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Judges -Detailed Outline
A. Introduction
Judges 1 Political Background of the Period of the Judges
The book begins and ends with a story about Judah…leading up to the primacy of Judah for the united monarchy. Here, Judah is a positive example. They attempt to possess the land and are mostly successful.
Judges 1:1-3 Judah was chosen to go up first against the Canaanites.
Judges 1:4-18 Key victories at Jerusalem and Hebron. Daughter is given to victor at Debir.
Judges 1:19 One problem…couldn't drive out the people along the plain.
Judges 1:20-21 Tribe of Benjamin failed to drive out the Jebusites.
Judges 1:22-36 Report given of the Northern Tribes. Despite a great beginning, one by one, each tribe fails to drive out the Canaanites from the land. Accounts are more compressed.
Judges 1:27-36 Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and the Danites were not successful in driving out the Canaanites.
Judges 2:1-2:5 Religious Background of the Period of Judges
God's response is to proclaim His faithfulness. Canaanites who remain will be adversaries against the Israelites; their gods will snare the Israelites.
B. History of the Judges
Judges 2:6-3:6 Israel’s Failure to Subdue Enemy Nations
Judges 2:6-10 Remembering the death of Joshua.
Judges 2:11-15 Upon the death of the Joshua generation, the next one "did what was evil in the sight of the Lord".
Judges 2:16-23 The Lord had mercy and raised up Judges, again and again.
Judges 3:1-6 Measure of Israel's spiritual condition.
Judges 3:7-16 The Oppressors and Deliverers of Israel
Judges 3:7-11 Othniel (1) was the first judge. He saved them from the King of Mesopotamia. There was peace for 40 years.
Judges 3:12-31 Ehud (2) delivered them from the king of Moab. Gory details of murdering the king and Ehud’s subsequent escape are described. Land rested for 80 years. Shamgar (3) delivered them from the Philistines.
Judges 4:1-24 Deborah (4) and Barak (5). King of Canaan had commander named Sisera. Deborah was judging Israel at that time. She devised plan, went with Barak (Commander of tribe of Naphtali). Drew Sisera out; he was routed in battle. Fled to tent of Jael, wife of a Kenite. Jael killed him while he was sleeping Israelites prevailed over King of Canaan…40 years of peace.
Judges 5:1-31 The Song of Deborah: Ancient epic poem, gives glimpse into world of Northern Israel
Reads like a Biblical "Who's Who". It is a celebration of the work of God.
Judges 6:1-24 Call of Gideon (6) Peace is over…Israelites in bondage to the Midianites.
Judges 6:1-10 Describes situation that needed resolution.
Judges 6:11-24 Angel of the Lord calls on Gideon. Gideon asks for a sign. Makes a kid and a cake, angel instructs him to place on a rock. Immediate holocaust (fire) - Gideon has his sign.
Judges 6:25-40 Gideon's activities. Breaks down an altar to Baal, under cover of darkness. Townspeople were outraged; wanted to kill Gideon. Gideon's father chides them that Baal should fight his own battles. Gideon musters up followers among all the tribes. Asks God for one more sign - dew on fleece when all else is dry. Then adds one more - dry on fleece when all else is covered with dew. God accommodates his requests.
Judges 7:1-25 Gideon Delivers Israel
Judges 7:1-8 Battle is delayed because Israel has too many troops. Strategies are devised to cull out the fearful. Started with 32,000 troops; ended with 300.
Judges 7:9-14 Gideon goes down to Midianite camp; eavesdrops. Overhears a dream; interprets it to be a message from God.
Judges 7:15-25 Battle plan. Gideon gave each man a trumpet. Surrounded the Midianites at night; blew the trumpets. Routed the enemy; Gideon and his men followed them all the way to the Jordan River
Judges 8:1-21 The Dark Side of Gideon
Judges 8:1-5 The Ephraimites felt slighted for not being included in battle. Gideon told them the battle had really been the Lord's.
Judges 8:6-9 Gideon pursued the Midianites. Asked for bread for his troops from Succoth. Townspeople doubted he'd return with spoils from capture, refused. Gideon threatened to beat them upon his return. Asked for bread at the next town and received the same response from the townspeople. Gideon promised to return and tear down their tower.
Judges 8:10-12 Captures the kings.
Judges 8:13-17 Returns to the two towns and makes good on his threats.
Judges 8:18-21 Kills the two Midianite Kings
Judges 8:22-35 People wanted to make him king; he refused saying only the Lord would rule over them. Asked for earrings of gold. Promptly melted them down and made them into an ephod (reserved only for high priest) and wore it proudly, basically making him the spiritual leader of the people. Israel worshiped it; went to Gideon's head. Land had peace for 40 years. But this is the first time the people did evil in the sight of the Lord even before the death of the judge. Deterioration continues in the land.
Judges 9:1-22 Rise of Abimelech (son of Gideon thru a concubine, Gideon also now called Jerubbaal): Wanted to be king; slew 70 of his brothers (only Jotham escaped). Jotham shouts a parable to the people, warning them of bad leadership. Then he runs away out of fear.
Judges 9:23-57 Fall of Abimelech. After a three-year honeymoon, the people of Shechem revolted
Abimelech was killed (Good example of reaping what you sow).
Judges 10:1-5 Series of minor Judges. Tola (7) had 23 years of service. Jair (8) had 22 years of service.
Judges 10:6-18 Situation leading up to need for Jephthah (9). Israelites are described in bondage to Philistines and Ammonites.
