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Last week I finished reading Judges.  Judges was a tough book to tackle for me.  I think to start with it was the book I've read so far that I knew the least about going into.  I wasn't as familiar with its stories and specifics.  I only knew the big picture of what Judges told.  As I've been reading through the Bible book by book, this is the first I've though, I should re-read or do a devotional on to really grasp it well.  But, on to my notes!

  • Judah fights Canaanites
  • Caleb gave his daughter as wife to a man who captured the city for them
  • Canaanites were pushed out or became slaves and some continued to live with them
  • An angel of the Lord told them the others in their land would be enemies because they made an agreement with them and didn't destroy their alters
  • Joshua dies
  • The next generation didn't know God and what was right and wrong so they worshipped other idols; their enemies became robbers and defeated them because the Lord wasn't with them
  • God sent Judges to save them from their enemies - They still didn't obey and were stubborn
  • Lord was angry over broken agreement and disobedience
  • Left others in their land to teach them lessons
  • Israelites began to intermarry with them and worship their gods
  • Moab conquered Jericho and ruled them
  • Judge Ehud came to lead them over Moab and he stuck his sword all the way into their fat king killing him so they could again rule over Moab
  • Shamgar was their next judge; he killed Philistines
  • Ehud died, they did wrong, Canaan defeated Israel
  • They were ruled for 20 years, then they cried for help
  • Deborah was the judge of Israel; she sat under a palm tree and people came to her to settle arguments
  • Deborah had Barak gather 10,000 men to defeat Sisera
  • Barak agreed only if Deborah went
  • She got credit for leading them to victory; the Lord confused Sisera
  • Sisera ran on foot and hid in Jael's tent
  • Jael (a woman!) put a tent peg through his head while he was sleeping
  • Kings fought too
  • Then there was 40 years of peace
  • Israelites did what was wrong again and Midianites took over for 7 years; they took all their livestock and grain and left them nothing to eat; the Israelites were poor
  • In poverty they cried out to God so he sent a prophet
  • Prophet reminded them of the good help God provided and his request to obey, but the Israelites didn't
  • An angel of the Lord appears to Gideon while he is separating some wheat and directs him to lead the conquer of the Midianites
  • Gideon took down Baal's alter at night and built an alter for God
  • Men complained, but they were going to "let Baal fight against him"
  • Gideon asked God to show him with dew that he was the lead Israel, God did
  • Gideon had too many men; God didn't want them to take credit themselves for their victory but for God to have the credit
  • God had Gideon send home all who were afraid and then separated by how they drank water and sent more home
  • Gideon kept 300 men of thousands!
  • Gideon heard a dream of a Midianite that foretold the Lord's victory over them
  • Gideon and 300 men blew their trumpets and the Midianites turned on each other
  • Gideon and his men chase after 2 kings and captured them
  • Succoth refused bread when Gideon was chasing kings so he came back and punished their leaders and killed the kings and tore down the tower in Peniel as they too refused aid
  • With gold taken from their victories, Gideon built a vest, but the Israelites turned on God and worshipped it
  • Gideon and sons refused to be their leader claiming God is leader
  • Peace was there as long as Gideon was alive
  • Gideon died and they became unfaithful
  • Abimelech becomes king and murders his 70 brothers
  • One brother hid and escaped (Jotham)
  • Jotham cried in justice at the people who let Abimelech become king
  • Abimelech ruled 3 years, then an evil spirit came (punishment from God) turned Shechem against Abimelech
  • Shechem and Abimelech fight
  • Abimelech won and destroyed the place
  • Abimelech tried to take another town but a woman dropped a stone on his head as he tried to he told a man to kill him by sword
  • Israelites went home
  • Tola was the next judge for 23 years
  • Jair was the next judge for 22 years
  • Israelites worshipped others, were taken over, then cried out to God
  • God said he wouldn't save them again, but they pleaded and threw out their idols, so God stepped in
  • Jephtham is their next leader; they came for him to lead after they'd sent him away because his mother was a prostitute
  • Jephtham speaks with Ammonite king; arguing over the land
  • Jephtham lead them to victory
  • According to Jephtham's promise to God, if victorious he had to offer a burnt offering, his daughter
  • Jeptham takes on Ephraim
  • Jeptham was judge for 6 years
  • Ibzan next judge for 7 years
  • Elon next judge for 10 years
  • Abdon next judge for 8 years
  • Israelites turned away again and were ruled by the Philistines for 40 years
  • Manoah's wife couldn't have children, but the angel of the Lord appeared and told her not to drink wine/beer or eat anything unclean for she will have a child - the child was Samson
  • Samson asked his parents for a Philistine bride
  • On journey to seek wife, he tore apart a lion with is bare hands with the holy spirit's guidance
  • On his trip to marry her he found honey in the dead lion
  • Samson gives a riddle during the 7 day wedding feats; they can't get it and his bride cries until he tells her
  • Samson leaves angry, wife is given away to the best man
  • Samson destroyed Philistine crops and killed their people; he ruled for 20 years
  • Samson goes to Gaza and visits a prostitute
  • Samson fell in love with Delilah
  • Delilah tried to get the secret to Samson's strength; he lied 3 times before the truth came out and she betrayed him and cut his hair
  • Samson was captured, his eyes tore out and he ground grain in prison
  • Samson sought God's strength one more time to kill the Philistines during the celebration he had to perform for
  • He pushed the pillars killing more Philistines with his death than when he was alive
  • Micah returns the silver he took from his mother; some is made into an idol for Micah's house
  • A Levite is looking for a place to live when he comes to Micah's
  • Michal asks him to be his priest
  • The people of Dan were looking for a land and found one near Micah; they took his idols and priest, conquered the peaceful people and rebuilt their land
  • A Levite living in the mountians journeyed back to Bethlehem to find his slave woman who had left him and returned there
  • He stayed in her father's house there several days
  • On their return journey a man in Gibean (an Israelite town) invited them in for the night
  • Wicked men came for sexual relations with him; the homeowner gave them his slave girl instead
  • Israel gathered and selected men to go to Gibean
  • Benjaminites in Gibeah came to fight
  • Benjaminites & Israelites fight; for 2 days the Benjaminites kill many Israelites and the Israelites cry to the Lord if they should continue; day 3 the Israelites plan an attack to lure them away and conquer
  • Killed those from a town where no one came to the meeting of the Israelites, but they kept the young unmarried women as wives for the men of Benjamin since that tribe had no women left
  • They didn't want a tribe of Israel to die out
  • Needed more wives to the men stole a wife from a dance so each man had a wife
There is a theme or cycle that repeats itself throughout Judges.  A judge leads, they obey, the Judge dies, they do wrong, then they cry for help and God sends a new judge. 

As I read through judges, I also thought the marriage of Samson was odd.  I somewhat understand that the culture was different and marriage wasn't necessarily for love, but for other things.  Yet the Bible still instructs on trust and that one leaves his father and mother and becomes family with his wife.  But Samson doesn't approach his marriage that way, but to lead her people into poverty.  And she also doesn't approach it that was fighting for her people before her marriage.  Yet she was a non-believer most likely as a Philistine.  There didn't seem to be any mutual trust or respect in the arrangement.  Yet Samson ultimately conquered the Philistines; everything works out in God's plan.

I also though it unusual that the Bible called the Benjaminites brave, but they killed not only those fighting, but those running away too. 
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