Instructions: Each row in the table below has information about one of the individuals who judged Israel during the period covered in the book of Judges. In each row, column (1) contains a reference to an event associated with a particular judge, or a unique characteristic of that Judge. Read the book of Judges and complete the other columns in the table below as follows:

Column (2): Give the name of the appropriate individual who judged Israel.

Column (3): Identify the enemy or oppressor from whom each judge delivered Israel.

Column (4): Identify each of the persons mentioned.

Column (5): List the chapter(s) which describe the exploits of each judge.

Unique Event/Trait


Delivered from...

Who was...

1st Judge: Caleb's nephew   Cushan-rishathaim Kenaz:  
a secret message which turned out to be piercing     Eglon:  
struck 600 men with an ox goad        
a woman gave a man his last drink     Barak:



pitchers used as weapons     Jerubbaal:  
millstone was a weapon     Jotham:  
judged Israel 23 years Tola   Puah:  
30 sons, 30 donkeys, & 30 cities        
a tragic vow & a password        
30 sons & 30 daughters Ibzan      
40 sons, 30 grandsons, & 70 donkeys     Hillel:  
a bad haircut     Manoah:




Judges 1:1-3:8

Judah's territory

1. Judges 1:1-10 describes the conquest of Judah's territory. Based on Joshua 21:43-22:4, would you suppose that this conquest was accomplished during Joshua's lifetime?


2. Read Joshua 14:6-15. Who granted Hebron to Caleb?

3. Where do you read about the conquest of Hebron in the book of Judges?

Arad and Hormah

4. Compare Numbers 21:1-3 with Judges 1:16-17. Are these two accounts of the same events?

Jerusalem (read Joshua 15:8, 63; Judges 1:1-8, 21; and 2 Sam. 5:1-10)

5. Prior to being known as Jerusalem, what was the name of the city?

6. Exactly where was the city located. It was on the border of what two tribes and on which side of the border?

7. What were the people who inhabited the city called?

8. Was the city captured during the period of Joshua and the Judges?

9. Were its inhabitants driven out?

10. According to Josh 15:63, who had difficulty driving these people out?

11. According to Judg 1:21, who had difficulty driving these people out?

12. Who ultimately drove the Jebusites out of Jerusalem?


13. This man was king of what city?

14. What does "Adoni" mean?

15. Do you suppose Adoni-bezek was a title, or a personal name?

16. What was done to him, and why was this appropriate?

Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron

17. These cities were conquered by which tribe?

18. At a later time, these cities would once again belong to what people?


19. What is meant by "the house of Joseph". Locate Bethel on a map, remember who Joseph's sons were, and note Ezek. 37:16.

20. What had been the old name of city now called Bethel?

21. Read Gen. 28:10-21. Who had named the city Bethel, and on what occasion?

22. What does "Bethel" mean?

23. From whom did the spies get assistance, and what sort of assistance did they get?

24. What did they offer in return for the assistance?

25. What city did the man who assisted them build?


26. Compare Judges 1:1 with 2:6-10. Are the events of Judges 1 & 2 told in strictly chronological order?

27. Compare Joshua 21:43-22:4 with Judges 1. Does there appear to be some overlap between the book of Joshua and the book of Judges?

Iron Chariots

28. What explanation does the text give for Judah's inability to drive out the inhabitants of the valley?

29. Does this indicate weakness on the part of God, or lack of faithfulness on the part of the people of Judah?

Persistent Canaanites

30. What do each of the following verses have in common? Jdg. 1:27, 1:28, 1:29, 1:30, 1:31, 1:32, 1:33, 1:35

31. Joshua reference

32. Read Josh. 23:4-13. Joshua warned that association with the Canaanites who were left in the land would lead to what?

33. What specific form of association did Joshua warn against?

34. Read Judges 2:1-5. In what way had the Israelites disobeyed God?

35. Judges 2:3 begins, "Therefore I also said..." To what is this referring?

36. What use would God make of the persistence of the Canaanites among Israel?

37. What use did the Israelites make of the persistence of the Canaanites in their midst? (3:5-6)

38. What was the consequence?

39. Judges 2:11-23 serves as

a. a prelude to the rest of the book, telling what happened before the events of the main part of the book.

b. an overview of the rest of the book, summarizing the events described in the main part of the book.


