The Book of Joshua The Book of Ruth

THE BOOK OF JUDGES

This book and Ruth contain all the Jewish history that has been preserved to us of the times between the death of Joshua and the birth of Samuel. Judges consists of three parts: (1) an introduction (Judg. 1:1-3:6); (2) the history of the Twelve Judges, which falls into a succession of periods of rebellion against God, and the oppressions and deliverances by which they were followed (3:716:31); (3) two narratives, which specially show the tendency to idolatry and lawlessness (Judg. 17-21).

The book was compiled long after the events it records; in 18:30 there is a reference to the captivity of the ten tribes. The compiler would have had available earlier writings that he worked into his book, such as the Song of Deborah, the parable of Jotham, and some of the utterances of Samson. There is much difficulty in deciding the chronology of the period, as the compiler generally gives his figures in round numbers. In some cases the influence of a judge only extended over part of the land, so that two judges might hold office at the same time. The following table will indicate roughly the succession of events during the period of the Twelve Judges:

Oppression by Cushanrishathaim (3:8) -- 8
Rest under Othniel (3:11) -- 40
Oppression by Eglon, king of Moab (3:14) -- 18
Rest under and after Ehud (3:30) -- 80
Shamgar overcomes the Philistines (3:31) --
Oppression by Jabin, king of Canaan (4:3) -- 20
Rest after Deborah and Barak's victory (5:31) -- 40
Midianite oppression (6:1) -- 7
Quietness under Gideon (8:28) -- 40
Abimelech's rule (9:22) -- 3
Tola's judgeship (10:2) -- 23
Jair's judgeship (10:3) -- 22
Oppression by the Ammonites and Philistines (10:8) -- 18
Judgeship of Jephthah (12:7) -- 6
Judgeship of Ibzan (12:9) --- 7
Judgeship of Elon (12:11) -- 10
Judgeship of Abdon (12:13) -- 8
Philistine oppression (13:1) -- 40
Judgeship of Samson (15:20; 16:31) -- 20

The book of Judges helps us to understand the development of the house of Israel after the settlement in Canaan. During the period that the book covers, the Israelites formed a confederation of tribes rather than a compact nation. The tribes were united by their recognition of a common descent and still more by their common worship of Jehovah; but, except when the approach of a formidable enemy compelled them to act together, their unity seldom found practical expression and was often overborne by local jealousies. It was only in time of war that a single leader became indispensable and was invested by general consent with something of kingly authority. At the beginning of this period the Ark seems to have been at Bethel, while at its close it was at Shiloh (1 Sam. 4:3), but it is only mentioned expressly in Judg. 20:27. The worship of Jehovah was in no way restricted to the precincts of the sanctuary of the Ark. There were various local sanctuaries, sometimes in private hands, as in the case of Micah, sometimes common to a whole family or community, as in the case of Ophrah. Their furniture consisted of a sacred pillar (9:6) and an ephod or some sacred image (8:27). Much importance was attached to the presence of a duly qualified priest, familiar with the traditions of the priestly order (17:9-10). The lack of unity is vividly called to the reader's attention in the closing sentence of the book (Judg. 21:25): "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

Judges 1. What Are the Campaigns of Israel in the First Chapter of the Book of Judges? This account is a repetition of the story found in the last half of the book of Joshua. The following information is of special interest in understanding the other historical books of the Bible:

1. Judah was able to control the inland hill country of southern Canaan but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the Shephelan and the coastal plain (the Philistines), apparently because of the chariots of iron which the Philistines introduced (see Judges 1:19). The real reason for their failure, however, was that they had lost the power of the Lord through their lack of faith and by their disobedience.

2. The holy area around Bethel was captured and controlled by the house of Joseph (see Judges 1:22-26).

3. Even though the Israelites were supposed to drive out all the heathen inhabitants of their promised land, they failed to do so. Numerous unconquered cities remained (see Judges 1:27-36), and the presence of these people and their gods proved to be a thorn in the side of Israel for centuries to come (see Judges 2:3).

