Brave Hearts Girls Ministry


There is a wealth of material available about Judges.  This study compares the ones who were right in God’s eyes to the ones who were right in their own eyes.   Stress the fact that while the Judges who ruled were right in God’s eyes, the country prospered, while the Judges who ruled from their own eyes caused the nation to suffer greatly.  The cycle took place over and over again.  When a Godly judge died, people went back to their old ways with idols and activities not acceptable to God.  God would then give them another Godly judge and they turned back to God until he died. The pattern continued to repeat itself. 


Memory Verse: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”  17:6


Key Facts


Purpose:  To show that God’s judgment against sin is certain, and His forgiveness of sin and restoration to relationship are just as certain for those who repent.


Date written:  approximately 1375 B. C.


Author: Possibly Samuel


Original Audience: The people of Israel




Lesson 1:  The Military Failure of Israel (2:1-23)

Lesson 2:  Facts about Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar

                   (Bible reference beside each fact)

Lesson 3:  Looking at Deborah and Gideon’s Leadership

                   (Bible reference beside each fact)

Lesson 4: Looking at Abimelech, Jephthah, Samson and         

                   Samuel’s Leadership

                   (Bible reference beside each fact)

Lesson 5: Right in God’s Eyes, Right in Our Eyes

                   Israel’s Solution vs. God’s Standard

                   (Bible reference beside each fact.)


Lesson 1:  The Military Failure of Israel (2:1-23)


Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim.  And He said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers and I said, I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.  But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done?


Therefore I also said, I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you”

And it came about when the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.  So they named that place Bochem; and there they sacrificed to the Lord.

When Joshua had dismissed the people, the tribes of Israel went each to his inheritance to possess the land.  And the people, served the Lord all the days of Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel.  Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and ten.

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. 

Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals, and they forsook the lord, the God of their Fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger.

So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtroth.  And the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.  

Where ever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had spoken and as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.

Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.

And yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them.  They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord, they did not do as their fathers.

And when the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.

But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than theirs fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways.  So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not listened to My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.”      


1.  What is a judge?

       (A leader of the tribe.)

2.  What had God made with the Judges?

(A covenant to walk with Him and NOT walk along with the tribes, who did worship others gods.)

3.  What would happen if the tribes didn’t obey God?

       (God would take away his protection of them.)

4.  What made this so difficult? 

       (God had spoken to the fathers and grandfathers of these people.  Kind of like when your parents are away you sometimes do things that you know you shouldn’t.)

You will be learning more about these people in the next few weeks.  There are rewards for obeying the rules.

Summary:  God raised up Judges who were right in His eyes.  During their reign Israel prospered.


Lesson 2:  Setting, Facts about Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar

Setting:  After the death of Joshua they did not:                          

Know the Lord (2:10)

Drive out the enemy (1:21-36)

Cycle (incomplete obedience)

Did evil (2:11

Forsook the Lord

Followed other Gods (2:12)

God provoked, sold them to the enemies (2:14)

They were distressed (2:12)

They cried out (2:18)

God raised up judges (2:16)

They did not listen

Judge died

More corrupt than before (2:19)



Oppressed for 8 years.  (3:8)

Had a godly heritage (3:9, 10)

Proven ability  (1:13)

Lord gave enemy and king into his hand (3:10)

Land had rest for 40 years (3:11)



Oppressed 18 years (3:14)

Took tribute to King Eglon (3:15)

Used a sword with two edges to kill Eglon (3:16)

Had a strategy (3:15 - 23)

Organized Israel (3:27)

Faith was in the Lord (3:28)                                                              6

Israel undisturbed for 80 years (3:30)


Shamgar struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad in one battle.  He too saved Israel. (3:31)



1.  What is one thing all three of these Judges had in common?

       (All were Godly men who follow Gods commandments.)

2.  When you looked at the setting of Israel at the time of Joshua’s death what are some     of the problems you saw that led to Israel’s downfall?

    (Did evil, Forsook the Lord, Followed other Gods)

3. As you look at the cycle what do you see happening?

     (As long as they had a Godly Judge they lived in peace, when that Judge died they went back to their old ways and patterns of life and lived in turmoil.)

Summary:  When Joshua died the nation fell back into its old patterns of doing things through their eyes.  Othniel was brought up after eight years.  The land had rest for forty years.  After Othniel died there was 18 years of oppression.  God brought up Ehud.  Israel was undisturbed for 80 years.  Shamgar also saved Israel.


Lesson 3:   Looking at Deborah and Gideon’s Leadership

Deborah was a prophetess (4:4)

The setting of the country when Deborah took over;

  1.  Israel did evil in sight of Lord after Ehud died (4:1)

  2.  Result; Were sold into hands of Jabin, king of Canaan 


  3.  Travel not safe (5:6)                                                                                7         

  4.  New gods were chosen (5:8)

  5.  Cried out to the Lord

  6.  Oppression lasted 20 years (4:3)

  7. Had no weapons (5:8)


Events of the battle can be found in Judges 4:3,6,7,15,21, and Judges 5:4,20,21. 

