Ancient Israel's Judges
The book of Joshua found in the Bible was actually written by the prophet Samuel, who also penned the book of Judges.
Joshua was 85 years old when the Israelites crossed the Jordan river to enter the Promised Land. According to Jewish historian Josephus, He governed for twenty-five years, from the time of entering the Land of Canaan to his death at the age of 110 (1405 to 1380 B.C.). A case can be made, however, that Joshua did not begin as a true Judge of Israel until the division of the promised land occurred seven years after the people entered it (1398 to 1380).
Othniel's wife Achsah (his first cousin) was given to him by Caleb after he defeated the Canaanite city of Kirjath-sepher (Joshua 15:16 - 17).
Ehud was from the tribe of Benjamin and was a rare left-handed warrior (Judges 3:15). His weapon of choice used during battles was an 18 inch (46 centimeters) dagger.
Deborah and Barak
Deborah was a prophetess who was the wife of Lapidoth. Barak came from the tribe of Naphtali and lived in the city of Kedesh.
Eli was a fairly large man. At the age of 98 he died after falling backwards on his chair and breaking his neck.
Gideon, who came from the tribe of Manasseh, fathered at least seventy sons. Two of his sons he named Abimelech and Jotham.
Abimelech was a rather vain individual with illusions of greatness. He became a Judge, in part, because he convinced the people of Shechem he deserved the job. He used money given to him to hire 'thugs' who aided him killing almost ALL his seventy brothers except for Jotham.
Tola lived in a city within Ephraim. After serving as Judge for twenty-three years he was buried in his hometown (Judges 10:1 - 2).
For more detailed information about the fascinating life of Jephthah, please see our short article on his life.
Samson's downfall came when he divulged to the Philistine whore Delilah the secret of his strength.
Samuel Judged Israel a good part of his life (1Samuel 7:15).
Not much is revealed in Scripture regarding Ibzan. The city he grew up in is Bethlehem.
Jair has a city and a region named after him in Israel called Havvoth - Jair. He was a Gileadite who governed for 22 years (Judges 10:3).
Not much is revealed in the Bible regarding Elon. He was a Zebulunite who was buried in the city of Aijalon.
Abdon was a Pirathonite who was the son of Hillel.
When Samuel was advanced in age he mistakenly placed his sons as Judges over the people (1Samuel 8:1). They served from 1053 to 1050 B.C. It is in 1050 that Samuel, at the request of the people and elders of Israel, anoints Saul as King.