The important thing to watch in the Book of Judges is that there are several themes that will come up not only in this book, but that get introduced here and will keep on coming up over and over again throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament.
The Story of Ruth, Boaz and Naomi and their journey through famine and grief. This is a story of redemption and love for the least of these, those who can not provide for themselves, and is a model for how God wants all of us to see the world, and to show His love to to others.
God’s people are struggling with what it means to live in the promised land. They managed to get by with the help of the Judges for a while, but they begin to worry that they aren’t organized or equipped to deal with the enemies that are around them. They allow their fear and lack of faith in God to get the best of them and ask the Lord for a king. God calls the prophet Samuel to anoint the first, Saul, and eventually the second king, David.
Prophets had been a part of Israel’s life practically forever. Noah was considered among the first prophets since he led God’s people through the flood, and Moses stood tall as the prophet who helped lead God’s people from slavery to freedom. For the earliest part of their history, Israel sought the leadership of prophets because they connected them directly to God’s leadership. Samuel was called as one of these prophets as a young boy.
We read the story of David’s rise to kingship. It’s pretty simple: Saul didn’t obey God’s leadership, so God withdrew support from Saul and gave it to another. Samuel, the prophet of the Lord, followed God’s call to Jesse’s house and expected God to choose of the eldest sons to serve as king. King’s should be big and strong and experienced, right? Anointing of David in the Dura Europos Synagogue
One of David’s greatest mistakes was forcing Bathsheba to sleep with him and eventually become his wife, even though she was married to Uriah, one of David’s greatest warriors and closest advisors. How messed up is that? The King of Israel didn’t respect this children of God or their marriage enough suppress his own lust, so he used his God-given power to break them up, get Bathsheba into his bed, and get Uriah killed.
The History Long before the United States split in two and fought a war over the (un)principals of slavery, Israel as a nation broke apart due to differing ideals and leadership. When one of Solmon’s sons, Jeroboam, set himself up as a king in competition with his father, that led to years of wars between families. Eventually, the tribes of Israel split into two nations, with Benjamin and Judah comprising the Kingdom of Judah in the south and the other ten tribes making up the Kingdom of Israel in the north.
The story of Ester and is a story of reversal. She also helps save the Jewish people as queen.