Judges Explained

Published on
May 16, 2023




The book of Judges in a single episode. Bodie and Joey unpack the essential details of Judges, where it falls on the storyline, the structure of the book, major themes and ideas, what Judges teaches us about God, what it offers our Christian lives, and a couple of our favorite details to equip and inspire you to read, study, and love this historical book which covers the difficult time between the division of the land until the nation of Israel.



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One of the things that really strikes me is that a lot of people in the world go through times in their life where they kind of feel like they hit cycles. They kind of feel like they're doing good one day and they're not doing so good the next day.

And sometimes those cycles are longer drawn out and sometimes they're more rapid. But, the book of Judges tells us several cycles that go over and over again where God's people seem to be really losing their focus, and literally falling back into sins that they had repented of, and God keeps raising up deliverers and praise God. We have our one deliver in Jesus who rescues us all the time. But I'm definitely excited to get into this book because there's a lot to learn from the book of Judges.

Hello, and welcome to the You Can Learn the Bible Podcast. Where we summarize complete Bible books in single episodes. My name is Bodie Quirk from YouCanLearntheBible.com here with Joey Rozek, Lead Pastor of Living Springs Fellowship in New Jersey. Joey, what is new in New Jersey in the ministry for you today, my friend?

Bodie, I am blessed to be with you for another episode today. And, what's new for me right now is, I've got a lot going on in our church and in our ministry. A lot of exciting things, and so it is a full season for me right now, but I'm seeing God's hand at work in my life through all the different things that we sometimes in this world have to carry in our responsibilities and in our stewardship of what God entrusts to us.

And, uh, you know, Bodie, as I think about the book we're in today, which is the Book of Judges,

one of the things that really strikes me is that a lot of people in the world go through times in their life where they kind of feel like they hit cycles. They kind of feel like they're doing good one day and they're not doing so good the next day.

And sometimes those cycles are longer drawn out and sometimes they're more rapid. But, the book of Judges tells us several cycles that go over and over again where God's people seem to be really losing their focus, and literally falling back into sins that they had repented of, and God keeps raising up deliverers and praise God. We have our one deliver in Jesus who rescues us all the time. But I'm definitely excited to get into this book because there's a lot to learn from the book of Judges.

Yep. There is. I think it's one of those books that I think really highlights the brokenness of man and the faithfulness of God, and I also think though, Joey, it's one of those books that's hard and even kind of dark for people. They don't know what to do with it sometimes, and so we are in episode 13, our goal is, of course our title Judges Explained,

and so the way we want to go about this is we want to equip you, we want to equip and inspire you to really make the most of this book.

So we use a seven part framework to go ahead and really try and give you what you need to really unpack the book. And now we do this because we really feel like if we can give you the essentials things like where it falls on the storyline? What are the major themes and ideas? What does it teach us about God? These things will really help us focus and really help us draw out some of the beauty even in dark books like this one that we have. And so just as before we gonna get into it, I'm gonna let Joey actually start us off on number one, which is the essentials of the book.

But just a quick reminder, we have both a video and an audio version of this podcast each sometimes we include maps and and a timeline, which we will include in this one, so if you'd like to actually see some of these visuals that we use, you can see that on our, uh, the, the video version on YouTube.

But if you wanna just listen along, of course, you can listen right in your podcast app as you're probably doing right now.

So let's, let's begin, Joey. Judges Explained. So we always wanna start with our framework on number one, the essentials. So if somebody comes to you and they say, Joey, tell me what I need to know to get started reading the book of Judges, what are some of the important first steps that someone would need to take?

Well, you know what's interesting about the book of Judges right from the start, it's a contrasting book in many ways from the book of Joshua. Joshua teaches us about the blessings of obedience and possessing the land and victories and battle, and you get into Judges and you're actually dealing with defeats internally because of sin and idolatry.

It's kind of like, you know, if we had to put a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type mentality into the Bible, Joshua and Judges represents that, and you know what else is interesting about the book of Judges is that it really shows cycles of sin cycles where people are doing well, as I was mentioning, but then they really lose focus and they give into the world, they're getting conformed to this world, and as a result, they start looking more and more like the world. And so that's just important as a big picture to look at the book of judges.

Now let's go through some of the essentials. Well, first of all, it was written around 1380 to 1060 BC. Now that's a broad range because we really, this is a difficult book to nail down specifics of dates, but we're talking about just over 300 years here that this book will be covering and it really goes from Joshua's death to the life of Samuel.