Judges 3:5-5:31

1. Read Exodus 34:10-17. Why did God warn Israel not to make covenants with the peoples of the land He was giving them?

2. According to Judges 3:5-6, in what way did the Israelites NOT heed God's warning?

3. What was the result, and was it the result of which God had warned them according to Exodus 34?

4. Into whose hands did God give Israel for eight years?

5. What indication is there that the people were oppressed?

6. What was the name of the deliverer whom God raised up to defeat Cushan-rishathaim?

7. This deliverer was the son of whom?

8. Kenaz was the brother of whom?

9. For how many years did Israel have rest?

10. When Israel again turned to evil, what king of Moab defeated Israel?

11. For how many years did Israel serve this king?

12. What indication is there that the people were oppressed?

13. What was the name of the deliverer whom God raised up to defeat this king?

14. From what tribe was this deliverer, and what physical trait of his is mentioned?

15. What did Ehud make, and where did he hide it?

16. What physical description of Eglon is given?

16. What was the occasion of Ehud's visit to Eglon? What does "tribute" mean?

17. Who carried the tribute?

18. How did Ehud manage to be alone with the King?

19. What was the secret message?

20. How did Ehud escape? Did he take his sword with him?

21. When the servants of Eglon noted that the doors to the Kings chamber were locked, what did they suppose Eglon was doing? Check to see if your Bible has a footnote at this point, giving the literal translation of the words that indicated what the servants thought Eglon was doing. What does this mean? (compare 1 Samuel 24:2-3.)

22. After some time had passed, what did Eglon's servants finally do?

23. In what city did this incident take place? Locate it on a map.

24. How many Moabites did the Israelites strike down?

25. For how many years thereafter was the land of Israel undisturbed?

26. Tell of Shamgar's victory.

27. After Ehud's death, when Israel again did evil, into whose hand did God give them?

28. Who was Sisera?

29. What evidence of the power of Jabin is mentioned, and for how long was Israel oppressed by Jabin?

30. Who was Deborah? Does it surprise you that a woman could prophesy? What does prophesy mean? Were there women who prophesied in the New Testament? (Acts 21:8-9, 1 Cor. 11:5) In the N.T., did women prophesy in the church (assembly)? See 1 Cor. 14:34-35.

31. For what purpose would the sons of Israel come to Deborah?

32. Who was Barak, and what responsibility was given to him?

33. Did Deborah say this on her own authority?

34. What did Deborah prophesy concerning Sisera's fate?

35. How did the battle between Barak and Sisera go, and who deserves the credit?

36. To whose tent did Sisera flee?

37. Who was Jael?

38. Tell what Jael did.

39. In the song of Deborah and Barak, the last eight verses contain a contrast between what two women?

40. Who looked out of a window, wondering what delayed her son's return.

41. What answer was offered by her princesses?

42. After this victory, how long was the land undisturbed?

Judges 6:1-8:35

1. Who gave Israel into the hands of Midian, and why? (6:1, cf. 2:11-14)

2. Who was Midian, from whom the Midianites descended?

3. Who was allied with the Midianites in afflicting Israel?

4. In what sort of residences did the Israelites take refuge?

5. Whom did the LORD first send when Israel cried out on account of Midian?

6. What irony did the LORD allude to in the words he spoke through the prophet?

7. Who was Gideon's father?

8. What was Gideon doing when the angel of the LORD appeared to him?

9. Gideon said, "Oh my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? Explain the difference between "lord" and "LORD," identifying whom Gideon meant by each.

