Judges is one of the lesser-read books of the Scripture and many just don’t know what to do with it, because it significantly parallels the modern age of Babylonian Religion that has become the 21st Century norm today. Yes, what Yisharal does after the death of Joshua is exactly what is happening in the world today.
Anyone raised in Scripture tends to know of the book of Judges only from the story of Samson and Delilah, a favorite among children’s Sunday School teachers. Who could ever forget about the handsome and charismatic young man with the long locks that were the secret of his superhuman strength, and the beautiful woman who seduced him and betrayed him to his enemies? The story is usually told as a tale of an Incredible Hebrew Hulk that took on the wicked Philistines that were a nightmare in the lives of a good portion of the 12 Yisharalite Tribes at that time. The finale has Samson sacrificing his own life as a courageous martyr in order to destroy the pagan temple to Dagon while killing many of the Philistine priests and deities in the process. Unfortunately the way the story is commonly told
usually misses the point and miscasts the role of the characters (especially Samson) much the way King Solomon is commonly miscast as an extraordinarily wise and regal figure just going about doing Yahusha’s work IN A WAY THAT YAHUSHA APPROVES,but nothing could be further from the truth in either case.
There are few more critical eras in Yisharal’s development than the one displayed in the book of Judges. This is the era that Yisharal slid rapidly towards national suicide due to their determined apostasy from Yahusha, and when we take the proper perspective of this historical record it is one of great sadness and of a self-delusional people who insist on the
one hand that they ARE being obedient to Yahusha but on the other hand vigorously pursue peace and friendship at any price with their pagan neighbours; and the price for this peace is invariably voluntary assimilation and blending (SYNCRETISM) into the pagan cultures and Mystery Babylonian Religious Systems that the whole remainder of the known world revelled in.
So we see 3 major themes developed in Judges:
1) Yisharal’s military and spiritual struggles as they wrestle among themselves and battle with the remaining Canaanites (that Joshua failed to drive out) in order to settle within the land and create a lasting and more durable society of farmers, shepherds, and craftsmen.
2) The amazing favour and long-suffering (but not infinite) patience of Yahusha to the Blood-Covenant He made with Yisharal, as opposed to the amazing disinterest and schizophrenic behaviour of Yisharal in their lack of obedience in return.
3) The Canaanisation of Yisharal, and how the people of Yahusha became more and more like the world around them instead of staying separate from the world, or their lives influencing the world around them to be more like Yisharal. And the world all around Yisharal at this time was the various Canaanite Tribes and peoples.
We’ll witness Yisharal being oppressed in many ways by a number of enemies, but not so much that they were forcibly dragged kicking and screaming into idolatry; NUP, rather Yisharal preferred more of the pagan deities (that the world enjoyed) and less of their own Alahim because it seemed not only the more tolerant thing to do but also it was more economically and socially acceptable!
In the days of the Judges there was a remnant of Yisharalite leaders that warned and begged the people to wake up and recognise how their belief had been seduced and co-opted by other Yisharalite leaders who sought only to further their private agendas or to blend in with their neighbours and thus gain wider acceptance. In opposition to this remnant of obedient folk was the ever-growing majority of Yisharalites and other leaders that said that the current situation demanded that THE DEFINITION OF GOOD & EVIL, CLEAN & UNCLEAN BEHAVIOUR (as explained in Moses` Instructions) be altered and that peace with their neighbours was more important and a greater good than obedience to an ancient decree about sacred land holdings or full devotion to their one Alahim and His Instructions.