And there's 15 judges that we kind of, make note of in scripture. And 13 of those judges are highlighted in this book, or 12 as some would say. But But the 12 tribes of Israel are now scattered in different places, but they're really losing their identity with God as they turn their hearts away. And so, the author of this book, which we're not fully sure of, it's most likely believed to be Samuel because he's the last of the judges probably writing back in reflection.

But what we do know is that, The land has been distributed in Canaan and we are gonna focus on the purpose of this book is to see God's deliverance by raising up individual people who represent in a sense those early types of salvation that comes when sin is running rampant. And so we're gonna see multiple generations now in Israel covered in this book in the cycles, whereas before, we were looking at one generation in the book of Joshua. So those are some key essentials, Bodie.

Yeah. And I think too, even with that, Joe, somebody might ask the question, why is it called the book of Judges? What would you say to that question? Because that's one of the essentials questions too, as it talking about law, like a courtroom or what's going on with the name?

Yes. So the book of Judges in Hebrew is the word "shafatim". That is a word that means deliverer, rescuer, savior, it's less about judges as in a court kind of judge, and more about God carrying out judgments through these people. And so the Book of Judges focuses on and highlights individuals who God raised up in a critical moment in Israel's rebellion, and so they do judge the people of God during their time of reigning, it's not kingly reign, but it is a delivering reign whereby God is showing us that he's still looking out for us even when we are losing track of Him.

Yeah, that's good. Awesome. Very cool. Perfect. So that's number one. That's the essentials that kind of gets us oriented, to where we're at.

Which kind of leads us into number two. Where does Judges fit in the story of the Bible? And Joey already said it. We're looking at the period basically between the dividing up of the land at the end of Joshua

and them becoming a nation in the book of First Samuel. So some of the key pieces that have just happened, Joshua has died, the land has been possessed and distributed. One of the things though, that we're gonna see right at the beginning of the book of Judges is that the conquest was not finished. The author makes a big point about that. Another thing that's starting to happen is that they're now shifting from a single national identity.

Even though they're not a nation yet, they've still been operating as one people that's gonna start to change. Their identity is now gonna become more about the individual tribes rather than their, corporate identity, together as the people of Yahweh.

And so, on the timeline, we basically look at about a 300 year period that Joey mentioned, where after the nation was divided up after it was conquered.

We have a really long period, three centuries, Joey, of what you talked about with the cycle. Now, before we're gonna get into what the cycle is, we did mention in some of our earlier episodes, we're gonna go into it and we're gonna show you the cycle in this episode. Before we do that though, we always wanna get started where the scripture really starts and we feel that Judges two, verses one through three do that for us. Would you read those verses as we get into our episode?

Sure Bodie. Yeah, these verses set the tone of the whole kind of flow of the book and as you rightly said, the introduction to this cycle that we're gonna see. So here's what judges chapter two says. It says, now the of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim, and he said, I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers.

I said, I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land. You shall break down their altars, but you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? So now I say I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your side and their gods shall be a snare to you and how true that becomes as you read through this book, that the people that surrounded God's people had more influence on them oftentimes than they did on those people.

But that's not the whole part of our introduction, is it? Because if we look, if we go back to our timeline,

we see that in Judges 2:16, there is another important verse. Yes. They didn't drive out the land, the Canaanites. Yes, they're gonna be a snare, but yes. God has not forsaken them either. Joey, what does Judges two 16 say?

Oh, I love this first. This is a positive part of the story here,

We gotta read 'em all

and it's a good part of the cycle. It says, then the Lord. It says that the Lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. So God is the one that raises up deliverers and we know that this becomes the highlight of the whole Bible when we see the ultimate deliver in Jesus. But, since we're in this time period in the Old Testament, we're gonna have to really zoom in,

during this episode and see this cycle, Bodie, what is the cycle that keeps happening over and over again? The seven cycles that are seen in this

We're gonna see this a lot. So the important features to remember are they fall into idolatry, God judges them, the people repent, there is a deliverance through a judge or a deliverer, and then there is a time of rest. Now, remember we're talking about 300 years here. So we're talking about generation after generation that tends to go through this cycle over and over and over again.

Meanwhile, God is being faithful to his end of the covenant. So we're gonna show you how that works, as we go through this episode.

One more quick reminder is that the land is now divided up on the east side and the west side of the Jordan River. Some tribes went back over the Jordan River where they started, not the land God had promised them, and that has caused some problems.

We're gonna see in this book, but before we really start to unpack the structure of the book, Joey, let's talk about number three.

What are some of the major themes and ideas that we see in this book? I'll let you get started on that, and then we'll start to really dive into the book itself.