10. What does the expression, "you shall defeat Midian as one man," mean? (6:16)

11. Gideon asked for a sign - a sign indicating what?

12. What was the first sign that was given to Gideon?

13. The LORD told Gideon to pull down an altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it? Whose altar of Baal was it?

14. What was an Asherah?

15. What was the purpose of the second bull which Gideon was to take?

16. Why did Gideon fulfill the Lord's command during the night rather than during the day?

17. When the men of the city told Joash to bring his son out that they might put him to death, what was Joash's response?

18. What name did Gideon acquire, and what did the name mean?

19. What came upon, or "clothed" Gideon, according to verse 34?

20. By means of the fleece, Gideon sought a sign assuring him of what?

21. Why did Gideon make a second test using the fleece?

22. Why did the LORD consider the army gathered by Gideon to be too large?

23. How many people were initially sent home?

24. What distinction was made in order to further reduce the size of Gideon's force?

25. What was the final size of Gideon's force?

26. In order to give Gideon courage, the LORD told Gideon to go to the camp of the Midianites. While their, what did Gideon hear?

27. Describe the paraphernalia with which Gideon's 300 men went into battle.

28. Gideon and his men came to the camp at the beginning of the middle watch.

"The ancient Israelites divided the night into three watches of four hours i.e. from sunset to sunrise, i.e. from six p.m. to six a.m. .... The later Israelites adopted the Roman division of the night into four watches." (Pulpit Comm., vol. 3, p. 78.)

At what time did Gideon's attack take place?

29. From the viewpoint of the Midianites, describe the scene to which they awoke when Gideon blew his trumpet.

30. Who were Oreb, Zereb, Zebah, and Zalmunna?

31. Why were the leaders of Succoth and of Penuel unwilling to provide food for Gideon and his men? These two cities lay in the territory of which tribe? Do you suppose the inhabitants were Israelites?

32. With respect to each of these cities, what did Gideon promise to do? Did he do it?

33. In Judges 8:18ff, we learn of certain men who had, sometime previously, died at the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna. Who were they, and what did Gideon do about this?

34. What ornaments are mentioned in connection with this incident?

35. Why were the men of Ephraim upset with Gideon, and how did Gideon calm them, and why did he mention Abiezer?

36. To what position did the men of Israel wish to exalt Gideon, and what was his response?

37. To whom does the text refer as "Ishmaelites"? As early as the book of Genesis, what evidence do we see of the close association of Ishmaelites with Midianites?

38. What did Gideon do with the rings he took from the men, and how did this become "a snare to Gideon and his household"?

39. How many sons did Gideon have, and what son is particularly named? Why is he particularly mentioned?

40. For how many years was the land undisturbed in the days of Gideon.

41. What happened as soon as Gideon died?

Judges 9

1. Explain how it was that Abimelech came to rule.

2. What men supported Abimelech in his quest for power. Identify them in terms of family relation and also in terms of locale.

3. Does this sound like the beginning of a rule of a unified kingdom consisting of all Israel?

4. How long did Abimelech rule?

5. In verse 22, the word translated rule is not the usual word uniquely associated with the rule of a king. That word does occur in Jotham's parable. But on the word in verse 22 and the implication of its selection, consider the following:

ra&fYaW , from rU&, to govern, is used intentionally, as it appears, in the place of |l:miYaw , because Abimelech's government was not a monarchical reign, but simply a tyrannical despotism. "Over Israel," that is to say, not over the whole of the twelve tribes of Israel, but only over a portion of the nation, possibly the tribes of Ephraim and half Manasseh, which acknowledged his sway. (Commentary on the Old Testament, C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch)

What portion of the above quotation is factual, and what portion is interpretation? Does the interpretation of the facts seem reasonable to you? (Don't worry about the Hebrew. We'll clear that up in class.)