The Title Of This Book (Judges): easily conjures up a false image of its meaning and (in 21st century minds) just what their function was in the centuries in between Joshua and the first King of Yisharal. The English title “Book of Judges” comes from the Latin `Liber Judicum', which comes from the
JUST AS THE YISHARALITES DETOURED NEARLY OVERNIGHT FROM THEIR GOLDEN ERA OF OBEDIENCE AND BELIEF TO YAHUSHA AS THEY CONQUERED CANAAN AND CELEBRATED VICTORY AFTER VICTORY, IN THE BOOK OF JUDGES WE SEE THEM TAKING A DEVASTATING TURN DOWN A PATH OF DARKNESS ALL THE WHILE CALLING IT LIGHT AND PROGRESS. IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF A COUPLE OF DECADES AFTER JOSHUA’S DEATH THAT WE FIND YISHARAL STEEPED IN IDOL WORSHIP AND OPPRESSION, ALL OF IT AT THEIR OWN HAND.
Greek `Kritai', which indeed means `JUDGE' just as we think of it. But in all cases these words are an attempt to translate the Hebrew word `SHOPHETIM'. We must not think of this kind of judge (as portrayed in the book of Judges) as a person who sits behind a bench in dark robes determining guilt or innocence of an accused. While some of the Shophetim may have done this occasionally, these folks did not operate in the legal sphere; rather they were more like DELIVERERS,RESCUERS, RULERS raised up for a season and usually for a limited purpose among an equally limited group of Yisharalite Tribes. Yep! These judges were only for certain Tribes, not all the Tribes. They were NOT national leaders, they were regional leaders.
It is difficult to find the words to describe the role of a Shophet (the singular form of Shophetim) partly because they didn’t all do the same things. Nor were the skill sets and attributes of these several judges the same. If we use the term 'DELIVERER' (in a general sense) to partially define their purpose it does help us get the picture. Think about Yahusha’s role and it helps us to grasp the office of a Shophet especially when Yahusha explained that He came NOT to judge (not to hand out judgment) but to DELIVER.
In other words at Yahusha’s first coming (in His role as the `Son of Man’ or `Son of Joseph’,the suffering servant), He definitely did NOT come to be a judge of mankind, but rather to deliver us from evil and our self-inflicted predicament that we might not face judgment later. However at His future second coming He WILL come in an entirely different role as the `Son of David’ the Warrior-King; He will come NOT as Deliverer (not as a shofet) but as one who carries out the justice of an Almighty Creator and comes as one who judges as from the bench and orders sentences carried out.
SO LIKE OUR MESSIAH THESE SHOPHETIM OF THE BOOK OF JUDGES WERE SENT BY YAHUSHA TO DELIVER CERTAIN SEGMENTS OF YISHARAL FROM WHATEVER THEIR CURRENT PREDICAMENT, AS OPPOSED TO SENDING THEM TO RENDER JUDICIAL JUDGMENTS AGAINST YISHARAL. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF SHOFETIM RAISED UP BY YAHUSHA FOR YISHARAL AND THE BOOK OF JUDGES IDENTIFIES 12, OR 13 COUNTING DEBORAH.
SO WHEN WAS JUDGES WRITTEN? Well it certainly had to be AFTER all the events of the book of Judges had occurred, and it had to be sometime AFTER the time of Saul because the last words of the book of Judges says that everything written in the book happened before there was a king over Yisharal. So the writer knew when that first king was anointed. That means it had to have been written around 1025 B.C. or later. We can probably narrow it down a little better because the writer of Judges tells us that the city of Gezer was still under control of the Canaanites at the time it was written, and we know that by the time of King Solomon Yisharal had gained control over Gezer from the Philistines. So it was probably written during the early days of King David, when he was only king over Judah and before he became king over a united Yisharal that included the 10 Tribes of the northern area that was dominated by the Yisharalite Tribe of Ephraim; perhaps 990 – 995 B.C. The important thing is that it was written soon after the period of the Judges so the information can be taken as historically reliable. MOST AGREE THAT THE PROPHET SAMUEL IS THE AUTHOR OF JUDGES.