Well, as I mentioned that the book of Judges is, In contrast to the obedience that we really saw in the book of Joshua,

what we see really here is a lot of partial obedience, and obedience for periods of time, and that's where the cycles come in. So, we see that what causes this is a forsaking of Yahweh for the Baals or the Astoreths, and the different kind of gods that are represented in this land.

There's a spiritual disunity that we see in the book of Judges. We see an absence of central worship, but we see supernatural deliverance and then we see right back to spiritual decline in Israel. And then we see, interestingly, the absence and longing for a king. Which is going to set the tone for the books that will follow, once we get done with Ruth and go into Samuel and Kings.

So, that's the major themes we're gonna look at Bodie, and of course, with the emphasis on cycle cycles of sin, repentance because of idolatry, followed by times of deliverance and rest because of God's grace.

Yep, exactly. And we're gonna see these played out through the structure of the book.

So let's now look at the book itself, Joey, and as we unpack the structure for people, with each section of our structure, we're gonna ask the other questions of our framework, which is basically the most important questions that all episodes really, exist to deliver you, what does it teach us about God? What does it offer our Christian life?

What's cool is as we look at the natural structure of the book, we can ask these questions and we can really draw application for ourselves. So let's do that right now.

Judges has three major sections. The first section is chapters one through three. That is the incomplete conquest of the land. The author makes it very clear that they have not fully conquered the land, and therefore there are going to be consequences. That's the first section, chapters one through three. The second section is really the meat and the center of the book, which is chapters three through 16.

That is the cycle and the judges. That's where we really get to now see the cycle that Joey has already mentioned of how these judges and deliverers were raised up in this repeating pattern of idolatry, judgment, repentance, deliverance, and rest. That's our second section.

The third section is just basically how bad it is, like this is one of the darkest sections of the Bible. Number three, Israel's depraved in desperate times. That's the final section, chapters 17 through 21. So we got three parts, the incomplete conquest chapters one through three, the cycle on the judges, chapters three through 16, and then just the depravity and the desperation of Israel in chapter 17 through 21. Joey, anything you wanna say about the larger structure of the book or any of the themes before we start going through each one of these sections?

Well, I think you, you said it really well, but the middle section chapters three through 16, which is really the meat of the book, not only are we gonna see the cycles there, but we're gonna literally highlight each of the judges so you can get a little bit, a taster, some of them have more content in scripture than others, but, each one that God raises up is instrumental for that particular time period.

And I think that's very applicable today. Isn't it true that in all of our lives, God knows, what we need when we need it? And he often brings us help sometimes from unfamiliar places, and we get helped by God, through a series of things that he does to show us that he's in control and he's looking out for us, so keep that in mind as you listen to this, that God's in control of your life too. Even if it seems like it's going through a downward spiral, or a lot of things are just happening against, you know that God is still with you in the storm.

Yeah, that is one of the key things that we always battle, isn't it? The things that seem like they're happening are never the full picture of what God is doing. Same thing in this book, and that's exactly where we're gonna see. Okay, so let's get started at number one, the incomplete conquest of the land.

So this is essentially the consequences of not fulfilling the book of Joshua, there's two really important things that happen in this section. In chapters one and two, the problem is exposed and in chapters two and three, the pattern is established. So we really wanna make sure that when you read the book of Judges, don't miss that these first three chapters are setting up everything that's gonna follow.

The problem is exposed. What is the problem? Well, they didn't keep their end of the covenant. What does that mean? God told them to drive the Canaanites out of the land. They kind of did, but it says that they, instead of driving them out, what did they do?

They forced them into slave labor, and what's interesting about the Bible is that anytime something is repeated, a phrase is repeated, think of that as the Bible's exclamation point, or as the Bible's way of saying, Hey, pay attention. In the first three chapters, the phrase "Did not" appears 14 times. 14 times the phrase "Did not" appears in those first two chapters. Joey, why is that important for understanding this first section?

Well, what's important about it is that God doesn't miss anything. And so if there's something out of alignment in our lives, we reap what we sow.


And so in the Book of Judges chapter two verses 11 and 12, it says, in the people of Israel, did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, the Baals, and they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. You notice that they're abandoning the Lord. They're turning their hearts

Yes. Right?

It's not God that is, is just wanting to bring bad things upon them, and you know, people ask those kind of questions like, why do bad things happen to good people? Well, I think you're g you realize, especially in the book of Judges, are there really any good people?

I mean, the Bible says there's none good, no, not one, and in reality, Why are we supposed to have things go smoothly and go nicely in a world that is filled with sin? Especially when we're, if we're really honest, we have all contributed to the evils of this world. And the Book of Judges just shows how God's covenant people can do some of the most hideous of things and the greatest of atrocities when they turn their eyes away from the Lord, and that'll be true for anybody who does the same thing.

