Dr. Trent Butler expounds on the book of Judges as a riddle. The book takes up a dreary theme of failure and disobedience and presents it with irony, satire, and humor. These instances of humor not only enliven the stories, they also provide the keys that he uses to address the scholarly riddles the book so frequently presents. Dr. Butler observes that Judges is a complex work of literature that cannot be easily reduced to a thesis sentence or to one single purpose statement. The central themes, though, are clear enough. Each story deals in one way or another with a crisis in leadership. The problem of disobedience also shadows leaders and people throughout the book. Political judgments color the way the stories are told, foreshadowing the later division of Israel into two warring kingdoms. Finally, despite the absence of any overt theological statements, the stories all point to the sovereignty of God over God's people, and the worship that they owe him. Throughout the commentary, Dr. Butler presents thorough reviews of the latest scholarship and up-to-date bibliographies to guide readers through the research on the fascinating riddles of Judges.
The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.
Trent C. Butler served ten years on the faculty of the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Ruschilkon, Switzerland, and for twenty-two years as editor and editorial director for Holman Bible Publishers. He wrote the Word Biblical Commentary volume on Joshua, the Layman's Bible Book Commentary on Isaiah, the Holman Old Testament Commentaries on Isaiah and on Hosea through Micah, and the Holman New Testament Commentary on Luke. Dr. Butler has a Ph.D. in biblical studies and linguistics from Vanderbilt University, has done further study at Heidelberg and Zurich, and has participated in the excavation of Beersheba. Currently, he is a retired free-lance editor.