Judges 11:1-28 Leaders of Gilead choose Jephthah, also a Gileadite. The leaders had previously banished him, now they are in need of his help. Offered to make him their head if he was successful. Jephthah tried to negotiate peace with the Ammonites
Judges 11:29-40 Ammonites rejected peace, Jephthah's vow. Vow's to kill the first person he sees upon his return if he is victorious. He is victorious; first person happens to be his only child…a daughter. She accepts his vow, goes off with her friends for two months to bewail her virginity.
Judges 12:1-7 Tribe of Ephraim felt slightedwith respect to previous battle. Go to war against Jephthah. This time Jephthah does not try to negotiate (remember the Ammonites, chapter 11). Warring among tribes is an indication of how society (the culture) is deteriorating.
Judges 12:8-15 Another list of minor judges Ibzan (10) 7 years of service, Elon (11) 10 years of service and Abdon (12) 8 years of service
Judges 13:1-25 The birth of Samson (13). Angel of the Lord announced Samson's birth to his future parents. She was not to eat anything unclean or fermented. The son would be a Nazirite.
Judges 14:1-20 Samson falls for a foreign woman, a Philistine (Philistines are ruling over Israel at this point). Samson demands that his parents "get her" for him. On the way is attacked by a lion and kills it. Shortly thereafter sees bees eating from the carcass. Goes "down" to the Philistines to marry the woman. Makes a wager regarding new clothes with newfound companions. Tells them a riddle, and they can't solve it. Companions convince his wife to help them. She finds out the answer, promptly tells her "people". They answer the riddle; Samson realizes he's been duped. Kills 30 men, takes their clothes and pays his wager. Leaves his bride, who is subsequently given to someone else.
Judges 15:1-20 Further Vengeance by Samson
Judges 15:1-8 Samson has a change of heart with respect of his wife. Finds out that she is married to someone else. Takes revenge on the Philistines by tying torches to foxes' tails and burning wheat harvest.
Judges 15:9-17 Philistines threaten Judah, want them to hand Samson over. 3000 Judahites go to Samson to convince him to go peacefully. Samson agrees, is bound, and is led away. As they arrive at the camp, "the Spirit of the Lord" comes upon him. His bonds "melt" and he slays 1000 men.
Judges 15:18-20 After his huge victory, he's thirsty with no available water. He prays to God; water comes out of rock.
Judges 16:1-31 Samson's Downfall and Death
Judges 16:1-3 More women trouble.
Judges 16:4-22 The woman Delilah. Philistines bribed Delilah to find the source of his strength. Three times Samson gave her bogus responses. She pressed him greatly. Eventually he said, "It's the hair." She had his hair shaved while he slept. Philistines rushed in, paid her the money and captured Samson. Gouged out his eyes.
Judges 16:23-31 The death of Samson. Philistines gathered to worship their god, Dagon. Brought in Samson to make sport of him. Unbeknownst to them, his hair had grown back. Samson prayed, brought down the house (literally). 3000 Philistines as well as Samson died that day. Samson had ruled for 20 years.
C. Lawless Condition During the Period of the Judges
Judges 17-18 Appendix 1: Corruption of Doctrine
Judges 17 The Idolatry of Micah. Micah, (from tribe of Ephraim) stole money from his mom. Finally confessed. Returned it to her. In her joy she offered the money to the Lord, in the form of an idol. Micah had already set up a shrine and had installed his son as priest. One day a Levite showed up at his door, looking for "whatever". Micah offered to give him room and board if he'd stay and be his own "personal priest". The Levite was only too happy to oblige.
Judges 18:1-31 The tribe of Dan is unsatisfied over their inheritance. They want what they feel is rightfully theirs. Dispatched five men to spy out the land. Happened upon the house of Micah. Recognized the Levite, asked him about the success of their journey. He told them what they wanted to hear. Danites found land way up north (beyond the Promised Land). Occupied by a peaceful culture. Troops were gathered, stopped by Micah's house and convinced Levite to join them, bringing along all of Micah's idols. Micah gave chase, realized he was no match for the Danite army. Danites routed the peaceful settlers, rebuilt the town. Established their own shrine, complete with their own priesthood.
Judges 19-21 Appendix 2: Corruption of Practice
Judges 19:1-20:48 Story of the Levite and his Concubine and Results of Sin.
This story is the epitome of the breakdown of society. The people of God are fighting among each other and doing unthinkable deeds. It says "there was no king in Israel"…they had no monarchy, but they had no loyalty to the Lord either.
Judges 19:1-10 A Levite's concubine returned to her father's home. After four months, the Levite returned to take her home. The father showed great hospitality…feasting and drinking for days.
Judges 19:11-15 The journey home begins. They have no place to rest.
Judges 19:16-24 They decide to spend the night in Gibeah, in Benjamin. An old man offers to put them up for the night. The townspeople want to "know" the Levite. The Levite gives them his concubine instead.
Judges 19:25-30 By morning she was dead. The Levite dismembered her, sending a piece to each tribe.
Judges 20:1-7 The Israelites respond to this call to arms.
Judges 20:8-17 Israelites demand the tribe of Benjamin hand over men of Gibeah.
Judges 20:18-25 Benjamites refuse, Judah goes first but is unsuccessful.
Judges 20:26-28 Israelites pray to God. God responds.
Judges 20:29-48 Benjamin is defeated, Gibeah is burned. (Notice any major similarities with story of Sodom and Gomorrah)?
Judges 21:1-25 Restoration of Benjamin
Apparently all the women of Benjamin were killed in the fray
Judges 21:1-4 Israelites take an oath not to give any of their daughters to Benjamites. Then they have second thoughts.
Judges 21:5-15 Solution is to ravish city of Jabesh Gilead and take their unmarried daughters. All others are killed. 400 virgins are captured.
Judges 21:16-24 Numbers are insufficient. Benjamites are encouraged to steal virgins from Shiloh, which they do.
Judges 21:25 "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes."

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