Judges (Heb. שׁוֹפְטִים), Book of

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JUDGES (Heb. שׁוֹפְטִים), BOOK OF

JUDGES (Heb. שׁוֹפְטִים), BOOK OF , the second book in the second section of the Bible, called Prophets (Nevi'im). (See Table: Book of Judges – Contents.) The Book of Judges is named for the series of charismatic leaders of the period between the death of Joshua and the institution of monarchy in ancient Israel. None of them has a name that includes the divine element Yahweh. These judges were not judges in the legal sense, but heroes upon whom "rested the spirit of God" and who led single tribes or groups of tribes in military campaigns to free Israel from periodic foreign oppression.

(The Akkadian cognate šāpiṭu has the meaning "district governor," "high administrative official"; see cad Š/i, 459). Their rule was temporary, and in no case did these leaders receive the allegiance of all the tribes. Only in the case of Deborah (4:4), the only female judge, is there any hint of a judicial function among the activities of a judge-savior. It should be noted that other women play significant roles, active and passive, in the narratives of Judges. One woman, *Jael, assassinates a general; an anonymous woman kills Abimelech, ruler of Shechem (Judg. 9:5–54). Samson's unnamed mother receives an annunciation before his father (Judg. 13:2–3). Clever women get what they want from a father (Akhsah; Judg. 1:12–15); a husband (Samson's Philistine wife; Judg. 14:15–18); and a lover (Delilah; Judg. 16: 4–21). A father's vow leads to the (likely) sacrifice of his daughter (Judg. 11:30–40; but see

1:1–2:5Completion of the conquest.
2:6–3:6Introduction to the careers of the judges.
4:1–5:31Deborah and Barak (and Jael).
6:1–8:35Gideon (Jerubbaal).
10:1–5Tola and Jair.
10:6–16Introduction to later judges.
12:8–15Ibzan, Elon and Abdon.
17:1–21:25Migration of Dan to the north and war against the Benjamites.

Marcus). The rape of a woman leads to civil war (Judges 19–21) and the abduction of many women leads to reconciliation (Judg. 21:10–25).

The exact nature of the early history of Israel in Palestine has long been a matter of controversy among scholars. (See *History.)

Completion of the Conquest (1:1–2:5)

Though the biblical account of a unified conquest is unhistorical, it was taken as factual by the compilers of Judges. The biblical text places the events of the first chapter of Judges after the death of Joshua. Israel had had a long series of impressive victories, but several areas of the land were yet to be conquered (David Kimḥi on Judg. 1:1). Whereas the initial stage of the conquest was carried out by all Israel in a single camp under one leader, Joshua, the mopping-up operations were left to the individual tribes. The text relates the capture of several cities that had escaped the unified onslaught of the tribes. Ending the account is a listing of the cities not destroyed by the tribal operations, which were placed under tribute by Israel. Similar city lists appear in the latter half of the Book of Joshua. Medieval Jewish commentators already pointed out that their mention in Joshua is not primary. Their place in the internal historical continuum is in Judges 1, after the death of Joshua (Rashi on Josh. 15:14). It is difficult to reconstruct a chronology within the Book of Judges, because judgeships that may have been contemporaneous or overlapping are presented as though they occurred sequentially. Joshua 1–11 and Judges 1 provide two distinct accounts of the Israelite conquest of Palestine. The unified conquest idea is the product of authors, who, accustomed to the campaign methods of the Assyrian and other empires, retrojected them into their own history. The account in Judges 1, which concentrates on individual tribes, is a pro-Judahite polemic contrasting how the southern Judahites with Simeonite aid fought the Canaanites and mostly wiped them out, whereas the northern tribes at best subjected them and lived among them, thereby setting the stage for the cycles of apostasy and return (Amit, 1999). Another polemic is directed at the sanctuary at Dan, which though Yahwist, is fully equipped with a carved image and other disapproved paraphernalia (Judg. 18:14–31).The polemics against Benjamin and Saul are apparent in chapters 19–21 which close the book.

