The title of this book in the Hebrew copies is Sepher Shophetim, the
Book of Judges; but the Syriac and Arabic interpreters call it,

``the Book of the Judges of the Children of Israel;''

and the Septuagint only Judges; so called, not because it was written
by them, though some think it was compiled out of annals and diaries
kept by them; but it seems to be the work of one person only: the true
reason of its name is, because it treats of the judges of Israel, gives
an account of their lives and actions, and especially such as concerned
their office; which office was different from that of kings, and seems
only to have been occasional, and chiefly lay in delivering the people
out of the hands of their enemies, when oppressed, distressed, or
carried captive by them; in protecting them in the enjoyment of their
country, rights, and liberties; in leading out their armies against
their enemies when needful; and in settling differences, judging law
suits, and administering justice. The government of the nation, during
their time, was a theocracy. It is not certain who was the penman of
this book; some ascribe it to King Hezekiah, others to Ezra; but the
Jewish writers {a} are generally of opinion that it was written by
Samuel, which is most likely, who was the last of the judges; and it
seems plainly to be written before the times of David, us appears from
a speech of Joab, \\#2Sa 11:21\\; and from some passages in \\#Ps 68:8,9\\
\\#Ps 97:5\\, which seem to refer or allude to \\#Jud 5:4,5\\; and from
Jerusalem being called Jebus, which shows it to be inhabited by the
Jebusites in the time of the writer of this book, whereas it was taken
out of their hands by David; besides, Samuel himself refers to the
annals of this book; \\#1Sa 12:9-11\\; and from whose testimonies, as well
as from others in the New Testament, there is no doubt to be made of
its being genuine and authentic, and written by divine inspiration; as
is evident from the use the Apostle Paul, and the author of the epistle
to the Hebrews, have made of it, \\#Ac 13:20 Heb 11:32\\; it is useful as
an history, and without which the history of the people of Israel would
not be complete; it containing an account of all their judges,
excepting the two last, Eli and Samuel, of whom an account is given in
the following books, and of some facts incidental to those times,
related in an appendix at the end of it, concerning the idol of Micah,
and the war of Benjamin; and furnishes out many useful moral
observations concerning God's displeasure at sin in his own people
Israel, and his corrections for it; and about his providential care of
them in raising up for them deliverers in their time of need, as well
as points at various virtues and excellencies in great and good men,
worthy of imitation. It contains, according to Piscator, Dr.
Lightfoot, and others, an history of two hundred ninety and nine years.


The children of Israel, after Joshua's death, inquiring of the Lord
which tribes should first go up against the remaining Canaanites, Judah
is ordered to go up, who with Simeon did, \\#Jud 1:1-3\\; and had success
against the Canaanites under Adonibezek, whom they brought to Jerusalem
\\#Jud 1:4-8\\; and against the Canaanites in Hebron, Debir, Zephath,
Hormah, Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron, \\#Jud 1:9-20\\; the Benjamites had not
such good success as Judah against the Jebusites in Jerusalem,
\\#Jud 1:21\\; nor as the house of Joseph had against Bethel,
\\#Jud 1:22-26\\; nor could the tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun,
Asher, and Naphtali, drive out the Canaanites from several places which
belonged unto them, though many of them became their tributaries,
\\#Jud 1:27-33\\; and as for the Amorites, they were too powerful for the
tribe of Dan, though some of them became tributaries to the house of
Joseph, \\#Jud 1:34-36\\.

{a} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2.