  Deborah’s leadership;  Deborah heard from the Lord and summoned Barak (4:6)


Spoke only God’s word; saw a need and responded; never lost sight of her role; did not work alone; enlisted and motivated help; listened to God; no pride, willing for Barak and Jael to have victory and glory.

Gideon’s spiritual progress:

1.  God appears at wine press (6:11)

2.  God sends Gideon to deliver (6:14)

3.  God promises deliverance (6:16)

4.  God provides sign (6:21)

5.  God told him to tear down his father’s altar (6:25)

6.  Men of city asked for Gideon’s death (6:30)

7.  Enemies assembled against Israel (6:33)

8.  Spirit of Lord came upon Gideon  (6:34)

9.  Gideon’s fleece (6:37-40) (A lesson in itself.)

10.  Gideon was fearful, (6:13,15,17,18,22,27)


LESSONS for all of us, God is with you/ God sees potential (6:12,),  God provides; I will be with you (6:16)

God meets us where we are (6:21)

God did give Gideon protection and victory.  However Gideon had a downfall.  Took spoil himself (8:21); Let Israel take spoil (8:24); had many wives.      



1.   What were some of the problems Israel had when they did evil in the sight of the Lord?  (sold into slavery, travel not safe, new gods were chosen)

2.  What did the people do?  (Cried out to the Lord)

3.  How long did their oppression last? (20 years)

4.  What was Deborah’s response?

   (Summoned Barak, followed God’s commands and God’s leadership. Never lost sight of her role, Didn’t work alone, no pride, willing for Barak and Jael to have victory and glory.)  

5.  Gideon was an interesting man.  He did obey God’s commands, to a point.  What was his big weakness?  (Fear)  

6.  What did God give Gideon through the battle”  (Protection and victory.)

7. Do you think Gideon was a good Judge?

  (Let the ladies give their reasons for or against Gideon’s leadership)

8.  What lesson did you learn from Gideon?  (God is with you, he sees your potential,

  God’s provision -- I will be with you.  God meets us where we are.) 

Summary:  Deborah brought the land back to peace.  She was very humble.  She knew where to get help and never lost sight of who she was.  Gideon really wanted to be a good and brave Judge but he was afraid.  God stayed with him and gave him protection and victory in battle.

Lesson 4: Looking at Abimelech, Jephthah, Samson and Samuel’s Leadership         

Abimelech’ Leadership

Abimelech’s goal was to make himself king (9:2)

He killed 70 sons of Jerubbaal

Jotham escaped (9:5)’

Abimelech was made king by men of Shechem (9:6)

Jotham’s parable of the bramble (9:8-15)

Jotham calls men of Shechem to examine themselves.

If you have dealt in truth and integrity with house of Gideon, rejoice in Abimelech and let him rejoice in you.

If not- let fire come from Abimelech and consume Abimelech (9:16-20)

Evil spirit came between Abimelech and men of Shechem to avenge the blood of the 70 (9:23,24)

Jotham’s curse comes true:

Abimelech burned the men and women of Shechem

Abibelech is destroyed by Shechem (9:52-57)

Abimelech did what was right in his own eyes!



Brothers drove him out (11:2)

Elders of Gilead make him their head (11:11)

Reasoned with king of the sons of Ammon (11:12)

Knew history of Israel (11:15-26)

Spirit of the Lord came upon him (11:29)

He made a vow (not necessary - manipulating God) (11:30)

If win - will offer up first thing that comes out of the house (11:31)

Did not know the word of God.

Jephthah did what was right in his own eyes.



By divine command/choice (13:3-5)

Spirit of the Lord began to stir him (13:25)

Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily (14:6,19, 15:14

Did not keep his vow

Carcass of lion (14:8,9)

Feast (14:10); haircut(16:19)

Cried out to God for water (15:18,19)

Called Lord God for vengeance against Philistines (16:28)

Sought what was right in his own eyes

God judged with capture, imprisonment, and blindness (16:21)

Accomplished god’s purpose for his life (16:28-31)

Turned from wickedness and lived by faith (16:29, 30)


Lord revealed Himself to him (3:21)

Called Israel to return to God;

To remove foreign Gods

To direct their hearts to God alone and serve Him (1Sam.7:3)

Gathered Israel together to pray for them (1Sam. 7:5)

Samuel cried out to the Lord (1Sam. 7:9)

Samuel built an altar (1Sam.7:12)

Israel confessed their sin against the Lord (1Sam. 7:9)

Removed Baals - served God alone (1Sam. 7:4)

Lord delivered them from the Philistines (1Sam. 7:14)



1.  Was Abimelech a good Judge?

     (No, he ruled by what was right in his own eyes.)