Introduction to the Careers of the Judges (2:6–3:6)

Although the present Book of Judges contains much ancient material, the final compilers indicate their temporal and geographic distance from the events by phrases such as "in those days" (18:1; 19:1; 20:28; 21:25); "to this very day" (18:12); "until the land went into exile" (19:30); and "Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan" (21:12). There is less evidence of the work of the Deuteronomists in Judges than in other parts of the Deuteronomistic History (i Samuel–ii Kings). Nonetheless, modern scholars are generally in agreement that the central core of Judges (2:6–16:31) was put into its final form by Deuteronomic editors. These editors provided a framework which joined the stories of individual judges around a common theme, the recurrent lapses into idolatry by the Israelites. The history of the period is understood as cyclical. Israel sins by chasing after false gods, and therefore God punishes the people by subjecting them to foreign oppressors. Realizing their misdeeds, the people repent of their idolatry and pray to the Lord for deliverance. The Lord sends a judge to rescue the people from the hands of the oppressors. A tranquil period follows. Some time after the death of the judge the people lapse into idolatry and the cycle begins again (3:7–9, 12, 14–15; 4:1–3; 6:1, 7). These principles, underlying the present structure of the Book of Judges, are stated and elaborated in the introduction to the careers of the judges (2:6–3:6).

Although it would be mistaken to consider the Book of Judges (and most of the rest of the Bible) as literature, the redaction is artful and there are some nice literary touches. Halpern and others detect scatological and sexual humor in the story of Ehud (Judges 3). The exchange over Samson's riddles is riddled with double entendre (Judges 14), and Delilah's henpecking of Samson (Judges 16) conforms to stereotypes modern and ancient (Prov. 19:13). The names *Cushan-Rishathaim, "Cushan-of Double Wickedness," and Gaal Ben Ebed "Loathsome, son of Slave" (Boling) are likely mutilations. There is an ancient ethnic joke about anyone from Ephraim who, when asked to say shibboleth, (Judg. 11:6) "said 'sibboleth,'for he did not prepare (Heb. yakin) to pronounce it right," even though his life depended on it. The activities of the judges are arranged geographically from south to north.

Othniel (3:7–11)

*Othniel, the first judge mentioned in Judges, is a transitional figure between the elders who had outlived Joshua (Judg. 2:7) and the judges. As a youth, he had participated in the Conquest, capturing the city of Debir (Judg. 1:13). In chapter 3 he appears as a fighter against foreign oppression, the first of a series of charismatic leaders. Since the story of Othniel is little more than the typical framework formula of Judges, some scholars maintain that the narrative is a fiction invented to place a Judahite hero among the ranks of the judges. Others have rejected the narrative as unhistorical because of the unreal name *Cushan-Rishathaim and the improbability of a northern Aramean ruler oppressing the southern tribe of Judah. Malamat (in Bibliography) made an effort to defend the authenticity of the Othniel narrative, citing Aramean inroads into Egypt around 1200 b.c.e. The Israelites, not particularly important in themselves, were subdued during the Aramean march toward Egypt. It is the Palestine-centered biblical narrative that obscures this fact. Oded sees this story as a hidden polemic against the Saulides, which nevertheless contains a vague reminiscence of an ancient battle (extensive bibliography on Cushan in Oded).

Ehud (3:12–30)

A hero of Benjamin, *Ehud rescues his tribe and others from a long oppression by the Moabites, led by *Eglon. The assassination of Eglon (3:21) was followed by shofar blasts (3:27), probably a prearranged signal for Israelite troops to take the fords of the Jordan, thus preventing any Moabite retreat (Kaufmann, 1962, in bibl., 106). Some scholars have suggested that the story is compiled from two sources, citing, e.g., Ehud's "double" entrance in 3:19–20, while others have maintained that such repetitions are just a bit of sloppiness on the part of the storyteller, very common in folktales (Kraeling, in bibl.). There is much discussion about the location of Eglon's house, whether it was in Jericho, in Moab proper, or in some military camp west of the Jordan.

