The Depravity of Man

Probably my least favorite book of the Bible is Judges. I finally realized why this is. There is a statement found several places in this book which explains the nature of the Book of Judges; “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25, and others) The Book of Judges is about a time when men followed their own law; whatever they felt was right.

Now there were many heroic men whose stories were related in this book, but these men also had great human failings. Barak would win a mighty victory, but he would not go to war unless the judge Deborah attended, also. Deborah warned him that the glory would go to a woman. Barak won, but the glory went to Jael. (Judges 4:17-22) Jephthah defeated the Ammonites, but made an irrational promise to the Lord. (Judges 11:31) Samson was a mighty man who performed extraordinary feats, but his head was easily turned by the pretty face of Philistine girls. Gideon defeated the Midianites for the people of Israel. He made an ephod from the spoils of war. The ephod became an object of veneration to the people and it became a snare to Gideon and his house. (Judges 8:27)

Perhaps the strangest and most gruesome story in the Book of Judges is that of the Levite and his concubine. (Judges 19 and 20) They were traveling and proposed to sleep in the town square of Gibeah. They were urged to stay in the home of an old man, rather than sleep out in the public square. The old man was entertaining them properly when some of the men of the town gathered around the house demanding the host send the Levite out so that they could know him.

This is very much like the account of the two angels who were guests of Lot in Sodom. In fact, the dialogue between the old man of Gibeah and the men outside his home is almost word for word the same as that of Lot with the men of Sodom. The Levite sent out his concubine (what a guy!) and the result was her death. This caused all of Israel to war against the tribe of Benjamin, and resulted in the decimation of that clan. Earlier, the Israelites had also warred against the tribe of Ephraim and killed forty-two thousand men. (Judges 12:6)

This segment of the history of Israel follows the beginning of the Bible, the five books of Moses, or the Torah. After this time of God leading and delivering His chosen under the leadership of Moses, Joshua commenced leading the Children of Israel. This is described in the Book of Joshua; then follows the degeneracy of the Book of Judges.

This sequence of history of the Children of Israel also illustrates the Alphabetic design found in the Word of God. For information, please click HERE. The Book of Judges is the seventh book and the seventh letter is zayin. The meaning of zayin is sustenance and struggle. That certainly fits the theme of Judges. The Book of Joshua is the sixth book of the Bible. The sixth Hebrew letter is the vav. The vav is shaped like a hook and is a conjunction. If fact, vav means “and,” connecting two things. The Book of Joshua connects the Torah with the decadent Book of Judges.

The Book of Judges demonstrates the ultimate result when man acts on what he feels is right, and not based on the moral guidance of the Lord. This sounds a lot like today. How I look forward to the day when the Lord Jesus will reign and rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. May His wonderful name be praised, always and ever!

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