More Information
ISBN: 9781783688678
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 18
Publication Date: 31/07/2016
Pages: 336
Series: Asia Bible Commentary Series
Language: English


A Pastoral and Contextual Commentary


The book of Judges marks an important transition in the life of Israel. It shows the cycle of deviancy and repentance, heroic actions and social collapse, the misuse of power and the marginalization of God. This commentary seeks to help readers navigate the many strange stories and characters of Judges by providing an overall framework for reading it and by explaining a way of entering its stories so that they can be appropriated in an Asian context. This commentary challenges the reader to pray and work for a spiritual revitalization, building a new social fabric in a world marked by injustice, pragmatism, and the loss of a God-centered way of life.

Author Bios

Athena E. Gorospe

ATHENA E. GOROSPE holds a PhD in Theology (Old Testament) from Fuller Theological Seminary, USA and is Associate Professor at Asian Theological Seminary in the Philippines where she teaches in the areas of Old Testament, Hebrew language, and Theology. As an Asian scholar-activist, her research interests lie in the area of Scripture’s interface with philosophy, culture, and social transformation.

Charles R. Ringma

CHARLES RINGMA is Emeritus Professor at Regent College, Canada, an Honorary Research Associate Professor at University of Queensland, Australia, and Adjunct Faculty at Asian Theological Seminary, Philippines.


This commentary has everything. The stories in Judges can seem puzzling and they can make you wonder why they are in the Bible. This study enables readers to get inside the stories. It mediates useful insights from a wide range of biblical scholarship. And it sets the book in the context of life in Asia, which both helps readers understand the stories and enables the stories to help us understand ourselves and reshape who we are. It’s a great achievement.

John Goldingay
David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, School of Theology
Fuller Theological Seminary

Table of Contents

  1. Series Preface
  2. Author’s Preface
  3. List of Abbreviations
  4. Introduction
  5. Judges 1:1-3:6: Grappling with Failure
    1. Overview: Structure and Links
    2. 1:1-36 Experience Failure
    3. 2:1-5 Lack of Vigilance
    4. 2:6-10 Acknowledging Yahweh
    5. 2:11-21 Disobedience and Apostasy
    6. 2:22-3:6 Failure and Testing
    7. Coping with Failure
  6. Judges 3:7-31: The Role of Individual Deliverers
    1. 3:7-11 Othniel the Ideal Deliverer
    2. 3:12-30 Ehud the Unlikely Deliverer
  7. Judges 4:1-5:31: Partnership and Solidarity in God’s Work
    1. Story and the Poem
    2. 4:1-24 Contours of an Upside-Down World: The Inversions of Roles
    3. 5:1-31 Celebrating the Mighty Deeds of God in People’s Participation
    4. The Singers and the Structure
  8. Judges 6:1-8:29: The Use of Power: Empowerment, Abuse. and Violence
    1. Structure of the Gideon-Abimelech Cycle
    2. 6:1-10 Disempowerment: The Economic Plunder of Israel
    3. 6:11-7:25 The Growing of a Leader: Issues in Empowerment
    4. 8:1-35 Difficulties and Resistances in the Transformation Process
  9. Judges 8:30-9:57: The Pitfalls of Power
    1. 8:30-35 Transitions: Honoring Leaders Rightly
    2. 9:1-6 The Destructive Side of Family Ties
    3. 9:7-15 The Perils of Kingship
    4. 9:16-20 Dealing with Integrity
    5. 9:21-56 Retributive Justice
  10. Judges 10:6-12:7: The Marginalization of Yahweh
    1. 10:6-16 The Diminishment of Yahweh
    2. 10:17-11:11 The Rise of a Self-Made Man
    3. 11:12-28 Strong Leadership and Public Success
    4. 11:29-40 Tragedy in the Midst of Victory
    5. 12:1-7 Unresolved Issues
  11. Judges 13:1-16:31: Reversal of Expectations
    1. Overall Narrative Structure
    2. The Samson Narrative as Dramatic Comedy: The Tragic Hero Who Overcomes
    3. 13:1-25 Great Expectations and the Reversal of Roles
    4. 14:1-16:3 Comic Reversal in the Samson-Philistine Episodes
    5. 16:4-31 Comedy Turns to Tragedy and Then Comes Full Circle
    6. 13:1-16:31 Denouement: The Divine Trickster
  12. Judges 17-18: The Domestication of God: Gods, Gold, and Goons
    1. Judges 17-21 Overview of Concluding Chapters
    2. Judges 17-18 Structure and Overview
    3. 17:1-6 God’s Domestication in Family Life
    4. 17:7-13 God’s Domestication in Religious Life
    5. 18:1-31 God’s Domestication in Economic-Political Life
  13. Judges 19:1-20:7: When Home Becomes Unsafe
    1. 19-21 Structure and Links in Judges
    2. 19:1 Exposition: The Characters
    3. 19:2a Inciting Moment: Leaving Home
    4. 19:2b-21 Complications: Going Home
    5. 19:22-26 Climax: Outcast and Disgrace Outside the Home
    6. 9:27-29 Resolution: Going Home
    7. 19:30-20:7 Epilogue: The Levite Tells the Story
  14. Judges 20:1-21:25: A Society That Has Gone Awry
    1. 20:1-17 A War between Brothers
    2. 20:18-48 Parody of a Divine War
    3. 21:1-23 Reparations for a Lost Tribe
    4. 21:24-25 Epilogue: The Ironic and Incomplete Ending
  15. Bibliography

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