Shamgar (3:31)

The same *Shamgar is mentioned in the Song of Deborah as living in a time of great fear of the enemy, a fear so great that the Israelites kept off the roads lest the enemy find them (Judg. 5:6). Although it is stated that Shamgar succeeded Ehud, Ehud does not die until 4:1, which leads directly into the story of Deborah. Judges reports that "he also" saved Israel, but not how many years of peace there were under his leadership. The regular elements for the description of a judge, e.g., a theological motivation for the oppression of Israel and an indication of where he was located, are lacking. The Philistines are the enemy, despite other biblical evidence that the first real clashes with the Philistines took place later, in the period of Samuel and Eli. Finally, there is the question of Shamgar's very un-Israelite sounding name. Some scholars acknowledged the historical existence of Shamgar, because his name is mentioned in the Song of Deborah. One conjecture was to identify Shamgar as a Canaanite hero from Beth-Anath in Galilee (Albright, in bibl., 111). Another scholar explained that Shamgar was originally a Canaanite warrior so great that he was given the title "son of Anath," the goddess of war (van Selms, in bibl.). Shamgar is a foreign name, probably Hurrian, but this is not decisive, since many foreigners became part of Israel. His conquests resemble those of Samson, who did not use a regular weapon. Both Shamgar and Samson were active against the Philistines in the southwest in the period before Deborah, and the Septuagint traditions which pair them are probably correct (see chapter 13 below). In recent years arrowheads bearing the names bin-anat and Aramaic bar anat, dating from the 11th to 7th centuries, have been discovered. Following the lead of van Selms, we note that Anat was an archer. Presumably the patronymic ben-Anat was given to skilled archers but Shamgar is not so designated. But as Cross has noted, several arrowheads demonstrate that bin-anat was a proper name rather than a patronymic, so that Shamgar ben Anath is to be understood as Shamgar the son of Ben-Anath.

Deborah and Barak (4–5)

Israel sinned after the death of Ehud, and their punishment was enslavement to *Jabin, the king of Canaan. Because the Book of Joshua (chapter 11) attributes Jabin's defeat to Joshua, attempts at harmonization were made as early as the Middle Ages. According to Kimḥi, Jabin of Judges 4 was a descendant of the king of the same name defeated by Joshua. When Ḥaẓor was destroyed, the survivors of the royal family fled to Ḥarosheth-Goiim, which became the new seat of the kingship (David Kimḥi on Judg. 4:2). From this town Jabin and his general *Sisera oppressed the Israelites in the area. *Deborah sent a message to *Barak son of Abinoam of Kedesh-Naphtali, telling him to bring the men of Zebulun and Naphtali to seize Mount Tabor (Judg. 4:6; see Tur-Sinai). Barak refused to go without Deborah, and she agreed to accompany him, noting, however, that the death of Sisera would be at the hands of a woman. Sisera was leading his chariots toward the area when the Israelite forces swept down from Mount Tabor and inflicted a decisive defeat on his army at the Kishon River. Sisera sought refuge in the tent of Ḥeber the Kenite, who was allied with Jabin. *Jael, the wife of Ḥeber, took him in and killed him when he was asleep by hammering a tent peg through his temples. Barak was informed by Jael of Sisera's death.

