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The book of Judges details of the events between Joshua and the leadership of Kings

The book of Judges details of the events between Joshua and the leadership of Kings. In this era the Israelites are in a conquered land but they did not fully eliminate the foreign communities as instructed by God who later become a root course of evil for the Israelites. There is a pattern in the book of Joshua of how God deals with the Israelites. The cycle of sin and redemption is also called the Deuteronomic Cycle which is a pattern of covenant, sin and deliverance that take place repeatedly in the salvation history of the Israelites especially in the book of Judges. The pattern can be summarized in as recapped below:
It begins with the era of obedience and faithfulness by the Israelites to the covenant and as a result there is peace and tranquility amongst the Israelites and the communities around them. Then with time, the people forget the agreement they pledged to God through the covenant and start committing sins such as idolatry and injustices; these sins committed corrupts the communities and lead to the eruption of discontent amongst the people resulting to war, spread of diseases among other consequences of sin. The predicaments of the events they are in worsen and they finally recall that they have a God in heaven who can bestow peace and remove the sufferings they are going through; they decided to cry to God so that they can be delivered from their misery. God after listening to their cry decides to deliver them through His ministers such as a King, Prophet or a Judge.
Judges 2:18-19 ‘Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.’ This verse defines biblically the Cycle of Sin and Redemption. The cycle is repeated throughout the book of Joshua and at the start of every Judge’s era, the scriptures will always indicate the following phrase; “Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD…” Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson are among the prominent judges where the book of Joshua identifies the enemy, years of bondage and the years of rest while the judge lives.
Judge 1: Othniel
From the death of Joshua and the subsequent judges, there is a period of peace once the leaders that saved the Israelites die. In Judges 3:7-11 we are introduced to judge Othniel who is a model leader during the time when the enemies of the Israelites were the Mesopotamians. In verse 5 we are introduced to obedient Israelites until they sin in verse 6 and 7. Their sins of worshiping baal and ashera who were foreign gods annoyed God and he turned them to King Cushan-Rishathaim had made the Israelites his subjects to command for eight years. The Israelites again cry for the Lord to save them and he brings Othniel to their rescue who fights the Mesopotamians and peace prevails amongst the Israelites for a period of 40 years.
Judge 2: Ehud
Israelites after 40 years of rest again fall into sin and God lest the king of the Moabites King Eglon to take over the Israelites who remain in bondage for a period of eighteen years; they again cry for mercy from the Lord and Ehud is brought up who is made for a special sword that he uses to kill King Eglon in his chambers after presentation of the tributes. Ehud then calls on Israelites who march against the kingless Moabites and kill every person in the city. The Lord grants the Israelites a rest of peace for 80 years.
Judge 3: Deborah
The Israelites sin again after the long peace and faithful years; the Lord hands them over to the Canaanites led by King Jabin. They remain in bondage for a period of 20 years until God brings up the prophetess Deborah, wife to Lappidoth. Deborah summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Naphtali and together with Israelites from Naphtali and Zebulun they overturned King Jabin and enjoyed a rest of 40 years.
Judge 4: Gideon
The Israelites again are sinful and God hands them over to the Midianites who rule them for a period of 7 years after which the Lord sends his messenger to Gideon who he uses to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites and peace prevails for a period of 40 years.
Judge 5: Jephthah
The Israelites sin through worshipping of foreign gods and God turns them to the Philistines and Ammonites who oppress them for a period of 18 years before God provides for the a savior, Jephthah. Jephthah was a Gileadite and a brave warrior, God granted him victory over the Ammonites and Israel became peaceful for a period of 6 years.
Judge 6: Samson
This is the strongest judge God gave the Israelites; after the 6 years peace period, the Israelites sinned again and God handed them over to the Philistines who oppressed them for a period of 40 years until Samson was born. Samson had his strength in his hair and as they grew so did his strength grow, as an adult God used him to bring victory to Israelites in many battles; his era resulted to peaceful rest of 20 years after the Philistines were defeated.
The Land: God’s Gift
The book of Joshua centers on the theme of the land that God have to the Israelites. The possession of the land remained a fundamental aspect in the Old Testament even as Israelites are encountered with the theme through promises from God. God promises the Israelites of Canaan the land of milk and honey; the Israelites are involved in battles with other nations over land and once God promises a land, he guides them to victory and they own the land that they conquer. The activities around the conquest of lands through God’s help is essential for the understanding of the significance of land to the Israelites. The lands were promised to the fathers of the Israelites such as Abraham and in the book of Joshua, we are introduced to the inheritance of land and conquering of Nations by the Israelites as promised by God to the fathers of the Israelites; the land is a central theme in the bible since the Israelites plight involved journeying into and out of a land.
The land theme in the book of Joshua can be explained in three major ways; as a promise; as a gift; as crossing into the land and conquest on the land. As promise; land is promised to the Israelites but there is a condition that comes with it which is obedience to the Almighty. Each and every time the Israelites sinned, God took away the land they possessed and handed it over to the enemies; when the Israelites confessed their sins and God pardons them, he restores them land again through victory over battle. The possession of land for a lengthy period of time without disobedience and compromise however seems to be impossible as each and every time the Israelites fall into disobedience and God takes away all the land he had given to them.
Land as a gift is eminent in the entire book but under assumptions; the Israelites assumed that the lands that God gave to them was a gift since it was a too good to be true deal for them; they expected that they would be given peace and delivered from oppression but not given a land; so they assumed that God became generous enough and warded them a gift as land. Land as a gift is mentioned especially in chapter 1. As a crossing in to the land, the land is used in the context of providing passage for the Israelites while they were escaping bondage or when they were going to war; God made it easier for the Israelites to pass through lands while on their way to conquest; Barak for example passes through lands of other kingdoms before he attains victory against the Canaanites. As a conquest; land was used as a battle ground with the rule that the winning side rules the land; God leads the Israelites into many battles where land gained after conquering the opponents; also as a conquest God allows the Israelites to be tormented under foreign leaders and they have to fight for survival until God rescues them from the bondage.
Devine Retribution
Devine retribution required the obedience of the Israelites for the Lord to correct the situation of suffering of the Israelites. In most wars the Israelites were required to perform the war rituals and obligations to regulations while God fought the war for them; they presented themselves to war and God did the winning for them; we encounter the Israelites killing a number greater than own; or other nations fighting with the Israelites against their enemies; these events are God driven as long as the Israelites are obedient to God. God played the role of the divine warrior in Israelites’ wars, these Holly Wars involved the participation of the Israelites but God’s hand was in play and victory was always guaranteed for the God’s people. The theme of divine retribution taught the Israelites a number of lessons: A pedigree of materials to be interpreted; a representation of God’s polemic against other gods; a reminder to the Israelites that their strengths as a nation did not suffice and God’s strength was fundamental for their survival; and Holy Wars vindicated God’s claim on Israelites.
The primary themes in the book of Joshua include the giving of land to the children of God and the requirement of the Israelites to obey God and follow his commandments. The divine retribution is perceived as a conditional grace to the Israelites for the confession of their sins and askance of forgiveness and deliverance.