Journey Through the Bible – 4

Journey Through the Bible – 4

JUDGES (Seven Cycles of Apostasy, Judgment, and Deliverance)

AUTHOR:

Tradition tells us that Samuel wrote the book, but its authorship is actually uncertain. Samuel may have assembled some of the accounts from the period of the judges and prophets like Nathan and Gad may have had a hand in editing the material (see 1 Chron. 29:29).

The Hebrew title is Shophetim, meaning “judges, rulers, deliverers, or saviors.” Shophet not only carries the idea of maintaining justice and settling disputes, but it is also used to mean “liberating and delivering.” First the judges deliver the people; then they rule and administer justice…5

DATE: 1050-1000 B.C.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The book gets its name from the number of leaders called judges whom God raised up to deliver Israel from their oppressors. The title for the book is best expressed in 2:16, “Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.” Ultimately, however, God was Israel’s Judge and Deliverer because it was God Himself who would first allow the times of oppression as divine discipline for Israel’s repeated apostasy, and then raise up judges to bring deliverance after the nation repented and cried out for help (cf. 11:27 and 8:23).

THEME AND PURPOSE:

The contrast between the moods of Joshua and Judges is striking. Israel goes from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, from freedom to oppression, and from advancement to retrogression. So why the book?

Historically, Judges bridges the gap from the time of Joshua to the time of the prophet Samuel and the beginning of the monarchy under Saul and David. It records the history of seven cycles of decline, oppression, supplication, and deliverance. In doing so, it becomes an explanation and reason for the need of a monarchy in Israel. With every man doing that which was right in his own eyes (21:25), the nation needed the leadership of a righteous king.

Doctrinally, Judges draws our attention to a number of important truths. As God had warned in Deuteronomy, obedience brings blessing, but disobedience results in God’s discipline and oppression. But Judges also reminds us that when people will turn to the Lord, cry out to Him and repent, God, who is long-suffering and gracious, responds in deliverance. Judges unfolds its theme by describing cycles of apostasy followed by oppression as a form of divine discipline followed by supplication and repentance by the people followed by judges whom God raised up to deliver the nation.

KEY WORDS:

Evil (14 times), judge, judged, judgment (22 times); Cycles.

KEY VERSES:

2:15-16 Wherever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had spoken and as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed. 16 Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.

2:20-23 So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not listened to My voice, 21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

KEY CHAPTER:

Chapters 1-2 give a backward look to Israel’s sin and a forward look to Israel’s servitude. As such, these two chapters provide a kind of overview of the key issues in the book. One of the keys to Israel’s failure is found in the repeated phrase, they “did not drive out the inhabitants” of the land (Judges 1:21, 27, 29, 30). This early failure was an ingredient in Israel’s later failure to remain faithful to the Lord. Then, chapter 2 gives a kind of summary of the rest of the book which records the picture of the cycles: from being godly to ungodly to oppression to deliverance through the judges.

KEY PEOPLE:

The Judges—Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, Tola and Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, and Samson. The best known judges are Deborah, Gideon, and Samson.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN JUDGES:

Since each judge functioned as a ruler-deliverer, they served as pictures of the Savior in His work as Savior and Lord, the Righteous Deliverer King.

OUTLINE:

Judges easily divides into three sections: Deterioration (1:1-3:4), Deliverance (3:5-16:31), and Depravity (17:1-21:25). Some like to divide the book around the seven cycles of apostasy.

  1. Deterioration—An Introduction, the Reason for the Period of the Judges (1:1-3:6)
    1. The Political Condition (1:1-36)
    2. The Spiritual Condition (2:1-3:6)
  2. Deliverance—The History and Rule of the Period of the Judges (3:7-16:31)
    1. Mesopotamian Oppression and Othniel’s Deliverance (3:7-11)
    2. Moabite Oppression and Ehud’s Deliverance (3:12-30)
    3. Shamgar’s Victory Over the Philistines (3:31)
    4. Canaanite Oppression and Deliverance by Deborah and Barak (4:1-5:31)
    5. Midianite Oppression and Gideon’s Deliverance (6:1-8:35)
    6. Abimelech’s Tyranny (9:1-57)
    7. Tola’s Judgeship (10:1-2)
    8. Jair’s Judgeship (10:3-5)
    9. Ammonite Oppression and Jephthah’s Deliverance (10:6-12:7)
    10. Ibzan’s Judgeship (12:8-10)
    11. Elon’s Judgeship (12:11-12)
    12. Abdon’s Judgeship (12:13-15)
    13. Philistine Oppression and Samson’s Career (13:1-16:31)
  3. Depravity—Apostasy and Anarchy, the Ruin of the Period of the Judges (17:1-21:25)
    1. Micah and the Migration of the Danites (17:1-18:31)
    2. The Benjamite War (19:1-21:25)

RUTH (An Addendum to Judges)

AUTHOR:

As with Judges, the author is uncertain though Jewish tradition points to Samuel. This is unlikely, however, since the author of Ruth mentions David, and Samuel died before David’s coronation (4:17, 22).