From then on the Israelites grew stronger and stronger until they finally overwhelmed Jabin, the king of Canaan (Judg. 4:24). In the parallel poetic account of the battle with Sisera, Deborah sang her famous song (Judges 5). Most modern critics accept the Song of Deborah as one of the oldest biblical compositions, perhaps nearly contemporary with the events it describes. The prose narrative in chapter 4 is more problematic. At the root of all difficulties is the presence of Jabin, king of Canaan, who is identified with the Jabin mentioned in Joshua 11:1–9. Most explanations of the presence of Jabin revolve around the theory that two narratives were somehow fused into one. One account was of a war waged by Zebulun and Naphtali against Jabin, and the second was the war against Sisera, which is the subject of the song (Moore, in bibl., 109). The references to Jabin in Judges 4 are reminiscent of Joshua's victory in Joshua. In his attempt to make the conquest appear as a united effort, a later editor took a tale about a victory by Zebulun and Naphtali and changed it into a national battle during the days of Joshua (Burney, in bibl., 81). Any questions raised by the contradictions between Judges 4 and Judges 5 are answered by showing that these two accounts are not parallel at all, but a confusion of two distinct battles against two different enemies. Others advance the theory that Joshua 11 and the Song of Deborah do not speak of two distinct battles, but of two scenes in the same campaign. In later times, it was not known who was responsible for the great defeat, Jabin, the northern commander, or Sisera, commander of the plains forces (Batten, in bibl, 34). Given the current consensus that Joshua 11 is an unhistorical attempt to credit Joshua with victory over the northern kings, the theory is unlikely. Many scholars conceive of the prose narrative of Judges 4 as an independent formulation of the events surrounding the war with Sisera. Others see the prose account as derived from the poem. Although the two narratives are contradictory, they nonetheless complement one another, in a manner hardly unique in biblical redaction (see, e.g., the contradictory creation accounts in Genesis). One cannot avoid consulting the prose account for several important facts, including the identity of Shamgar, son of Anath, the reasons why Deborah and Barak were involved in the battle, and the function and the title of Sisera.

Gideon (6–8)

The story of the fourth major judge, *Gideon, is probably a composite of two stories (7:1–8:3; 8:4–21). Midianite raids annually terrorized the Israelite populace, and an anonymous prophet tells the people that these raids are a punishment for Israel's turning away from God. Gideon's call to judgeship was validated first by the appearance of an angel of God and second by a miracle involving wet and dry fleece. (In divination it was not uncommon to inquire more than once in order to assure the reliability of the oracle.) With a force of only 300 men he routed the camp of the Midianites with a daring night attack. Pursuit of the fleeing Midianites resulted in the death of the Midianite princes Oreb and Zeeb, and later in the blood revenge killings of Midianite kings Zebaḥ and Ẓalmunna. Kingship was offered to Gideon because of his exploits, but he declined, saying that kingship belongs only to God. Some scholars have cast doubt on the historicity of the first half of the Gideon story with its dominant theme of a national holy war. They also regarded with great skepticism the possibility of 300 men overcoming a large enemy camp. In contrast, the second incident involving the blood feud against Zebaḥ and Ẓalmunna describes the 12th-century atmosphere. It has an air of simple realism missing in the first story (McKenzie, in bibl., 130–7). Other scholars regard this approach as an oversimplification. They regard as implausible that a personal blood feud could impress itself on the national consciousness as the "day of Midian" (Isaiah 9:3). Several contemporary Israeli scholars have defended the 300-man raid as making sense from the military point of view. Rather than a miraculous fantasy, they see it as a logical recourse to a well coordinated night attack to offset the enemy's advantage in numbers and arms.

Abimelech (9)

The story of *Abimelech is a supplement to the Gideon narratives. Son of Gideon and his concubine in Shechem (8:31), Abimelech used money given him from the temple of Baal-Berith to hire men to murder his 70 half brothers from the house of Gideon. Jotham, the one surviving brother, related an old parable of the trees' electing the bramble bush to rule over them and applied it to Abimelech. He predicted a break between Abimelech and his Shechemite supporters, and a short-lived rule for Abimelech. True to his prediction, a rebellion under *Gaal soon broke out; Abimelech put it down, but in a campaign against nearby Thebeẓ, a woman threw a millstone at him from the city walls, mortally wounding him. Abimelech ordered his armor-bearer to kill him, lest it be said that a woman killed him. He reigned only three years, failing his kingly ambitions mainly because there was no outside threat for which the people might have needed a strong king (Oesterley and Robinson, in bibl., 153).

