|Judges of Israel|
| North American Division
|| Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2018
1. Define the following:
a. "judge" when referring to a person
A public official appointed to decide cases in a court of law.
b. "judge" when referring to an action
To form an opinion or conclusion about a matter and render a decision.
2. Read chapter 3 of the book of Judges and then answer the following questions:
a. What were the roles of the judges of Israel?
The judges of Israel had complex roles, many of their deeds and actions involved military actions against nations oppressing the God’s people. They were also called upon to settle disputes both between persons and between tribes. Finally, they were the personal representatives of God in the Theocratic governing of the children of Israel.
b. How did the judges of Israel differ from the judges we have today?
Judges today have a very specific role in deciding issues according to the rule of law, often the Judges of Israel had to improvise when: deciding cases, fighting battles, handing down messages from God, and settling land disputes.
3. Create a table that describes the book of Judges; it should include the following headers (note that not all the entries for each block in the table will be known).
a. The name of each of the twelve judges in the book of Judges
b. The tribe the judge was from
c. The enemy defeated
d. Number of years of oppression by that enemy
e. Number of years of peace after the enemy’s defeat
4. Name three other judges listed in other books of the Bible.
Eli, Samuel as well as Joel and Abiah (the two sons of Samuel) mentioned in 1st Samuel. Amariah and Zebadiah are mentioned in 2nd Chronicles 19:11.
5. Name the first and last judge of Israel.
Generally, Othneil is considered the first judge of Israel; however, a case can be made that this distinction should go to Moses.
Similarly, Samuel is considered the last judge of Israel, because he judged all of Israel and was the human representative of God as Israel was ruled as a theocracy. However, you could say that Amariah and Zebadiah are the last judges in the historical timeline.
6. In what time period did the judges lead Israel?
It is very difficult to nail down exact times during this time-period; however, 1375–1075 B.C. is a good estimate for the book of Judges and Samuel relinquished the political rule of Israel to Saul in 1052 B.C.
7. What was the form of government under the rule of the judges?
While the judges were the physical manifestation of leaders; during the period of the Judges, God was leading the children of Israel and thus the form of government was a Theocracy. A theocracy is defined as a system of government in which priests or religious leaders rule in the name of God or a god.
8. Create a visual demonstration (pictures, collage, digital presentation, demonstration, etc.) or dramatic demonstration (song, poem, dramatic reading, skit, etc.) depicting the deeds of either Samson or Gideon.
Please encourage your students to be creative, and if possible encourage them to do something personal that can be saved for remembrance after they complete the honor.
9. Read chapters 4 and 5 of the book of Judges and discuss the following questions with your Pathfinder counselor or church pastor:
a. What were Deborah’s roles as a leader of the children of Israel?
She was both a prophet and a judge.
b. What roles have women been biblically called to serve (provide supporting texts)?
Anyone looking for a definitive answer on the role of women in ministry will be sadly disappointed. On one hand, it is clear that God is not gender biased (Romans 2:11; Acts 10:34, Ephesians 6:9, and 1 Peter 4:10-11). We see at the day of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit filled both genders alike (Acts 2: 1-21). We also see that in the end times God hands down spiritual gifts regardless of gender (Joel 2:28-29). On the other hand, 1 Timothy 2:12 discusses the challenges of placing a woman to teach or have authority over a man and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 discuss women being silent in the church. Clearly, the book of Judges gives us a powerful example that God did call women to lead His people. Deborah was both a prophet and a judge. The roles of women in ministry is not answered in this document. Each side of this issue has biblical texts to support their personal stance; however, teachers of this honor should be reminded that we must all have a personal ministry to those around us and we should not provide obstacles to the ministry of others regardless of gender.
c. Why was Barak denied victory over his enemy?
Deborah called Barak to lead, he refused to lead and take the responsibility that she offered and instead wanted to have Deborah to be present to provide the conduit for leadership. Thus, when he refused to accept leadership God sent Deborah the message that Barak would also not receive the credit for what God was about to accomplish. In fact God used two women to defeat the opposing king. One that led the people and the other to kill the king in his sleep by driving a tent stake through his head.
10. Read chapter 14 of the book of Judges and discuss the following questions with your Pathfinder counselor or church pastor:
a. What are the difficulties associated with a marriage outside of one’s own faith?
There are definite difficulties associated with marriage outside of faith, here are a few: 1) how does one observe the Sabbath as a family, 2) in what faith will the children be raised, 3) how is the family going to pay tithe and to what organization, 4) will each spouse support the religion or lack thereof of their mate.
b. If one does marry outside of their faith, how can they best maintain their faith?
One of the best suggestions is prayerful consideration and a request for strength to be the best example of a Christian, and a Seventh-day Adventist that you can be for your spouse to see God’s work in your life.
c. Why did God continue to bless Samson with superhuman strength after he turned from God’s ways?
God continues to bless us, even when we sometimes fall away from Him. God had given Samson strength associated with his vow as a Nazarene. Samson kept the outward signs of his vow, hence God continued to bless him even though he was a sinner and was violating some of the personal portions of his vow.
11. Take turns role playing as a judge on some matter of import (whether real or made up) for your Pathfinder Club / Unit / or your Sabbath School class. In each case, there should be a plaintiff that brings forth a complaint, a defendant that the complaint is made against, and a judge that will provide the final say in the matter. The matter should have some reward or penalty associated with the decision to make rendering a judgement more realistic.
Teachers, this is an excellent opportunity to have your class understand the difficulty of judging someone. Please do not divide your teams up by gender and then expect a fair judgment. Rather have random selection of which members of your class will be the plaintiffs and which others will be the defendants. It helps if there is a consequence of significance. For example, the losing side has to do the winning side’s chores on a campout, or the winning side gets double dessert and the losing side gets none. This will provide realism for the plaintiffs and the defendants. You can also create penalties or rewards for the judges to ensure fairness.
12. Read chapter 11 of the book of Judges and discuss the vow of Jephthah with your Pathfinder counselor or church pastor. Does God hold us to our vows when it causes pain to others?
It is important for the Pathfinders to be aware that vows taken before God are sacred and holy matters. Ironically, we have no illumination on this passage in the Conflict of the Ages series and Ellen White is surprisingly mute on this topic. Many believe that God will not hold us to vows that cause us to violate one of the Ten Commandments. It is possible that Jephthah’s daughter was not burned to death on an altar, but that rather she was dedicated to God and was unable to live a normal life but died in the service of God a virgin.
There is an example of men taking a harmful vow in Acts 23:12-15. They were unable to keep it, and it can be argued that God did not want them to.
13. Analyze some of the possible reasons why God called for judges in Israel.
14. What action brought on the end of the period of the judges?
|1 Samuel 8:1-22 (NKJV)|
|Israel Demands a King
1 Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”
10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men,[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. 22 So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.”
And Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Every man go to his city.”