BibleProject - Old Testament - Lesson 10


In this Bible Project lesson, we explore the book of Judges in the Old Testament. The lesson begins with an introduction to the book, including its name, overview, historical and cultural context, authorship, and date. The literary design of Judges is also discussed, including its structure and outline, themes and motifs, and theology. The lesson then examines how Judges fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its emphasis on covenant and law, the kingdom of God, and its connections to the New Testament. Finally, the lesson considers the significance of Judges for today, including the lessons it offers, its connections to Jesus, and its relevance for the Church.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject - Old Testament
Lesson 10
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Judges: Bible Project

I. Introduction to Judges

A. Name and Overview

B. Historical and Cultural Context

C. Authorship and Date

II. Literary Design of Judges

A. Structure and Outline

B. Themes and Motifs

C. Theology of Judges

III. Reading Judges within the Biblical Storyline

A. Covenant and Law in Judges

B. Judges and the Kingdom of God

C. Judges and the New Testament

IV. Significance of Judges for Today

A. Lessons from Judges

B. Judges and Jesus

C. Judges and the Church

  • By watching this video, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, including its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn about the different sections of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. You will also gain insights into the stories, themes, and messages of each of these sections and how they contribute to the overall narrative of God's relationship with humanity.
  • By studying Genesis, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament and its key themes and characters, as well as the literary features of the book, such as its structure, style, and genre. The creation story is a key part of the book, as are the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs, the fall and sin, the flood and Noah, and God's covenant with Israel. Additionally, Genesis introduces readers to the Old Testament and sets the stage for the Pentateuch and Books of Moses, while also introducing many themes and motifs that continue throughout the Bible.
  • Discover the captivating stories of the patriarchs in Genesis Part 2, exploring themes of covenant, God's sovereignty, human responsibility, faith, and obedience.
  • Explore the Bible's book of Exodus to gain insight into God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the significance of the covenant and law, and its connection to the New Testament.
  • Gain insight into the book of Exodus and its themes of salvation and redemption, revealing God's character through his interactions with Israel, with significant influence on Jewish and Christian traditions and connections to the New Testament through its foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
  • By studying Leviticus with The Bible Project, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and literary context, themes, and structure of this important book in the Old Testament. You will also learn about the significance of Leviticus for understanding the Torah and its relevance for Christians today.
  • By studying The Bible Project's lesson on Numbers, you'll comprehensively understand its structure, themes, and significance, gaining insight into the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, God's guidance, rebellion, priesthood, and offerings, as well as its historical, theological, and contemporary relevance.
  • Explore Numbers' authorship, context, structure, and theology to gain a comprehensive understanding of its significance to the Pentateuch and the Old Testament, as well as its relevance to the Christian faith today.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the book of Joshua, including its historical context, literary genre, and summary. You will learn about the book's themes, such as God's faithfulness, obedience, and judgment, and its significance in foreshadowing Christ's work and providing historical and theological implications.
  • Explore the historical and cultural context, literary design, and theological significance of the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and learn how it fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its relevance for today.
  • Explore the Book of Ruth to understand its historical context, literary features, themes of loyalty and faithfulness, redemption, the kinsman-redeemer's role, and its Old Testament significance.
  • Studying the Book of Samuel provides insight into the rise of the Israelite monarchy, the lives of Saul and David, and the importance of obedience to God, covering themes of leadership and kingship with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • By exploring the story of Absalom in 2 Samuel and the broader context of the Old Testament Historical Books, you will gain insight into the themes and messages of these books, as well as their historical and modern-day significance.
  • Through the study of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, you will gain a deeper understanding of the history of Israel and Judah, as well as valuable spiritual lessons from these Old Testament books.
  • By studying this lesson, you understand the historical and literary aspects of 1 and 2 Chronicles, emphasizing God's sovereignty, covenant faithfulness, worship, and obedience.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the historical context, key themes, and modern applications of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, enriching your understanding of faith, community, and commitment to God's Word.
  • You will gain an understanding of the book of Esther, a narrative in the Hebrew Bible that tells the story of a Jewish woman named Esther who becomes queen in the Persian court and, with the help of her cousin Mordecai, saves the Jews from genocide orchestrated by the villain Haman. The story highlights God's sovereignty and providential care, and the feast of Purim celebrates the Jews' victory.
