Judg. 1:1-3:6; 21:25
Joshua is dead. Life for Israel moves forward. “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Israel consisted of twelve loosely knit tribes basically “doing their own thing.” The Promised Land had been distributed to each of the tribes before the inhabitants had been completely driven out. Judah and Simeon banded together to take their respective possessions. Other tribes also claimed their inheritances. However, they did not completely drive out the Canaanites, but chose to dwell among them with their gods. They had broken their covenant with God!
Following the death of Joshua and during the period of time that the elders who outlived him were alive, the people had continued to serve God.
“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord…” They forsook God and began to follow the various idols of Canaan. Even though it had been forbidden, they intermarried with the sons and daughters of the heathen nations.
As the Israelites turned their backs against God, He turned His back against them and allowed them to be delivered into the hands of their enemies. When they would cry out in penitence, He would mercifully receive them back. In order to have orderly direction, God began to choose judges to lead them. They were usually military leaders and administrators.