When practicing bible study, we learn that Following Joshua’s death, the Israelites were faced with many enemies surrounding them, from within the land of Canaan as well as the surrounding people. There was no one leader who could unify the people and the Book of Judges tell us of political, moral and religious deterioration at this time.
Confronting the various enemies, different figures took the role of leaders upon themselves as a result of the desperate state inflicted on the people, bringing peace and quiet for limited periods of time. They were called judges, a word denoting not only legal judges but also leaders. These judges were members of different tribes of Israel, ruling sequentially, according to the Book of Judges, although many scholars assume their rule was at parallel times and contained to their own tribes or regions. They were first and foremost military figures, such as Gideon, who beat the Midianites with military cleverness, and Samson, whose incredible personal strength defeated the philistines on many occasions.
At the conclusion of this era, the Israelites were involved in interior conflicts that led to inner-wars and bloodshed, due to the lack of leadership, as the book of Judges tells us (Judges 17:6): “In those days, there was no king in Israel. Every man did what was right in his eyes.” These were resolved by uniting Israel under the rule of King Saul, followed by King David.