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Chapters 3 to 5
Chapters 9 to 12
Chapters 14 and 15
Chapters 17 to 21
The subject of the book; its connection with Joshua
The Book of Judges is the history of the failure of Israel. Joshua sets before us the energy of God acting in the midst of the people, though there may be failure. In Judges we see the miserable state of the nation, now become unfaithful; and, at the same time, the intervention of the God of mercy in the circumstances into which their unfaithfulness had brought them. These interventions correspond with what are called revivals in the history of the church of God.
The people's sorrowful history and God's grace and compassions
In this book we no longer see blessing and power marking the establishment of the people of God. Neither does it contain the fulfilment of God's purposes, after the people had manifested their inability to retain the blessing they had received, that indeed is yet to come for them, and for the assembly; nor the forms and government which, in spite of the evil and internal unfaithfulness of the people, could maintain their external unity, until God judged them in their leaders. God was still the only leader acknowledged in Israel; so that the people themselves always bore the penalty of their sin.
The misery into which their unfaithfulness brought them moving the compassion of God, His mighty grace raised up deliverers by His Spirit in the midst of the fallen and wretched people. "For his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." "And Jehovah raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them." "And when Jehovah raised them up judges, then Jehovah was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, all the days of the judge; for it repented Jehovah because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them." But Israel was unchanged. "And yet they would not hearken unto their judges." "And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn ways." This is the sorrowful history of the people of God; but it is also the history of the grace of God, and of His compassions towards His people.