Man is prone to wander from God. God's grace ever pursues and seeks to restore the backslider.
This is a history of the chosen people during the 400 or 450 years which intervened between the death of Joshua and the time of Eli, Acts 13:20. It is not a connected history, but a collection of outstanding incidents, which determined the fortunes of the chosen people, and gave special illustrations of the power of faith in God. The chief lesson of the book is the intimate connection between loyalty or disloyalty to God and the corresponding results in well-being or misery. This is distinctly stated in Judges 2:11-23.
The judges were extraordinary agents of the divine pity and helpfulness, raised up as the urgency of the people’s need demanded, to deliver Israel from their oppressors, to reform religion, and to administer justice. Their administration was generally local, as Barak among the northern tribes, Samson in the extreme south, and Jephthah across the Jordan in Gilead.
It must not be supposed that Israel perpetrated an unbroken series of apostasies. Though these and their special deliverances occupy the major part of the book, there were evidently long interspaces of fidelity and prosperity. And in the darkest hours, there were probably large numbers who, amid the abominations, sighed and cried for a better day.
There are two appendices, relating events which took place not long after Joshua’s death, and therefore preceding the greater part of the history. We may almost consider the book of Ruth as the third. The touches of human characteristics are very vivid and instinctive, and the book deserves much more attention than it receives from the ordinary reader. – Through the Bible Day by Day
Israel’s Apostasies and Deliverances
Introduction, Judges 1:1-3:4
1. The Movements of the Tribes, Judges 1:1-36
2. The Angel of the Covenant, Judges 2:1-5
3. The Passing of Joshua and his Generation, Judges 2:6-10
4. The History in Outline, Judges 2:11-3:4
Rule of the Judges, Judges 3:5-16:31
Following repeated apostasy and oppression, the Israelites were successively delivered:
1. From the King of Mesopotamia by Othniel, Judges 3:5-11
2. From the King of Moab by Ehud, Judges 3:12-30
(Shamgar), Judges 3:31
3. From the King of Canaan by Deborah and Barak, Judges 4-5
4. From the Kings of Midian by Gideon, Judges 6-8
(Story of Gideon’s sons), Judges 9:1-57
(Rule of Tola and Jair), Judges 10:1-5
5. From the King of Ammon by Jephthah, Judges 10:6-12:7
(Rule of Ibzan, Elon and Abdon), Judges 12:8-15
6. From the Philistines by Samson, Judges 13-16
Appendix, Judges 17-21
1. The Migration of the Danites and the Story of Micah, Judges 17-18
2. The Outrage at Gibeah and the War between Israel and Benjamin, Judges 19-21 - Through the Bible Day by Day