The Companion Bible - The Book of Judges

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The citadel not taken till 2 Samuel , by David. Note the Figure of speech Parenthesis App-6 , and compare with Judges Compare Numbers Compare Genesis Joshua ; Joshua These are sons of Anak. Compare Judges See note on Joshua and Judges Othniel Mentioned only here; and Judges Joshua ; and 1 Chronicles Supply Fig, Ellipsis with "home". What Wilt thou? Joshua , Joshua A non-Israelite race Genesis See Saul"s correspondence with them 1 Samuel One branch in the north Judges Jeremiah These were wholly or partially retaken by the enemy, Compare Judges ; Judges Perhaps this accounts for the Septuagint reading, "Judah too did not inherit".

See their names in Judges and Appand App Compare Joshua ; Joshua Compare Genesis , and see Joshua , Joshua Luz and Beth-el not two cities. A nation north of Syria, mentioned on Egyptian inscriptions from B.

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Note the Figure of speech Paradiastole App-6 in verses: Judges Emphasizing the unfaithfulness and disobedience, the cause of all subsequent trouble. Psalms See note on 1 Kings , 1 Kings Figure of speech Metonymy of Cause , App-6, by which the hand is put for the power exerted by it,. Judges 2 gives a summary of events from Judges , Judges , Judges The period it covers is therefore , i. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesy of BibleSupport. Used by Permission. Bibliography Information Bullinger, Ethelbert William.

Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". Sign out. Not a member? Color Scheme.

Bible Tools Search. Interlinear Search. Lexicon Search Greek Hebrew Aramaic. Writings Search. Before Christ Edersheim Flavius Josephus more. Illustrations Search. The Quotation Archive Add a Quotation. Parallel Search. Tozer Charles Spurgeon Voice of the Lord more. Beginning in the early s and continuing into the late s, feminism attempted to fight for the social rights women lacked.

The second wave of feminist interpreters discovered that even if they stripped the biblical texts of their androcentric interpretations, the texts themselves nevertheless remained androcentric, raising the issue of biblical authority. The following descriptions briefly summarize the three main feminist responses to the question of biblical authority:.

However, the issue of authority is not always pertinent. This is especially the case because not all readers and interpreters of the biblical texts are religious. Taking this into consideration, another way to look at the history of feminist interpreters of the biblical texts is to discuss some of the major feminist hermeneutical strategies employed with the caveat that the list by no means encompasses all possible feminist approaches :.

The following material could be used for a lecture on the major female characters in the book of Judges. Discussion questions for each of the different female characters are included after their description, in addition to more general questions for discussion at the end. Alternatively, students could be divided into groups and asked to explore the texts about each of these women, and to present their findings to the whole class. At that point, a discussion on the depiction of women in the book of Judges could take place.

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  7. Feminist Companion to Judges.

Biblical scholars observe that the spiral into chaos and the social and religious decline depicted in the book of Judges directly corresponds to the well-being of its female characters. The book portrays these female characters both as individuals and in collective groups, sometimes naming them but often not, and only occasionally giving them a voice in the narrative. Broadly speaking, when women are named and voiced in Judges, things are at their best for Israel as a whole, while when women are voiceless, they are silent victims of male violence, and things are at their worst for Israel as a whole.

The narrative opens with Achsah, a woman who has both a name and a voice and closes with stories about the unnamed, voiceless, and abused women of the concluding chapters of the book. Articles on both War and Names in Biblical Literature provided helpful summaries on violence and the importance of names in the biblical literature. The first woman introduced in the book of Judges is Achsah.

In contrast with many of her subsequent female counterparts, the book of Judges both names and gives a voice to Achsah. After her father gives her to Othniel as a wife, she returns to him and makes a demand, saying, "Give me a present; since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, give me also Gulloth-mayim" Judges The text reports that her father grants her request.

The second of the named women in the book of Judges is Deborah , whom the text describes both as a female prophet and as either "The Woman of [the town] Lappidoth" or "wife of [the man] Lappidoth" Judg ; the meaning of the original Hebrew is ambiguous.

In addition to her role as judge, Deborah also functions as a military leader: she summons a man named Barak to be her general and leads him and his soldiers against Israel's enemies. Like Achsah, the text both names Deborah and gives her a voice. The next major female character is Jael , about whom Deborah sings Song of Deborah.

Like Deborah and Achsah, the text both names and gives a voice to Jael. Identified as the wife of Heber the Kenite, Jael invites the commander of the Canaanite army of King Jabin, a man named Sisera , into her tent as he flees from a battle in defeat.

Why Study the Book of Judges?

She subsequently drives a tent-peg into his temple, killing him, and thereby saving the Israelites from the Canaanite threat. Following Jael, the next major female character is the book remains unnamed, and is only known as Jephthah's Daughter.


