The Rest of the Story -

A Few Good Men…and Women

Judges 1:1-15, Israelites and Canaanites
Judges 1:16-36, Each tribe fights its own battles.
Judges 2:1-23, Judges lead Israel - some of the time.
Judges 17:1-13, Micah does as he pleases.
Judges 18, The tribe of Dan does as it pleases.

More of The Rest of the Story

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Follow these links for study tips on the Judges Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson.

War in Ancient Times. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
Judges 1:1-15, Israelites and Canaanites (10/8/12)

Jarrod C.’s sermon this morning gave us some difficult but thoughtful teaching on why God directed the Israelites to put the peoples of Canaan to the sword. Several years ago I also wrote something on the destruction of the Canaanites for my Bethel students. What I wrote and what Jarrod said were almost exactly the same: the Canaanites were wicked people, and God used the Israelites to punish them.

However, if you are still troubled by Joshua, Judges may give you some comfort. It turns out that the Israelites didn’t put all the Canaanites to the sword. As we read through Judges, we’ll see two main points repeated over and over again:
The failure of the Israelites to do as they were told caused a lot of trouble for the next thousand years or so. Just for this week, let’s try to do what God has told us to do: Love God. Love our neighbor.

Judges 1:16-36, Each tribe fights its own battles. (10/9/12)

A fellow-reader noted a few days back that sometimes it was difficult to tell when Moses was talking and when God was talking. That’s true for most of the prophets, and Moses was one of the prophets.

Another thing that’s hard to tell sometimes is when a tribe is being talked about and when a person is being talked about. If you didn’t know that Judah, Simeon, and all their brothers as individuals died more than 400 years prior to the invasion, you might think that they went out in person to lead all these conquests. Nope. The tribes that are named after them – their descendants – are the ones who are making war. So even though it says, “he took the hill country,” or “he was living among the Canaanites,” it’s really talking about the tribe. You knew that already. Notice that the tribes are usually not working together; each tribe had to fight for its own land.

Another thing we talked about last week is that the Israelites were in the Bronze Age when they invaded Canaan. Some of the Canaanites, however – especially the ones in the lowlands – were already in the Iron Age, as we are told in verse 19. The Israelites had trouble with the Iron-Age nations until the time of David.

Judges 2:1-23, Judges lead Israel - some of the time. (10/10/12)

Old habits are hard to change. After they entered Canaan, the Israelites often forgot the covenant that they made with God when Joshua was alive, and they fell into the worship of other gods. Whenever this happened, God allowed them to be oppressed by their enemies until they repented. The judges were charismatic leaders whom God called to guide the tribes of Israel out of oppression and into to right relationship with God. Typically a judge would lead a tribe or two for about a generation. Unfortunately, when the judge died, the people were leaderless and eventually turned again to the worship of foreign gods.

This week, let’s all remind our pastors that we love them and that we appreciate their example and their leadership.

Judges 17:1-13, Micah does as he pleases. (10/11/12)

One of the recurrent themes in Judges is that “there was no king in Israel, and every man did as he pleased.” Several specific cases are described in detail toward the end of the book, and one of these is the story of Micah (not the prophet). Micah stole a substantial sum of silver from his mother. When he gave it back she used it to make a graven image – the word pesel is exactly the same as the graven image expressly forbidden in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:4) – which he put into his “house of gods.” Then he made one of his sons into a priest, and later he made a Levite his priest as well.

There was no king in Israel, and apparently Micah was pleased by theft, commandment-breaking, idolatry, and the making of illegitimate priests.

Judges 18, The tribe of Dan does as it pleases. (10/12/12)

Remember that yesterday we met Micah, who stole from his mom, practiced idolatry, and made a Levite into a priest. Later some men from the tribe of Dan came through, stole the graven image and other gods from Micah, kidnapped the priest, and threatened Micah when he complained. This was how they treated their fellow-Israelite Micah! Their treatment of the Zidonians was much harsher.

There was no king in Israel, and every man – and tribe – did as he pleased.

More of the Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
Apocalyptic writings in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time

Copyright 2012 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
The woodcut illustrating war in ancient times is from a Bible in a family collection.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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