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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Summary of the Book of Judges

By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
  1. Introduction.
    1. The book covers about 250 years
    2. Written by several unknown authors, and gathered into a single book
    3. Gives some history of the various Jewish tribes from the time they conquered Canaan until the days of Samuel and Eli.
      1. The tribes may be thought of as the States of Israel
      2. Each tribe (state) was self-governing and independent of the other tribe, but with a central place of worship and a single system of fundamental laws and principles – the Law of Moses
      3. The tribes were separate but united
      4. The judges were political and spiritual leaders, heroes, that arose from the various tribes as the circumstances demanded
  2. Introduction of the book of Judges (1:1 to 3:7)
    1. Settling the land (1:1-36)
      1. Judah and Simeon defeat Canaanites in their territories, including those dwelling in the mountains and in the valleys – Hebron, Debar, Kirjatharba, Jerusalem, Zepath, and Gaza (1:1-20)
      2. They allowed the defeated people to remain in the land (1:21)
      3. The house of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim) settle the central portion of the land, but allowed some of of the original inhabitants to remain (1:22-30)
      4. Asher, Zebulun, and Nephtali settle the northern portion of the promised land, but allow some of the captive people to remain (1:30-36)
    2. Spiritual condition of Israel (2:1 to 3:7)
      1. An angel rebukes the nation for not driving out their enemies and breaking down the idol altars. The people repent and weep (2:1-5)
      2. Condition of the tribes during the life and until the passing of Joshua’s generation (2:6-10)
      3. The second generation did evil and worshiped idols (2:11-13)
      4. God’s anger against Israel (2:14-15)
      5. Though angry with Israel, God raised up judges to deliver them (2:16)
      6. Israel would not learn but continued to worship other gods (2:17-19)
      7. Canaanites left in the land to prove Israel (2:20 to 3:7)
  3. Period of the Judges (3:8 to 16:31)
    1. Judge Othniel and Mesopotamian invasion (3:8-11)
    2. Judge Ehud and the Moabite invasion (3:12-30)
      1. Ehud was lefthanded (3:15)
      2. Eglon, the Moabite king, was a very fat man (3:17)
      3. Ehud stabbed Eglon with a dagger (3:22-23)
    3. Judge Shamgar and Philistine invasion (3:31)
    4. Judge Deborah, a prophetess (4:1 to 5:31)
      1. Jabin, King of Canaan (probably an alliance of several clans in the northern part of the land that recognized Jabin as their ruler), whose military general was Sisera (4:1-3)
      2. Deborah tells Barak to head up an army of 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun to defeat "Sisera the captain of Jabin’s army" (4:4-9)
        1. Barak declines unless Deborah goes with him (4:8)
        2. She agrees to go but says Sisera will be delivered into the hands of a woman (4:9)
      3. Barak gains a great victory over Sisera and Jabin’s army, but Sisera is killed by a Jael, a woman (4:10-24)
      4. Victory song of Deborah and Barak (5:1-31)
    5. Judge Gideon (6:1 to 8:32)
      1. Oppression by the Midianites joined by the Amalekites (6:1-6)
      2. A prophet sent to rebuke the rebellious people (6:7-10)
      3. Gideon commissioned by an angel to lead Israel (6:11-24)
      4. The altar of Baal and its grove destroyed by Gideon (6:25-32)
      5. An army called together under Gideon (6:33-35)
      6. The miracle of the fleece (6:34-40)
      7. Gideon’s great army reduced from 32,000 to 300 men (7:1-8)
      8. Gideon gains a great victory (7:9 to 8:21)
        1. Ephraim consoled (8:1-3)
        2. Succoth and Penuel destoryed (8:4-17)
        3. Execution of Zebah and Zalmuna, kings of Midian and Amalek (8:18-23)
      9. Gideon make an ephod of gold and Israel made it an idol (8:24-27)
    6. Judge Abimelech, son of Gideon, is king (8:33 to 9:57)
      1. Abimelech kills all the other sons of Gideon, except Jotham (9:1-6)