The book then reports that his only child, a daughter, comes out to meet him first. Jephthah appears bound by his vow and does not fight her fate, but only asks for two months time, in which she "may go and wander on the mountains, and bewail my virginity, my companions and I" Judg Following this, the text states, "At the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to the vow he had made.

She had never slept with a man" Judges The book offers no commentary on the act, but simply concludes, "So there arose an Israelite custom that for four days every year the daughters of Israel would go out to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite" Judges The stories of Samson feature several key female characters: his unnamed mother, his unnamed Philistine bride, and his paramour Delilah. Samson's Mother is the first woman introduced into the narrative. Unnamed, the text simply refers to her as Manoah's wife Judg —25; —9, 16 ; She is the recipient of two divine birth-announcements, in both of which she interacts one-on-one with a divine messenger.

When she announces to her husband Manoah what she has learned, Manoah requests a second visit. The text then reads, "God listened to Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but her husband Manoah was not with her" Judg Only after the messenger appeared twice to the woman alone is Manoah granted an audience and even then he has to follow his wife to meet the messenger , in which he asks "What is to be the boy's rule of life?

What is he to do? The messenger states, "Let the woman give heed to all that I said to her" Judges When Manoah finally understands to whom he speaks, he panics, exclaiming, "We shall surely die, for we have seen God" Judg Ever calm, Samson's mother-to-be responds, "If the lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted our offering. After Samson is born, it is his mother who names him, and he asks her in addition to his father to help him procure his Philistine wife. Samson's Wife is also unnamed, although the text clearly identifies her as a Philistine Judg —4.

Nevertheless, when Samson sees her he declares that he wants her as his wife, asking his parents to get her for him. Distraught over his choice of a wife from their enemies, his parents are unaware that the deity is fuelling Samson's decision Judg Once she and Samson are married, the Philistine lords threaten to kill the woman by fire if she does not discover the answer to Samson's riddle. She eventually obtains the answer by tears, accusation, and nagging, and tells the Philistine lords. Samson then leaves in anger, and the woman's father subsequently marries her off again.

When Samson returns and discovers that his wife is no longer his, he burns the Philistine grain fields. In retaliation, the Philistine lords burn the woman and her father Judg Samson kills many Philistines in reprisal. Next is Delilah, the only named woman in the stories about Samson. In this well-known story, Samson falls in love with Delilah, whom the Philistine lords ask to discover the secret of Samson's strength. Delilah asks Samson three times what makes his strength so great and how he might be bound in order to subdue him, and he lies three times to her about the source.

After the third time, Delilah says, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me three times now and have not told me what makes your strength so great. So he told her his whole secret" Judges Delilah then tells the Philistine lords what she has learned, sealing Samson's fate. The portrayal of women in the book of Judges culminates in the story of the unnamed woman of Judges 19, who is the "concubine" of an unnamed Levite.

Unlike many of the women who precede her, the unnamed woman of Judges 19 has no voice: she never speaks. The text reports that something goes amiss between the Levite and his concubine, and that she returns home to her father. Four months later, the Levite comes looking for her, and after several days of staying in her father's house, he begins the return journey home—with the woman.

He stops at a town called Gibeah , having not wanted to stay in a city of foreigners Judg There, in a city of Benjaminites, a man from Ephraim hospitably welcomes them Judg Then, as the Levite and the Ephraimite "were making their hearts merry" some men of the city arrived, demanding "Bring out the man who came into your house, so that we may have intercourse with him" Judges The Ephraimite host intervenes and they seize the concubine and throw her outside, where she is raped "all through the night until the morning" Judges When her attackers let her go, the woman falls down at the door of the house where her husband is inside.

The text then reports without comment: "In the morning her master got up, opened the doors of the house, and when he went out to go on his way, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold" Judges He commands her to get up, but the woman does not answer. Upon returning to his home, the Levite dismembers her body, cutting it into twelve pieces, and sends the pieces to the tribes, saying "Has such a thing ever happened since the day that the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until this day?

Consider it, take counsel, and speak out. Conclude class with one or more of the following activities, designed to foster group collaboration while engendering critical thinking skills. All Rights Reserved. Subscriber Services Contact Us Help. Women in Judges Kelly J. To offer students a brief overview of the book of Judges, including the important role played by the female characters in the book 2. To provide students with an introduction to feminist approaches to the Hebrew Bible 3.

To provide students with an opportunity to engage critically with the biblical texts in order to develop their skills in textual comprehension, evidentiary reasoning, and argument construction, analysis, and adjudication Outline of Lesson Plan: 1. Pre-Class Readings and Assignment 2. Class Session a. Background Lecture on the Book of Judges b.

