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Map of Israel during the time of the Judges

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Map of Israel during the time of the Judges

 

The Israelites desperately in need of an authority figure

Shortly after Joshua's conquest of Canaan, the Israelites were divided up and dispersed among 12 tribes and regions. Because there was no established government, apostacy and disobedience became prevalent. Subsequently, this would often be followed by hardship at the hand of God and His wrath. As such, judges were assigned by God to rescue the people. The judges were not kings, but were judicial and martial officials assigned to play the role as an official with the authority to and task of administering justice, and saving the people from a particular threat. After Joshua's death, Othniel was assigned as the first judge. He was followed by Ehud, who fought with the people of Moab. After Ehud came Shagmar, who would lead the Israelites against the archrival -- the Philistines. Shagmar was followed by Deborah -- the only female judge -- who would guide the people of Israel to a victory over the Canaanites. Deborah was followed by Abimelech, Tola, and Yair, followed by Jephtha, the victor ove the Ammonites. Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon would follow, and they were proceeded by the valiant Samson, who singlehandedly gained victory over the Philistines. After Samson came Eli, the priestly judge who ruled his people from a Gilo sanctuary. The final judge appointed by God before Israel would see her first king (Saul) was Samuel.

map of israel judges

 

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