Biblical judges
A biblical judge is "a ruler or a military leader, as well as someone who presided over legal hearings."

Following the conquest of Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 by Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

 till the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel (ca. 1150-1025 BCE), the Israelite Tribes formed a loose confederation. No central government existed in this confederation and in times of crisis, the people were led by ad hoc
Ad hoc
Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning "for this". It generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes. Compare A priori....

 leaders known as judges.

Role of the Judges

In the Book of Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

, a cyclical pattern is given to show the need for the various judges: apostasy of the Israelite people, hardship brought on as punishment from YHWH, crying out to the Lord, and rescue. The judges were the ones chosen by God to rescue the people. But Biblical judges could not be limited to the Book of Judges. Moses exercised before the powers of superior judicial body. "Moses also laid foundation for another separation, which has since become indispensible for any democracy. He created an independent judiciary".

While judge is the closest literal translation of the Hebrew term
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 used in the masoretic text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

, the position is more one of unelected non-hereditary leadership than that of legal pronouncement. The judges did many times play the role as an official with the authority to administer justice, but not always. Most judges acted primarily as military leaders in times of war. These leaders were thought of as being sent by God to deliver the people from a threat. After the threat had passed, the judge was generally expected to give up their position as military leaders. They were most likely tribal or local leaders, contrary to the Deuteronomistic historians portrayal of them as leaders of all of Israel, however their authority was recognized by local groups or tribes beyond their own. In accordance with the needs of the time, their functions were primarily martial
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 and judicial, but not comparable to a king
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

. All Biblical Judges performed judicial duities and the institute of Judges was separated from the institute of King (First Book of Samuel 10:25).

The Book of Judges mentions judges such as Othniel
Othniel is the first of the Biblical Judges.-Family:Othniel was related to Caleb, as his father Kenaz was either Caleb's brother or Caleb's father; both are plausible interpretations of Joshua 15:17. The Talmud argues that Othniel was Caleb's brother...

, Ehud
Ehud ben‑Gera is described in the biblical Book of Judges as a judge who was sent by God to deliver the Israelites from Moabite domination.-Biblical narrative:...

, Shamgar
Shamgar, son of Anath is the name of one or possibly two individuals named in the Book of Judges. The name occurs twice; at the first mention Shamgar is identified as a Biblical Judge, who repelled Philistine incursions into Israelite regions, and slaughtered 600 of the invaders with an ox goad,...

, Deborah
Deborah was a prophetess of Yahweh the God of the Israelites, the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel, counselor, warrior, and the wife of Lapidoth according to the Book of Judges chapters 4 and 5....

, Gideon
Gideon was an Israelite judge who appears in the Book of JudgesGideon may also refer to:- Religion :* Gideon , a figure in the Book of Mormon* Gideons International, distributor of copies of the Bible- Media :...

, Tola, Jair
Jair died and was buried in Kamon.-External links:* *...

, Jephthah, Ibzan
Ibzan appears in the Bible as one of the Judges of Israel. Very little is said about him, except the following:Many scholars believe that the Bethlehem referred to in the story is the Bethlehem in the territory of the Tribe of Zebulun, rather than the more famous Bethlehem in the Tribe of Judah...

, Elon
In the Bible, Elon was a Judge of Israel.He followed Ibzan and was succeeded by Abdon. It is said that he was from the Tribe of Zebulun, led Israel for ten years, and was buried in Ajalon in Zebulon .- See also :*Biblical judges*Book of Judges...

, Abdon
Abdon (Judges)
Abdon , was the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, and was the tenth Judge of Israel mentioned in the Book of Judges. . He was a member of the tribe of Ephraim, and in the biblical account was credited with having forty sons and thirty grandsons. He judged Israel for eight years...

, and Samson
Samson, Shimshon ; Shamshoun or Sampson is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Tanakh ....

; and the First Book of Samuel mentions Eli and Samuel
Samuel is a leader of ancient Israel in the Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. He is also known as a prophet and is mentioned in the Qur'an....

, as well as Joel and Abiah (two sons of Samuel).
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