Background Lecture on Feminist Hermeneutics c. Women in Judges Overview d.

In-Class Activities: Gender in Judges e. Conclusions 3. Background Readings on the Book of Judges: 1. The Oxford Companion to the Bible on Judges 4. The Modern Study of the Bible 2. Feminist Criticism and Related Aspects 3. Feminist Scholarship 4.

Table of contents

Women Assignment: 1. Read the Book of Judges in one sitting. Write down the texts in which female characters are present, in addition to the texts that lack female characters. Class Session: The following material is presented as possible background information for a lecture. The Outline of the Book: The book of Judges is divisible into three main sections.

The introduction material found in Judges 2 establishes the pattern that the book largely follows throughout the narratives of the individual judges: Israel does evil. Yahweh sends an enemy. Israel cries out to Yahweh. An Introduction in Two Parts i. Introduction: The Military Problem —36 ii. Introduction: The Religious Problem — 2. Major and Minor Figures in the Book — i. Othniel of Judah ii. Ehud of Benjamin iii.

Shamgar iv. Deborah and Barak v. Gideon of Manasseh vi. Abimelech of Shechem vii. Tola of Issachar viii. Jair of Gilead ix. Reiteration of religious problem —17 x. Jepthah of Gilead xi.

Ibzan of Bethlehem xii. Elon of Zebulun xiii.

Women in Judges

Abdon of Ephraim xiv. Samson of Dan 3. A Conclusion in Two Parts i. Conclusion: The Sanctuary at Dan — ii. Conclusion: Violence and Intertribal Conflict — A Short Introduction to Feminist Hermeneutics The book of Judges contains many female characters, and their importance in the unfolding plot provides various opportunities for discussing the construction of the role and status of women in ancient Israel. As Yvonne Sherwood explains: "There are almost as many ways of engaging the Bible and feminism in conversation as there are feminist critics.

Feminist simply means a critique of masculine supremacy and the recognition that gender roles are socially constructed. The word hermeneutics derives from the Greek hermeneuein, meaning to expound, interpret, translate, or explain. However, the term means more than simply "interpretation," as it also indicates having an awareness of the principles employed in the process of interpretation.

In short, feminist hermeneutics is a rereading of the biblical books from a feminist perspective or with a feminist interpretation. Feminist hermeneutics describes the biblical texts as patriarchal and androcentric, but also seek out any positive portrayals of women in the texts, while investigating power dynamics, removing the layers of patriarchal interpretation, and considering the macro-structure and micro-structure of the narratives. The term hermeneutics of suspicion describes one way that feminist readers approach the text; namely, with the awareness that the texts and their interpretation have been mostly written by men, for men, and about men, and so often serve the interests of patriarchy.

The following descriptions briefly summarize the three main feminist responses to the question of biblical authority: 1. Therefore, rejectionists, as the name implies, rejected the notion of biblical authority absolutely. For these readers, the biblical texts remained God's inspired words, and therefore insisted that there must be a way to resolve the tension between women's rights and biblical authority.

Reformists argued for the descriptive rather than prescriptive nature of the biblical texts, and looked for positive passages, such as those that described the deity as female or stories that featured prominent female leaders, like Miriam or Deborah. OTHERS: Beyond the rejectionists and the reformists, feminist readers adopted various other strategies for dealing with the thorny issue of biblical authority.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Some feminist readers searched for a canon-within-the-canon, in order to determine a benchmark by which to interpret a number of scriptural texts. For example, liberation theologians often focus on the Exodus. Taking this into consideration, another way to look at the history of feminist interpreters of the biblical texts is to discuss some of the major feminist hermeneutical strategies employed with the caveat that the list by no means encompasses all possible feminist approaches : 1.

Feminist Historical Approaches to the Biblical Texts: One hermeneutical strategy is to focus on the historical realities of women during the various phases of ancient Israelite history. This strategy draws primarily on the broader method of biblical interpretation known as Historical Criticism. The historical approach asks about the tangible lives of women as depicted in the biblical texts, studies the place of women in ancient Israelite society, and examines what the biblical texts teach about women.

Even if the texts do not reveal the concrete historical realities of biblical women, the texts nevertheless provide information on the period and positions of its authors, including motives for writing and any hidden or not so hidden ideologies. In short, the historical-critical method is concerned with the world behind the texts and the production of biblical texts. Example: Using a historical approach, feminist readers of the biblical text might search the legal corpus in an attempt to reconstruct community life as it affected women in ancient Israel.

