As stated toward the end of Joshua, much of the Promised Land was still left for conquering after the initial Conquest was over and “the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about” (Josh. 23:1). In Judges, we will hear the stories of a number of local heroes, called judges, who will for the most part fight against the remaining enemies.
According to my study Bible, the Deuteronomistic editor “has given the tales a factitious unity by making all the judges national, instead of tribal leaders and by providing for all events a moral and theological interpretation” (p.293).
My study Bible breaks up the book like this:
- 1:1-2:5 – Accounts of conquest roughly parallel to Joshua
- 2:6-3:6 – Moralizing introduction
- 3:7-11 – Othniel
- 3:12-30 – Ehud
- 3:31 – Shamgar
- 4-5 – Deborah
- 6-8 – Gideon
- 9 – Abimelech
- 10:1-5 – Two minor judges
- 10:6-12:7 – Jephthah
- 12:8-15 – Three minor judges
- 13-16 – Samson
- 17-18 – The migration of Dan
- 19-21 – The sins of the Benjaminites
Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be seeing quite a few awkward chapter breaks!