Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Judges, chapters 3 through 5, beginning a chronicle of the judges in Israel. Some impressions from the text:
- Chapter 3 begins with a compelling admission. God left nations to conquer after the passing of Joshua “in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.” Why would God want to teach Israel war? The text continues: “for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.” War was a means to an end. That end would either be an affirmation of Israel’s obedience or a punishment for disobedience.
- Unfortunately, Israel choose poorly. “And [the nations’] daughters [Israel] took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods.” That was precisely the opposite of what they were supposed to do.
- “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.” It’s worth noting that these foreign gods were not imaginary. They were demonic forces, likely including Satan himself.
- Israel falls into a tragic pattern: turning away from God to follow false idols, suffering defeat as God lifts his hedge of protection from around them, then calling out to God and finding salvation in the form of a judge.
- The gruesome killing of King Eglon by Ehud reads like a scene from an R-rated movie.
- Another gruesome death comes when Jael drives a tent spike through the sleeping Sisera’s head. They didn’t pull any punches in those days.
- The song of Deborah and Barak which constitutes Chapter 5 makes clear the purpose of all these battles and assassinations. As usual, it is for the glory of God. He alone defeats the enemies of Israel, utilizing dramatic and unlikely means.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
Israel drifts away after Joshua’s passing. – Judges 1 and 2