  • By studying the Book of Job, you will explore the complexities of human suffering, the search for divine wisdom, and the tension between God's sovereignty and human limitations within a unique literary structure.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Psalms, including its background, structure, authorship, and theology. You will also learn about the various themes and motifs present in the Psalms, which will help you better understand and appreciate this important book in the Old Testament.
  • By studying Proverbs, you will understand the definition and purpose of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, and the personification of wisdom in the book. You will also gain insights into the literary structure of Proverbs and the themes of the book, including the importance of listening to wisdom, the power of words, and the value of hard work.
  • In the Ecclesiastes lesson, you gain insights into the book's structure, themes, and significance, while exploring the search for meaning, vanity, and the importance of fearing God and enjoying life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the literary features, interpretation, theology, and application of the book Song of Songs, including its authorship, historical and cultural context, allegorical and literal interpretation, and its teachings on God and human love, sexuality, and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Isaiah's historical context, literary features, major themes, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover how Isaiah's prophetic message of judgment and hope for Jerusalem evolves, as it predicts the fall of Israel's kingdom and envisions a new, purified Jerusalem where God's kingdom will be restored through a future messianic king, uniting all nations in peace.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain understanding of the book of Jeremiah, including its historical and cultural context, literary features, major themes and message, and significance in the Old Testament.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the Book of Lamentations, its structure, themes, and the role of God in the midst of suffering and divine judgment, while ultimately highlighting His faithfulness and mercy.
  • In the book of Ezekiel, you follow the story of a priest named Ezekiel who has a vision of God's glory riding on a royal throne chariot, and is commissioned by God to accuse Israel of rebellion and warn them of their impending destruction due to their covenant violations and rampant social injustice, while also providing a small glimmer of hope for the future.
  • By viewing this lesson on Daniel, you will gain understanding of its structure, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, gaining knowledge about living as faithful exiles in a hostile culture, God's sovereignty and faithfulness in times of trial, and remaining faithful to God even in difficult circumstances.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the complexities of Hosea, discovering the book's themes, messages, and its role in the Old Testament, emphasizing the relationship between Israel's unfaithfulness and God's unwavering love.
  • By studying the book of Joel, you will gain insight into the historical and cultural context of Judah, the literary features of prophetic literature, and the themes of repentance, restoration, and the Day of the Lord. Joel's prophecy also has significance in the New Testament as it is quoted by Peter at Pentecost, emphasizing the fulfillment of Joel's vision through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Amos lesson, you explore its historical context, literary features, and themes, enhancing your understanding of justice, the Day of the Lord, and God's sovereignty within the Old Testament.
  • By studying Obadiah, you will gain insight into the historical context and literary features of this prophetic oracle. You will learn about the pride of Edom, their judgment, and the hope for Israel. Through understanding the significance of Obadiah in the Old Testament, you will have a deeper appreciation for the themes and message of this book.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jonah's themes, including God's mercy, human rebellion, repentance, and the significance of mission, while also understanding its connections to other biblical narratives.
  • Studying the book of Micah will give you an understanding of its historical context, literary genre, prophetic message of judgment and restoration, and insights into God's character and how He interacts with His people.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the historical context, structure, and themes of the book of Nahum, learning about God's sovereignty, justice, and the relevance of these concepts in today's world.
  • Studying Habakkuk will deepen your understanding of how to wrestle with difficult questions about God's character and the problem of evil and respond with faith and trust in God's sovereignty.
  • In this lesson, you explore the book of Zephaniah, gaining insights into its background, context, literary features, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, including the central message of the Day of the Lord and the promise of future hope.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Book of Haggai, including its historical and cultural context, literary structure, purpose and themes, individual sections, and theological significance in relation to the Exile, Restoration, and Messiah.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Zechariah's historical context, structure, themes of restoration, the coming Messiah, God's sovereignty, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover the last book of the Old Testament and its themes, such as God's love for Israel, the importance of worship, and the coming of the messenger and the day of the Lord, as well as its connection to the New Testament, which prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and calls for a return to God.