Judges KJV - And the children of Israel did evil - Bible Gateway

Such a reading of Deuteronomy would therefore note that women were defined as the property of men Deut , that a woman was expected to be a virgin when she married Deut and that if she was not, she faced death by stoning Deut Furthermore, a woman had no right to divorce Deut —4. From these laws, a feminist reader might conclude that women of the biblical period had very few rights when compared with their male counterparts. Drawing on one or more of the various branches of literary criticism, feminist readers pose a number of literary questions to the biblical texts, which center on the question of what the text means regardless of what its authors or editors intended the text to mean.

There are a number of different interpretive lenses available to a reader employing literary criticism with a feminist angle, including rhetorical criticism, structuralism, deconstructionalism, and narrative criticism. Example: A feminist literary reading might examine the story of Jephthah's Daughter from Judges 11, asking how the narrator constructs the female gender therein. When does the narrator allow the daughter to speak?

Does she speak in opposition to her own well-being? Does she—or the narrator—challenge Jephthah's paternal authority? What does the narrator prize about the daughter? Is the narrator androcentric? From the narrative in Judges 11, a feminist reader might conclude that the narrator upholds the androcentric culture depicted therein, and prizes the daughter's virginity over her life. Feminist Approaches to Recover the Biblical Texts: A third example of a feminist hermeneutical strategy is one that grows out of the historical approach discussed above. While this approach recognizes the patriarchal nature of the biblical world and the inherent androcentric characteristic of the biblical texts, it nevertheless finds traditions in the biblical corpus that contain critiques of patriarchy.

Examining ignored texts or reexamining familiar texts, feminist readers recover forgotten stories about women or bring important female characters out of the shadows and into the forefront of readings and interpretations. At the beginning of the narrative are two midwives, who oppose the Pharaoh by refusing to kill the newborn Israelite sons. Then, the text features Moses' Hebrew mother and his older sister, who likewise defy the Pharaoh's edict. Finally, even the Pharaoh's own daughter actively resists her father's plan to kill all of the Hebrew newborn males, keeping Moses as her own.

Feminist Re Readings of the Biblical "Texts of Terror": A final example of a feminist strategy is one that retells the narratives that scholar Phyllis Trible deemed "Texts of Terror"; in other words, texts which feature violence against women. This strategy intends to produce not only grief and shock at the exploitation of power and the violence against women demonstrated in the narratives, but also resistance against such exploitation and violence. Such a rhetorical reading is an outgrowth of the literary angle outlined above, and seeks to reread the texts of terror with sympathy for the abused women, and to counter these texts both rhetorically and theologically.

Example: A feminist rereading of a text of terror might reexamine the narrative of the Levite's concubine from Judges 19, in which the woman is betrayed, raped, murdered, and dismembered. With this approach, feminist readers might ask how contemporary readers of the narrative should interpret the text. Trible argues that with this approach, contemporary readers should interpret the narrative on behalf of the unnamed woman in order to remember her suffering and death.

The aforementioned feminist hermeneutical strategies are only a partial list and by no means exhaust the manifold ways of approaching the biblical texts from a feminist perspective. As feminist scholarship on the Bible continues to move forward and develop, it does so with greater attention to the intersection of identities: gender, race, class, nationality, and sexuality.

With its refinement, feminist hermeneutics now acknowledges that "woman" is not a comprehensive identity category. As such, feminist approaches now often read the biblical texts in the context of both ethnic heritage and gender, including womanist, Latin-American, and Asian feminist approaches, to name only a few Additionally, other feminists employ post-colonial theory, doing biblical interpretation in the context of Western colonization, and analyzing how colonizers sometimes used the Bible oppressively.

In short, the four approaches detailed above offer only a hint at the various strategies employed by feminist hermeneutics. See The Future of Feminist Scholarship for more. Discussion Questions: 1. One way to summarize the various feminist hermeneutical perspectives is to group them as follows: loyalists, revisionists, and rejectionists. For loyalists, the problem is not in the text itself, but rather in the interpretation of the biblical texts. Revisionists acknowledge the patriarchal aspects of the biblical texts, and instead look for the "counter-traditions" within the narratives.

Finally, rejectionists simply reject the authority of the texts. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each position? What biblical texts might support each perspective? Are there biblical texts that might be used to argue against each perspective? What things might one look for when employing feminist hermeneutics on a text? Solicit students to come up with a list, which might include questions such as the following: Are women present or absent in the text? If present, what are the women's roles? What is the legal status of women? Do women have any leadership roles, either social or religious?

Is the text liberating or oppressive for women? Does the text use gendered language when discussing the deity? Are there any patriarchal assumptions in the text? How does attention to these and other questions contribute to an understanding of the Bible and the biblical world it portrays?

Activities: 1. Divide students into four groups, assign each group a biblical text as well as one of the hermeneutical strategies listed above, and invite the students to apply that strategy to the text.