Judges 1:3. Who united with Judah to fight the Canaanites?

Judges 1:6-7. What did they do to Adoni-bezek?

Judges 1:7. What did Adoni-bezek say?

Judges 1:12-13. To whom did Caleb give his daughter? Why?

Judges 1:19. How successful was Judah in fighting the Canaanites?

Judges 1:28-35. What did Israel do to the Canaanites who were not removed from the land?

Judges 2:1-3. What did the angel of the Lord say to Israel?

Judges 2:6-7. What was the response of the people?

Judges 2:7. How long did the people serve the Lord?

Judges 2:10-13. How did the new generation anger the Lord?

Judges 2:11-13. What Resulted from Israel's Not Driving the Canaanites Out of the Promised Land?

"The Book of Judges makes clear that Israel did not conquer all of Canaan when first she entered it ... For a long time during the days of the Judges many of the Israelites were essentially 'hillbillies' [see Judges 6:2], hemmed in by their enemies on every side. After the generations of Israelites who had been acquainted with Joshua passed away, the effects of Canaanite morals and religion began to be apparent upon the younger generation. For long periods of time the Canaanites conquered Israel and this fact alone would tend to disrupt her settled religious life and practice. Times were rough and banditry was rampant. As the record itself states: 'In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes' [Judges 17:6]. All of this seems to have taken place because Israel did not drive the Canaanites completely out. The Lord said to the Israelites: 'Ye have not hearkened to My voice; what is this ye have done? Wherefore I also said: I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be unto you as snares, and their gods shall be a trap unto you.' [Judges 2:2-3.] ... Israel's conduct during this period had a lasting effect upon her religion and morals. For centuries Israel's prophets and wise men referred to it and denounced her allegiance to old Canaanite practices. It is plain that Israel, during the period of the Judges, compromised her relatively high religious ideals with Canaanite practices and certain elements in her population must have apostatized completely." (Sperry, Spirit of the Old Testament, pp. 5152.)

Judges 2:12-13. Who Are Baal and Ashtoreth? "Numerous Old Testament references recite apostate Israel's worship of Baal and Baalim (plural of Baal). It was the priest of Baal, for instance, with whom Elijah had his dramatic contest in the days of Ahab and Jezebel. (1 Kings 18.) Baal was the supreme male deity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nation. It is likely that there were, in practice, many Baals or gods of particular places, the worship of whom was licentious in nature, Baalzebub (the same name as Beelzebub or Satan) was the name of the god of one particular group. (2 Kings 1:3.)" (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 68.)

"As Baal was the supreme male deity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations, so Ashtoreth (Ashtaroth) was their supreme female deity. She was the so-called goddess of love and fertility, whose licentious worship pleased Israel in her apostate periods. (Judges 2:13; 10:6; 1 Sam. 7:3-4; 12:10.)" (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 55.)

Judges 2:14-16. How did the Lord deal with Israel?

Judges 2:16. Who Are the Judges?

The so-called judges, according to the record, appear to be more military heroes rather than officers of the judiciary.

"The English word 'judge' doesn't well describe these leaders. Though the root of the Hebrew word used means primarily 'to judge,' it is used secondarily also in the extended meaning 'to govern.' Most of the 'judging' done in this period was a matter of giving advice and rendering decisions. Regular court procedures are nowhere described for the times of the Judges in Israel. In fact, the most common function they are seen to perform is that of military leadership." (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:149.)

The judges did not reign over all of unified Israel during their period of leadership. The chronicler of these stories likely took the choicest of the heroes from each of the tribes during this generally apostate period and combined into one book their righteous achievements and their moral lessons for Israel.

Judges 2:17. What was the Israelites' response to the judges?

Judges 2:18. Why did the Lord raise up judges to deliver them from their enemies? (See Judges 2:18a)

Judges 2:19. What did Israel do when their judges died?

