So far, we have covered seven of the 15 judges mentioned in the book of Judges. They are the more commonly known judges, merely because there is more written about them. That leaves eight remaining judges, for whom very little is known.
Often their entire life is summarized in just a couple of verses. They are:
Othneil (Judges 3:7-11) overpowered foreign oppression, resulting in 40 years of peace—until he died. (Trivia: He was Caleb’s nephew.)
Ehud (Judges 3:12-3:30) posed as a peaceful envoy with a private message for the king. The message was thrusting a sword into the king’s fat belly. Ehud then escaped, rallied the troops, and routed the enemy army. Then there was 80 years of peace. (Trivia: he was left-handed.)
Shamgar (Judges 3:31) killed 600 Philistines. (Trivia: he used an oxgoad—“a sharp wooden stick”)
Tola (Judges 10:1-2) led Israel for 23 years; then he died.
Jair (Judges 10:3-5) led Israel for 22 years; then he died. (Trivia: he had 30 sons, who rode 30 donkeys, and controlled 30 towns.)
Ibzan (Judges 12:8-10) led Israel for seven years; then he died. (Trivia: he intermarried his 60 children to people from other tribes.)
Elon (Judges 12:11-12) led Israel for ten years; then he died.
Abdon (Judges 12:13-15) led Israel for eight years; then he died. (Trivia: his 40 sons and 30 grandsons rode 70 donkeys.)
From this, I have two general observations:
First, for many, there is seemingly strange trivial information provided. While it may seem nonsensical to us now, it may have had important meaning back then. If we can ascertain it, additional insight could be gained.
Second, more importantly, the recorded impact of these judges was largely limited to their lifetime; no mention is made of them setting up a successor or influencing others to lead after their death.
Contemplation: What are you doing to extend your influence beyond your life?
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.