Friday, Sep 30th

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Judges 1

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We now begin what in Hebrew is called the Shepher Shophtim – the Book of Judges. The Syriac and Arabic versions have a longer title: The Book of the Judges of the Children of Israel; the Septaguint merely titles it ‘Judges’, Kritai. As Matthew Henry says, both the nation and its judges were extra-special and “differed vastly” from judges of other nations. The period covered by the Judges is said to be 299 years, and the actual judges were taken from eight different tribes. However, the names of Eli and Samuel do not appear in its pages.

As Henry sadly comments, the judges, though following on from the illustrious Joshua, were not as sound as they should have been. Even so, “there was a face of religion” upon Israel, even when the judges were not all that godly. The same can be said of Britain, which is why it became the ruler of much of the world… losing it again when God was left out altogether, until we see the grave results today.

Though the book records mainly the black days, ordinary everyday life still took place, and this should not be forgotten. And the people had God in mind, taking His special days and festivals very seriously. God ruled through the judges, who were in almost every sense the mouthpieces of God in Israel.

It has been suggested that Samuel, one of the greatest of judges, wrote this book, though we have no direct proof. Not that it matters.