Yeah, it's true. This is a human book in a lot of ways. God is of course, sovereign, but we see the problem of idolatry exposed in chapters one through two. And then we see the pattern established. So idolatry, judgment, repentance, deliverance, and rest, and those verses, the Joey read from chapter two verses 11 and 12, they give up on God and they go after something that they think is better, and isn't that the root of all the problems in the Bible and all the problems in our life, we don't trust the Lord.

And so we are so blessed to be able to remind our own hearts and you, that God does truly love us more than we could ever possibly imagine, and his ways are always the ways of life and blessing, even though they may not seem like that in the immediate circumstances we face. So that sets us up. Anything else, Joe, you wanna say about these first three chapters? But do you wanna go into our next section?

I just wanna say the word honesty. We know that the Bible's very honest about things, and so what we're about to dive into now

we're gonna see

get into the judges is about the honesty of people's sin, and yet, the graciousness of God, who honestly loves us, truly loves us, sincerely loves us, to the point where he's willing to rescue us time and time again. So let's, let's dive into the second

Yeah, let's see it. Okay, so once we get to chapter three, right, the pattern is now established. Now we're gonna see it played out.

We're gonna look through chapters three through 16, and as Joey said, this is a survey of a time period to show this repeating cycle, but what we wanna do here is introduce you to the role of some of these judges, we want you to understand each one. That's the goal right now.

So in chapters three through 16, this is the second section of the book, the Cycle and the Judges. So Joey, we now look at a time where we start to now see these individual people that God raises up, sometimes they're on the pages for maybe a couple chapters, sometimes they only get one or two verses, but like you said earlier, so well, God raised them up when they were needed in the way they were needed.

Introduce us to some of these first judges. Let's just talk through some of the first ones up through, chapters nine and 10. Who are some of the judges that we should know and what are some of the key things we should know about 'em?

Yeah. Well, let's, kind of cover each judge, even if we only are brief with each one, and I'll start with the first three, which happen to start in chapter three. We have Othniel, Ehud and Shamgar. Now, each of these three judges are introduced to us with a couple key understandings of how God used judges in the first place.

So Othniel, whose name in Hebrew has something to do with the lion of God. I would just throw out to you that the Hebrew names of all the judges do give some interesting nuances to the story. So for those of you who like to do some word studies or name studies, that might be just a little interest to you, that the very first one that comes up has to do with the lion of God. Why is that important? The true deliver is the lion of the tribe of Judah. He's the ultimate deliverer.

But what I wanna point out to you in Othniel is that when the people of God had forgotten the Lord and served the Baals and the Astoreths, what we discover is that the spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel. It says that in verse 10 of chapter three, and that's the real reason why these flawed men could do the things they did. The spirit of God was working on their behalf, and so that's key to mention about him.

When you get to Ehud, you know what's a really interesting thing about Ehud? Ehud, were told was a left-handed man, and you think like some, sometimes people have an issue in their life where they think, why did God make me short or tall? Why do I have this hair color? Or why am I left-handed? Ehud might have said, because most of his friends were right-handed.

Well, In the story of Ehud, it was really important because he was able to put his dagger on the opposite side and able to get past the guards, and he kills this king called Eglon, the king of Moab, because he was able to hide a sword just in the right way by being left-handed. So God used what seemed to be a disability, wound up being a part of God's divine ability to do a work through a man, so that's cool about thinking about God's work through Ehud.

When you get to Shamgar, we get one sentence about Shamgar and he kills those 600 men of the Philistines with an ox goad, a little goad that prods ox, and you think God can do great things through


even small vessels or tools, if surrendered into the hand of God, and so Shamgar shows us that. So I think that's just a good way to introduce the judges, even by these first three, you know?

These are not superheroes. So if you're thinking that these are like admirable people that we wanna model our character after, friends, you are going to be disappointed. The whole book of Judges is about a dark period of time where God raises up people to keep the covenant, and to respond to repentance, God responds to our repentance, that is a beautiful thing that we see, but he also punishes us for our sin. So we see that in chapter three.

So chapter four through five, as Joey said, not all judges get equal treatment in the book, so think of this as a survey of the times. Now we see Deborah, a woman who's someone that you would not expect during this time that God, as well, raises up. So Joey mentioned the spirit of God. God empowers individual people, but that does not necessarily mean that everything that they do is sanctified, definitely not. We'll see that later, with Gideon.

