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From Captivity to Deliverance

In exactly one month’s time, we will be having our annual Bible Quiz on 9 August, National Day. This year, the quiz will draw from the book of Judges, that Old Testament book which records the period after the death of Joshua and before the first king of Israel, Saul. The theme of the quiz is “From Captivity to Deliverance”, which reminds us of how God first allowed the Israelites to be taken by their enemies because they had forsaken Him, and how He was merciful by raising up judges to deliver His people from their enemies.

It can seem daunting to study an entire book in one month, but I’m here with a “crash course” to help you! Hopefully, this will not only help you study for the Bible Quiz, but pique your interest as well in reading the book of Judges in greater detail to learn from its timeless lessons.

On to the “crash course”! Ready? Let’s go!

Judge #1 – Othniel (Judges 3:7-11)

  • Nephew of Caleb

  • Delivered Israel from the hand of Chushanrishathaim, king of Mesopotamia

Judge #2 – Ehud (Judges 3:12-30)

  • Left-handed man

  • Used a dagger strapped to his thigh to kill Eglon, king of Moab, who was a very fat man

Judge #3 – Shamgar (Judges 3:31)

  • Killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad (a rod used to drive cattle)

Judge #4 – Deborah (Judges 4 and 5)

  • Only recorded female judge

  • She encouraged Barak to take 10,000 men to fight against Sisera, the captain of the army of Jabin, king of Canaan

  • Because Barak did not want to do go unless Deborah went with him, the honour of defeating Sisera was given to a woman (Jael)

Judge #5 – Gideon (Judges 6, 7, and 8)

  • An angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and told him that he would save Israel from the Midianites

  • On one night, Gideon asked for a sign from God – if a fleece of wool was wet but the ground was dry, then Gideon would know that the LORD had indeed chosen him to deliver Israel. On another night, Gideon asked for a second sign – this time, he asked for the fleece of wool to be dry, but the ground to be wet

  • The LORD wanted Gideon to bring less men to the fight against the Midianites, otherwise Israel might think that their own strength delivered them. From 32,000 men, Gideon reduced his army’s strength to just 300 men, by removing the cowardly and the careless

  • Gideon’s 300 men army was eventually able to defeat a 135,000 strong enemy

  • Unfortunately, Gideon also made a golden ephod, which caused Israel to go astray again

Judge #6 – Abimelech (Judges 9)

  • One of Gideon’s 70 sons by his many wives

  • Managed to persuade his mother’s family, the men of Shechem, to let him rule over them

  • Hired evil men and killed all of his brothers, save Jotham the youngest son of Gideon

  • Jotham told the men of Shechem an allegory about the trees – with his point being that Abimelech was like a bramble, deceitful and destructive

  • Eventually, Abimelech and many of the inhabitants of Shechem would betray each other, and die at each other’s hands

Judge #7 – Tola (Judges 10:1-2)

  • Judged Israel 23 years

  • Of the tribe of Issachar

Judge #8 – Jair (Judges 10:3-5)

  • Judged Israel 22 years

  • Had 30 sons

Judge #9 – Jephthah (Judges 11 and 12:1-7)

  • Son of a harlot

  • Delivered Israel from their enemies, the Ammonites

  • Made a rash vow to the LORD – if he could defeat the Ammonites, he would offer whatever came out of his house to meet him as a burnt offering to the LORD

  • His daughter, his only child, came out to greet Jephthah after his return from defeating Ammon – he made the decision to honour his rash vow and to do what he had vowed

Judge #10 – Ibzan (Judges 12:8-10)

  • Judged Israel 7 years

  • Had 30 sons and 30 daughters

Judge #11 – Elon (Judges 12:11-12)

  • From the tribe of Zebulun

  • Judged Israel 10 years

Judge #12 – Abdon (Judges 12:13-15)

  • Judged Israel 8 years

  • Had forty sons and thirty grandsons (KJV – nephews)

Judge #13 – Samson (Judges 13-16)

  • He would be a Nazarite from the womb (cf. Numbers 6:1-21)

  • He desired to marry a Philistine woman from Timnath – his wife was eventually killed by the Philistines after Samson took 300 foxes, attached torches to their tails and burned down the farms of the Philistines

  • Killed 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass

  • Loved a woman named Delilah, who eventually shaved off his hair, and betrayed him to the Philistines

  • The Philistines put out Samson’s eyes and imprisoned him

  • Samson’s hair eventually regrew, and he was able to push down the pillars of a building, killing many Philistines who were gathered to sacrifice to the idol god Dagon

  • In his death, Samson was able to kill more Philistines than he had done so alive

I hope this “crash course” was beneficial for you! May you have an enjoyable time at the upcoming Bible Quiz, but more importantly, I hope you will be motivated to dive deeper and learn more from the timeless lessons contained in the book of Judges.


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