I figured when they introduced Joshua he would make it at least a couple of books!
The first thing you need to know about this book is what did a “judge” do back in the day? We aren’t talking a typical Judge Judy or anything. According to Nijay Gupta of the Seattle Pacific University
A major duty of an Israelite judge as an “agent of justice” was to be a military leader in times of external threat and injustice — in that sense judges were looked upon as warrior-heroes, “saviors,” if you will. Another way to say this would be that the “judges” were defenders of Israel’s shalom (or “peace”) in whatever way was necessary.
With the judge basics covered, it will be no surprise to find the Israelites get into a jam again. They misbehave, disobey God, he gets pissed off and then lets the Israelites hang them selves out to dry. They get oppressed again, and cry out for God’s for help. He sends in the cavalry and helps them out, only to be rewarded with the same behaviour that got them into trouble in the first place. Seriously, will these guys never learn?
Judges chapter 2 verse 16 reads
Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges, but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways
One thing that stuck out to me as odd was in chapter 14 verse 8
Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass
For this one I had to do some digging and what I discovered made sense. According to La Vista Church of Christ Samson was a Nazirite when he was conceived, which meant he had to follow the laws from chapter 6 verse 2 in the Book of Numbers stating a Nazirite could not shave his head, eat or drink anything from the grape plant or eat anything unclean. Eating the honey from a dead lion’s belly totally meant the food was unclean; therefore, a major sin. Not to mention he got his parents to sin by passing the sweet goodness on to them, without revealing where it came from. Talk about being a brat and a little under handed if you ask me.
It’s almost like children in a classroom. When the teacher leaves for 2 minutes all hell breaks loose and chaos erupts, but when they come back order is restored and life goes on. To me the cycle of judges is kind of like a hamster wheel that the Israelites can’t seem to get off. They need constant supervision and reminders about their covenant to God, when in my opinion it should be second nature. I refer to kids again because it is like learned behaviour. If you touch the stove you will burn yourself, don’t do it. I am curious to see if and when the Israelites ever learn?