Part Three – Which Judges are you talking about?
You may be wondering what Judges I am trying to exegete. In a way, lawyers actually spend a lot of time trying to find the authorial intent of the rulings of Supreme Court judges, but that is not the kind of judge I am talking about. I also am not talking about reality TV judges (by the way, don’t you wish you could be a judge on IronChef? Yum!). Anyway, there is this book of the Bible titled Judges which is tucked away nicely between the book of Joshua and Ruth in the Old Testament. It is full wonderful stories of the leaders that God raised up after the Joshua passed away and before the kings came to dominate the scene for the people of Israel.
Each of these Judges were raised up by God to deliver Israel. The Judges are not the leaders you would expect for one reason or another. For example, so far in my class we have studied Othniel (Judges 3:7-11), Ehud (Judges 3:12-30) and Deborah (Judges 4-5). The thing the Israelites might have been surprised by concerning Othniel is that he was an Edomite. Three times during the section dedicated to him it is emphasized that he is the son of Kenaz. Kenaz is listed as one of the chief tribes of Edom in Genesis 35:15-16. Ehud, as we find out was disabled in his right arm. Although some translations indicate that he was “left-handed” the Hebrew actually uses the wording “disabled in his right arm” rather than using the word for left-handed. This makes sense because according to my prof, the Moabites when the defeated a people they would disable the fighting arm of the men so they would not be able to revolt again. If you read the story of Ehud, the use of his left hand is central to his defeat of Eglon. The next major Judge is Deborah, the unexpected attribute of Deborah is that she is a female judge. While female leadership was apparently accepted by the culture, it was certainly not the norm. A great lesson for us to remember is that many times God works in ways and with people that we would not expect…I recently read a tweet by @plattdavid that said, “God actually delights in exalting our inability!” These individuals had deficiencies we would not expect to find in people who “saved Israel.” It is liberating to realize that God is able to use us despite the deficiencies that our culture would label us with.