But with Deborah, God raises up a woman, somebody that they would not expect, this woman Deborah, and another woman, Jael, rise up and kill this leader that everybody is afraid of, and meanwhile, some of the tribes don't really help. We see that in chapter five a little bit, but that I think sets us up for probably one of the judges that people know best, which is Gideon. So in chapter six, we're introduced to Gideon. What should we know about Gideon?

Yeah. Well just before we dive into Gideon, I'd like to say one more thing about Deborah. For all you sisters out there, Deborah, of course, is one of those reminders that God has always used women throughout all times throughout the Bible in different ways, for different reasons. Deborah is one of the five women in the Old Testament that is actually introduced as a prophetess.

She had the ability to speak for the things that were from the Lord, and I think there's a lot of women out there who God uses to speak forth beautiful things and important things and timely things. Now what's I think it's just important to mention though, that Deborah also exposes the weakness of the men.

One of the things that Barak, who is gonna go to battle to fight on behalf of Israel, he didn't wanna go unless Deborah came with him. You see the cowardness of some of the people, and a lot of times, we see that God will always, again, give us what we need.

Sometimes it's a faithful wife, sometimes it's somebody who comes out of nowhere, and in this case, Deborah, was a woman who was called by God for a particular time, but it also exposes the weakness of those around her. I think that's really important. She gives us a song that's very prophetic afterwards, and it all starts with when leaders lead in Israel.

And I think that we need good leadership today, strong leadership, and the Bible gives us clear, defining lines of leadership and how that should look from the Old Testament, the New Testament and so forth. And then I think that's the segue I'd like to bring into Gideon, because Gideon was not somebody you would've expected to be a leader because he too had a certain insecurity about him.

He was threshing wheat instead of up high where you can separate the chaff when the wind is blowing. He was down below. Why was he down below? Not because it was the right way to do the threshing, but because he was afraid of the Midianites that were surrounding the area, and sometimes I don't care who you are in this world, if your eyes are in the wrong place, you can be overwhelmed and overruled and overcome by sin, or even situations.

Situations that seem like they have no answers, they seem so complicated, you don't know how to unravel them, but here's what I love about Gideon. The Lord comes to Gideon, the angel of the Lord comes and he brings this encouraging word to him, and he basically says to him, you mighty man of valor. I mean, what amazing thing to say to a man who's full of cowardice and fear, but it begins with the Lord is with you.

That's why God can say things like, we're mighty men is because God is with us again. The spirit of the Lord came upon the first judge. We see here, the angel of the Lord comes to this new judge, with a word of encouragement that really, Bodie, speaks beyond who he is and who he's about to become. That's a good spiritual lesson for some of us today. Can we speak over our kids and over those in our churches, maybe a word that helps them to get to where they need to go, even if they're not there yet.

And Gideon shows us how God can do great things through small numbers because in Gideon's life, God reduces the army and brings it down to 300 men who have to go up against 120,000 Midianites, and what's amazing is that they win the battle because God removes the people who are causing fear and who are not in the right heart. God doesn't need a big army, he doesn't need a majority. He needs to know those who know his authority. That's

Mm-hmm. He's

So that's Gideon.

There's so much that we can talk about with each one, but I think some of these themes, Joey, that you are connecting the judges is gonna be so important for people. So we start with Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, but then we have Gideon's son who introduced us in chapters 9 and 10, Abimelech, who is not necessarily a man that you wanna follow. He does some ugly, ugly things in chapters nine and 10, and there's these two other guys that really, just get barely mentioned, right. Tola and Jair are, but I think what's important is that we see God. We see God on display through the faithfulness, the unfaithful, the fear, the cowardice, but we see his presence empowering to keep the covenant moving forward. Anything else you'd like to say?

Kind of. We didn't really talk about chapters nine and 10, but because I think that there's more judges that we want to get to in the second part of this section, any final thoughts before we look at the next group of judges?

Yeah. One thing that I think is really kind of important when you do look at these stories of these judges is they all give very unique and sometimes obscure details. With Jair, he judged Israel for 22 years. And he had 30 sons, 30 donkeys, 30 towns. Like what's with all this? Well, you can have prosperity and have no purpose. You can have affluence and have no influence. You could have prestige, but no real power. And you kind of see that God's giving us details to show us the inadequacies and then how he kind of supersedes those. One thing I would also say is go back to some of these Hebrew names. Tola is an interesting one because Tola is in Hebrew, the word for worm, the scarlet worm, that actually gets picked up on in Psalm 22 when Jesus is described

Hmm. Yes.

man who's like a worm. You know, he's no man. He's really like a worm and, and so you can see that all the judges are giving us hints foreshadows of the real deliver to come. So I just wanna throw that out there, but let's go to some more judges. Why don't we go to

Yeah, that's great. Yeah, so exactly.

