The Book of Judges covers the historic period of the nation of Israel from the time of the death of Joshua to the beginning of the kings. Just how long a period that spanned is a matter of dispute among the scholars, but it is generally accepted to be a period of 300 to 400 years. Jewish tradition says Samuel wrote it, which is quite likely. Samuel was the last of the judges and the first of the prophets. This book gets its name from the thirteen judges who were raised up by God during these years to deliver Israel from their oppressors. each was a leader over Israel for a period of time, but none was as generally accepted or revered as Moses or Joshua.
The book of Judges chronicles Israel’s history as they went through a continual cycle of being blessed by God through revival, then getting complacent, rebelling against God, being oppressed by their enemies, turning to God in repentance, followed by God’s deliverance through a judge—then starting this cycle all over again. There were thirteen cycles of backsliding, repentance and deliverance by thirteen different judges. Israel was like a yo-yo, going up and down for hundreds of years, experiencing defeat and deliverance. It serves as a graphic illustration of the truth of Prov. 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
The stories of the rise and fall of the nation of Israel, over and over again, have great relevance to us today, both nationally and personally. The United States began as a country that acknowledged the hand of God in her founding. God was given a prominent place in our national life and was given the credit for the blessings of the nation. But our country has left her godly roots and now believes that genius and hard work are responsible for our success. So if we find ourselves in trouble, perhaps we will turn back to God and once again experience His blessings.
This cycle also happens in our lives personally. God blesses us and we take His blessings for granted. We begin to fall away from the closeness we once enjoyed; and before we know it, we are in serious trouble. How important it is that we avoid these cycles of failure and instead just walk closely with the Lord at all times.