The Judges


  • John Cohen


The judges occupy a unique place in the history of Israel moulding the people into a nation and setting the scene for the monarchy. If a more leisurely exploration of the topic were available then it might be seen that beginning with Moses and ending with Samuel the role of the judge ultimately subverts its own authority finally disappearing from the life of the nation. The Deuteronomic Code was established as an expression of the revelation of the absent Divine rather than the mediation of the judge between Yahweh and the people of Israel. A literary approach to the narratives of the judges reveals an underlying unity brought to wholeness through the shaping, paradoxes and tensions which emerge between the divine and the human. This paper limits itself, with the exception of Samson however, to those who are called judges in the book of the same name. In so doing it can be said that they are far from the types expressed in the characters of Moses and Joshua.