2.  Was Jephthah a good Judge?

     (No, he ruled by what was right in his own eyes.)

3.  Did either of these two Judges help Israel?

     (No, the people still did not have any leadership.)

4.  Samson was a very unusual man.  What made him so different from the other Judges?

     (He didn’t cut his hair; he was very big and strong.)

5. What was his downfall?  (He was tricked by a woman to tell where his strength came from.  Once       his hair was cut he no longer had his strength.)

6. Once he lost his strength what did the Philistines do to him.  (They made his blind and   put him in prison.)

7.  At the end of his life how did Samson live?  (He turned from wickedness and lived by   faith.


Summary:  Abimelech did what was right in his own eyes.  Jephthat didn’t know the word of God and did what was right in his own eyes.


Samson: Spirit of God came upon him mightily.  He didn’t keep his vow.  He did seek what was right in his own eyes.  At the end of his life, God’s purpose for his life was accomplished.   He turned from wickedness and lived by faith.  

Samuel: Lord revealed Himself to Samuel.  Samuel called Israel to return to God.    

Lesson 5:  Right in our own Eyes, Right in God’s Eyes; Israel’s Solution, God’s Standard


       Right in Your Own Eyes                                      Right in God’s Eyes


Micah:  Stole silver from his mother (17:2,3)        You shall not Steal (Exod. 20:15)

             Made a graven image (17:4)                      No other Gods before Me (Deut 5:7)

             Had a shrine                                               Worship at the tabernacle

Made an ephod and household idols                                                                                                       Consecrated a son to be his priest (17:5)               God established priesthood (Gen. (46:8,
Had a self-made religion                                         11; Deut. 5:7)


        Levite:                                                                             Levites:


Family of Judah   (17:12)                                       Descendants of Levi (Gen. 46:8,11)                            

Had no real purpose (17:7-9)                                 Primary responsibility – take care of the             

Micah hired him as a priest to his                            tabernacle                                                           household.                                                              Serve Aaron and priests (Num. 1:47-54;


Was to be a priest over idols                                     Ark of Covenant at Shiloh                                                                                                                    (1 Sam. 1:3,24;24;3:21)

Refused to be satisfied with God’s arrangements     Be wholly given unto the Lord
for his Life.                                                                     (Num. 8:14-16)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

(Committed to self not to God) (17:9)                       Guard the book of the                                                                                          law.  (Deut. 17:18)


Took a better job (tribe versus one man) (18:19)       Supported by offerings and
                                                                                       tithes of the people  (Deut 18:1-5)                                                                                      



  Sought an inheritance for themselves (18:1)

  Did not drive out Amorites (1:34-36)

  Took idols, images, and household gods (18:18)

  Made Levite a priest - rejected God’s order for worship (18:19, 20)


             Israel’s Solution                                                           God’s Standard


Relied on their own counsel (20:1,2)                               What to do:

                                                                                          Clean out the old leaven

Made three vows:                                                               (1Cor. 5:7)

1st vow:  To punish Gibeah  (20:8-10)                             Do not associate with so

    Result – tribe of Benjamin nearly wiped out                  called brother-immoral

          (20:12-48)                                                                 person (1Cor. 5:12)

2nd vow: not to give daughters as wives to

    Benjamin (21:1)                                                            Judge those within the

    Result – Kidnapped girls at feast at Shiloh (21:19-21)   church (1Cor. 5:12)

                                                                                          Remove the wicked from

3rd vow: whoever had not assembled at Mizpah would                 among you (1 Cor. 5:13)

       be put to death (21:5)

    Result- destroyed Jabesh-Gilead and kept 400             How:

        Virgins for wives for the sons of Benjamin                    Restore in a spirit of gentleness    

     (21:12-14)                                                        (Gal. 6:1)

                                                                  Correct with gentleness to bring

                                                                                                to repentance  (2 Tim. 2:24,25)



                                                                                           Turn sinner from error of his                      

                                                               way that his soul might be                       

                                                                                               saved from death.

                   (James 5:19, 20)




1.  Micah stole and made a graven image.  What did God say about that? (You shall not steal or have other gods before Me.)

2.  What other sins did you see the people making? (Not worshipping at the temple only, sought an inheritance for themselves, did not drive out all of the enemy)


Summary: Lessons for all

God is with you; God sees our potential; God provides; I will be with you; God meets us where we are.  God is a forgiving and merciful God.  Walk with Him.


*Material for this study taken from the NIV 1997New International Version Bible, and  1997 Precept Ministries of Reach Out, Inc.                                                                                                                         


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