6. What was Baal-berith, and where was his temple?

7. Which of Gideon's sons escaped Abimelech's purge?

8. Tell Jotham's parable, and explain what it meant. Was it intended to flatter Abimelech?

9. What symmetry is there in verse 20?

10. What men dealt treacherously with Abimelech, and why did this come about?

11. Who was responsible for anarchy in the mountains?

12. Were these men faithful servants of the one true God? Explain.

13. In whom did they put their trust?

14. In verse 28, does Shechem apparently represents a person. Who?

15. Compare verse 28 with Nabal's words in 1 Samuel 25:10. What attitude is common to both of these passages?

16. Hamor, the father of Shechem, has previously been introduced to us. Do you remember where, and under what circumstances? In that passage, was Shechem a place or a person?

17. According to the text, was Zebul loyal to Abimelech or not? Did Gaal speak respectfully of Zebul, or not?

18. Who warned Abimelech of Gaal's rabble rousing?

19. So far in this story, is there anyone with whom you, as the reader, sympathize? Is there anyone who looks like the good guy?

20. When Gaal first saw Abimelech's approach, what did Zebul say?

21. How did Zebul's response change when Gaal spoke of the approaching people the second time?

22. After Abimelech slew many of the people of the city, and razed the city itself, where did the many who were still alive take refuge. What happened to them? How many of them were there?

23. Abimelech went to Thebez. Where did the people of this city take refuge?

24. How did Abimelech die?Abimelech's death is mentioned by David on an infamous occasion. Do you remember when?

25. Look again at question number 19. Considering Abimelech on the one hand, and the men of Shechem on the other, is either side held up as being in the right?

Judges 10

1. Two men who judged Israel are mentioned in the first five verses of chapter ten. Who were they?

2. 1 John 4:16 says that God is love. Comment on this in light of Judges 10:6-16. Was God not loving when he spoke the words recorded in verse 14?

3. What man does God use to deliver the people this time?


On Ammon's claim

Numbers 21

Dt. 2

Spirit of the Lord

Jdg 3:10, Othniel

Jdg 6:34, Gideon

1 Sam 11:6, Saul

Human sacrifice prohibited:

Lev. 18:21, 20:2-5, Dt. 12:31, 18:10

Other Vows:

1 Sam. 1:11

Ps. 22:25; 61:5, 8; 65:1


Dt. 23:21-23

Some Vows Could be Overruled

Numbers 30

Some Vows Could be Redeemed

Lev. 27:1-13


Jacob, Gen. 28:20-21

Not only Abraham's seed

Job 22:27

Jepthah's problem

- Prov. 20:25


plain meaning

typical of period of judges

"had no relations" (but this also natural of one who died a virgin)

inconsistent with OT condemnation of human sacrifice

Redemption possible; but he didn't redeem her


Judges 14-16

1. Was it right for an Israelite to marry a Philistine? (cf. Ex. 34:12-26, Neh 13:23f)

2. How did Samson's parents feel about the union?

3. What did they not know?

4. Compare your answer to question 1 with your answer to question 3. Does this present a problem, or can you explain how both of these things can be true?

5. Who was seeking an occasion against the Philistines?

6. What indication is there that Samson's slaying of the lion was not due merely to his own human strength?

7. When he next observed the lion's carcass, what did he see?

8. Samson prepared a feast in honor of the marriage. How long was it to last? (Cf. Gen. 29:27-28.)

9. With what riddle did Samson challenge his guests, and what wager did he make?

10. When the guests to became convinced that they needed assistance to solve the riddle, from whom did they seek it?

11. How was it that Samson's bride was able to get the explanation from him?

12. What does "If you had not plowed with my heifer" mean?

13. Where did Samson get the thirty changes of clothes which he was obligated to pay? What indication is there that Samson's slaying of thirty men was not due merely to his own human strength?

14. What provoked Samson against the Philistines the second time?

15. Describe the means whereby Samson set fire to the crops of the Philistines.

16. What became of Samson's wife and father-in-law?

17. After Samson retaliated with a "great slaughter", the Philistines came up against the men of Judah seeking Samson. Explain how it was that Samson was given over to the Philistines.

