In mid-February our daily Bible Reading Plan starts the book of Judges.
Judges contains some famous stories--Deborah, Gideon, Samson and Delilah—which can be thrilling and exciting. But, at times Judges is hard to read—it glorifies violence and can feel repetitive. Here are some questions to ponder and a few things to keep in mind as you read Judges.
- The Judges were not court officials. The Hebrew word means ‘ruler.’ The judges were short-term military leaders called upon to meet a particular crisis.
- Judges follows Joshua, in which Israel conquers and inhabits the Promised Land. Judges reveals that the occupation of the Land was incomplete and the territory remained disputed. Claiming the Promised Land as their own was not innocent or straightforward for Israel. That remains true today.
- Judges raises questions about leadership and government. The judges arose to meet crises, but never unified the tribes of Israel. And after each judge’s time, things quickly reverted to chaos. Should, therefore, Israel have a king, even though the Lord was supposed to be their only king? Judges does not answer that question—it is dealt with in 1 & 2 Samuel. But Judges shows why many Israelites desired the apparent stability and safety of a king.
- Judges repeatedly says “the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of
the Lord,” referring to refer to idolatry. This is Judges’ explanation for why the
peopleweredefeated by military enemies. What do you make of this explanation?
- Christians often tell (parts of) these stories to our children.
Once you’ve read these entire stories, let me know what
you think about that practice!
Faithful reading to you,
You can download the reading plan as a PDF below, or follow just along with our online chapter list.