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What was the system of government in Israel during the period of the judges?

What was the system of government in Israel during the period of the judges?

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3 months ago
cyclical pattern is regularly recounted in the Book of Judges to show the need for the various judges: apostasy of the Israelite people, hardship brought on as punishment from God, crying out to the Lord for rescue.[1][page needed]

The story of the judges seems to describe successive individuals, each from a different tribe of Israel, described as chosen by God to rescue the people from their enemies and establish justice.

While judge is a literalistic translation of the Hebrew term used in the Masoretic text, the position as described is more one of unelected non-hereditary leadership[2] than that of legal pronouncement. However, Cyrus H. Gordon argued that they may have come from among the hereditary leaders of the fighting, landed and ruling aristocracy, like the kings (basileis) in Homer.[3] Coogan says that they were most likely tribal or local leaders, contrary to the Deuteronomistic historian's portrayal of them as leaders of all of Israel,[4] but Malamat pointed out that in the text, their authority is described as being recognized by local groups or tribes beyond their own.[5]

Historicity and timeline

Timeline of biblical judges (one interpretation)
The biblical scholar Kenneth Kitchen argues that, from the conquest of Canaan by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel and Judah (c. 1150–1025 BCE), the Israelite tribes may have formed a loose confederation. In this conception, no central government would have existed but in times of crisis, the people would have been led by ad hoc chieftains, known as judges (shoftim).[6][page needed] However, some scholars are uncertain whether such a role existed in ancient Israel.[7]

Working with the chronology in Judges, Payne points out that although the timescale of Judges is indicated by Jephthah's statement (Judges 11:26) that Israel had occupied the land for around 300 years, some of the judges overlapped one another. Claiming that Deborah's victory has been confirmed as taking place in 1216 from archaeology undertaken at Hazor, he suggests that the period may have lasted from c. 1382 to c. 1063.[8]

Bill T. Arnold and H. G. M. Williamson wrote that if

all the figures given in Judges (years of oppression, years the judges led Israel, years of peace achieved by the judges) are treated as consecutive, then the total duration of the events described in Judges is 410 years. If we accept a date of 1000 BCE for the beginning of David's reign over all Israel, which puts the beginning of Eli's leadership of Israel at about 1100 BCE, then the judges period would begin no later than 1510 BCE – impossible even for those who date the conquest to the fifteenth century BCE[9]

There is also doubt among some scholars about any historicity of the Book of Judges.[10]

Judges mentioned in the Hebrew Bible
In the Hebrew Bible, Moses is described as a shofet over the Israelites and appoints others to whom cases were delegated in accordance with the advice of Jethro, his Midianite father-in-law.[11] The Book of Judges mentions twelve leaders who judged Israel: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. The First Book of Samuel mentions Eli and Samuel, as well as Joel and Abiah (two sons of Samuel). The First Book of Chronicles mentions Kenaniah and his sons. The Second Book of Chronicles mentions Amariah and Zebadiah (son of Ishmael).

The biblical text does not generally describe these leaders as "a judge", but says that they "judged Israel", using the verb שָׁפַט (š-f-t).[12][page needed] Thus, Othniel "judged Israel" (Judges 3:10), Tola "judged Israel twenty-three years" (Judges 10:2), and Jair judged Israel twenty-two years (Judges 10:3)
3 months ago
Biblical Period 5
Lesson # 13

• Previous • Salvation History Study List • Next

Loving Father,
In the period of the Judges You gave Your Covenant people leaders to guide and protect the infant nation of Israel. When the Israelites were strong in their faith their leaders were also strong but as the time passed and the memories of the miracles of the Exodus experience and the conquest of Canaan dimmed the people began to grow lax in their covenant obligations and their leaders reflected their lack of faith and commitment. The lesson for us today is that our leaders also reflect our moral and spiritual values. Give us, O Lord, the spiritual and moral strength to elevate our nation in our choice of leadership, and sent Your Holy Spirit to guide us in this today's lesson. We pray in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"The people served Yahweh throughout the lifetime of Joshua and throughout the lifetime of those elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the great deeds which Yahweh had done for the sake of Israel. [..] And when that whole generation had been gathered to its ancestors, another generation followed it which knew neither Yahweh nor the deeds which he had done for the sake of Israel." Judges 2:7-10

