Page 1

Chapter 8 – A Few Good Men … and Women “They [the Israelites] cried to the LORD for help.” Judges 4:3

Chapter and Verse: Judges 2-4, 6-8, 13-16 (Judges 2:7-22; 3:7-11; 4:1-24; 6:1-24,33-40; 7:1-25; 8:28,33-34; 13:1-5,24-25; 14:1-16:31)

Summary: After Joshua dies, the Israelites “did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals” (gods of their Canaanite neighbors). God got angry and allowed their enemies to plunder them. They cried out to God and God sent them judges to deliver them. There would be a period of peace, but then at the death of the judge, “again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD” and the cycle began all over again. Interesting episodes include the death of Sisera at the hand of Jael, Gideon’s demand for a sign from God, Gideon’s battle against the Midianites with only 300 men, and Samson’s great strength contingent on his not shaving his hair.

Cast of Characters: God (YHWH), Othniel, Ehud, Sisera, Deborah, Barak, Jael, Gideon, Samson, Delilah, Baal

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 8 – A Few Good Men … and Women “They [the Israelites] cried to the LORD for help.” Judges 4:3

Important Terms/Concepts:  Idolatry - “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD.” – To God, evil = worshipping other gods, which is frequently described with the image of prostitution.  Remembering/forgetting – the Israelites forget what God has done; God remembers them.  Crying out deliverance – Israel cries out and God delivers them (again and again and again…)  Role of women – Deborah is a judge and military leader, Jael, Delilah  God chooses the weakest/smallest -- Gideon – “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”  God’s action in history – God continues to direct the battle action, even weakening Israel’s armies so that it is clear that it is God’s action alone that brings victory.  Resistance to God’s call – Gideon questions and tests God’s call  Barren and childless – Samson’s mother is one of many women in the Bible who bears a child only through God’s apparent intervention.  “The Spirit of the LORD” – comes and goes as God wills.  “Do not be afraid” - messengers from the LORD almost always begin this way, as does the angel who appears to Gideon © 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 8 – A Few Good Men … and Women “They [the Israelites] cried to the LORD for help.” Judges 4:3

Points of Help and Clarification  Judges is just chock full of weirdness.  The conquest of the land hoped for in Joshua is not complete and Israel lives in constant tension with their Canaanite neighbors and with the threat of outside enemies like the Philistines.  Probably the most disturbing of all the disturbing episodes in Judges is the story of Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11)  The Israelites were not different from their Canaanite neighbors in ethnicity, language or culture. What distinguished them was their God. “But that religious choice is not to be understood thinly, because the choice of gods always brings with it a decision about socioeconomic-political practice.” (A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, p.206)  “These heroes are odd, so that their achievements are all to be seen as miracles of God.” (A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, p.207)

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 8 – A Few Good Men … and Women “They [the Israelites] cried to the LORD for help.” Judges 4:3

Points of Help and Clarification (continued)  “The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” (Judges 8:22-23) These verses anticipate the ambivalence that the Bible has toward human authority, especially kings, as we will see in chapters to come.  Much of Judges, especially the stories of Samson, reads like folktales.  The final verse of Judges – “In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes” – summarizes the essence of human brokenness and our separation from God.

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 8 – A Few Good Men … and Women “They [the Israelites] cried to the LORD for help.” Judges 4:3

For Discussion - General Questions  Where have you seen God at work in the world this week? How does this relate to how you’ve seen God at work in The Story?  In this week’s chapter, what is God doing?  What do we learn about the character/nature of God?  What are people doing?  What do we learn about people/creation?  What do we learn about the relationship between God and God’s people/creation?  What did you find most interesting/surprising/new?  What did you find most troubling?

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 8 – A Few Good Men … and Women “They [the Israelites] cried to the LORD for help.” Judges 4:3

For Discussion – Chapter 8 Questions  What are the four stages of the cycle Israel keeps going through? (Summarized on p. 104)  How do we forget what God has done and take God’s blessings for granted? What kinds of things tend to bring us back to God?  Can you think of some surprising/unlikely leaders that God has chosen and works through in our time?  What are some of the idols in our contemporary culture?  How are you tempted to conform to the ways of the world around you?  How do the Israelites explain their troubles and military defeats? How would you explain them?

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org

The Story - Ch 8 Readers' Guide  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you