So we have Jephthah in chapter 11, we have these guys named Izban, Elon, and Abdon in 12, probably the most well-known judge, in fact, the most well-known name in the Bible. If you to talk to somebody, this doesn't maybe study the Bible, everybody's heard of Samson. Samson is chapters 13 through 16. And then there's a couple judges that are not particularly called out in this book but will be coming next, in a couple books at First Samuel, and that is Eli and Samuel himself. So we're up at chapter 11. We're looking at Jephthah.

Jephthah was a guy who was basically rejected, and so it's so interesting how rejection can sometimes prepare us for something that we did not expect, but that God knew and it's part of our story, all of us have experienced rejection. Jephthah also experienced rejection. God raised him up, but Jephthah makes this foolish vow and he does things that basically no good leader in Israel would do.

So it's, again, it's another example of God raising up somebody, but not amplifying the poor parts of his character, only showing God's faithfulness as we see in, in 11. So, you know, then in chapter 12 we got basically some just some guys who judged, you know, there's not a lot about Izban, Elon, and Abdon, but then we come to Samson, who I think we wanna spend a little bit of time talking about.

But any, Joey, anything, any thoughts you have on these first couple guys? And then why don't you talk to us about the role of Sampson in the book of Judges when we get there.

Sure. Yeah. So a couple just quick comments on, the ones we just mentioned already. Jephthah, of course, is known to us, as you rightly said, Bodie for his foolish vow. He offers up whatever he's gonna see next, not even really thinking about the impact of his words. Have you ever said something that slipped out of your mouth and you went, I didn't really mean that.

Well, no one meant that more than a father named Jephthah, this man had to offer up his daughter. You know, it's debated on whether the daughter was actually killed or whether she was literally deprived of her ability to marry a man, and thus kind of having her whole future damaged by the foolish vow of father.

Either way, it just shows. That we have to be so quick to not be hasty and to really seek God rightly so, in this case, the daughter's offered up. Now, in contrast, you know, when I was mentioning Tola before, whose name means worm, I think it's interesting that, again, we wanna see what did we learn about Jesus and how does this point us in the right direction?

In the case of Tola, did you know that that worm climbs up on a tree and attaches itself and then it, it dies by excreting a certain kind of gel that kind of in this crimson fluid produces its young. In other words, through death comes offspring. And so you see like in all this flow of, judges, God is kind of trying to teach us some subtle lessons that, again, is getting our attention to where it needs to be.

But that brings us to Samson. See, Sampson was a judge that was set apart. You know, he was one of those judges that took the Nazarite vow. He's let his hair grow out. He was a man who wasn't supposed to touch anything dead, and, you know, this all goes back to Numbers chapter six.

But Sampson had his eyes in the wrong place and his biggest downfall was the lust of his eyes. He was a womanizer. He was a man who is easily enticed by the first image of a woman that was put before him. So he had an attraction to women, but here's what's amazing. Bodie. God even took the weakness of Samson and his in inclination toward these, let's say, Philistine woman, and as a result positioned him that when he would submit to God under his power, would take out the enemy.

And so you see, God is working with sinful man, God is working with flawed man, and that's what's really unique about Samson. Now we all know him as a man of great strength. You see the cartoon pictures of him for the, you know, let's say in, in children's ministry. And he's got these big, massive muscles. I gotta tell you, he may not have been as strong looking as we


He was a big man, let's understand that, but what was the key to his strength was the fact. It wasn't just that he had long hair. People said, wasn't it when he had long hair? Well, yes and no. When his long hair was cut, he lost his strength. But why? Because you see, he was no longer under the vow that he had made to God.

He's no longer receiving the blessing through his being set apart, and so Samson is a great reminder to us that God will work with our flaws and failures, but the real key, Is keeping our attention on God and not breaking the covenant in our hearts to God and the vows that we make to him. And so his idolatrous heart let him into sin, but God's gracious heart led him to have victory over the

Right. Oh, it's good, and it, it reminds me of, I think it's the psalm that says that the Lord is the strength of my heart and my portion forever God is the strength of the judges in our sinful weakness. So it's a perfect picture of how God doesn't need us, but calls us and uses us despite our sin, despite our wickedness and our flaws and our fears.