Judges 2:20-23. Why did Israel fail to destroy all the Canaanites? (See also Judges 4:1-4; 1 Nephi 2:23-24)

Judges 3-15. Who Were the Twelve Judges of Israel and What Were Their Areas of Leadership?

The twelve judges and their victories spoken of in the book of Judges were as follows:

1. Othniel of Judah (3:9): victory against Chushanrishathaim.

2. Ehud of Benjamin (3:15): victory against Eglon of Moab.

3. Shamgar (3:31): victory against the Philistines (location unknown).

4. Deborah (Ephraim) and Barak (Naphtali) (4:4-6): victory over Jabin and Sisera.

5. Gideon of Manasseh (6:11): victory over the Midianites and Amalekites.

6. Tola of Issachar (10:1).

7. Jair of Gilead (10:3).

8. Jephthah of Gilead (11:11): victory over the Ammonites.

9. Ibzan of Bethlehem (12:8).

10. Elon of Zebulun (12:11).

11. Abdon of Ephraim (12:13).

12. Samson of Dan (15:20): victory against the Philistines.

Judges 3:6-7. What did the Israelites do while they were living among the heathen nations?

Judges 3:8. How long did the children of Israel serve the king of Mesopotamia?

Judges 3:9-10. How were the Israelites freed?

Judges 3:12. What did the Israelites do after forty years?

Judges 3:13-14. What happened to them?

Judges 3:15. Why did the Lord deliver Israel from the king of Moab?

Judges 3:21-22. How did Ehud kill the king?

Judges 3:30. How long did the land rest?

Judges 3:31. What did Shamgar do?

Judges 4:1. What did the Israelites do again after Ehud died?

Judges 4:2-4. Who judged Israel during their Canaanite captivity?

Judges 4:8. Upon what conditions would Barak do as Deborah requested?

Judges 4:14-15. How did the Lord help Barak? (See Judges 4:15a)

Judges 4:16. What happened to the army of Sisera?

Judges 4:18-21. How did Sisera, the captain of the king of Canaan, die?

Judges 5:1-31. Why did Deborah and Barak sing the song of praise?

Judges 5:21. How Did God Use the Forces of Nature to Aid the Cause of Israel?

The River Kishon flows in a northwest direction through the Jezreel Valley until it empties into the Mediterranean Sea near present-day Haifa. Because the land is quite flat, the river is usually not much more than a sluggish stream. In times of unusually hard rains, however, it may overflow its banks and flood the surrounding land, making it marshy and nearly impassable.

The song of Deborah seems to suggest that just such an unexpected downpour, accompanied by thunder and lightning, suddenly struck the area. The chariots of Sisera bogged down in the resulting overflow of the Kishon River, making it possible for the smaller forces of Deborah and Barak to achieve victory. Deborah rightly saw in this event the hand of the Lord and gave Him credit for the victory (see v. 30).

Judges 6:1. What did the children of Israel do "in the sight of the Lord"? (Judges 6:1)

Judges 6:1-6. What happened to them?

Judges 6:1-10. Why Was the Presence of the Midianites and the Amalekites such a Terrible Scourge to Israel?

"The Midianites and the Amalekites were the children of the desert who, through their roving habits which begot naturally a desire for plunder, led them into a systematic practice of robbing the Israelites. During the seasons of harvest they came from the deserts on the south and the east like great swarms of locusts and carried away the corn [grain] and the live-stock upon which the Israelites subsisted. "For seven years Israel was thus impoverished, and adopted every means at their command to conceal their property and to hide themselves from the dangers of slaughter by the Midianites. In that period, through southern Palestine, they made caverns in the earth that may still be seen. In time, however, they came to feel so deeply their suffering and humiliation that they appealed to Jehovah, the God they had forsaken in their worship. He was their last refuge, their last means of escape from the awful bondage of those times." (Tanner, Old Testament Studies, 1:288-89.)

