Dating the Book of Judges
the date of the beginning of the period of Israel's history described in the book of Judges 1). It will be shown that the criteria normally used for dating this period. The key in using the period of the Judges to determine the exodus date of BC, is that it must be more than years (Judges ) and less than Book of Judges, an Old Testament book that, along with Deuteronomy, Joshua, I and II Samuel, and I and II Kings, belongs to a specific historical tradition.
The reference in Although the historical books contain no reference to the actual destruction of Shiloh, Jeremiah 7: If Samuel was the author, than the audience was either the generation of Saul who wanted a king to rule over them 1 Sam 8or perhaps king Saul himself.The Book of Judges
The Setting for the book is after the death of Joshua 1: The Israelites are in the land of promise and are taking possession of the inheritance allotted to each tribe 1: The author knows about a king in Israel Some place the time of the conquest early fifteenth century B. This writer holds to an early date for the Exodus B. A plausible and approximate reconstruction of the Exodus would be as follows: This matches 1 Kings 6: The beginning of the conquest of the land was in B.
The Actual conquest lasted for seven years or until B. Caleb stated that he was forty years old when he went to spy out the land in Joshua Caleb then stated that he was 89 years old at the end of the conquest Joshua Therefore, If the conquest was begun in B. Therefore, Judges lasts for years from when Saul began to reign. A Very Tentative Reconstruction is as Follows: However, if we overlap the 5 "Indivisible Units of Chronology" on top of each other, the sum total of time is years.
This harmonizes perfectly with Jephthah's statement that he lived years after Israel crossed the Jordan in BC: The period of time from the death of Joshua to the time of Jephthah in Judges Yet the numbers in the book of judges add up to years for this same period of time. This means that the chronology of Othniel to Jephthah yearstaken at face value, has about 50 years too many to harmonize with Judges Our solution to this is simple. We have broken the chronology down into 5 "indivisible units of chronology" as follows: So the only way to reduce the total time from years excluding Eli - Samuel to about years is to overlap these "indivisible units of chronology".
We can also reduce Samson from 60 to 40 years because his judgeship ended at the same time as the oppression ended.
The reason we call them "indivisible units of chronology" is because there is no way to suggest the time is shorter than in the sequence of dates given within that period. Let's now examine each of these units. Othniel, Ehud, Ruth to Deborah: In other words, you cannot overlap a times of war and times of peace.
Book of Judges
While it is possible that in this first Unit, the times of war and peace are in different regions of Israel, we consider this unlikely given the natural reading of the text. It is also unnecessary. You have 8 years of oppression, followed by 40 years when the "land had rest", followed by 18 years of oppression, followed by 80 years when the "land had rest".
There simply is no way to shorten this time by overlapping periods of oppression and peace within the unit. But a secondary factor comes into play within unit 1. It says "after Ehud died came both Shamgar and Deborah". We know therefore, that both Shamgar and Deborah judged within the same period of chronological time side by side, and it is quite interesting that no dates are given for Shamgar. All we know is that Shamgar followed Ehud, as did Deborah who judged 40 years.
So we can rightly ignore Shamgar in terms of the chronology since we know he judged during the same "post Ehud" period as Deborah, for whom we know the specific dates of her judgeship. The book of Ruth coincides with Ehud's liberation of Eglon, king of Moab and the story of Benjamin's sodomy of Judges See harmony of Judges and Ruth D. When you splice the different verses together you get this meaning: After Gideon came Abimelech who judged for 3 years 9: After Abimelech died Tola judged for 23 years After Tola came Jair who judged for 22 years It is obvious then that you cannot shorten the 95 years because each Judged after the prior one died.
Abimelech must be included in the chronology. Those who remove Abimelech from the chronology simply because he was not appointed by God are violating the context of the chronology given. It matters not if Abimelech was approved by God or not, the fact remains that he judged for three years after Gideon in Shechem 9: What difference does three years really make anyway?
After Jephthah then Ibzan judged 7 years After Ibzan then Elon judged 10 years After Elon then Abdon judged 7 years Each of these judges ruled one after the other like a train with four cars in a row. Like Unit 2, there is no way to reduce 48 years of Unit 3 because it is clear the judges did not rule at the same time.
The Book of Ruth in the time of the Judges and Ruth, the Moabitess
However the oppression of the Philistines continued right through to the death of Samson. In other words, Samson did not succeed in defeating the Philistines until the day he died. So we do not add the 20 years of Samson on top of the 40 years of Philistine oppression, because both ended at the same time.
So a total of 40 years, not 60 are to counted because Samson judged during the last 20 years of the 40 year Philistine oppression.
Whether 40 or 60 years, it doesn't make any difference in the chronology of Judges because we can fit either in easily. We have now defined each of the 5 "Indivisible Units".
- Dating the Book of Judges
- The Book Of Judges – Dating And Meaning
- Book of Judges
Let's now examine how one unit can be overlapped with another in order to reduce the time from years to years. Splicing Units 1 and 2 together: We can prove that Deborah and Gideon judged at the same time.
After each Judge the narrative tells us there were two periods of 40 years where the land had rest. Most view these as two different sets of 40 years which they add up to 80 chronological years.
However, these two periods of 40 years of rest are in fact the same period and amount to a total of only 40 chronological years. Therefore we match the 40 years of rest of Gideon 8: By lining up the two 40 years of peace, we very nicely splice the end of "indivisible unit 1", with the beginning of "indivisible unit 2". This shows us that Israel was being oppressed in the north by the Canaanites at the same time the Midianites were crossing the Jordan and raiding the crops of central Israel, then returning transjordan.
Deborah's battle was at Mt. Tabor and involved 10, men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun: Gideon's battle started in the valley of Jezreel, then moved transjordan far east of the Jordan and involved a specialized army of from Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali: Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.
The critical link between Deborah and Gideon is in the tribes who fought and the tribes who refused to fight. Deborah started judging 13 years before Gideon and chastised the region of Gilead, and the tribes of Dan and Asher because they would not join in the battle: Asher sat at the seashore, And remained by its landings. She praises Zebulun and Naphtali for joining the battle: So this was the second time Gilead had refused to fight for their brethren.
A kind of "two strikes and you're out" policy with God. Later Gilead would redeem themselves under Jephthah, who himself was a Gileadite who saved themselves from the Ammonite oppression. Perhaps still not that noble, since they were merely defending their own home turf from the invasion of the king of Ammon.
Good thing the Gileadites had no French genes in them, or else they would have just surrounded to the Ammonites and expected the other tribes to liberate an fight for them!