DATE: 1000 B.C.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

The book of Ruth gets its name from one of its main characters, a young woman of Moab, the great-grandmother of David and one who is in the genealogical line of the Savior (Matt 1:5). Another book of the Bible named after a woman is Esther.

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Ruth is the story of a couple in Israel who, during a time of famine, moved to Moab. There the husband and his two sons died, leaving the mother (Naomi) alone with her two daughters-in-law (Orpah and Ruth). Naomi decided to move back to Israel and Ruth insisted on returning with her. Once in Israel, they turned to a relative by the name of Boaz for help. Eventually, Ruth married Boaz.

Like a brilliant diamond against black velvet, Ruth sparkles against the dark days of the book of Judges. Ruth is the story of loyalty, purity, and love in a day when anarchy, selfishness, and depravity was generally the rule. As such, Ruth serves as a positive picture of faith and obedience in the midst of apostasy and shows how such faith brings blessing. Ruth also serves as an important link in the ancestry of King David and, as mentioned, is found in the line of Messiah. Other purposes of Ruth are seen in the way it illustrates the truths of the Kinsman-Redeemer, the presence of a godly remnant even in times of great apostasy, and God’s faithfulness to those who will walk with Him by faith. Since Ruth was a Gentile, the book illustrates God’s desire to bring the Gentile world into the family of God.

It may seem surprising that one who reflects God’s love so clearly is a Moabitess. Yet her complete loyalty to the Israelite family into which she has been received by marriage and her total devotion to her desolate mother-in-law mark her as a true daughter of Israel and a worthy ancestress of David. She strikingly exemplifies the truth that participation in the coming kingdom of God is decided, not by blood and birth, but by the conformity of one’s life to the will of God through the “obedience that comes from faith” (Rom. 1:5). Her place in the ancestry of David signifies that all nations will be represented in the kingdom of David’s greater Son.6

KEY WORDS:

Kinsman (14 times), Redeem (9 times). In thought, a key term would be Kinsman-Redeemer.

KEY VERSES:

1:15-17 Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

3:11-13 “And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence. 12 And now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13 Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until morning.”

KEY CHAPTERS:

Chapter 1 is a key chapter because it demonstrates Ruth’s decision of faith, devotion, and commitment to stay with Naomi, a decision that led to her redemption.

Chapter 4 is another key chapter because in this chapter, Ruth goes from being a widow and poverty to marriage and wealth through the Kinsman-Redeemer.

KEY PEOPLE:

Ruth, Naomi, Boaz.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN RUTH:

In the Old Testament, if a person or an estate were sold into bondage, they could be redeemed if certain requirements were met by what is called the Kinsman-Redeemer or goel, “close relative.” This is a perfect illustration of the redemptive work of the Savior. The goel must:

    1. be a blood relative (a kinsman) of those he redeems (Deut. 25:5, 7-10; John 1:14Rom. 1:3Phil. 2:5-8Heb. 2:14-15);
    2. be able to pay the price of redemption (cf. 2:1; 1 Pet. 1:18-19);
    3. be willing to redeem or pay the price (cf. 3:11; Matt. 20:28John 10:15, 19Heb. 10:7);
    4. be free himself, as Christ was free from the curse of sin, being without sin (2 Cor. 5:211 Pet. 2:221 John 3:5).

OUTLINE:

  1. The Resolve and Return of Ruth (1:1-22)
    1. Her Background, 1:1-5
    2. Her Choice, 1:6-18
    3. Her Arrival in Bethlehem, 1:19-22
  2. The Reaping Rights of Ruth (2:1-23)
    1. Her Right to Glean (2:1-3)
    2. The Results of Her Gleaning (2:4-17)
    3. The Report of Her Gleaning (2:17-23)
  3. The Request of Ruth (3:1-18)
    1. Suggested by Naomi (3:1-4)
    2. Executed by Ruth (3:5-9)
    3. Agreed to by Boaz (3:10-18)
  4. The Reward of Ruth (4:1-22)
    1. A Husband (4:1-12)
    2. A Son (4:13-17)
    3. A Lineage (4:18-22)

FIRST SAMUEL (Transition From Judges to Kingship)

AUTHOR:

Precisely who wrote 1 and 2 Samuel is not certain. The Jewish talmudic tradition says that it was written by Samuel. However, though 1 and 2 Samuel take their name from the prophet Samuel, the key figure of the early chapters, the prophet could not possibly have written more than part of 1 Samuel, since his death is recorded in chapter 25. But 1 Samuel 10:25 does attest to the fact that Samuel did write a book. Further, 1 Chronicles 29:29 indicates that Nathan and Gad also wrote about the events recorded in Samuel.