Judges 6:11-14. How was Gideon called to lead the people?

Judges 6:11, 13, 17. What did Gideon say to the "angel of the Lord"?

Judges 6:11-24. Since the Lord Condemns Sign-Seeking, How Do We Explain Gideon's Request?

"When Gideon asked for a 'sign' he seemed only to want a sign that the messenger was a bona fide emissary of the Lord (v. 17). On this point, note that messengers may sometimes be from the wrong source and discernment is important. (See, e.g., D&C 129; see another consideration of the problem in II Corinthians 11:13-15; I Corinthians 12:10; and I John 4:1-2.) (Signs may be given, based upon man's faith and the will of God. D&C 63:10.)

"When Gideon made a meal of meat, cakes and broth, and the angel turned it into a miraculous burnt offering, this 'sign' quite overwhelmed Gideon. But the Lord kindly gave him comfort and peace, and Gideon gratefully named the monument he built there 'Lord of Peace.'" (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:150.)

Judges 6:19-21. What sign did the angel give to Gideon?

Judges 6:25-27. Why did Gideon destroy the altar of Baal at night?

Judges 6:25-7:1. How Did Gideon Receive the Name Jerubbaal and What Does It Mean?

Gideon's father, Joash, owned a grove and an altar dedicated to the false god Baal. Groves of trees played a prominent part in ancient heathen worship. Since it was thought wrong to shut up the gods with walls, groves of trees were often used as natural temples. Within the groves the immoral rites of the heathen religions were performed.

Gideon and ten other men followed the Lord's commandments to tear down the grove and the altar and in their place erect an altar to Jehovah. The men of the city cried for Gideon's death, but Joash defended his son's actions. Joash named Gideon Jerubbaal, "let Baal plead," meaning that if Baal was upset by Gideon's actions Baal could defend his own cause. The name Jerubbaal remained with Gideon on some occasions thereafter.

Judges 6:30-32. What did Gideon's father say to the men who came to take Gideon?

Judges 6:36-40. What signs were given Gideon that he should lead Israel?

Judges 7:2. Why did the Lord tell Gideon there were too many warriors?

Judges 7:3. Why did twenty-two thousand people go home?

Judges 7:7. How many people did the lord choose to stay?

Judges 7; 8:21. How Did Gideon's Forces Deal with the Numerous Camel-Riding Midianites?

"Though only the tribes from the north -- Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali -- joined his campaign, these were more than enough for the purposes of the Lord at the time. Eventually the 32,000 were reduced to 300, that the 'help of the Lord' might be apparent to Israel ...

"Against the formidable might of camel-mounted marauders, strategy and the help of the Lord gave the Israelites success where hand to hand combat would have been disastrous. It is now known that the use of camels for military purposes by the nomadic desert riders was only beginning to be common in those times -- 12th to 10th centuries BC, and of course, the first tribes to use them had the advantage." (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:151.)

Judges 7:16-22. How did Gideon obtain victory?

Judges 7:19

Ancient Israel divided the twelve hours of the night into three watches. The middle watch would have been from 10:00 P.M. until 2:00 A.M. After the dispersion of Israel, the Jews continued the practice (see Exodus 14:24; 1 Samuel 11:11; Psalms 63:6; 90:4; 119:48; Lamentations 2:19). In New Testament times the Romans divided the night into four watches (see Matthew 24:43).

Judges 8:5, 8. What did Gideon ask of the men of Succoth and Penuel?

Judges 8:6-8. How was he received?

Judges 8:10. How many of the enemy remained?

Judges 8:10. How many had been destroyed?

Judges 8:11-12. What did Gideon do to the enemy who remained?

Judges 8:18-20. Why did Gideon slay Zebah and Zalmunna?