And so, friends, even though there are some dark things in the book of Judges, don't think for a moment that God has given up on using you to do great things in the lives of those that He's put you and called you to be with. And that's one of the great things that I see and we're gonna see coming forward, is Eli and Samuel and those are kind of the final judges and they're actually gonna be our transition into the book of First Samuel. That's not our next episode, but it's coming. But as far as the cycle and the judges, Joey, this. Section, the second section of the book. Anything else that you'd like to just add just out on the whole before we go into our final section, probably the darkest part of the Old Testament, one of them at least. But anything else about that we really need to know that we haven't said yet about the cycle and the judges before we go into our third part of the episode?

Well, maybe that, just that God, us the God of the last hour. You know, Samson's greatest moment was in his last moment in his life. Um, you know, he actually killed more people at the end of his life than he ever did during his life at the beginning or in the middle, or even his prime years. So if you're listening to this and you're a bit on the older side, or maybe you feel like you've missed some of your glory days, If your glory days were about you, then that's a good thing.

But if your glory days are about God's glory, your best days can be in front of you. So I wanna encourage you at that because I'll tell you this, we're not gonna look at glory days in the last chapters of Judges, we're gonna look at gory days in the last chapters


it. That's glory, doesn't it buddy?

it, oh my gosh, Joey, what is

to what I would say, bro. This is probably, I gotta say the hardest, and perhaps harshest and literally most hideous chapters almost in the entire Bible when you read the last chapters of Judges. Truly, these are a people who are willing to do some of the most hideous stuff. So I, I guess we gotta go there, but let's go into the final chapters of chapter 17 and 21, because there's a lot here in this.

Right. So we said earlier, one of the key themes was the decline of Israel, we've been seeing it kind of through the judges, but with each turn of the cycle there's been semblances of repentance. But in this last section, chapter 17 through 21, it's basically just an honest, ugly, look at where Israel is at. Israel's depraved in desperate times is kind of our title because it's just bad. Like it's just kind of ugly, and you might read this and be like, Ew, I don't understand what's going on. The point of this section is to reveal the honest wickedness, as Joey said earlier. So we broke it up into some of these key ideas.

In chapter 17 and 18. Is Micah's idolatry with the tribe of Dan. In chapter 19, we see this horrible account of this Levi concubines being killed and dismembered, like it's just gruesome. And then though we see that what happens is that really for the first time in this book, Joey, the tribes are actually united against this wicked evil that we see in chapter 19.

So even though it's a horrible, ugly situation that happens, it actually reunites Israel in a way that we kind of haven't seen in throughout this whole time period, and It's really summarized by the final verse of the book, which I wanna have you read in a second. But first, share with us what's going on. What can we get from this section?

Well, so idolatry isn't just the worship of objects. It's also when we objectify a person. It's also when we defy the commandments of God in such a way where we put our own desires above God's desire for us to have not only fellowship with Him and to worship Him, but we make too much of the wrong things and too little of the right things, a and this whole section's about that, so, as you already mentioned Micah's idolatry, which took place among the tribe of Dan, another fractured tribe who were really the first to be noted for their idolatry in scripture.

In chapter 19, we get to this terrible, terrible chapter where Israel's denial division and depravity against God is actually illustrated through an act that is so hideous where a concubine that had been used and abused is actually then dismembered, literally cut up and sent in every direction, to where the 12 tribes were. And could you imagine receiving just a part of a dismembered woman? What would that suggest when you would receive that body part? Well, it would just show you how despicable ars sin is to God because he sees the fracturedness and division of his people on earth. He sees us going in the wrong direction against the sins of this world or for the sins of this world.

And as a result, as hideous as the picture that we have before us in chapter 19 is perhaps it's a way for us to have an abhorrent for our sin and for our idolatrous hearts, and so I think that's what's really key about the concubine that's sent in every direction. And then when you get to the final two chapters, Bodie, chapters 20 and 21, it's in a interesting that they actually rally around together to deal with their sin, that, that what actually caused their unity was their adversity.

In a sense that sometimes things have to really fall apart before we all start recognizing that we're a part of each other, and we have to come back to unity and get back to solidarity. That's kind of what happens at the Book of Judges, there's a little glimpse of hope there, but actually it ends on the theme of really what caused the cycles in the first place. Judges 21 verse 25 says, in those days, there was no king in Israel. And it says everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

It reminds me of proverb 14:12, which says, there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death, and I think that's where really the story of Judges ends us with.

Yeah. And that verse, in those days, there was no king, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes, illustrates one of the key themes that we mentioned earlier, which is the absence of a centralized place of worship. They don't worship together. That's why we substitute the presence and the act seeking of God with, well, whatever we kind of think and feel like in the moment.