      2. Jotham rebukes the people with his parable of the trees (9:7-21)
      3. Abimelech defeats Shechem (9:22-49)
      4. Abimelech is killed at Thebez (9:50-57)
    7. Judge Tola (10:1-2)
    8. Judge Jair, a Gileadite (10:3-5)
    9. Judge Jephthah (10:6 to 12:7
      1. Israel did evil and served Baal and Ashtaroh (10:6)
      2. Israel subdued by the Philisitines (10:7-8)
      3. Amon joined the Philistines in discomfiting Israel (10:9)
      4. Israel cries to God for deliverance (10:10-14)
      5. Invasion of Ammon (10:15-18)
      6. Jephthah rejected by the men of Gilead (11:1-3)
      7. Jephthah called to deliver Gilead from the Ammonites (11:4-11)
      8. Jephthah reasons with the King of Ammon but is rebuffed (11:12-28)
      9. Jephthah defeats Ammon (11:29)
        1. Jephthah’s unwise vow (11:30-33)
        2. Jephthah’s sacrifice of his daughter (11:34-40)
      10. Jephthah’s war with Ephraim (12:1-7)
        1. Inter-tribal warfare (12:1-4)
        2. Ephraimites unable to say "Sibboleth" (12:5-6)
        3. Death of Jephthah (12:7)
    10. Judge Ibzan (12:8-10)
    11. Judge Elon (12:11-12)
    12. Judge Abdon (12:13-15)
    13. Judge Samson (13:1 to 16:31)
      1. Israel defeated and ruled by the Philistines (13:1)
      2. Angel appears to the wife of a man named Manoah and promises she will bear a son who is to be a Nazarite (13:2-7)
      3. Angel reappears to Manoah and his wife and confirms the promise (13:8-14)
      4. Manoah’s sacrifice (13:15-23)
      5. Samson is born (13:24-25)
      6. Samson desires a Philistine wife (13:26-
        1. Samson kills a lion (14:5-7)
        2. Samson finds honey in the carcass of the lion (14:8-9)
        3. Samson’s marriage feast (14:10-11)
        4. Samson’s riddle of the lion and honey (14:12-18)
        5. Samson pays his debt at the expense of the 30 men of Ashkelon (14:19)
        6. Samson’s Philistine wife given to his best man (14:20)
      7. Samson burns the Philistine’s corn fields (15:1-8)
      8. Samson kills 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass (15:9-19)
      9. Samson judges Israel 20 years (15:20)
      10. Samson carries away the gates of Gaza (16:1-3)
      11. Samson and Delilah, a Philistine woman (16:4-20)
      12. Samson’s death in which he kills more Philistines than in his life (16:21-31)
  4. Supplementary Material (17:1 to 21:25)
    1. Micah and the Danites (17:1 to 18:31)
      1. A man named Micah, an Ephraimite, restores 1100 pieces of silver he had stolen from his mother (17:1-3)
      2. Micah used silver to make idols and made his son priest (17:4-6)
      3. A wandering Levite hired to replace Micah’s son as priest (17:7-13)
      4. Five men from the tribe of Dan sent to find new territory (18:1-2)
      5. The five men lodge with Micah and inquire by his priest (18:3-6)
      6. The five man discover Laish in the territory of Naphtali (18:7)
      7. The five spies recommend taking Laish in Naphtali (18:8-12)
      8. They come again to the house of Micah in Ephraim and entice his priest to go with them and steal his idols (18:13-21)
      9. Micah pursues them to recover his property but fails to do so (18:22-26)
      10. Danites capture Laish and change its name to Dan (18:27-29)
      11. Danites worship Micah’s idol god (18:30-31)
    2. The outrage of Gibeah (19:1 to
      1. Levite goes to Bethlehem to bring his wife home (19:1-10)
      2. Levite spends the night in Gibeah of Benjamin (19:11-21)
      3. Abuse and death of the Levite’s wife (concubine) (19:22-28)
      4. Levite cuts wife’s dead body into 12 pieces and sends a piece to each of the 12 tribes (19:29-30)
      5. The tribes of Israel rise up as one against the tribe of Benjamin and kill all Benjaminites, except 600 who hid themselves (20:1-30)
    3. Restoration of Benjamin (21:1-25)
      1. Israel mourns the loss of the tribe of Benjamin (21:1-7)
      2. Stratagem for providing wives for Benjamin’s 600 survivors (21:8-25)

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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