There’s a nasty cycle that repeats time and again in Judges, and that forms a theme of the history in the books of Samuel and Kings too:
- Israel forgets that Yhwh is the ONE who has given them everything
- they start to worship/serve other Gods
- God allows an enemy to oppress them
- they call to God – who raises up a strong leader who by God’s power rescues them
This pattern was described in Deuteronomy so these books (with Joshua) get called the “Deuteronomistic History” by scholars.
Incidentally since I have used Richard Martin’s fine diagram of this vicious cycle I will include also here (though it is really describing an extension of this pattern found in the prophetic books) his prophetic cycle – in the hopes some of you will find his superb class notes useful 🙂
After all it is appropriate while reading Judges to remember that this depressing book is part of a wider Scripture that is all fulfilled in Christ! The prophets will point more clearly to that fulfillment than Judges does.