Tola and Jair (10:1–5)

These two minor judges are mentioned as having judged Israel after the death of Abimelech and before Jephthah. Some scholars have concluded from these notices, lacking the usual framework of the Book of Judges (see above), that the minor judges were judges in the legal sense, filling a central office in an amphictyonic league of the 12 tribes. The major judges were charismatic leaders and not judges, and the only reason these two separate groups were combined was the presence of Jepthah in both groups (Noth, in bibl., 101). Noth's amphictony hypothesis has generally been abandoned. Other scholars have suggested that the names of minor judges are clan names, which were inserted to bring the total number of judges to 12 (Burney, in bibl., 289–90). Conservative scholars have rejected these suggestions. In their view, the minor judges are also "saviors" and not mere adjudicators. Use of the term wa-yaqom (va-yakom, "and he arose") implies that they came to power sporadically, as did the major judges (Kaufmann, 1962, in bibl., 46–48).

Introduction to Later Judges (10:6–16)

The characteristic framework of the Book of Judges is expanded into a recapitulation of recent history, recounting the Israelites' worship of foreign gods. God rebukes the people (evidently through a prophet not mentioned), telling them that He will punish them, and challenging them to rely on their false gods to protect them on the day of His wrath. The people confess their sins and remove the false gods from their midst. This forms an introduction to the story of Jephthah.

Jephthah (10:17–12:7)

*Jephthah's reputation as a warrior in the land of Tob reached the elders of Gilead, and they asked him to be their "chief " (qaẓin) in a war against Ammon, who had attacked Israel. They tried to convince him to forget the shame the elders caused him when they had condoned his expulsion because of his illegitimate birth. Jephthah accepted their offer of leadership in war on the condition that he would lead the people in peacetime as well. Before going to war Jephthah began a diplomatic correspondence with Ammon, arguing that Ammon had no cause for war with Israel, since Israel had conquered the Transjordan territory from the Amorites, not from Ammon (Levi b. Gershom on Judg. 11:12). Furthermore, God had given the land to Israel as an inheritance, and for more than 300 years no counterclaims had been made (Judg. 11:26). The arguments did not convince the Ammonites. Jephthah made a solemn vow that if God would grant him victory, whatever emerged from his house to greet him on his return would be sacrificed to God as a burnt offering (11:31). Jephthah was successful in his battle, and on his return home his daughter was the first to greet him. In fulfillment of his vow Jephthah offered his daughter as a sacrifice, after she had been given time to bewail her virginity (11:29–40). Medieval Jewish commentators stress the unbinding nature of Jephthah's vow according to Jewish law, and many suggest that his daughter was not real ly sacrificed, but instead was condemned to eternal virginity (Marcus). One legend acknowledges the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter, but relates that as a punishment Jephthah was buried "in the cities of Gilead" (12:7), that is, his body slowly rotted and each limb was buried in a different city (David Kimhi on 12:7). The people of Ephraim complained to Jephthah that they were not called to join the battle. Unlike Gideon, Jephthah gathered an army to fight the Ephraimites. They captured thefords of the Jordan, and all people who attempted to cross the river and who were recognized as Ephraimites were immediately killed. The most extreme critics consider the whole story an etiological narrative designed to explain the yearly observance of the young women of Gilead (Moore, in bibl., 284). More conservative scholars see Jephthah as a historical figure, but believe some elements of the story are not original. In the diplomatic correspondence (11:12–28), Khemosh, god of Moab, rather than Milcom, god of Ammon, is mentioned, and therefore scholars have maintained that this section belongs to another story about Israelite-Moabite relations (Moore, in bibl., 283). Kaufmann suggested that out of diplomatic courtesy Jephthah did not mention Milcom. He used instead the name of the god Khemosh. The Ammonite king understood the hint: the failure of Khemosh to stop Siḥon (Num. 21:26–30) was also the beginning of the failure of Ammon (Kaufmann, 1962, in bibl., 222). More likely, we have an original story of a territorial dispute with the Moabites. According to Jephthah, Israel had held the territory for 300 years, reminiscent of the statement on the stela of King Mesha of Moab (mid-ninth century) that "the men of Gad had dwelt in Ataroth forever" (COS ii, 137). The Moabite stratum of the story dates from the ninth century (Taeubler apud Amit 1999, 200). At a later date, perhaps as early as the eighth century (see Amos 1:13) or later (see Zephaniah 2:8) the reality of Ammonite and Judahite hostility was retrojected into pre-monarchic times.

Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8–15)

See above the discussion of Tola and Jair.

Samson (13–16)

*Samson did not go to war against the enemy as a judge-savior, nor did he lead tribes against a foreign oppressor or invader. He fought alone with his bare hands or with some improvised weapons. His weakness for Philistine women led him into several clashes with the Philistines and finally to his death in the temple of Dagon (16:23–31). Modern scholars have argued that the Samson stories were secular stories of a popular local hero but were given a religious cast by such details as a miraculous birth and the appearance of angels (Renan, in bibl., 282). Others have theorized that the Samson cycle was an Israelite reworking of a sun god myth. The name Samson (from the Hebrew shemesh, "sun") and the fact that the events took place near Beth-Shemesh suggest that the people in the area, who worshipped the sun, may have pictured the sun and its rays as the head of a warrior whose strength lay in his locks. A group of stories then grew up around the conception (Renan, ibid., 283–4). Others have rejected this explanation. The name Samson, even if Canaanite in origin, is no proof of his mythical origin. Unlike mythical figures, Samson was not of divine ancestry (but see Reinhartz). Samson was, rather, a "war-Nazirite," a common phenomenon in those days. People believed that the uncut hair of the *Nazirite protected him, and this served as the basis for the legend of a divinely elected hero with superhuman strength, whose strength lay in his hair (Kaufmann, 1962, in bibl., 242, 244). That his hair is the source of his sexual virility is nicely demonstrated (Judg. 16:19) when Delilah tries to initiate sex with him (the only case in the Bible of innah directed by a woman toward a man). Chronologically, the Samson stories would seem to fit best before Deborah. In the Samson narrative *Dan is still in the south, but in the Song of Deborah they had already moved north. The stories about Samson were removed from their proper chronological place, because they break up the flowing pattern of Judges 2–12, but the mention of Shamgar was left before Deborah as a reminder that the beginnings of the Philistine problem were at that time (Kaufmann, 1962, in bibl., 113). The presence of the word ḥiddah, "riddle"(Judg. 14:12 passim), a loan from Aramaic aḥidah after the shift of Aramaic dhal to dalet in the Imperial Aramaic that arose in the sixth century precludes an early period for the date of composition of that chapter.

Migration of Dan to the North (17–18) and the War Against the Benjaminites (19–21)

These concluding sections have no immediate introductory statements to connect them with the rest of the book and are characterized by the recurring phrase "in those days there was no king in Israel, each man doing what was right in his own eyes" (17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25). It would seem that these sections were intended to illustrate the dangers of irregular tribal rule. The potential anarchy could be prevented only by the crowning of a king. The Danites, unable to resist the pressures of the Philistines in their southern home, traveled to the north and settled there. They stole the cult objects from the personal sanctuary of a certain northerner named Micah and set them up in their new sanctuary at Laish (17–18). The war against the Benjaminites was the direct result of an abominable offense committed by the people of Gibeah. A levite traveler came to Gibeah to spend the night. The people of Gibeah, surrounding the house in which he lodged, demanded that the levite be sent out to them for homosexual acts (19:22). (One point of the story is to show that the Benjaminites of Gibeah shared the values of the ancient Sodomites. The many elements common to Judges 19 and Genesis 19 were already pointed out by Naḥmanides to Gen. 19:8.) His concubine was sent out instead and she was abused until she died. The levite cut her body into 12 pieces, sending one to each of the tribes, demanding revenge for the foul deed. An intertribal war resulted, in which Benjamin was decisively defeated. Fearing that a tribe of Israel might be wiped out, yet not wanting to break their vow against marrying Benjaminites, the Israelites resorted to several subterfuges to repopulate the tribe (21). First they attacked the city of Jabesh-Gilead, which had not participated in the campaign against Benjamin. Only young virgins were spared and given to the men of Benjamin. To acquire women for the rest of the survivors, the Benjaminites were advised to lie in wait in the vineyards of Shiloh and take for their wives the young girls who usually came there to dance in celebration for the harvest. Technically, this was no breach of the vow, since the women were taken by force. Both medieval and modern commentators have advanced several theories concerning the date of these events. The Danite migration would seem to follow directly on the Samson narratives and be dated some time before Deborah. Perhaps 18:30, in which the first priest of Dan is of the generation of Moses' grandchildren, further supports this thesis (Kaufmann, 1962, in bibl. 267). Various dates have been suggested for the concubine in the Gibeah story, including the period of Othniel, of Joshua, and before Eli, the priest, and Samuel. Some scholars cited the concerted action of the tribes against Gibeah and Benjamin as proof for the theory that, before the foundation of the monarchy, Israel was governed by an amphictyony, a tribal federation grouped around a sanctuary similar to Greek federations, but that view has been generally abandoned.