18. For how long did Samson judge Israel?

19. What sort of woman was Samson with when the men of Gaza lay in wait for him?

20. What is the name of the third woman with whom the text tells us Samson was involved?

21. At whose instigation did she entice Samson to tell her the secret of his strength?

22. How many times did Samson lie to her, and what happened each time?

23. What ploy did Delilah use, according to Judges 16:15, and what does the fact that this worked tell you about Samson?

24. Tell of the final events in Samson's life.

25. The picture of Samson is not complete without considering Hebrews 11:32. In light of this passage, how should we regard the events described in Judges 14-16?

26. What lessons for us are there in the life of Samson?

Judges 17-21

1. How many times, in chapters 17-21, do we find the statement, "In those days there was no king in Israel"? What comment is sometimes appended to this statement?

2. What did Micah steal from his mother?

3. When he confessed his sin, did his mother acknowledge Jehovah?

4. To whom did she say she dedicated the silver, and for what what?

5. The narrative turns from this incident with what concluding comment?

6. Prior to obtaining a Levite as his priest, who had been Micah's priest?

7. What seems odd about the arrangement into which Micah and the Levite enter?

8. Which Levites could serve as priests. Is there any indication that this Levite was such a one? What evidence is there of his genealogy? (see Judges 18:30).

9. The account of the Danite expedition here in Judges 18 is a more detailed account of the same thing referred to in what verse of Joshua 19.

10. When the five men from Dan took note of the idols in Micah's house, what was their thought?

11. Describe the events of Judges 18:14-26. In this conflict, with whom do you feel sympathy?

12. How does chapter 19 begin?

13. The indignant Levite carves the body of his concubine into 12 pieces which he sends throughout Israel, calling for assistance in punishing the Benjamites of Gibeah. God speaks, and instructs the men of Judah to attack Gibeah first. What is the result? Why did God instruct Judah to attack, and then not give victory to Judah?

14. On the second day of fighting, the men of Gibeah kill 18,000. Finally the men of Gibeah are defeated. Compare the total number of Benjamites who were killed to the number that the Benjamites killed. Do you see any significance in this comparison?

15. What indication as to the date of these events is found in Judges 20:27-28?

16. The book of Judges ends with the statement repeated, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Do you suppose that this statement is merely a comment on the form of government that prevailed during this time, or is it a more profound statement? Eli and then Samuel judged Israel after the close of the events told in the book of Judges. Remember what God said when the people told Samuel they desired a king (1 Sam. 8:7).

Some thoughts on the last few chapters of Judges

Consider Samson - he stands out as heroic and tragic. Tragic, because of the fate he suffered which resulted from his own inclination to pursue Philistine women. Although Judges 14:4 says, "it was of the LORD" that doesn't mean Samson was conscious of the LORD's plan at the time he saw a woman in Timnah. Remember the sale of Joseph (Gen. 37, the rebellion of Israel under Rehoboam (1 Ki. 12), the conquest of Israel by Assyria (Is. 10:5-7), etc., as examples of things that were "of the LORD" though the men involved did not so intend. The complaint of Samson's parents',

"Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?"

was on the mark. But Samson was a man with a weakness in regard to women both in terms of the kind of women he sought, and his propensity to be manipulated by them (Jdg. 14:2, 14:16-17, 16:1, 16:4, 16:15-17).

The point: Although we must not judge Samson too harshly - he is after all, honored by God's word in Heb. 11:32 - there is much in Samson's character which we should not emulate. The period of the Judges was such a time that even a hero of faith was disappointing.

A question that continually arises in these chapters is, "Who are the good guys?" or "Are there any good guys?" In these chapters, we are shown the fruitlessness of trying to establish good when the standard of good has been rejected.

Consider, Micah, the man who stole the 1100 pieces of silver

that was bad

But he confesses

that's good!