The Readings for Biblical Period #5: THE JUDGES OF ISRAEL

The End of the Conquest Judges 1:1-2:23
Israel Falls into Sin --
God Raises up the Judges Judges 2:11-23
Othniel, Ehud and Shamgar Serve Israel Judges 3:7-11;15-31
Deborah and Barak
defeat Sisera Judges 4:1-5:31
Gideon Defeats
the Midianites Judges 6:1-9:57
Jephthah Defeats
the Ammonites Judges 10:6- 12:7
Samson Defeats
the Philistines Judges 13:1-16:31
The Decline of Faith
in Israel Judges 17:1-21:25
The Story of Ruth and
The Kinsman Redeemer Ruth 1:1-4:22
The Birth of
the Prophet Samuel and The War against
the Philistines 1 Samuel 1:1-28; 7:1-17

The Book of the Judges is the second of the historic books of the Old Testament. The Hebrew title is Sopetim [Shophetim], which is usually translated "judges" but the Hebrew word sopet not only caries the idea of administrating and maintaining justice but also has the meaning of "liberator" or "deliverer." The Judges of Israel in this period of Salvation History not only deliver the people from oppression but the also rule over them, administering justice as Yahweh's representatives. It is Yahweh, the One True God, who is the true ruler of the people of Israel. This book covers the period of Israelite history that falls between the settlement of Israel in the Promised Land of Canaan and the establishment a monarchy over a united Israel.

SCRIPTURE 1:1------------------------------3:6-----------------------------17:1---------------19:1---------------20:1-------21:5
–Israel fails to complete the conquest
–God judges Israel The six campaigns to conquer the land Results of Israel's spiritual and moral decay
TOPIC Causes of apostasy Curses of apostasy Sin of idolatry Sin of immoral conduct Sin of Civil War
Living with the pagan occupiers of the land The wars against Israel's enemies Adopting pagan customs and religious practices
TIME circa 350/410 YEARS*
*When the various time spans of the Judges are added together they total 410 years (i.e., the years oppression, judging, and peace). However, a number of the judges' time of service probably overlapped since most were from different tribes and regions of the land.

World Empire: Egypt----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Assyria
Northern Kingdom = Israel
Southern Kingdom = Judah
c.1300 c.1200 1100 1047 1000 930 722
Conquest of --------- c. Period of the Judges -------------------------- Saul David Rehoboam= Assyria
Canaan / conquers Civil War conquers
Ruth and Boaz Jerusalem Israel

The author of the book is anonymous however Jewish tradition attributes the great prophet/judge Samuel as the author of this sacred text. Several statements in the text help to date the period of the book, which covers approximately 350 ? 410 years:

Passages in see Judges 18:31; 20:27 indicates that the book was written after the Ark of the Covenant was removed from Shiloh [also see 1Samuel 4:3-11].
The repeated phrase "In those days there was no king in Israel" [see 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25] indicates that the book was written sometime after the establishment of the monarchy.
The information that the Jebusites were "living in Jerusalem, the sons of Benjamin did not dispossess them, and the Jebusites have been living in Jerusalem with the sons of Benjamin ever since" [Judges 1:21] indicates the book was written prior to circa 1000BC when King David captured Jerusalem [2 Samuel 5:5-9].
The events covered in this book ranges from a period of approximately 1380BC to 1045BC. Some of the periods of leadership of the 12 "Judges" apparently overlap because not all of them ruled over the entire land of Israel. Traditionally the major judges are Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson. The minor judges are Shamagar, Tola, Jair, Ibzan, and Elon. Abimelech is not numbered as a judge but as a son of a Judge and as a usurper who ruled unjustly. The record of the rule of the Judges over Israel describes cycles of apostasy, oppression by other peoples, and deliverance under the leadership of God's Judges. Although there are 12 judges, they do not match the 12 tribes of Israel. The tribes of Reuben, Simeon and Levi have no judges attached to them chronicled in this book.
Please read Judges 1:1-2:23: The End of the Conquest
Even though Joshua ruled Israel wisely and faithfully, the 12 tribes were not able to subdue all of Canaan in his lifetime.

Question: What tribe assists Judah in their conquest of the land?
Answer: Simeon. Judah is the largest of the 12 tribes. The name in Hebrew is Yehudah, meaning "Yahweh's people"
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