Judges 8:21

Zebah and Zalmunna did not want Jether to slay them. To have a boy slay them would be a great dishonor, but to die quickly under the hand of such a great warrior as Gideon would preserve their honor. Compare this request with Abimelech's request of his armor-bearer to slay him lest men say a woman had killed him (see Judges 9:53-54).

Judges 8:22-23. What was Gideon's reply when "the men of Israel" asked him to be king? (Judges 8:22)

Judges 8:24. What did Gideon request of the men of Israel?

Judges 8:27. What did Gideon make? Why did it become a snare to him?

Judges 8:30. How many sons did Gideon have?

Judges 8:33-35. What did the children of Israel do "as soon as Gideon was dead"? (V. 33)

Judges 9:1-20. Of What Significance Is the Parable of Jotham?

Jotham was the only one of the seventy sons of Gideon to escape the mass fratricide of Abimelech. Jotham had hid himself (see v. 5). Upon the eight-hundred-foot high Mount Gerizim, Jotham delivered to the men of Shechem a very interesting parable, one of the few parables recorded in the Old Testament.

In the parable there were trees (leaders of Israel) who wanted a king among them (Gideon was offered the chance to become king). None of the faithful trees (sons of Gideon) would accept the crown because they felt there should be equality among the trees and one should not rule over the rest. Finally, the kingmakers asked the miserable bramble bush (Abimelech, son of a concubine wife) to reign over the trees. The bramble bush consented, providing the trees would put their complete trust in him and obey his every command. If they did not obey, he would send fire to consume all of them.

Jotham then prophesied that the people would eventually desire to destroy Abimelech (see v. 20). For the details of how completely Jotham's prophecy was fulfilled, see Judges 9:22-57.

Judges 9:5. What did Abimelech do to his brothers? (See also Judges 8:31)

Judges 9:5. Why was Jotham not killed?

Judges 9:21. What did Jotham do after telling the men of Shechem a fable of the trees choosing a king? Why?

Judges 9:23-28. How did the men of Shechem deal "treacherously with Abimelech"? (Judges 9:23)

Judges 9:43-49. What did Abimelech do to the men of Shechem?

Judges 9:52-54. How did Abimelech die?

Judges 9:55-57. Why were Abimelech and the men of Shechem destroyed?

Judges 10:6. How did the children of Israel do evil "in the sight of the Lord"? (Judges 10:6)

Judges 10:7. What did the Lord do to them?

Judges 10:11-14. What did the Lord say when they cried unto him for help?

Judges 10:15-16. How did the children of Israel respond?

Judges 10:18. How did the people of Gilead choose their leader?

Judges 11:1-3. Who was Jephthah?

Judges 11:4-11. How did Jephthah become the Israelites' leader?

Judges 11:12-13. Why did the people of Ammon come to fight with Israel?

Judges 11:14-27. What did Jephthah reply? (See also D&C 64:10-11)

Judges 11:29. What did the Spirit of the Lord do when the king "hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah"? (Judges 11:28)

Judges 11:29-40. How Did Jephthah Offer His Daughter As a Sacrifice? Many have supposed that Jephthah offered his daughter as a human sacrifice, and a literal reading of the text may support that view. But if that is true, some difficult questions are raised. Jephthah was regarded as a great hero and deliverer of Israel, and even his sacrifice of his daughter is treated in a way that suggests the author of Judges viewed it as a commendable act. In Hebrews 11:32-35 Jephthah is used as one of the examples of great faith. Would this case be true if he had engaged in human sacrifice, an act viewed as one of the greatest of abominations in ancient Israel? Why does Jephthah's daughter "bewail her virginity" (Judges 11:37) rather than mourn the approaching loss of her life? After Jephthah had fulfilled his vow of sacrificing his daughter, the text states that "she knew no man" (v. 39). Bible scholars have suggested an explanation that adequately answers these questions.

