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Paper Topic:

The Role of the Judges in Israel

Running Head : The Role of Judges in Israel

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Introduction

Judges during the settlement period in Israel had the role of military leader and also the role of tribal champion . The term judge in Hebrew shaphat , encompasses a wide range of meanings . It does not only involve arbitration as would be understood by the English meaning of the word The judge in the Israel tribes was responsible for the defense of what was right , removal of oppressors , punishment of offenders and restoring things

to their right as well as vindicating the victims of wrongdoing . The authority of the judges was mostly found in the personality of the judges who were mainly directed by the Spirit Heredity and election to office were not very significant in the position of judges (Matthews , 2002

The period of the Settlement was a period of chaos for the people of Israel . There was no longer any unified leadership as it had ended with the death of Joshua . Decline in morality and political dissolution were the main challenges that faced the Israelites at the time (McKenzie 1967 . The nation of Israel upon settling in Canaan was unable to completely conquer the Canaanites both religiously and militarily Initially under Joshua they were able to conquer most of the Canaan lands , however this did not last long as they departed from the ways that had been set for them to follow by Yahweh . Whenever the Israelites had some kind of prosperity , they would engage in self-willed acts and apostasy prevailed . Thus a vicious cycle of sin followed by oppression then repentance and delivery was maintained

When the Israelites were punished for worship of other Gods , a Judge would arise and they would be delivered from oppression but they would go back to their ways and disregard Yahweh after they became prosperous Judges had a role of ad hoc leadership whenever a crisis occurred . The historical situation at the time of the Judges was such that the nation of Israel was fragmented and had a lot of enemies pressing on them from all the sides . During the reign of Joshua there was much confidence and togetherness and when the book of Joshua is coming to an end , the people renew a commitment to honor Yahweh . This is however absent in the account of the book of Judges and there seems to be more desperation with people asking , who shall go up for us against the Canaanites

Judges addressed the problem of moral decline and apostasy by pointing out the wrongs of the Israelites from the Word of God . They would then encourage and /or compel the people to repent so that they could find favor with the Lord and therefore bring an end to their punishment Yahweh , punished the Israelites by allowing them to be oppressed by the neighboring tribes . When a judge arose , the people would abandon their self-willed ways following the charismatic leader . They would be organized into an army that would...

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