ascertains that he has Jehovah’s backing (6:25-40)
2. Israelite force of 32,000 encamps at well of Harod; 22,000 fearful ones dismissed and, by submitting remainder to test, army finally reduced to 300 men (7:1-8)
3. Gideon surveys enemy camp and afterward he and his men blow horns, smash jars, hold torches aloft and shout war cry; Jehovah throws enemy into confusion, causing Amalekites, Midianites and Easterners to turn against one another (7:9-22)
4. Other tribes of Israel summoned to share in battle; Ephraimites capture Midianite princes Oreb end Zeeb but later try to pick a quarrel with Gideon for not having been called earlier; Gideon tactfully averts clash (7:23–8:3)
5. Gideon continues in pursuit of enemy; on victorious return punishes men of Succoth and kills men of Penuel for failure to render aid; also executes Midian’s two kings, Zebah and Zalmunna (8:4-21)
6. He refuses kingship but makes ephod from spoils of war, which ephod later becomes object of idolatrous veneration (8:22-28)
F. Gideon fathers large family but after his death nearly all his sons are killed and Abimelech becomes king (8:30–9:5)
1. Abimelech, Gideon’s son by concubine of Shechem, murders all his half brothers, with exception of Jotham the youngest, and becomes king of Shechem (8:31, 9:1-21)
2. Friction develops between Shechemites and Abimelech; finally Abimelech destroys Shechem and, afterward, while laying siege to Thebez, has his skull smashed and therefore orders attendant to kill him (9:22-57)
G. Tola and Jair judge Israel for twenty-three and twenty-two years respectively (10:1-5)
H. Israel again turns to false worship and comes under Philistine and Ammonite oppression; Judge Jephthah used as deliverer (10:6–12:7)
1. Jephthah leads fight against Ammonites, is blessed with victory and therefore carries out vow respecting his daughter (11:1-40)
2. Ephraimites feel slighted, wrongly accuse Jephthah of not having solicited their aid; fighting erupts as a result and Ephraimites suffer defeat (12:1-6)
3. Jephthah judges Israel for six years (12:7)
I. Ibzan, Elon and Abdon serve as judges a combined total of twenty-flve years (12:8-15)
J. Israel subjected to Philistine control for forty years; Samson is savior (13:1–16:31)
1. Jehovah designates Samson, son to be borne by wife of Danite Manoah, as savior (13:2-25)
2. Samson, empowered by Jehovah’s spirit, performs great exploits during twenty years of his judgeship; betrayed by Delilah, the object of his love, Samson is imprisoned by Philistines but finally puts more Philistines to death in his own death than during entire lifetime (14:1–16:31)
III. Additional historical information depicting conditions during time of judges (17:1–21:25)
A. Ephraimite Micah engages in idolatry and employs services of young Levite, “Jonathan the son of Gershom” (17:1-13; 18:30)
B. Certain Danites steal Micah’s idols and also take Levite along to Laish; they capture Laish and Levite begins serving as priest for them (18:1-31)
C. Mass sex crime of men in Gibeah of Benjamin precipitates civil war when Benjamites refuse to turn over guilty ones; tribe of Benjamin almost annihilated (19:1–21:25)
A specific “day” or period when particular groups, nations or mankind in general are called to account by God. It may be a time when those already judged to be deserving of death are executed, or the judgment may afford opportunity for some to be delivered, even to everlasting life. Jesus Christ and his apostles pointed to a future “Judgment [Greek, Kriʹse·os] Day” involving, not only the living, but also those who had died in the past.—Matt. 10:15; 11:21-24; 12:41, 42; 2 Tim. 4:1, 2.
PAST TIMES OF JUDGMENT
At various times in the past Jehovah called peoples and nations to account for their actions and executed his judgments by bringing destruction. Such executional judgments were not arbitrary demonstrations of brute force or overwhelming power. In some instances the word translated “judgment [mish·patʹ]” is also rendered “justice.” (Ezra 7:10) The Bible emphasizes that Jehovah “is a lover of righteousness and justice,” so his executional judgments involve both of those qualities.—Ps. 33:5.
Sometimes the executional judgments came as a result of the wicked conduct of people in their daily lives. Sodom and Gomorrah are an example of this. Jehovah inspected the cities and determined that the sin of the inhabitants was very heavy; he decided to bring the cities to ruin. (Gen. 18:20, 21; 19:14) Later Jude wrote that those cities underwent “the judicial punishment [Greek, diʹken; “judgment,” Da; “justice,” Yg; “retributive justice,” ED] of everlasting fire.” (Jude 7) So those cities experienced a “day” of judgment.
Jehovah conducted a legal case against ancient Babylon, the longtime enemy of God and his people. Because of being unnecessarily cruel to the Jews, not intending to release them after the seventy-year captivity and crediting Marduk with the victory over God’s people, Babylon was in line for an executional judgment. (Jer. 51:36; Isa. 14:3-6, 17; Dan. 5:1-4) That came to Babylon in 539 B.C.E. when it was overthrown by the Medes and Persians. Because the judgment to be executed was Jehovah’s, such a period could be referred to as “the day of Jehovah.”—Isa. 13:1, 6, 9.
Similarly, Jeremiah prophesied that God would “put himself in judgment” with Edom, among others (Jer. 25:17-31), hence that nation that had shown hatred for Jehovah and his people experienced destructive judgment in the “day of Jehovah.”—Obad. 1, 15, 16.
When Judah and Jerusalem became unfaithful and merited God’s disapproval, he promised to “execute in the midst of [her] judicial decisions.” (Ezek. 5:8) In 607 B.C.E. “the day of Jehovah’s fury” came with an execution of his destructive judgment. (Ezek. 7:19) However, another “day” or time of judgment on Jerusalem was foretold. Joel prophesied an outpouring of spirit before the “great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” (Joel 2:28-31) Under inspiration Peter on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E. explained that they were then experiencing a fulfillment of that prophecy. (Acts 2:16-20) The destructive “day of Jehovah” came in 70 C.E. when the Roman armies executed divine judgment upon the Jews. As Jesus foretold, those were “days for meting out justice.”—Luke 21:22.
FUTURE TIMES OF EXECUTIONAL JUDGMENT
Aside from Hebrew Scripture prophecies, the Bible definitely mentions a number of future judgment days that are executional. Revelation points to the time when “Babylon the Great” will be completely burned with fire. This judicial punishment is because of her fornication with the nations and her being drunk with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. (Rev. 17:1-6; 18:8, 20; 19:1, 2) Mentioning another executional judgment, Peter drew upon what occurred in Noah’s day and foretold a “day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:7) Revelation speaks of such a destruction as being executed by