Now from a political standpoint the era of the Judges is an extended time of instability for the 12 Tribes and Levi (the priesthood). They had no central leadership as they had under Joshua. That said they were SUPPOSED to have looked toward Yahusha as their king, and His will was to be established by means of the priesthood, the
Book of the Instructions written by Moses, as well as liberal use of the Urim and Thummim stones (for decision-making and seeking the will of Yahusha). The priesthood was to have performed (to a degree) as the central government for the 12 Tribes; but a better characterisation of their intended purpose was as Yisharal’s central conscience and moral compass and in some ways it fulfilled that function but rapidly lost its hold as each Tribe decided to do things their own way.
THE OVERALL SITUATION THAT EXISTED FOR THE 12 TRIBES IN THE LAND AS THE ERA TRANSITIONED FROM JOSHUA TO JUDGES, WAS FROM A STRONG CENTRAL LEADERSHIP AND A COMMON CAUSE TO AN ILL DEFINED GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE THAT SUPPOSEDLY HAD YAHUSHA AS THEIR KING AND THE PRIESTHOOD AS HIS EARTHLY MESSENGERS BUT IN REALITY IT WAS CLOSER TO EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF.
FIRST IS THAT JUST AS IN ANY SYSTEM OF SOCIETY THERE WAS NOT A MONOLITHIC TRAIN OF THOUGHT OR BEHAVIOR AMONG THE HEBREWS OF THE LAND (ie they refused to think the same as Yahusha commanded). THE HIGH STANDARDS AND IDEALS DEMANDED BY YAHUSHA AND DEMONSTRATED BY MOSES AND JOSHUA AND (AT LEAST FOR A SHORT TIME) JOSHUA’S IMMEDIATE SUCCESSORS WEREN’T NECESSARILY EMULATED OR EVEN ADMIRED BY THE YISHARALITES IN GENERAL. THEY HAD MORE PRACTICAL MATTERS TO DEAL WITH SUCH AS RAISING FAMILIES, GROWING CROPS, TENDING VINES, AND SHEPHERDING FLOCKS. AND WE MUST NOT FAIL TO PUT INTO THE BACK OF OUR MINDS THE REALITY THAT ONE OF JOSHUA’S LAST ACTS WAS TO HAVE A BLOOD-COVENANT RENEWAL CEREMONY DURING WHICH HE PLEADED WITH THE PEOPLE TO GET RID OF THEIR FALSE DEITIES AND IDOLS. AND NONE OF THIS BODED WELL FOR THE CHARACTER OF YISHARAL.
NEXT IS THAT JOSHUA’S INABILITY TO LEAD YISHARAL TO A TOTAL AND COMPLETE CONQUEST OF YISHARAL, AND HIS (AND HIS ELDERS’ AND TRIBAL PRINCES’) DECISION TO MAKE TREATIES WITH THE VARIOUS CANAANITE TRIBES INSTEAD OF DRIVING THEM OUT OF THE LAND OR DESTROYING THEM AS YAHUSHA DEMANDED, WAS GOING TO PROVE
TO BE YISHARAL’S ACHILLES HEEL. IN A NUTSHELL YISHARAL QUICKLY ADAPTED TO THE IDEA OF HAVING THE CANAANITES AS NEIGHBOURS AND TRIED TO FIND WAYS TO LIVE AMONG THEM IN PEACE; NATURALLY COMPROMISE AND TOLERANCE WAS THE WORD OF THE DAY. THE 12 TRIBES LOST ANY ENTHUSIASM TO FINISH WHAT THEY HAD STARTED AND COMPLETE THE CONQUEST OF CANAAN. THE RESULT OF THAT DECISION IS THE ROOT OF TROUBLES WE WITNESS IN THE MIDDLE EAST TODAY.
