Reflections on the Book of Judges

I recently read through the book of Judges for fun. While it is one of the most uncomfortable books with regard to its blood, gore, and violence, it is a fascinating composition. And although many have already noted what I am about to write about, I will write anyway because discovery is new with every man.

Within Judges, there were three things that stood out to me which may help in the broad scope of biblical studies.

  1. The role of women has been noted by many. Unlike many biblical narratives and theological-histories, women play significant roles which affect the direction of the various legends, for better or for worse. It would be interesting to examine how their roles relate to roles of other women and men across the Hebrew Bible. Furthermore, after establishing a date of composition for Judges, it would be interesting to explore how roles of women are used in later composed books of the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Period literature. To expand horizons, such a study should also explore how women are represented in the ancient Near East.
  2. The dynamics between the tribes of Jacob stand out. Any quick reading of Judges can be confusing because the conflict is so rooted in a time of geographical and political upheaval. Thus the complex dynamics and interactions between the various tribes is fascinating in how it relates tribes.
  3. Although Samson is an important character and is included in the longest narrative, it would interesting to analyze reception of the Samson narrative. As I read Judges, something was wrong with Samson and his actions. I am not sure if it is my own morality creating a layer of film over the text, or if the text is actually indicating the sense I am receiving. Regardless, an in depth study of, first, the Samson narrative and, second, reception of the Samson narrative through Church history and Jewish tradition would be fascinating.