Who wrote the book of Judges and when?

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Who wrote the book of Judges?

It is not known who wrote the book of Judges. According to old Jewish tradition, it was written by the prophet Samuel (Babylonian Talmud, Baba Bathra 14b, 15a). This is a clear speculation, and although it aligns with many of the facts, other factors oppose the view.   

A common saying of the author of the Judges was, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (ch. 17:6; 21:25; cf. ch. 18:1; 19:1). This is thought to suggest that the author may have been in favor of the kingship, as if he had said, in reality, “Such things would not be tolerated, but at that time there was no king in Israel to keep order, and everyone was able to do as he pleased.” Because Samuel was against the idea of a king for Israel, this led some to believe it debatable that he was the author of this saying.  

When was the book of Judges written?

Internal evidence proves the viable time limits between which Judges may have been recorded. The statement quoted above, “In those days there was no king in Israel” (ch. 17:6), shows that the book was authored after the organization of the kingdom under the first King of Israel – Saul.   

On the other hand, there is proof that it must have been recorded before the rule of David, or in the early years of his rule. Chapter 1:21 records that the Jebusites had not been kicked out from Jerusalem, but lived there with the children of Benjamin “unto this day.” Biblical history shows that the Jebusites continued to hold Jerusalem, or, the citadel of Zion, until the time of the seizure of the city by King David after the end of his seven-year rule at Hebron (2 Samuel 5:6–9; 1 Chronicles 11:4–9).

Therefore, the book of Judges was possibly written during the first seven years of David’s rule prior to his seize of the city of Jerusalem. Thus, the book covers the period from 1400 to 1050 b.c.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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