"Jephthah was compelled by his vow to dedicate his daughter to Jehovah in a lifelong virginity ... The entreaty of the daughter, that he would grant her two months' time, in order that she might lament her virginity upon the mountains with her friends, would have been marvellously out of keeping with the account that she was to be put to death as a sacrifice. To mourn one's virginity does not mean to mourn because one has to die a virgin, but because one has to live and remain a virgin. But even if we were to assume that mourning her virginity was equivalent to mourning on account of her youth ... 'it would be impossible to understand why this should take place upon the mountains. It would be altogether opposed to human nature, that a child who had so soon to die should make use of a temporary respite to forsake her father altogether. It would no doubt be a reasonable thing that she should ask permission to enjoy life for two months longer before she was put to death; but that she should only think of bewailing her virginity, when a sacrificial death was in prospect, which would rob her father of his only child, would be contrary to all the ordinary feelings of the human heart. Yet, inasmuch as the history lays special emphasis upon her bewailing her virginity, this must have stood in some peculiar relation to the nature of the vow ...' (P. Cassel, p. 473). And this is confirmed by the expression, to bewail her virginity upon the mountains.' 'If life had been in question, the same tears might have been shed at home. But her lamentations were devoted to her virginity, and such lamentations could not be uttered in the town, and in the presence of men. Modesty required the solitude of the mountains for these ...' (P. Cassel, p. 476). And so, again, the still further clause in the account of the fulfilment of the vow, 'and she knew no man,' is not in harmony with the assumption of a sacrificial death. This clause would add nothing to the description in that case, since it was already known that she was a virgin. The words only gain their proper sense if we connect them with the previous clause, he 'did with her according to the vow which he had vowed,' and understand them as describing what the daughter did in fulfilment of the vow. The father fulfilled his vow upon her, and she knew no man; i.e. he fulfilled the vow through the fact that she knew no man, but dedicated her life to the Lord, as a spiritual burnt-offering, in a lifelong chastity ... And the idea of a spiritual sacrifice is supported not only by the words, but also most decisively by the fact that the historian describes the fulfilment of the vow in the words 'he did to her according to his vow,' in such a manner as to lead to the conclusion that he regarded the act itself as laudable and good. But a prophetic historian could never have approved of a human sacrifice." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:1:392-93.)

Compare the wording of Jephthah's vow (see vv. 30-31) to Hannah's vow (see 1 Samuel 1:11).

Judges 11:30-31. What vow did Jephthah take before the Lord?

Judges 11:32-33. What did the Lord and Jephthah do to the children of Ammon?

Judges 11:34, 39. How was Jephthah's vow fulfilled?

Judges 12:1. Why did the men of Ephraim gather against Jephthah?

Judges 12:6. How many Ephraimites were killed?

Judges 12:7. How long did Jephthah judge Israel?

Judges 13:1. Why did the Lord deliver the children of Israel to the Philistines for forty years?

Judges 13:3-5. What message did the angel deliver to the wife of Manoah? (See also Bible Dictionary, p. 737, s.v. "Nazarite")

Judges 13:5. What Is a Nazarite? "The primary meaning of the Heb. verb nazar is to separate. Hence the nazir [Nazarite] is 'the separated,' 'consecrated,' 'devoted.'" (Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, s.v. "Nazarite," pp. 647-48). A Nazarite, therefore, was one who was separated from others by a special vow of self-dedication to Jehovah. The term "set apart" is used to mean that one has been given a special calling or position and is thus separated from others.

Jesus' title, the Nazarene, meant that He was from the city of Nazareth, not that He was a Nazarite. Judges 13:8. What did Manoah request of God?

Judges 13:13-14. What did the angel of the Lord say in his second visit?

Judges 13:19-21. How did Manoah know "the man of God" was an angel of the Lord? (Judges 13:8)

Judges 13:24. What was the child's name?

Judges 14:2-4. Why did Samson ask his parents to get a daughter of the Philistines to be his wife?

Judges 14:5-6. What did Samson do to the young lion?

