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The Book of


Book of Judges

The following are summaries and outlines for the Book of Numbers.

Book of Judges Summary

The book tells of Israel's history for the period between the death of Joshua and the ministry of Samuel. This time period is know for judges who ruled the tribes of Israel.

Israel had no leader, as Joshua died, so God raised up judges to deliver His people. The judges exercised their ministry for the most part in a local and restricted area. All the judges were themselves limited in their capabilities. None of them were national leaders who appealed to the total nation as were Moses and Joshua. The record is not continuous but rather a spotty account of local judges in limited sections of the nation.

The Bible - Numbers


The book bears the fitting name “Judges,” which refers to unique leaders God gave to His people for preservation against their enemies (2:16–19). The Hebrew title means “deliverers” or “saviors,” as well as judges (cf. Deut. 16:18; 17:9; 19:17). Twelve such judges arose before Samuel; then Eli and Samuel raised the count to 14. God Himself is the higher Judge (11:27). Judges spans about 350 years from Joshua’s conquest (ca. 1398 B.C.) until Eli and Samuel judged prior to the establishment of the monarchy (ca. 1043 B.C.).

Source: Copyright 2007, Grace to You. All rights reserved


Author and Date of Writing

No author is give to Judges, but it is widely assumed that Samuel wrote this book. Since the book deals with a time before a king and Saul was Israel's first king we can assume that this book was written around this time; but again none of this is certain. It was probably written Perhaps as many as 380 years after the events it describes—probably during the days of Israel’s first kings, Saul and David (around 1000 bc), but before David captured Jerusalem (1:21). John MacArthur concludes "Since Saul began his reign ca. 1043 B.C., a time shortly after his rule began is probably when Judges was written."

Judges Outline

I. Prologue: Incomplete Conquest and Apostacy (Judges 1:1-3:6)

  1.  First Episode: Israel’s Failure to Purge the Land, Judg. 1:1-2:5
  2. Second Episode: God’s Dealing with Israel’s Rebellion, Judges 2:6 – 3:6

II. Cycles of the Judges, Judges 3:7-16:31

  1. Major Judge Cycle: Othniel, Judges 3:7-11
  2. Major Judge Cycle: Ehud, Judges 3:12-30
  3. Major Judge Cycle: Shamgar, Judges 3:31
  4. Major Judge Cycle: Deborah and Barak, Judges 4:1-5:31
    1. The Narrative, Judges 4:1-24
    2. The Poem: Song of Deborah, Judges 5:1–31
      1. Introduction to the Poem, Judges 5:1
      2. Act A: Initial Call to Praise and Report of Need, Judges 5:2–8
      3. Act B: Renewal of the Call to Praise Because of the Volunteers, Judges 5:9–13
      4. Act C: Recognition of the Tribes That Did or Did Not Participate, Judges 5:14–18
      5. Act D: The Battle and the Curse of Meroz, Judges 5:19–23
      6. Act E: Jael’s Deed and Sisera’s Mother, Judges 5:24–31c
    3. Concluding Framework Statement, Judges 5:31d
  5. Major Judge Cycle: Gideon and Abimelek, Judges 6:1-9:57
    1. The Gideon Narrative, Judges 6:1—8:32
      1. Before Gideon’s Call, Judges 6:1-10
      2. The Call of Gideon, Judges 6:11-32
      3. Gideon’s Struggle, Judges 6:33-7:18
      4. God Delivers Israel from the Midianites, Judges 7:19-8:21
        1. Battle West of the Jordan, Judges 7:19-8:3
        2. Battle East of the Jordan, Judges 8:4-21
      5. Gideon’s Life After the Victory, Judges 8:22-32
    2. The Abimelek Narrative, Judges 8:33—9:57
      1. The Prologue to the Story (8:33–35)
      2. Abimelek’s Rise (9:1–24)
        1. Elimination of Rivals (9:1–6)
        2. Jotham’s Fable and Curse (9:7–21)
          1. The Fable (9:7–15)
          2. The Fable Applied (9:16–21)
        3. The Narrator’s Assessment of God’s Involvement (9:22–24)
      3. Abimelek’s Decline (9:25–57)
    3. Minor Judge: Tola (10:1–2)
    4. Minor Judge: Jair (10:3–5)
    5. Major Judge Cycle: Jephthah (10:6—12:7)
      1. Introduction: Israel Versus the Lord (10:6–16)
      2. The Ammonite Threat: The Elders’ Choice of Jephthah (10:17—11:11)
      3. Jephthah Versus the Ammonite King (11:12–28)
      4. Jephthah Versus the Ammonite King (11:12–28)
      5. The Conclusion: Jephthah Versus the Ephraimites (12:1–7)
    6. Minor Judge: Ibzan (12:8–10)
    7. Minor Judge: Elon (12:11–12)
    8. Minor Judge: Abdon (12:13–15)
    9. Major Judge Cycle: Samson (13:1—16:31)
      1. Samson’s Birth (13:1–25)
      2. Samson’s Wedding (14:1–20)
      3. Samson’s Revenge (15:1–20)
      4. Samson’s Death (16:1–31)
        1. The Incident With the Prostitute of Gaza (16:1–3)
        2. The Delilah Incident (16:4–22)
        3. Samson’s Final Act of Vengeance (16:23–31)

III. Epilogue: Religious and Moral Disorder, Judges 17-21

  1. Difficulties With Domestic Idols (17:1—18:31)
    1. The Idolatry of Micah the Ephraimite (17:1–13)
      1. The Shrine of Micah (17:1–6)
      2. Micah’s Priest (17:7–13)
    2. The Migration of the Danites (18:1–31)
  2. The Benjamite Atrocity and the War, Judges 19:1-21:25
    1. The Rape of the Concubine (19:1–30)
    2. Israelite’s Fight with the Benjamites (20:1–48)
    3. The Oaths: Benjamin Threatened With Extinction (21:1–5)
    4. The Misapplication of the Law of Deut 7  on Jabesh Gilead (21:6–14)
    5. The Rape of the Daughters of Shiloh (21:15–25)
Adapted from:  NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible. Copyright © 2019 by Zondervan.