WE’RE GOING TO SEE THAT AS A RESULT OF THIS LAX ATTITUDE, THAT MIXED MARRIAGES BETWEEN HEBREWS AND CANAANITES BECAME QUITE A NORMAL AND ACCEPTED ARRANGEMENT IN A STARTLINGLY SHORT TIME; BUT BECAUSE OF THE WAY ANCIENT SOCIETIES OPERATED THIS MEANT THAT THERE MUST BE A COMPROMISE OR A CLASH OVER THE ISSUE OF WHOSE DEITY WOULD BE DOMINANT IN THAT BLENDED FAMILY, YAHUSHA OR ONE OF THE BAAL DEITIES, AND ONE CAN IMAGINE THAT THIS MADE FAMILY SITUATIONS PRETTY TENSE AT TIMES.
THE RESULT OF TWO WIDELY DIFFERENT CULTURES MIXING IN SUCH A WAY IS UNAVOIDABLE: SYNCRETISM, WHICH COMES FROM THE WORD SYNCHRONISE AND WE ALL GENERALLY UNDERSTAND THAT TO SYNCHRONISE SOMETHING IS TO MAKE TWO OR MORE THINGS OPERATE SIMULTANEOUSLY
OR IN A COORDINATED WAY. SO SYNCRETISM IS AN ATTEMPT TO RECONCILE TWO DIFFERENT MORAL OR RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS AND MOULD THEM INTO SOMETHING ELSE THAT RETAINS ELEMENTS OF BOTH AND THUS IS REASONABLY ACCEPTABLE FOR ALL PARTIES. WHEN IT COMES TO DAILY WORSHIP IN THOSE ANCIENT TIMES, THAT MEANT THAT SOMEBODY’S DEITY HAD TO TAKE AN INFERIOR POSITION AND ANOTHER PERSON’S DEITY TOOK A SUPERIOR POSITION, BUT BOTH WERE RETAINED. OR BOTH PERSONS’ DEITIES MIGHT BE GIVEN GENERALLY EQUAL STATUS,
WITH EQUAL RECOGNITION AND EQUAL AUTHORITY. RARELY IS THIS PROCESS OF BLENDING AND HARMONISING TWO RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS AND DEITY PANTHEONS DONE AT A BARGAINING TABLE OR IS IT EVEN REALLY A CONSCIOUS EFFORT (BUT IT DOES HAPPEN, JUST AS WITH CONSTANTINE AND THE COUNCILS OF NICEA AND LAODICEA, WHEN THE NATIONAL PAGAN SYSTEM OF MITHRAISM WAS BLENDED WITH THE SCRIPTURES, GIVEN NEW NAMES AND PRACTICES, CHURNED UP AND SPAT OUT AS THE NEW HYBRID SUN-WORSHIP
ABOMINATION `CHRISTIANITY’ AND CONSTANTINE BECAME THE FIRST POPE OF THIS GLOBAL CHRISTENDOM).
USUALLY THOUGH, THIS PROCESS OF HYBRIDISING AND COMPROMISING HAPPENS QUIETLY AND NATURALLY OVER TIME, SLOWLY AND WITHOUT MUCH DELIBERATION, FANFARE OR OVERT INTENT. ONE MOMENT YAHUSHA IS YOUR ONLY ALAHIM WHO YOU GIVE YOUR FULL DEVOTION; BUT THEN YOU MARRY A CANAANITE WHO WORSHIPS THE BAALS AND A FEW YEARS LATER YOU SUDDENLY LOOK UP TO REALISE THAT NOT ONLY IS YAHUSHA NO LONGER YOUR ONLY ALAHIM, HE HOLDS AN EQUAL OR INFERIOR POSITION TO ANOTHER DEITY. WHAT WAS FOREIGN IS NO LONGER STRANGE. A LITTLE MORE TIME PASSES AND NOW THE SYNCRETISM BECOMES CEMENTED AND A WHOLE NEW SYSTEM HAS BEEN CREATED AND ANY QUESTIONING OF THE RIGHTNESS OR WRONGNESS OF IT HAS DISAPPEARED. ANY MEMORY OF HOW IT HAPPENED BECOMES IRRELEVANT OR AT TIMES LOST TO HISTORY.