Judges 14:6. If Samson's Life Was So out of Harmony with God's Will, How Did He Have the "Spirit of the Lord"? In the Church today when one speaks of a person having the Spirit of the Lord, he means that he is a spiritual person, that is, he is close to God, has a testimony, demonstrates spiritual power, and so on. And such spiritual power comes only through obedience and righteousness. So, could Samson have had "the Spirit of the Lord come mightily upon him"? (v. 6). That or a similar phrase is used three times in the account of Samson (see Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14), but in every case it has reference to Samson's demonstration of great courage and physical strength. Samson's remarkable strength was a gift of God derived from and sustained by the Nazarite vow he was under. Perhaps when the author of Judges used the phrase "the Spirit of God" he did not use it as one does today, but used it more in the way that one would now use the phrase "spiritual gifts." One may say of another, "The way he taught the lesson demonstrated that he has a spiritual gift." Samson's gift was strength, and each time he used that gift in a remarkable manner, the writer of the scripture gave credit to the Lord, the true source of the gift, by saying "the Spirit of the Lord" came mightily upon him.

Judges 14:8. What was in the carcass of the lion when Samson returned?

Judges 14:14. What riddle did Samson give?

Judges 14:15-18. How were the Philistines able to answer the riddle?

Judges 14:19. How did Samson pay his wager?

Judges 15:2. What had Samson's father-in-law done with Samson's wife?

Judges 15:4-5. What did Samson do with the three hundred foxes?

Judges 15:6. What did the Philistines do to Samson's wife? (See also Judges 15:6b)

Judges 15:7-8. What did Samson do to the Philistines before he went to live "in the top of the rock Etam"? (V. 8)

Judges 15:9-19. The Place of Lehi The city of Lehi was located in the Shephelah, or foothill area, a few miles southwest of Jerusalem. (See Maps and Charts for the possible location.) Lehi means "jaw-bone," and Ramath-Lehi means the "lifting up of the cheek or jaw-bone" (Fallows, Bible Dictionary, s.v. "Ramath-Lehi," 3:1426). Therefore, Samson's source of water was a spring miraculously provided by God near the place of Lehi (jaw), the spring known thereafter as En-hakkore, "the spring of him who called" (Douglas, New Bible Dictionary, s.v. "En-hakkore," p. 377).

Judges 15:15-16. What did Samson do to the Philistines with the "jawbone of an ass"? (V. 15)

Judges 15:20. How long did Samson judge Israel?

Judges 16:5-6. Why did Delilah seek to know the secret of Samson's strength?

Judges 16:15-17. Why did Samson tell Delilah the secret to his strength?

Judges 16:17-22. Was Samson's Hair Really the Source of His Strength? The biblical account of Samson reveals him as a man of extreme confidence and tremendous courage, qualities based on his recognition that his power was from God and that God would sustain him in the mission to which he had been called. But Samson did not realize that there is a rule that governs power in the Lord, which is, "let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God" (D&C 121:45). Samson's misfortunes began when his confidence in God turned into conceit and pride. Over a period of time he broke the vows of a Nazarite and violated other commandments, including the law of chastity (see Judges 16:1).

Samson's superhuman strength did not reside in his hair but in his confidence in God and in the Nazarite oath, of which the hair was the outward symbol. Delilah's treachery and the shaving of Samson's hair signified the final betrayal of his vows. Thus, he became a miserable, broken man with no power left.

Judges 16:21. What did the Philistines do to Samson?

Judges 16:23. Why did the Philistines gather together?

Judges 16:23-31. Why Did God Once Again Strengthen Samson? The claim of the Philistines that "our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy" (v. 24) referred to their belief that their success in capturing Samson proved the Philistine deity Dagon was greater than Jehovah. Thus, the people did not fear to make sport of Samson, the champion of Jehovah, in the temple of their god. In this setting, Samson once again exercised that kind of courage through which God could have used him as a tool. But again the self-centeredness of Samson is evident. Even in his final opportunity, when Samson used his restored strength to destroy the temple of Dagon and the Philistines who were there, he thought only of getting revenge for what had been done to him (see v. 28). In the destruction of his very temple, what better proof could there be that the power of Dagon was nothing? And yet how much more powerfully could Samson have borne witness to the power of Jehovah if he had fulfilled his calling to overthrow the power of the Philistines.

