Apostasy and the Judges

“Politically and militarily, there is need for a more complete conquest of the promised land.  Spiritually, there is still a great lesson for a new generation of Israelites to learn — namely, that with obedience comes prosperity; with disobedience, adversity.  It is a lesson which the older Israelites had learned through the wilderness wanderings and the initial conquest of Canaan, but the passing of the older generation leaves a vacuum of any real dedication to God or his laws. 

As they begin to evolve into a more agricultural society, the Israelites will become increasingly attracted by the Canaanite cult of Baal, which is associated with fertility and crops.  A strong spirit of compromise leads to intermarriage, idolatry, and immorality.  During this time the Israelites go through repeated cycles of sin and oppression, but, fortunately, of repentance as well.  And for each time the people come to their senses God raises up a leader to deliver them.  Each of these ‘judges’ leads only a few tribes within the now-loose federation of Israel.”

Read: Joshua 24:31/Judges 2:7, 10-23 and 3:1-6

Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar

“Othniel, a nephew of Caleb, leads Judah and Simeon in victory over the Mesopotamians.  Ehud personally assassinates the leader of the Moabites.  It is by Ehud’s courageous act that the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin are thus liberated from occupation by a nation which Israel had once defeated soundly.  Finally, brief mention is given to Shamgar, who will be the first of several Israelites to do battle with the warlike Philistines in the southern coastal area of Canaan.”

Read: Judges 3:7-31

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.