BP100-10 Judges

The book of Judges. So remember after Joshua led the tribe of Israel into the Promised Land he called them to be faithful to their covenant with God by obeying the commands of the Torah. And if they do this, they will show all the other nations what God is like. So Judges begins with the death of Joshua basically tells the story of Israel's total failure. The book's name comes from the type of leaders Israel had in this period. Before they had any Kings, the tribes were all governed by these "judges". Now don't think of a courtroom. These were regional, political, military leaders more like a tribal chieftain. And you need to be warned the book of Judges is very disturbing and violent. It tells the tragic tale of Israel's moral corruption, of its bad leadership, and basically how they become no different than the Canaanites. But this sad story is also meant to generate hope for the future, and you can see this in how the book is designed. There's a large introduction that sets the stage for Israel's failure as they don't drive out the remaining Canaanites. Then, the large main section of the book has stories about the growing corruption of Israel's judges. And the progression here shows how Israel's leaders go from pretty good, to ok, to bad, to worse. The concluding section is really disturbing and shows the corruption of the people of Israel as a whole. So let's dive in and we can explore each part a bit more. The opening section begins with the tribes of Israel in their territories in the Promised Land, and while Joshua defeated some key Canaanite towns, there is still a lot of land to be taken, and lots of Canaanites living in those areas. And so chapter one gives a long list of Canaanite groups and towns that Israel just failed to drive out from the land. Now remember, the whole point of driving out the Canaanites was to avoid their moral corruption and their way of worshiping the gods through child sacrifice. God had called Israel to be a holy people and that does not happen. Chapter 2 describes how Israel just moved in alongside the Canaanites adopted all their cultural and religious practices. and it's right here that the story stops. For nearly a whole chapter, the narrator gives us an overview of everything that's about to happen in the body of the book. This part of Israel's history, the narrator says, was a series of cycles moving in a downward spiral. Israel became like the Canaanites, and so they would sin against God. So, God would allow them to be conquered and oppressed by the Canaanites, and eventually the Israelites would see the error of their ways and repent. So God would raise up a deliverer of a judge from among Israel, who would defeat the enemy and bring about an era of peace. but eventually Israel would sin again and it will all start over. This cycle provides the literary design and flow for the next main section of the book. It gets repeated for each of the six main judges whose stories are told here. Now the stories of the first three judges Othniel, Ehud and Deborah they’re epic adventures - they're also extremely bloody stories. Either the judge themselves or people who helped the judge - they defeat their enemies and deliver the people of Israel. The stories about the next three judges are longer and they focus in on the character flaws of the judges which get increasingly worse. So Gideon, he begins pretty well, he's a coward of a man but he eventually comes to trust that God CAN SAVE Israel through him and so he defeats a HUGE army of Midianites with only three hundred men carrying torches and clay pots. But Gideon has a nasty temper and he murders a bunch of fellow Israelitas for not helping him in his battle and then it all goes downhill from there. He makes an idol from the gold that he won in his battles and then after he dies all Israel worships the idol as a god and the cycle begins again. The next main judge is Jephthah who's something of a mafia thug living up in the hills and when things get really bad for Israel the elders come to him begging for his help. And Jephthah was a very effective leader, he won lots of battles against the Ammonites. but he was so unfamiliar with the God of Israel he treats him like a Canaanite god - he vows to sacrifice his daughter if he wins the battle. This tragic story it shows just how far Israel has fallen, they no longer know the character of their own God, which leads to murder and to false worship. The last judge Samson is by far the worst. his life began full of promise, but he has no regard for the God of Israel. He was promiscuous, violent and arrogant. He did win brutally strategic victories over the Philistines but only at the expense of his own integrity and his life ends in a violent rush of mass murder. Now a quick note here, you´ll notice a repeated theme in the main section of the book that at key moments God´s Spirit will empower each of these judges to accomplish these great acts of deliverance. Now the fact that God uses these really screwed up people doesn´t mean he endorses all or even any of their decisions. God is committed first and foremost to saving His people but all he has to work with is these corrupt leaders and so work with them he does. This whole section is designed just to show how bad things have gotten - you can´t even tell the Israelites and the Caananites apart anymore, and that´s just the leaders. The final section shows Israel as a whole hitting bottom. There are two tragic stories here and they are not for the faint of heart. They´re structured by this key line that gets repeated four times at the close of the book In those days Israel had no king and everyone did what was right in their own eyes. The first story is about an Israelite named Micah who built a private temple to an idol. And that gets plundered by a private army sent by the tribe of Dan. So they come and they steal everything and then they go and burn down the peaceful city of Laish and murder all of its inhabitants, its a horrifying story. When Israel forgets its God might makes right. The final story of the book is even worse, it's a shocking tale of sexual abuse and violence which all leads to Israel´s first civil war. It's very disturbing and that´s the point. These stories are meant to serve as a warning, Israel´s descent into self destruction is a result of turning away from the God who loves them and saved them out of slavery in Egypt, and now Israel needs to be delivered again from themselves. The only glimmer of hope in this story is found in this repeated line in the last part of the book. It actually forms the last sentence of this story. Israel has no king and so the stage is set for the following books to tell the origins of King David´s family, the book of Ruth, and also the origins of kingship itself in Israel, the book of 1 Samuel. But the story of Judges has value as a tragedy - it's a sobering explanation of the human condition, and ultimately it points out the need for God's grace to send a king who will rescue His people. And that´s the book of judges.