The book of Judges is more up to date than today’s news.
The key to this book is the failure of tribalism both then and now. The book of Judges covers the period of Israel’s early settlement in the land of Caanan and it is the birth pangs of a nation. If you find it gory and cruel, simply recognise that even modern day tribalism has not become one bit more humanitarian.
The story of the book is that of the incomplete invasion. The invading Jews only half conquered the land, only half subjugated the people, only half took over (you’ll notice how many times it says they did not completely drive out so and so, but settled down to live beside them).
The key verse to the book is one that occurs several times: “There was no king in Israel in those days, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
That’s the problem with tribalism – it produces bigotry and war because men are grouped under rival deities with rival totems and fight each other for supremacy. Thus the struggle is at three levels.
One, it is political: all the tribes were disunited and self centred and, therefore, wide open to self destruction.
The second level is theological: their mixing with other peoples led them to mixing mistaken ideas about God and that’s always disastrous.
The third level is personal, individual obedience to the one true God must express itself in every level of society.

The outline of these twenty-one chapters of violent and bloody history is really the story of the failure of even the greatest tribal leaders to unite the people and tribes into one nation. The names include the mother-figure, Deborah the prophetess, the courageous but misguided Gideon, the ruthless Abimelech, the tragic Jephthan and Samson the giant who prostituted all his powers.
The “book ends in a gruesome story about a dismembered body set out as an attempt to bring together the tribes to establish God’s justice, but again, as the book explains, there was no king in Israel and it couldn’t be done.

It’s not just any old kind of king that the Bible desires but God’s kind of king, a king anointed by God, in fact. He would be the representative man and would unite the tribes under God and would himself embody the justice of God and lead the people to be God’s model society on earth. That was the vision that began with Abraham.
The title for that king of Israel is a special phrase: the Hebrew for it is ‘The Messiah’ the anointed of Jehovah, in Greek the title is “The Christ’

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Thought 4 The Day

It is better to deserve honours and not have them, than to have them and not deserve them. (Mark Twain)

Through the year calendar

July 2012
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Click on any previous date in the above calendar to read the relevant Through The Year post
Believe it or Not
Sometimes you just can't believe it's true!
A Word in Time
Life has a funny way of connecting us all!
Cooke's Tour of The Bible
Frank Cooke's journey through the Old and New Testaments
Take 2
Some useful life lessons
Mind Stretchers
An open mind is a healthy mind!
Bible Bloopers
Even the Bible has its funnies!