is so called because it contains the history of the deliverance and government of Israel by the men who bore the title of the "judges." The book of Ruth originally formed part of this book, but about A.D. 450 it was separated from it and placed in the Hebrew scriptures immediately after the Song of Solomon.
The book contains,
| FIRST PERIOD (3:7-ch. 5) | Years | I. Servitude under Chushan-rishathaim of | Mesopotamia 8 | 1. OTHNIEL delivers Israel, rest 40 | II. Servitude under Eglon of Moab: | Ammon, Amalek 18 | 2. EHUD'S deliverance, rest 80 | 3. SHAMGAR Unknown. | III. Servitude under Jabin of Hazor in | Canaan 20 | 4. DEBORAH and, | 5. BARAK 40 | (206) | | SECOND PERIOD ( (6-10:5) ) | | IV. Servitude under Midian, Amalek, and | children of the east 7 | 6. GIDEON 40 | ABIMELECH, Gideon's son, reigns as | king over Israel 3 | 7. TOLA 23 | 8. JAIR 22 | (95) | | THIRD PERIOD (10:6-ch. 12) | | V. Servitude under Ammonites with the | Philistines 18 | 9. JEPHTHAH 6 | 10. IBZAN 7 | 11. ELON 10 | 12. ABDON 8 | (49) | | FOURTH PERIOD (13-16) | VI. Seritude under Philistines 40 | 13. SAMSON 20 | (60) | In all 410
Samson's exploits probably synchronize with the period immediately preceding the national repentance and reformation under Samuel ( 1 Samuel 7:2-6 ).
After Samson came Eli, who was both high priest and judge. He directed the civil and religious affairs of the people for forty years, at the close of which the Philistines again invaded the land and oppressed it for twenty years. Samuel was raised up to deliver the people from this oppression, and he judged Israel for some twelve years, when the direction of affairs fell into the hands of Saul, who was anointed king. If Eli and Samuel are included, there were then fifteen judges. But the chronology of this whole period is uncertain.
The author of this book was most probably Samuel. The internal evidence both of the first sixteen chapters and of the appendix warrants this conclusion. It was probably composed during Saul's reign, or at the very beginning of David's. The words in 1 Samuel 18:30 1 Samuel 18:31 , imply that it was written after the taking of the ark by the Philistines, and after it was set up at Nob ( 1 Samuel 21 ). In David's reign the ark was at Gibeon ( 1 Chronicles 16:39 )