And that is usually not how we want to go, and that's one of the most illustrative points of this book, even the horrible way that this concubine was treated, I mean, Joey, in, in a sense it kind of points to, like you had already mentioned how God feels about our sin, but also the fact that the Son of God was treated even worse for our sin. You know? And like, I mean, thousands of times worse, and so the ugliness has a role in repentance, doesn't it? And this is definitely not the most fun book to talk about, but we can't pretend that it's not there, just like we can't pretend that our sin is not there. God has made a way for us to be forgiven, redeemed, and reconciled, and that is through the shed blood of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

And so the Book of Judges ends with that verse Joey read, which basically is a longing for a king. It's looking forward, it's saying, Hey, everyone did what was right in their own eyes, and there was no king in Israel, and so that's how the book ends, and so these three sections,

the incomplete conquest in chapters one through three, the cycle and the judges in chapters three through 16, and then the depraved and desperate times in chapter 17 through 21 ends on a dark, ugly note, but, one of the most beautiful things that happens during the time of judges doesn't take place in the book of Judges, it's actually the book of Ruth, our next episode, which we're gonna get to in a second.

Joey, anything despite the darkness of this book that you love about this book, as we ask our final questions, we talked about the essentials, the storyline, the themes and ideas, we went through the structure and now, Is there anything that you personally love about judges that we have not discussed yet?

Hmm. Well, you know, the Bible says it is appointed for every man to die and then comes the judgment. I'm just thankful that before that judgment, God provides a deliverer, and I think the Book of Judges really does show us hope in some of the most despairing of times, and it's all the work of God. I mean, again, I, I wanna remind us that it's the spirit of God that came upon Gideon. It's the spirit of God that came upon Samson.

It's the spirit of God that worked with, Deborah or Ehud, who was left-handed and found a way to destroy a king that was evil. You know, all of these pictures remind me of God's faithful plan to raise up a man who even though I can't deserve or earn my salvation, God in his grace provides it, and so I think that's really important, and I would just say one last thought.

When I think about the whole of the book and when I just think about my own Christian life and walk with Jesus, You mentioned it at the end, and I'll just kind of jump off of your point, Bodie, godly sorrow produces repentance and there is a place for the ugliness of our sin to drive us to the beauty of God, and if you are truly repentant, you will start to see your need for Jesus again, for God again, because the Bible says it's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.

And I would just pray that this would drive us to wanna stay away from sin and to not go down these cycles that many of us have gone through in our past, and that we would start pressing forward and press toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus cuz he's our ultimate deliverer and he's the one who saves us from our judgment.


Yeah and The darkness is part of what makes the hope hopeful and beautiful, and the Book of Judges, it doesn't really end with hope, but it does point forward.

And so in our next book, we are actually going to look at a complete contrast to the book of Judges because in the Book of Ruth, episode 14, we're gonna try and explain the book of Ruth.

Ruth, like Joey said about Joshua, is a direct contrast to judges, not about conquering the land, but about virtue and beauty and selflessness. And so in our next episode, we wanna unpack the book of Ruth, in episode 14, Ruth Explained, and as we wrap up today, just a couple reminders and Joey, I'm gonna give you the last word.

If you find this podcast helpful, we would love to gently ask if you wouldn't mind leaving a review in your podcast player, whether at Apple Podcast or Spotify, or if you watch, leave a comment on YouTube. It really helps us know what's landing with people. That would just be a blessing.

Another quick reminder is that we have the timeline, the visuals that we do use in the video are available for free as a PDF download. I call it the Complete Bible Timeline. It's a complete walkthrough of the whole story of scripture available for free. It's a PDF ebook found at YouCanLearntheBible.com/timeline. But that's all I got, Joey. Anything that we can now look forward to in episode 14. Our next episode, Ruth Explained.

Well, here we go through another redemptive story. Ruth is gonna show us some beautiful things about God's perfect timing, God's hope in tragedy, and of course, a kinsman Redeemer will learn what that means. So I'm looking forward to that book. It's four small chapters in comparison to what we've been looking at, but boy, are they weighty, and where our sin abounds, God's grace abounds much more, and I think that ends the book of Judges and leads us right into Ruth.

Yep. That is gonna later connect us to the rest of the Old Testament where the kings and the whole storyline continues, but for today, we are going to pause here. Thank you for joining us. We pray that this was helpful, and we pray that you'll continue to see God's beauty in His Word and you would continue to fight your sin and pursue Christ with all that you can. And so until we meet again, stay in the word, stay in prayer cuz as always, we believe that you can learn the Bible. Until next time, grace and peace. God bless you.