DATE: 930 B.C. and later.

TITLE OF THE BOOK:

Originally, the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were placed together as one book in the Hebrew Bible. These two books give the history of the monarchs of Israel in the early period of the monarchy. Fundamentally, 1 Samuel is about king Saul and 2 Samuel is about king David. Both 1 and 2 Samuel get their names from the prophet Samuel whom God used in the transition from using judges to the establishment of the monarchy.

Though originally one book, 1 and 2 Samuel were divided into two books by the translators of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT). This division was later followed by Jerome (the Latin Vulgate) and by modern versions. The title of the book has varied from time to time, having been designated “The First and Second Books of Kingdoms” (Septuagint), “First and Second Kings” (Vulgate) and “First and Second Samuel” (Hebrew tradition and most modern versions).

THEME AND PURPOSE:

Beginning with the birth of Samuel and his training in the temple, 1 Samuel describes how this great man of God led Israel as prophet, priest, and the last judge. During Samuel’s leadership, the people of Israel, wanting to be like the nations, demanded a king. Under God’s direction, Samuel then anointed Saul to be the first king. But Saul was rejected by God because of his disobedience. To replace Saul, again under God’s directions, Samuel anointed David, a man after God’s own heart to become the king of Israel. The rest of the book describes the struggles between jealous and demented Saul and godly David.

First Samuel picks up the history of Israel where Judges left off with Samuel following Samson (cf. Judges 16:31). This book traces the transition of leadership in the nation from judges to kings, from a theocracy to a monarchy. Because the people of Israel would not allow Yahweh to rule their lives, with every man doing that which was right in his own eyes, the monarchy brought stability because the people were more willing to follow an earthly king. “And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them” (8:7).

The clamor for an earthly king in First Samuel was a natural outcome of this practical rejection (8:7). God had intended to give Israel a king (see Gen. 49:10Deut. 17:14-20), but the people insisted on the king of their choice instead of waiting for God’s king. … Saul was rejected by the Lord because he failed to learn the truth that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (15:22). He became characterized by mental imbalance, raging jealousy, foolishness, and immorality. David illustrated the principle that, “the Lord does not see as man sees” (16:7). The Lord established the Davidic dynasty because of David’s obedience, wisdom, and dependence on God.7

Historically, one of the key purposes of 1 Samuel is to record the divine origin of the Davidic dynasty.

KEY WORD:

In thought, the key word is transition, but in use, anoint (7 times) and rejected (7 times) are two key terms to this period of transition.

KEY VERSES:

8:6-7 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.”

13:14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.

15:22-23 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.”

KEY CHAPTERS:

Chapter 8, particularly verses 19-22, record the sad complaint of the nation in their desire for a king over them like that of the nations to judge them and fight their battles. Here, in answer to their request, Samuel is told by the Lord to appoint them a king and the prophet assumes his role of becoming a king-maker.

Chapter 15 is another key chapter in that it records the transition of kingdom authority from Saul to David because of Saul’s disobedience and self-willed character (cf. 15:23).

Chapter 16 forms another key chapter in that it records the choice and anointing of David.

KEY PEOPLE:

Samuel the prophet, Saul the disobedient king, and David the shepherd.

CHRIST AS SEEN IN 1 SAMUEL:

Samuel forms an interesting portrait of Christ in that he was a prophet, a priest, and though he was not a king, he was a judge who was used of God to inaugurate a new age.

Messiah is literally “the anointed one” and Samuel is the first biblical book to use the word anointed (2:10). Furthermore, the primary portrait and anticipation of Messiah is found in the life of David. He was born in Bethlehem, worked as a shepherd, was ruler over Israel, and became the forerunner of Messiah King through the Davidic dynasty. In the New Testament, Christ is described as a “descendant of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).

