By Barnard C. Taylor
1. AUTHOR. — Not certainly known. There is no valid objection to the tradition that Samuel was its author.
2. DATE. — Probably after the kingdom was established (see ch. 17:6; 18:1), but before Jerusalem was taken by David. (Compare ch. 1:21 and 2 Sam. 5:6.) About 1095–1048 B. C.
3. HISTORICAL OCCASION. — At the time that Israel was passing from the period of the judges, when there was lack of unity and of central authority, to the period of the monarchy, when national unity and authority of the government were secured.
4. LEADING TOPIC. — The repeated punishment of the people of Israel for apostasy from Jehovah, and their deliverance by the different judges when they repented.
5. CHIEF PURPOSE. — To show the readiness with which the nation turned to idolatry, and God's mercy in forgiving it when it repented. It shows the need of a divinely instituted authority to secure Israel's obedience to the laws of Jehovah; for the absence of such authority was largely the cause of its sins. The book teaches that man needs not only to be redeemed, but to be governed. It gives the background for the subsequent revelations concerning the Messianic kingdom.
6. GENERAL ANALYSIS.
7. POINTS OF ESPECIAL INTEREST. — The Canaanites not destroyed; the song of Deborah; instances of vows; the careers of Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson.
8. RELATION TO OTHER O. T. BOOKS. — The Pentateuch gives the laws that Israel was to keep; Judges shows how they were neglected. Judges shows the need of a government; Samuel gives its establishment. Judges shows the tendency to idolatry; the following historical books show how Israel continued in this until their exile from the land. It illustrates the goodness and severity of God, which are frequent themes of prophets and psalmists.
9. MESSIANIC IDEAS. — There are no specific predictions concerning the Messiah, but the deliverers whom God raised up, and upon whom his Spirit came, foreshadow Him whom God would send to deliver men from sin, and upon whom his Spirit would rest in full measure.
10. TOPICS FOR SPECIAL STUDY. — The character of the Judges; the religious and social condition of the people; the extent of the observance of the Levitical worship.
Book Navigation Title Page References Table of Contents Old Testament Introduction The Pentateuch ► Genesis ► Exodus ► Leviticus ► Numbers ► Deuteronomy History Books ► Joshua ► Judges ► Ruth ► 1 Samuel ► 2 Samuel ► 1 Kings ► 2 Kings ► 1 Chronicles ► 2 Chronicles ► Ezra ► Nehemiah ► Esther Wisdom Books ► Job ► Psalms ► Proverbs ► Ecclesiastes ► Song of Solomon Major Prophets ► Isaiah ► Jeremiah ► Lamentations ► Ezekiel ► Daniel Minor Prophets ► Hosea ► Joel ► Amos ► Obadiah ► Jonah ► Micah ► Nahum ► Habakkuk ► Zephaniah ► Haggai ► Zechariah ► Malachi New Testament Introduction Gospels & Acts ► Matthew ► Mark ► Luke ► John ► Acts Pauline Epistles ► Romans ► 1 Corinthians ► 2 Corinthians ► Galatians ► Ephesians ► Philippians ► Colossians ► 1 Thessalonians ► 2 Thessalonians ► 1 Timothy ► 2 Timothy ► Titus ► Philemon ► Hebrews General Epistles ► James ► 1 Peter ► 2 Peter ► 1 John ► 2 John ► 3 John ► Jude Prophecy ► Revelation