Are the wheels turning in your minds right about now? Religion has been engaged in syncretism for centuries. As mentioned, the predominant incident of religious syncretism that comes to mind was when the Pagan Religions of the Sun-Worshipping World (Mithraism) were blended with the Messianic Religion (that the `Jews’ had come up with through the Babylonian and Assyrian Captivity of the Tribes of Yisharal), and the result was the Roman Religion in the West and the Orthodox Religion in the East.
The progress of Christian Syncretism with the world’s cultures long ago passed the tipping point and now practically every demographic and behaviour that can be applied to THE WORLD in general IS THE SAME AS RELIGION in general. Marriage, divorce, abortion, criminal activity, and more recently sexual orientation is nearly indistinguishable between the world and the `church' goers (another clue that it's all Satan's system of behaviour eh)! And, of course, the culture and behaviour that has won out in this constant blending of Religion and the world is that of the majority, the unbelieving world. THIS IS THE NATURE OF SYNCRETISM - THE MAJORITY ALWAYS DOMINATES!
The Inter-belief Movement is currently advancing religious syncretism like a cancer in our time, and is being touted and admired by many of the top Christian and Jewish leaders (and naturally the top secular leaders) the world over. And what was originally intended to harmonise the many insane Christian doctrines among the thousands of crazy denominations (to foster a false sense of unity) is now attempting to harmonise Islam with Christianity, and then those beliefs with the Oriental Mystical Religions. A UNITED COCKTAIL OF ABOMINATIONS, SHAKEN, STIRRED AND SERVED IN A CUP FOR THE WOMAN ON THE BEAST TO INTOXICATE THE NATIONS WITH.
The Yahusha-principle or pattern which under grids the entire Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is DIVIDING, ELECTING, AND SEPARATING. The created distinctions between Yahusha’s people and those who are not His people are carefully defined which were which; and He demands that those distinctions be maintained. 'SYNCRETISM' IS BUT THE MODERN ACADEMIC WORD FOR THE DISSOLVING OF DISTINCTIONS. IT IS THE TERM FOR THE REVERSAL OF THE YAHUSHA-PRINCIPLE OF DIVIDING, ELECTING, AND SEPARATING. SYNCRETISM IS WHAT NIMROD STRIVED FOR WITH THE TOWER OF BABEL AS ITS MONUMENT.
The Syncretism that was the downfall of Yisharal in the era of the Judges is the same that we are engulfed in today within religion, and the same that faces the true Bride of Yahusha, who must be preparing and being purged of imperfections and immaturity, not looking to the right and left, being distracted and getting a bit of pagan pleasure and carnal idolatry on the side. Remember its all about behaviour, not what banner or movement you hail to! Do you have eyes to see and ears to hear? The test is not to simply agree on an intellectual level, but to act upon that agreement and behave obediently.
Yisharal’s overall situation as they enter the time of the Judges is that the obedient leadership of Joshua and his immediate successors all but disappeared. The marvellous Turah-based standards were soon set aside for the kind of self-serving and pragmatic behaviours that we’re all too familiar with in our modern politicians and corporate kingpins.
This condition was not only reserved for the wicked disobedient or the backslidden leaders of Yisharal; but practically every Shophet that Yahusha called upon had significant moral and character flaws and the Scriptures make no attempt to hide them.
None of the Shophetim of the book of Judges could hold a candle to the leadership skills and ethics of Moses, Joshua, Aaron or Phinehas. Samson in particular is problematic; this grown man with the self-control and emotional capacity of a Junior High School-er, who was born under a Nazarite vow, showed practically no interest in spiritual matters whatsoever; yet he would be chosen by Yahusha to smite the enemy Philistines. Samson was a party animal, married a foreign girl, and killed at times for his own pleasure or simply to show off. And his final undoing was a beautiful prostitute who seduced him with little effort. And as we go through each of the 7 main stories of deliverance, each by a different judge, we’ll find a seriously dark side and equally perverted sense of morality inherent in each of them. But frankly, that’s one of the reasons to believe the Scripture; nothing is white-washed away and even its heroes are shown to simply be what they were: flawed humans.