OUTLINE:

  1. Samuel, the Last Judge (1:1-8:22)
    1. The Call of Samuel (1:1-3:21)
    2. The Commission of Samuel (4:1-7:17)
    3. The Concern of Samuel (8:1-22)
  2. Saul, the First King (9:1-15:35)
    1. The Selection of Saul (9:1-12:25)
    2. The Rejection of Saul (13:1-15:35)
  3. David, the Next King (16:1-31:13)
    1. David, the Shepherd, Chosen and Anointed (16:1-23)
    2. David, the Giant Killer, Acclaimed by the Court of Saul (17:1-58)
    3. David, the Friend of Jonathan, but Rejected by Saul (18:1-19:24)
    4. David, the Fugitive, Pursued by Saul (20:1-26:25)
      1. David protected by Jonathan (20:1-42)
      2. David protected by Ahimelech (21:1-9)
      3. David protected by Achish (21:10-15)
      4. David and his band of men (22:1-26:25)
    5. The Refuge of David in Philistine Territory (27:1-31:13)
      1. David becomes a Philistine servant (27:1-28:2)
      2. Saul consults the medium at En-dor (28:3-25)
      3. David dismissed by the Philistines (29:1-11)
      4. David destroys the Amalekites (30:1-31)
      5. The Philistines and the death of Saul (31:1-13)

SECOND SAMUEL
(David’s Reign; Expansion of the Nation)

AUTHOR:

Precisely who wrote 1 and 2 Samuel is not certain. The Jewish talmudic tradition says that it was written by Samuel. However, though 1 and 2 Samuel take their name from the prophet Samuel, the key figure of the early chapters, the prophet could not possibly have written more than part of 1 Samuel, since his death is recorded in chapter 25. But 1 Samuel 10:25 does attest to the fact that Samuel did write a book. Further, 1 Chronicles 29:29 indicates that Nathan and Gad also wrote about the events recorded in Samuel.

DATE: 930 B.C. and later.

NAME:

Originally, the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were placed together as one book in the Hebrew Bible. These two books give the history of the monarchs of Israel in the early period of the monarchy. Fundamentally, 1 Samuel is about king Saul and 2 Samuel is about king David. Both 1 and 2 Samuel get their names from the prophet Samuel whom God used in the transition from using judges to the establishment of the monarchy.

Though originally one book, 1 and 2 Samuel were divided into two books by the translators of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT). This division was later followed by Jerome (the Latin Vulgate) and by modern versions. The title of the book has varied from time to time, having been designated “The First and Second Books of Kingdoms” (Septuagint), “First and Second Kings” (Vulgate) and “First and Second Samuel” (Hebrew tradition and most modern versions). 

THEME AND PURPOSE:

With no real break in the story of Israel’s kingdom, 2 Samuel continues the narrative of the beginning of Israel’s kingdom beginning with Saul’s death and continuing with the reign of David. It is distinctively about the forty-year reign of David (5:4-5) and traces his reign through his triumphs and tragedies, which include his sins of adultery, murder, and their consequences on his family and the nation. The theme, as 2 Samuel recounts David’s reign, could be summarized as “how sin turns triumphs into troubles.” Whereas the kingdom was established under Saul, it is expanded by David. Saul’s kingdom gave stabilization to Israel from the time of the judges, but David’s reign brought growth or expansion. In the typical fashion of the Bible which candidly tells the story of its leaders with warts and all, 2 Samuel portrays the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the life of King David.

KEY WORD:

Since the name of David occurs some 267 times (NASB), his name clearly becomes the key word.

KEY VERSES:

7:12-16 When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever. 

12:12-14 “‘Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”

KEY CHAPTERS: 

Chapter 5 is a key chapter in that it records David’s reign as king over all Israel, but chapters 11-12 are perhaps the more pivotal chapters in that they record David’s sin with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, his rebuke by Nathan the prophet, and the discipline that came on David’s house as a result. 

KEY PEOPLE:

David, Bathsheba, Nathan, Absolom, Joab, Amnon, and Ahithophel. 

CHRIST AS SEEN IN 2 SAMUEL:

With the exception of his sins, David remains a type of Christ as the king of Israel. It is in this chapter that God establishes the Davidic Covenant which ultimately has its fulfillment in the person of Christ.  

OUTLINE:

Second Samuel naturally falls into three sections: The Triumphs of David (1-10), the Transgressions of David (11), and the Troubles of David (12-24).

  1. The Triumphs of David (1-10)
    1. The Coronation of the King (1:1-5:6)
    2. The Consolidation of the Kingdom (5:7-6:23)
    3. The Covenant Concerning the Kingdom (7:1-29)
    4. The Conquests of the King (8:1-10:19)
  2. The Transgressions of the King (11:1-27)
    1. The Adultery by the King (11:1-13)
    2. The Murder Caused by the King (11:14-27)
  3. The Troubles of the King (12:1-24:25)
    1. Troubles at Home (12:1-13:36)
    2. Troubles in the Kingdom (13:37-24:25)