Author: Unknown; some suggest the prophet Samuel.
Date: Written approximately 1050 BC, covering events that occurred as far back as 1375 BC.
In Ten Words or Less: Israel goes through cycles of sin, suffering, and salvation.
Details: After Joshua’s death, the Israelites lose momentum in driving pagan people out of the Promised Land. “The children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem” (1:21) is a statement characteristic of many tribes, which allow idol worshippers to stay in their midst - with tragic results. “Ye have not obeyed my voice” God says to His people. “They shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you” (2:2-3). That’s exactly what happens, as the Israelites begin a cycle of worshipping idols, suffering punishment by attackers, crying to God for help, and receiving God’s aid in the form of a human judge (or “deliverer”) who restores order. Lesser-known judges include Othniel, Ehud, Tola, Jair, and Jephthah, while more familiar figures are Deborah, the only female judge, who led a military victory against the Canaanites; Gideon, who tested God’s will with a fleece and defeated the armies of Midian; and the amazingly strong Samson, who defeated the Philistines. Samson’s great weakness - his love for unsavory women such as Delilah - led to his downfall and death in a Philistine temple.
From Know Your Bible, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.