The Bible often says that God handed over his people to their enemies. Really, such words usually describe a long series of events that happened over a period of many years. In the Book of Judges, that period was usually the length of the life of Israelís judges (leaders). This was the usual order of events:
(1) On an earlier occasion, God had rescued his people. The people who had that experience often remained loyal to God for their whole lives. However, their children had always known comfortable lives and they began to neglect God. So they made themselves false gods, for example Baal and Ashtoreth. They thought that those false gods would make them more successful. God sent people to warn them, but they were unwilling to leave their false gods.
(2) If God had allowed their comfortable lives to continue, they would have become very wicked. So, God gave their enemies some power over them. Samuel mentions Sisera from Hazor (Judges 4:1-3), and the king of Moab (Judges 3:12-14). The Philistines were Israelís principal enemy during the lives of Samson, Samuel and Saul. However, God never gave Israelís enemies complete control over Israel. If he had done, they would have destroyed the nation completely (Psalm 124).
(3) In their desperate situation, Israelís people prayed to God for help. So, God rescued them. In the Book of Judges, he did that by means of a leader or judge who led their armies. You can read about Barak in Judges chapters 4 and 5, and about Jephthah in Judges chapters 11 and 12. Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon (Judges 6:32), whom you can read about in Judges chapters 6 to 8. Samson (Judges chapters 13 to 16) was the last judge in the Book of Judges. However, really, Samuel himself was Israelís last judge (7:6; 7:15-17).
Next part: A powerful king (1 Samuel 12:12)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.