Biblical judges

Biblical judges

Biblical judges (Hebrew: "shoftim" שופטים) were leaders of the Israelites, which included the judicial and military roles. The position was filled by following the selection criteria stated in the Torah Exodus 18:20. [Zeev Weisman, The place of the people in the making of law and judgement, in, David Pearson Wright, David Noel Freedman, Avi Hurvitz (eds.), "Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish, and Near Eastern Ritual, Law, and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom", Eisenbrauns, 1995, p.415]

The Hebrew name of the book of Judges was transliterated by Origen "Safateím" and by St. Jerome "Sophtim"; it was translated into Greek by Melito and Origen "Kritaí", by the Septuagint "ì tôn kritôn bíblos or tôn kritôn", so too by the Greek Fathers; the Latins translated "liber Judicum" (or for short "Judicum").

The Hebrew verb meant originally "to act in judgement", and was applied to God (Genesis 18:25), and to the prophet Moses acting as the specially inspired lawgiver and judge of Israel (Exodus 18:13, 16). In the same chapter Moses appointed leaders to act as judges on advice of his father in law Japhet. After Jehoshua's period of leadership, the elders of the Israelite tribes became the judges. In the book of Judges (2:16) the term judges ("shôphitîm") is applied to the leaders of Israel, and is indicated that their right was from Divine apointment. The office of judge differed from that of king only in the absence of hereditary succession (xii, 7-15). According to the introduction to the Book of Judges (2:10-3:6), after the death of Joshua [2488 - 2516 H.C. (1273 - 1245 bce) (book of Exodus)] , a new generation of Israelites grew up and rather than worshipping HaShem, instead worshipped the pagan Baal and the Asherah, provoking God to anger. These were led for a seventeen year period rule by elders that include Kalev, Pinchas and Eldad. God appointed judges, however on many occasions the people did not listen to the judges and refused to obey God's commands. Even though God raised up judges for them several times, each time the judge died and they went back to their old ways. Finally (Judges 2:20-23) it is revealed that it was part of God's plan for the Israelites to be unable to drive out the remnant Canaanite tribes which were left to test whether the people would "keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their forefathers did".

The extreme repentance and outcry to God that came from the tribes of Israel resulted in God appointing the first judge as saviour (Moshiah) (Judges 3:9) of the people

List of Biblical Judges

The following (in order) are identified as Judges in the Book of Judges (Hebrew: ספר שופטים) [Kantor, Matis, The Jewish time line encyclopedia, Jason Aronson, NJ, 1992, pp.39-42]
#Othniel 2533 - 2573 H.C. 1228 - 1188 BCE
#Ehud ben Gerah 2573 - 2654 H.C. 1188 - 1107 BCE from tribe of Benjamin
#Shamgar ben Anath a Kohen from the tribe of Levi for several years to 2654 H.C. 1107 BCE
#Deborah and Barak ben Avinoam 2654 - 2694 H.C. 1107 - 1067 BCE
#Gideon ben Yoash from the tribe of Menasseh 2694 - 2734 H.C. 1067 - 1027 BCE
#Avimelech ben Gideon from the tribe of Menasseh 2734 - 2737 H.C. 1027 - 1024 BCE
#Tola ben Puah from the tribe of Issachar 2373 - 2758 H.C. 1024 - 1003 BCE
#Jair HaGiladi from the tribe of Menasseh 2758 - 2779 H.C. 1003 - 982 BCE
#Jephthah HaGiladi 2779 - 2785 H.C. 982 - 976 BCE
#Ibzan (Boaz) from the tribe of Jehuda 2785 - 2792 H.C. 976 - 969 BCE
#Elon HaZevuloni from the tribe of Zebulun 2792 - 2802 H.C. 969 - 959 BCE
#Abdon ben Hillel HaPiratoni from the tribe of Ephraim 2802 - 2810 H.C. 959 - 951 BCE
#Samson ben Manoach from the tribe of Dan 2810 - 2831 H.C. 951 - 931 BCE
#Eli HaKohen from the tribe of Levi 2830 - 2870 H.C. 931 - 891 BCE
#Samuel ben Elkana from the tribe of Levi 2871 - 2881 [H.C.] 890 - 880 BCE


It is worth noting that the Phoenicians, according to the Roman historian Livy, called their city states' chief magistrates "suffetes" (XXVIII, xxxvii), apparently a cognate title, and gave to the two suffetes of Carthage a power analogous to that of the Roman consuls (XXX, vii; XXXIV, lxi).

ources and references

*Catholic [ Judges]

See also

*Book of Judges

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