4.18 Judges -- Themes of Judges
There are five major themes in the book of Judges:
a. the vacuum of leadership. The giants have passed from the scene, to be replaced by a series of ad hoc Spirit-inspired deliverers. These men (and women) emerged from obscurity, exercised their God-given gift of power, then vanished into anonymity with no trace, no heritage.
b. the time of conquest was over, and was followed by a period of uneasy co-existence and incessant conflict. Enemy nations included: Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Amalek, Mesopotamia and Midian.
c. at the same time, the Israelites fought amongst themselves: Abimelech murdered Gideon's sons, Gileadites killed Ephraimites, and everyone slaughtered Benjamin.
d. it was a time of religious compromise. Idolatry was rampant, affecting even some of the judges (Gideon).
e. the Holy Spirit revealed Himself in a new way, as an empowerer of individuals for specific tasks in unique ways.
The entire pattern of the book is given in Judg 2:11-23:
a. the Israelites forsook their God and served the gods of the local people, Baal and Ashtaroth.
b. the Lord gave them into the power of their enemies, who plundered them.
c. God raised up judges to deliver them from these oppressors
d. Israel was secure and obedient during the life of that judge.
e. the judge died.
f. repeat a. through e.
This cycle evoked two emotional responses from the Lord. First, He was angry (Judg 2:12-14, Judg 2:20; Judg 3:8; Judg 10:7), as idolatry always provoked His anger (Deut 4:25; Deut 31:17; Ps 78:58). Then, surprisingly, He had “compassion” each time Israel groaned under oppression (Judg 2:18).
"He could bear Israel’s misery no longer” (Judg 10:16: "His heart became impatient over the misery of Israel" Amplified).
There are no new racial teachings in Judges, rather the dire predictions of Moses came to pass: if Israel disobeyed the covenant, God would give them into the hands of the surrounding nations. These nations were hostile to God, and not a part of His plan other than as a scourge to Israel and an executor of divine punishment.