Bible History Summary of the Judges of Israel. A Judge of the Israelites was a ruler or military leader as well as someone the presided over legal hearings. Following the conquest of Canaan, the Promised Land, by Joshua until the first kingdom of Israel ( between 1150 – 1025 BC), the Israelite tribes formed a loose confederation. There was no central government and in times of crisis a Judge came forth to lead the people. In the book of Judges and 1st Samuel, the Bible tells us of the Judges and their actions as Judges over Israel. See below for scriptures and Bible history of the Judges.
OTHNIEL judged for 40 years from 1373-1334 BC. After an oppression of eight years by the Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, the Israelites again cried out to the LORD, and He gave them a deliverer or Judge called Othniel. He led Israel for 40 years of peace until he died. Scriptures: Judges 3:7-11.
EHUD judged for 80 years from 1316-1237 BC. After an oppression of 18 years by the Moabites, again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and He gave them a deliverer or Judge called Ehud. He led Israel for 80 years of peace until he died. Scriptures: Judges 3:12-30.
SHAMGAR judged for unknown number of years. Shamgar was the son of Anath. He struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel. Scriptures: Judges 3:31.
DEBORAH and BARAK judged for 40 years from 1237-1198 BC. Deborah was also a prophetess and Barak was her military general. The song of Deborah tells of her exploits and Israel was at peace for 40 years. Scriptures: Judges 4:1-5:31.
GIDEON judged for 40 years from 1191-1151 BC. Gideon was of the tribe of Manasseh and God used him to defeat the Midianites who were oppressing Israel. Gideon had 70 sons. Scriptures: Judges 6:1-8:35.
ABIMELECH judged for 3 years from 1151-1149 BC. Abimelech, a son of Gideon, started his rule by killing the 70 sons of Gideon. Abimelech was an evil ruler. Scriptures: Judges 9:1-57.
TOLAH judged for 23 years from 1149-1129 BC. Tolah rose to save Israel. He judged Israel in peace for twenty-three years. Scriptures: Judges 10:1-2.
JAIR judged for 22 years from 1126-1105 BC. Jair judged Israel for 22 years in peace. He had thirty sons who rode thirty donkeys. Scriptures: Judges 10:3-5.
ELI judged for 40 years from 1107-1067 BC. Eli was also a high priest who trained Samuel, the first king of Israel, from an early age. He was 98 when he heard that the Ark of the covenant of God had been captured and that his two evil sons Hophni and Phinehas had been killed. Scriptures: 1st Samuel 1:1-4:21.
JEPHTHAH judged for 6 years from 1081-1075 BC. JEPHTHAH was from the tribe of Manasseh who delivered Israel from the Ammonites. Israelites had first rejected him, but then asked for his help. Scriptures: Judges 10:6-12:7.
IBZAN judged for 7 years from 1081-1075 BC. Ibzah was of the tribe of Zebulun and judged Israel. He had thirty sons and thirty daughter who he had all married outside his clan. Scriptures: Judges 12:8-10.
ELON judged for 10 years from 1075-1065 BC. Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel for 10 years in peace. Scriptures: Judges 12:9-10.
ABDON judged for 8 years from 1065-1058 BC. Abdon from the tribe of Ephraim judged Israel in peace. Abdon had 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 asses or colts of donkeys. Scriptures: Judges 12:13-15.
SAMSON judged for 20 years from 1069-1049 BC. Samson judged Israel. He had great strength, but it was weakened by Delilah so that he could be captured. He ended up dying when he pushed out the pillars of the house of Dagon. Scriptures: Judges 13-16.
SAMUEL judged from 1067-1015 BC. Samuel who was also a prophet judged Israel, but the Israelites asked for a king. God told him to anoint Saul as king. Scriptures: 1 Samuel 1-8.
JOEL and ABIJA judged for 6 years from 1049-1043 BC. Joel and Abijah were the evil sons of Samuel. They judged in Beersheba. Scriptures: 1 Samuel 8:1-3.