The major challenge facing the still fledgling nation of Israel was one of spiritual obedience. The generation of peoples brought into the land of Canaan was the second generation of the Exodus. The first generation perished in the wilderness due to their lack of obedience. The second generation, led by Joshua entered the land of Canaan and by Moses direction each tribe occupied their own parcel of land.
The Hebrews knew that they were a nation. They had experienced God's guidance together as well as his judgement. They all knew that they were descendants of the same family. What they did not have that other nations had was an established infra-structure. They did not have a central governing body or a political body and they were still strangers in a strange land. (Sons of Ignatius, 2008) Much as God had spoken to Abraham and chosen him to be the father of the covenant nation, he spoke to faithful and obedient members of the Hebrew nation who had good reputations and were in high standing within the community. These people become the impromptu leaders of the young nation of Israel, the Judges.
The theme of the book of Judges follows the same pattern of knowledge of God and a relationship with him that reveal his blessings, disobedience to God's laws, punishment by God for the disobedience and the Israelite return to Godly obedience. Each time the people fell away from God's will and were punished they then began to look for someone to tell them what they could possibly do to gain God's favor. The Judges served to help regulate the the actions of those in the community as well as drawing them all together as a community who must function as one and think of what was best for all. The Judges also served as moral examples to the people.
Miller describes the book of Judges as the Torah in narrative form, or the law as a story. (Miller, 2003) The Canaanites represent mans sin nature and the fact that the Israelites lived among them they fell...