For all its theological tendentiousness, the picture presented by Judges of conditions in pre-monarchic Israel finds a good deal of archaeological support (Bloch-Smith and Nakhai, 118). In addition, despite the imposition of their own concerns by later writers, Judges has preserved literary fragments of great antiquity and affords insights into the social and religious conditions of the period between the conquest and the monarchy. The theological picture presented by the Book of Judges is that the overriding, uniting goal of conquest was no longer present. The strong loyalty to Yahweh that had characterized the generation of Joshua declined. Israelites turned to the gods of their neighbors. The present Book of Judges stresses the point that these phenomena were the prime cause of national disaster, and that only in true repentance would the nation be able to live a secure life on its land. The Christian author of Hebrews 11:32–33 cites Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah as examples of ancient worthies whose faith brought them triumph.


commentaries: G.F. Moore, Judges (icc, 1895); C.F. Burney, Judges (19302); Y. Kaufmann, Sefer Shofetim (1962). general studies: E. Renan, History of the People of Israel (1894); W.O.E. Oesterley and T.H. Robinson, History of Israel (1932), 112–70; Y. Kaufmann, Biblical Account of the Conquest of Palestine (1953); Kaufmann Y., Toledot, 2 (1960), 90–158; Noth, Hist. Isr. 164ff.; Bright, Hist, 151–60; J.L. Mc-Kenzie, The World of the Judges (1966); A. Malamat, in: H.H. Ben-Sasson (ed.), Toledot Am Yisrael bi-Ymei Kedem (1969), 70–83. specialized studies: L.W. Batten, in: jbl, 24 (1905), 31–40; E.G. Kraeling, ibid., 54 (1935), 205–10; Albright, Arch Rel, 79–124; A. Malamat, in: peq, 85 (1953), 61–65; idem, in: jnes, 13 (1954), 231–42; J. Bright, Early Israel in Recent History Writing (1956); E. Danelius, in: jnes, 22 (1963); A. van Selms, in: vt, 14 (1964), 294–309; J. Liver (ed.), Historya Ẓeva'it shel Ereẓ Yisrael… (1965), 79–124; A. Alt, Essays on Old Testament History and Religion (1966), 173–237. add. bibliography: N.H. Tur-Sinai, The Language and the Book, 1 (1954), 409–23; S. Niditch, in: cbq, 44 (1982), 365–78; D. Marcus, Jephthah and His Vow (1986); A. Reinhartz, in: jsot, 55 (1992), 25–37; A. Brenner (ed.), A Feminist Companion to Judges (1993); R. Boling, in: abd, 3, 1107–17, incl. bibl.; B. Halpern, The Creation of History in Ancient Israel (1998), 79–90; Y. Amit, in: vt, 60 (1990), 4–19; idem, The Book of Judges: The Art of Editing (1998); idem, Judges (1999); B. Oded, in: M. Fox (ed.), Texts, Temples, and Traditions …Tribute Haran (1999), 89*–948; L. Bloch-Smith and B. Nakhai, in: nea, 62 (1999), 62–92, 101–27; T. Beal and M. Gunn, dbi, 1:637–47 extensive bibl.; M. Brettler, Judges (2001); F. Cross, Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook (1993), 216–20; N. Na'aman, in: vt, 55 (2005), 47–60.

[Gershon Bacon /

S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]