Israel at the time of
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Ancient Israel's Judges


Joshua
Number of years as Judge: 18

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 children of Israel 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
Number of years as Judge: 40

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
Number of years as Judge: 80

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.

Battles of Gideon Map!
How many Israelites left Egypt?
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Deborah and Barak
Number of years as Judge: 40

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
Number of years as Judge: 40

Eli was a fairly large man. At the age of 98 he died after falling backwards on his chair and breaking his neck.

Gideon
Number of years as Judge: 40

Gideon, who came from the tribe of Manasseh, fathered at least seventy sons. Two of his sons he named Abimelech and Jotham. He fought and won many battles for Israel.

Abimelech (in the North)
Number of years as Judge: 3

Abimelech, one of the many sons of Gideon, 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 to murder almost all his seventy brothers except for Jotham. God ultimately allowed him to be punished by his own sins!


Tola (in the North)
Number of years as Judge: 23

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).

Jephthah (in the East)
Number of years as Judge: 6

For more detailed information about this fascinating individual, please see our article on the life of Jephthah!

Samson (in the South and West)
Number of years as Judge: 20

Samson's downfall came when he divulged to a Philistine whore named Delilah the secret of his strength. Please see our article on the dynamic life of Samson! Also read our free material on where Samson got his one-of-a-kind strength!

Samuel
Number of years as Judge: 32

Samuel Judged Israel a good part of his life (1Samuel 7:15).


Ibzan (in the East)
Number of years as Judge: 7

Not much is revealed in Scripture regarding Ibzan. The city he grew up in is Bethlehem.

Jair (in the North)
Number of years as Judge: 22

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).

Elon (in the East)
Number of years as Judge: 10

Not much is revealed in the Bible regarding Elon. He was a Zebulunite who was buried in the city of Aijalon.


Abdon (in the East)
Number of years as Judge: 8

Abdon was a Pirathonite who was the son of Hillel.

Samuel's sons
Number of years as Judge: 3

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.

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