Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Bible Project: Week 12 (Judges)

Well! Judges is one big book. Big, not in the sense that there are many chapters, but big in that there is so much going on!

Ultimately, the book of Judges tells the history of the twelve "judges" (or, war leaders) of Israel. Though the deeds of half these judges are only skimmed over, the other half have very detailed narratives. We have the extremely interesting (and somewhat funny) escapade of left-handed Ehud to kill Eglon, the fat king of Moab. There's the one woman judge, the prophetess Deborah, who helped the warrior Barak overcome Jabin's army. Gideon, along with having an awesome name, is an excellent war leader who, with God's help, takes over so many lands and has his revenge on those who killed his brothers. And everyone knows the story of Sampson and Delilah.

The storytelling here is at it's finest. It's not always just "they gathered up their armies and, with the help of the Lord, defeated their enemies," (though that still comes up very often). For some reason, I really enjoyed the story of Ehud (Jud 3:15-30) - it was something new and had a kind of personality to it.
The story of Sampson and Delilah is of course also wonderful. I just wonder - Delilah asked Sampson THREE TIMES what his secret was, and he lied to her THREE TIMES, and THREE TIMES the Philistenes tried to weaken him using what Delilah told him, and THREE TIMES Sampson broke free. Why the heck did he tell Delilah his real secret the fourth time? Don't you think he would have caught on by then? He seems like a guy who is physically strong but not exactly the smartest.

After the history of the Judges, the book ends with a story of the the Levite from Ephraim, and his concubine. This is a strange story, tagged on at the end, about the reasons for 11 of the tribes of Israel banding up against the Benjaminites because of what the perverts in Gibeah did to the concubine and her husband. I'm not really sure what to say about this narrative... It's really weird and slightly gruesome. Uh...

Well, the book of Judges was definitely an enjoyable read (most of it, at least), though a bit "all over the place."

I'm looking forward to the nice, short book of Ruth!



  1. I really enjoyed this review Sophia!

    On a lighter note, perhaps Sampson spilled the beens when he did since in biblical times, four was a charm...

    1. Ah, that makes sense... do you happen to know why four was such a special number?

    2. Don't be angry Sophia, I was just joking about the "four was a charm"!

    3. Oh I'm not angry - I though you were serious! It's hard to tell through type. :-P

  2. I'm reading The Odyssey at the moment and there is a part where Telemachos picks up the bow to string it. He strings it THREE TIMES but the fourth time, Odysseus stops him. I wonder if there is something significant in these acts represented by the number three, or just the number three itself, that we are missing. It's certainly interesting ……

    1. Hmmmmm.... I know in folktale-telling, things generally happen in sets of three....
      Dr. Howard mentioned in a comment above that four was the magic number in biblical times, so that might have something to do with it.


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