The book of Judges bustles with colorful characters. We meet Ehud, a left-handed political assassin who cleverly dispatches a corpulent king. We meet Deborah, a bold prophet and matriarch of Israel who musters the tribes to war. And we meet Samson, a Rambo-like warrior who dallies with women and annihilates Philistines in a temple of doom.
To Christian readers, Judges is interesting, sometimes inspiring, but also puzzling. What message should we take from it? How are we to understand the ambiguous spirituality of the judges themselves? What was God doing during this wayward period between Joshua and Samuel?
Michael Wilcock answers these and other questions with wit, insight, and sensitivity. God Himself is the Judge, he argues, who transcends the uncertain record of human judges. He is the principal actor in this drama. Always ready to respond to those who call on Him, He takes the initiative, uses raw human resources to preserve Israel from her enemies, and shapes the nation for His purpose. In exposing the twists, turns, and nuances of this story, he sends us back to the book of Judges with a renewed quest, not only to rediscover the story of God and Israel, but to find fresh perspective on the ways of God and His church in a post-Christian world.
Get the complete Bible Speaks Today Old Testament Commentary Series (33 vols.).
“Setting up tests for God is not normally a good way of seeking guidance, but we need to balance the impiety of Israel’s demanding signs from God in Psalm 95:8–11 against the equal impiety of King Ahaz’s not doing so in Isaiah 7:10–17. The proper question, as ever, is to ask what God is doing with his people. As a rule he requires them to ‘walk by faith, not by sight’;22 the important thing about guidance is not the method but the fact. They are expected to trust that as they make decisions on the basis of what he has already said, so he is guiding them; they are not expected to demand that he show them how he is guiding them, by telling them what decisions to make.” (Page 82)
“But it is right to read Samson, at any rate, like this, because he is not only the saviour, with more than a passing resemblance to Christ, but also the sinner, unmistakably reflecting the face of Israel, and therefore our own face as the people of God: called by grace, bound by vow, repeatedly empowered, greatly gifted, yet faithless, self-indulgent, and only too ready to fraternize with the enemy.” (Page 149)
“What he did (the sacrifice of his daughter) is a thing all Scripture condemns; why he did it (in order to keep his word) is a thing all Scripture commends.” (Page 120)
“This is one aspect of the gospel message as Judges conveys it, the message that Israel cannot save herself—only the Judge can save her; but that he intends to do.” (Page 52)
“ how the Lord uses his servants in public is not necessarily related to what he knows them to be in private” (Page 119)