NOW WHILE THIS ADMITTEDLY DARK AND PESSIMISTIC SUMMATION OF YISHARAL’S CONDITION AT THAT TIME IS ACCURATE, TO BE BALANCED IT MUST BE SAID THAT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE THEY DID WELL TO MAINTAIN THEIR TRIBAL STRUCTURE AND THAT WHEN LEFT ALONE THE TRIBES WERE GENERALLY HARMONIOUS. IT WAS WHEN OUTSIDE INFLUENCES WERE EXERTED THAT ONE TRIBE OR ANOTHER WOULD BUCKLE UNDER THE PRESSURE AND THIS WOULD SOMETIMES LEAD TO INTER-TRIBAL WARFARE. EVEN THEN THERE WAS NO SERIOUS ATTEMPT AT GENOCIDE OF ONE YISHARALITE TRIBE UPON ANOTHER, OR EVEN TO ERASE THE EXISTENCE OF A TRIBE BY MEANS OF FULL AND COMPLETE ABSORPTION BY A MORE DOMINATING TRIBE.
IDOLATRY IS ADORATION IS LOVE!
"MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE"
THROUGH THE SYNCRETISM AND FUSING TOGETHER OF RELIGION, YAHUSHA'S BRIDE IS ABLE TO MATURE AND REMAIN HIDDEN AMONGST THE INSANITY OF RELIGION, AND NO ONE TRULY KNOWS WHAT IS HAPENING INSIDE OF HER. THE DRAGON IS DOING ALL HE CAN WITHIN THE SYSTEMS TO SNUFF OUT THE REMNANT THAT HOLD TRUE TO YAHUSHA'S INSTRUCTIONS, KNOWING THAT OBEDIENT BEHAVIOUR IS THEIR WORSHIP AND THE TRAINING THAT WILL ULTIMATELY MATURE THEM. BUT REMEMBER SYNCRETISM (THE MIXTURE SWILL OF THE ENEMY) IS VERY CUNNING AND HAS PERMEATED INTO THE VERY FABRIC OF THE `Name of Yahusha wielding' BRIDE TOO. THAT IS WHY HALF OF THE BRIDE IS FOOLISH AND WON'T MAKE IT INTO THE WEDDING FEAST WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM ARRIVES.
WE MUST ALWAYS BE ON GUARD TO NOT MIX PRACTICES AND BEHAVIOURS THAT YAHUSHA HATES, INTO OUR LIFESTYLE OF SERVING AND FOLLOWING HIM BECAUSE AS WE KNOW, EVEN A DROP OF LEAVEN, EVIL, DISOBEDIENCE, WILL COMPLETELY RUIN US AND OUR EXPECTATION OF IMMORTALITY SOON.
IDOLATRY IS NOT A BRAND, A LABEL, A STATUS, A BANNER OR EVEN A GROUP OF BELIEFS . . . . IT IS A BEHAVIOUR, AND ANYONE WHO'S ANYONE CAN HAVE THEIR RACE COMPROMISED AND SYNCRETISED BY DEMON FORCES IN HIGH PLACES . . . THEY ARE HIGHLY INTELLIGENT, WICKED AND VERY CUNNING, SEEKING TO STOP YOUR CONNECTION WITH YAHUSHA SO YOU STOP LISTENING TO HIS VOICE. BUT ANY INDIVIDUAL THAT HAS BEEN THROUGH THE 12 STEPS OF DELIVERANCE CAN HAVE THE STRENGTH FROM YAHUSHA'S REIGN ON THE PORTAL OF THEIR CIRCUMCISED HEARTS . . . SAY NO! . . . BYPASS ALL THE OBSTACLES AND RUN !!
If you're not actively walking the 12 Step Path as laid out in Scripture, then what power or experience or deliverance are you having ?