1.1-4 The book of Judges continues from the book of Joshua. New issues were created by the death of Joshua. Since the Exodus, Israel had only had two leaders, Moses and Joshua. Now they were facing immense challenges without the leadership that had brought them this far. The people inquire of the Lord who to send up and God does not name a man, but rather a tribe. The ad infinitum mind of God transitions to the moment where the tribes replace the individual leader overseeing the new nation. This moment is critical. As with so many transitions in the Bible and in world history, there are no trumpets sounding. There are no announcements. It simply unfolds like a blooming rose in a garden. A golden age can never be pinpointed as to when it began, but can always be assessed when it begins it’s decline. The next 450 years are transitioned almost without notice except for this brief notice at the opening of this book. Leadership is passed from an individual to a tribal responsibility. This ushers in the era of every man doing that which is right in his own eyes. In the greater picture of God’s plan for man on planet earth, this is significant. When the final judgment of man occurs at the end of time, God will have proven through all these eras He is just in His pronounced judgments. Judah and Simeon join forces to augment their strength. Here is the first tremor of this concept of every man doing what he thinks is right. God said Judah, God did not say Judah and Simeon. The slide has begun and will continue for 450 years.

1.5-8 Adonibezek. Here we see the concept of lex talionis, proportionate retribution. This is also called poetic justice. This wicked King has the same thing done to him that he has done to others. David proclaimed this principle in 2 Sam 22.27. With the froward God shows himself froward. God answers our lives by how we dispense to others. Jesus continues this theme in His sermon on the mount, with what judgment you judge, ye shall be judged (Mt 7.1).

1.9-15 The city of Debir had been taken in an earlier campaign (Joshua 10.38). This was evidently a recapture. This was done by Caleb’s nephew and son-in-law, Othniel. Othniel becomes the first Judge. We see here the flexibility of the inheritance with Caleb’s daughter Achsah. Caleb concedes her request for the land and the upper springs.

1.16-26 Judah’s war. The list of conquered cities is , Zephath, Gaza, Ekron. By contrast Benjamin and Joseph are not successful in their wars. The inhabitants of the land had chariots of iron and this proves to be a hindrance in conquering the land. God helped them at times as the story of the conquest of Bethel illustrates.

1.27-36 the failure. Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan all failed to complete their conquests. The majority of these tribes allowed their adversaries to live among them as tributaries. Even though there may have been circumstances that made total conquest difficult, the scriptures state this is a spiritual failure. The next chapter makes it abundantly clear God is not pleased. The period of time when man did what was right in his own eyes is already bearing the fruits of failure.

Thanks for reading today….