The Cycles of Judges

After Joshua settled the people into the Promised Land, the people failed to finish the...
March 24, 2019

After Joshua settled the people into the Promised Land, the people failed to finish the task of removing idolatry from the area.  The people got stuck in a cycle of sin which God would alleviate through the hands of judges.


  • In between Joshua’s leadership and the establishment of King Saul, Israel was led by a line of judges.
  • These judges addressed the consequences of the people brought on by their own sin.
  • Each flawed judge revealed the need for national revival and godly leadership.
  • Through each episode focusing on a particular judge, a common cycle is repeated.


  • Left unchecked, people will continue to spiral down into greater spiritual chaos and rebellion.
  • The failure to rid the land completely of idolatry would continue to corrupt the devotion of Israel and require punishment.
  • In contrast to Israel’s constant unfaithfulness, God continually portrays faithfulness to His people.
  • Even the heroes of these stories are flawed individuals who often accelerate the cycle.
  • The book shows the need for a leader who will seek approval in God’s eyes rather than doing what is right in one’s own eyes.
    • How the Book Begins: Judges 2:6-19
    • How the Book Ends: Judges 21:25

Judge Gideon [Judges 6-8]

  • God is the only one able to make a coward into a hero (Jud. 6:12).
  • God sees potential where man sees inadequacies.  
  • God’s promise to Gideon is that he will be “with him” reminiscent of Moses (Ex. 3:11) and Joshua (Josh. 1:5, 9).
  • Gideon destroys the altar of Baal and the Asherah at nighttime (Jud. 6:28-34).
  • Gideon tests God (Deut. 6:16) with the sign of the fleece (Deut. 6:36-40).
  • Just because Gideon did this doesn’t mean we should.
  • There is a difference in prescriptive sections of the Bible and descriptive sections of the Bible.
  • God reduces Gideon’s army size through two unique tests to ensure he gets glory for he victory (Judges 7).
  • Great description of Gideon: “exhausted yet pursuing” (Jud. 7:4).


  • Samson’s mother was barren until she was promised a child by God (Jud. 13:3).
  • Samson was commanded to take the Nazirite vow (Numbers 6): 1) abstinence from wine, 2) no cutting of hair, & 3) no contact with the dead.
  • His impressive strength was able to subdue the Philistines.
  • He became “unequally yoked” with a Philistine.
  • Delilah was the 3rd Philistine woman he pursued.  She was a prostitute.
  • She finds the source of his strength, and he is overtaken.
  • His dying effort is destroying the Philistines in an attempt for redemption.