(Judges 5:16) Why did you stay among the sheepfolds to hear the bleating of the flocks? For in the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
Introduction to the Book of Judges:
This book takes its name from the thirteen men raised up to deliver Israel in the declension and disunion which followed the death of Joshua. Through these men Jehovah continued His personal government of Israel.
The key-verse to the condition of Israel is Judges 17:6,
"Every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
Two facts stand out--the utter failure of Israel; the persistent grace of Jehovah.
In the choice of the Judges is illustrated Zechariah's great word Zechariah 4:6,
"not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord";
and Paul's word 1 Corinthians 1:25,
"not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called."
The book records seven apostasies, seven servitudes to seven heathen nations, seven deliverances. The spiritual parallel is found in the history of the professing church since the Apostles, in the rise of sects and the lost sense of the unity of the one body 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.
Judges is in two parts:
1. (Judges 1-16) inclusive; key-verse, Judges 2:18.
2. (Judges 17-21); key-verse, Judges 21:25.
The events recorded in Judges cover a period of 305 years.