Judges 16:28-30. How did Samson die?

Judges 16:29-30. Could Samson Have Really Pulled Down an Entire Temple? "The character of [this] building is illustrated by discoveries at Gezer and Gaza. The roof was supported by wooden pillars set on stone bases. It was flat, consisting of logs of wood stretching from one wall to beams supported by the pillars and from these beams to other beams or to the opposite wall. The temple at Gezer had a forecourt leading into a paved inner chamber, separated from it by four circular stones, on which the wooden pillars stood. Samson probably stood between the two central pillars, if there were more than two. The Philistine lords and ladies were in the inner chamber; the crowd watched from the roof. Samson made sport, in the forecourt, and then asked the boy to lead him to the central pillars to rest against them. Then, putting an arm round each, and bending forward so as to force them out of the perpendicular, he brought the roof down. The weight of people on the roof may have made the feat all the easier." (Guthrie, New Bible Commentary, p. 272.)

Judges 17:4. Why did Micah's mother give the founder two hundred shekels of silver?

Judges 17:5. What did Micah do?

Judges 17:6. What did every man do in those days?

Judges 17:10-13. Why did Micah think the Lord would do him good?

Judges 18:1. What did the tribe of Dan seek?

Judges 18:2. Why did they send out five men?

Judges 18:7. What did the five men find in Laish?

Judges 18:17-20. What did the army take from Micah?

Judges 18:27. What did the children of Dan do to the city of Laish?

Judges 18:28. Why did no one help the people of Laish?

Judges 18:29. What name did the Danites call the new city?

Judges 18:30-31. What did the Danites dowith Micah's graven image?

Judges 19:2-31. Why did the Levite go to the house of his father-in-law?

Judges 19:3-9. How did the father-in-law receive the Levite?

Judges 19:11-15. Why did the Levite and his concubine stop in Gibeah?

Judges 19:19-21. How did the old man treat them?

Judges 19:25. What did the men of the city do?

Judges 19:28-30. What did the Levite do with his concubine?

Judges 19:29-30. What Is the Significance of the Woman Being Divided into Twelve Pieces? "There is no doubt that with the pieces he sent to each tribe a circumstantial account of the barbarity of the men of Gibeah; and it is very likely that they considered each of the pieces as expressing an execration, 'If ye will not come and avenge my wrongs, may ye be hewn in pieces like this abused and murdered woman!' They were all struck with the enormity of the crime, and considered it a sovereign disgrace to all the tribes of Israel." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:182.)

Judges 20:2. How many "footmen" were gathered?

Judges 20:4-7. What did the Levite say to them?

Judges 20:9-11, 11a. In what manner were the men of Israel gathered against the city? (See Judges 20:11a)

Judges 20:12-13. What message did the tribes of Israel deliver to the tribe of Benjamin?

Judges 20:13-14. How did the children of Benjamin respond?

Judges 20:18. What did the children of Israel ask the Lord before the first day of battle?

Judges 20:23. What did the children of Israel ask the Lord before the second day of battle?

Judges 20:28. What did the children of Israel ask the Lord before the third day of battle?

Judges 20:44-48. How many men of the tribe of Benjamin were left alive?

Judges 21:2-3. Why did the people weep at the house of God?

Judges 21:5. What oath was made at the gathering at Mizpeh? (See also Judges 20:1)

Judges 21:8-14. How did the Israelites provide four hundred wives for the men of Benjamin?

Judges 21:19-23. How did the men of Benjamin who did not have a wife get one?

Judges 21:25. What did every man in Israel do in those days?


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