Judges through Poets- 3a: The Cycle of Judges

(Continued from last lecture)

Judges 2:11-19
1) V11-13 The pattern of apostasy
Baal = storm god, Astoreth = fertility god
These gods were brother and sister and husband and wife.
The people apostatised with idolatry.

2) V14-15 the pattern of God’s anger and judgement against Israel
The anger of the Lord burned against the Israelites. God gives Israel into the hand of her enemy. God disciplines His own people. There is a difference between the chastisement of the devil and the chastisement of God’s children. God’s disciplines His children out of mercy. The devil is chastised as condemnation.

In Amos 4:6-10 we see God disciplining His own people. Hebrews 12:4-11 gives a NT account of God’s disciplining.

In V14-15 God plunders His people and sends oppressors

3) V16 The Lord raises up a Judge to deliver the people for a season
The Judges were military deliverers.

4) V17-19 The repetition of the cycle
The people obey the Judge for a while but then revert to their wicked ways becoming more corrupt. The people became corrupt willingly and purposefully.

The cycle shows us that we are all corrupt wanting to be like God.

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Ehud’s Deliverance of Israel

Judges 3:12-30

The pattern of Judges (see above) is demonstrated in this passage.

1) The pattern of apostasy: V12a – ‘the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord’
3:12 is the first time in Judges were the writer doesn’t specify the type of evil that Israel committed. We can assume it is idolatry from 2:11 and 3:7.

The three stages of idolatry
1) One worships something of creation not the Creator
2) One begins to resemble the idol worshipped
3) One is ultimately destroyed by the idol

Psalm 135:15-18
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands [stage 1]. 16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 17 They have ears, but they do not hear; Nor is there any breath in their mouths. 18 Those who make them are like them [stage 2]; So is everyone who trusts in them.

Jesus uses similar terminology. He accuses the Pharisees of becoming spiritually dead and lifeless.

Isaiah 1:28-31
28 The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, And those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed. 29 For they[a] shall be ashamed of the terebinth [oak] trees Which you have desired[stage 1]; And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens Which you have chosen. 30 For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades [stage 2], And as a garden that has no water. 31 The strong shall be as tinder, And the work of it as a spark; Both will burn together[stage 3], And no one shall quench them.

What you worship will change who you are and what you do. Destruction comes through the worship of any imperfect thing or person.

2) The pattern of God’s anger and judgement against Israel: 3:12a-13
The Lord strengthens Eglon the King of Moab against the Israelites.
God hardens Eglon in their sin to oppress Israel for the Israelites good by paternal discipline.

3) The Lord raises up a Judge to deliver the people for a season- Ehud in V15
4) The repeated cycle- 4:1

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