What is the Meaning of Judges 1-3 Handout

The Book of Judges


INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Judges 1-3 Handout

1.Title: A biblical “Judge” is similar to a Mayor/General and does not refer to “a public officer authorized to hear and decide cases in a court of law”
2.Purpose: Justification for and anticipation of Israel’s Monarchy in light of the Canaanization (or increasing worldliness) of Israel.
3.Literary Structure:
 Book divides up by phrases describing Israel’s faithlessness.
 “Did not drive out” (1-3:6, e.g., 1:19, 21, 28-33; 2:3); “did evil in the sight of the LORD” (3:7–16:31; e.g., 2:11; 3:7, 12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1); “There was no king in Israel” (17:1-21:25; e.g., 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).
4.Theme: The Faithlessness of Man and the Faithfulness of God.
 In light of covenant responsibilities (Dt. 7): God will judge faithlessness (7:10) and God will be faithful (7:9).
 Judges 2:11-23 highlights the two themes.
5.Theme Verses: Ps. 37:3 and 2 Ti. 2:13


Generation Degeneration: Unchecked Partial Obedience Leads to Total Apostasy and Divine Discipline

Judges 1-3:6


Generation Degeneration (2:10); Unchecked Partial Obedience (1:19; 1:22ff); Total Apostasy: (1:27-36; 2:10; 2:12)

I.Even Though Israel Failed in the Holy War, the LORD is Sufficient (ch. 1)
 The LORD’s Direction and Assurance (1:1-2)
 The LORD’s Power (1:4)
 The LORD’s Presence (1:19; 1:22)
A.The LORD is Sufficient During Crises (Death of a Leader; 1:1)
B.The LORD is Sufficient when God’s People are Unified to Obey His Commands (vv. 3, 22).
II.Three Theological Commentaries on Israel’s Failure (2:1–23)
A. The Angel of the LORD’s (AOY) Interpretation and Israel’s Response (2:1–5): Get Back on Track of Faithfulness

AOY went from Gilgal (faithfulness of Israel –cf. Josh. 4-5) to Bochim (Lit: “weepers” –i.e., weeping over unfaithfulness). Their weeping does not equal genuine repentance.

B. The Author’s Interpretation (2:6–20a): Repent of Baalism

Baal worship involved sensual religious practices for the sake of material prosperity. Since the LORD promised to provide materially, why did Israel forsook the LORD?

1.Because Israel failed to be separate from the world (1:27, etc.).
2.Because Israel lacked experiential religion (2:10).
C. The LORD’s Interpretation (2:20b-22): I Will Patiently Test Israel

The LORD is has infinite patience with Israel. He could have annihilated them.

III.The Consequences of Israel’s Performance: The Nations are Used to Test Israel’s Obedience (3:1–6)

The nations were used: (v.1, 4) to test Israel to see if they would obey and (v2) to teach them war. They, carelessly at first, were not completely faithful. This lead to total apostasy in the next generation.


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