Remembering the Judges

Jeff Munroe

READ : Judges 21:2
Hebrews 11:29-40

Time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah . . . (Heb. 11:32).

Civil war engulfed Israel following the repeated rape and murder of the Levite’s concubine, and the tribe of Benjamin was almost destroyed. Israel reached its lowest point. Interestingly, the last chapter of Judges begins with a verse about the nation weeping, paralleling the beginning of the book in 2:4. The beginning and end of Judges captures the nation in mourning.

Rather than dwell on the gloom of the civil war, let’s jump to the pages of the New Testament and look at the “Hall of Fame of Faith” recorded in Hebrews 11. Four of the judges are listed, and they are four that I’ve taken a dim view of. But there they are, listed as part of a stirring chapter of heroes of the faith. How should we remember these judges? Have I been too negative in my assessment of them?

There is no question that God worked through Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah. But look at the list of people surrounding them in Hebrews 11. They are sandwiched between Rahab the prostitute and David, an adulterer and murderer. Moses, another murderer, is also listed, along with the swindler Jacob. We might wish it were different, but God works through people, and people are always broken vessels. In that regard, the judges are best remembered as humans, like those who went before and also like you and me. Imperfect people are God’s primary building material.

PRAYER

Use us, O God.