And his mother says "Blessed be my son by the LORD." The word LORD in all upper case letters indicates that she was calling for blessing from Jehovah.

that's good!

Furthermore, she dedicates the silver to the LORD

perhaps for a moment, it looks like we have an example of a godly woman!

But then "...for my son to make a graven image and a molten image"


So Micah doesn't seem like a good guy. He even makes one of his own sons a priest,

and the text says: "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes" (Jdg 17:6).

Then Micah buys a real Levite to be a priest

How do we feel about that?

On the one hand, Micah feels the need for a Levite.

That's good!

But Micah gets his own personal priest.

That's bad

Chapter 18 begins with a repetition of the observation, "In those days there was no king in Israel." Five Danites come to the house of Micah and recognized the Levite as an old acquaintance. "What are you doing here?" they ask. They ask him to inquire of God for them.

That's good!

Maybe the Danites are going to turn out to be the good guys. And then you read about how these five Danites report back to the rest of the Danites that there are idols in the house of Micah, and they need to consider what they are going to do. (18:14) Are we going to finally see true heroes, men concerned about idolatry, who will wish to destroy idols and not tolerate compromising of a Levite's service with idols? What happens?

The Danites wanted the idols, and stole them! (18:17)

That's bad!

The priest protested their theft.

That's good!

But wait a minute, the priest is trying to protect idols?

That's bad!

And you begin to wonder what could anyone one do in this story that would be good, other than to destroy all the characters who are in the story.

Then in Judges 18:19, there is an attempt to define "better" - "Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?" Let's see, a priest who compromises with idolatry for one, or a priest who compromises with idolatry for many? Some choice. Note the irony of having forsaken the only definition of good (God), and yet still talking in terms of what is "better"!

So the priest helps the Danites steal the idols and goes with them.

Micah is upset, he's been robbed, he gets a posse together and they go after the Danites. Can we sympathize with Micah? He's been robbed!! But he shouldn't have had the things of which he was robbed in the first place! Do we side with the Danites? They're thieves! And thieves of idols at that! The whole thing is despicable. The story ends without any victory for righteousness.

Chapter 19 begins, "there was no king in Israel."

A Levite takes a concubine (a slave wife).

She is unfaithful.

That's bad.

He goes after her, speaking tenderly!

Do we have a good man here, forgiving, and gentle?

The Levite and the father-in-law spend about five days with nothing to do but sit around and drink. What kind of men are these? Then he travels and stops at Gibeah, where presumably he would be better treated than at Jebus, a "city of foreigners". There are the homosexual overtures of the men of the city, followed by the abandonment of the concubine to the perverts, followed by the gang rape and murder of the concubine. How could the Levite have allowed such a thing?

But he is indignant, and carves her into 12 pieces which he sends throughout Israel, calling for assistance in punishing the Benjamites of Gibeah. God speaks, and instructs the men of Judah to attack Gibeah first. But Gibeah repels them, killing 22,000. Why did God instruct Judah to attack, and then not give victory to Judah? Similarly on the second day of fighting, the men of Gibeah kill 18,000. Finally the men of Gibeah are defeated. But the total number of Benjamites killed is less than the deaths among the victors. The mixed results of the battle suggest again the lack of an unmitigated "good guy".

Note the means by which the Benjamites survival, as a tribe, is accomplished in chapter 21, and note the last verse of the book. "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." The stories of the last several chapters depict the hopeless conditions that prevail when everyone does whatever he wants.


In these closing chapters of the book of Judges, issues arise that seem to have no right answer. But they arise because a principle is ignored at the outset. Which is better, to make one who should not be a priest at all "a priest to the house of one man, or a priest to a tribe?" Cite some moral dilemmas that exist today only because a moral premise has been ignored. To get you started, consider the following: People argue about whether or not it's fair to deny homosexual couples the benefits that married heterosexual couples receive, and whether or not condoms should be distributed in schools. These questions exist because what

is good has already been rejected, and society is left trying to find good by choosing from among various evils.