Old Testament
Lesson 19
The Reign of the Judges


Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will encourage us to seek influences that will strengthen us in living the gospel in a challenging world.

Scripture references for study:  Judges 2; Judges 4; Judges 6–7; Judges 13–16
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.

Resource notes: Click on links for expanded information.

Lesson 19 Handout (PDF format)


The Book of Judges

  1. Named after the twelve individuals who led Israel between the time of Joshua and Saul.
  2. What were these judges?

The Message of Judges  

  1. Overall Message of Judges:
  2. The Historical Cycle:
  3.  

  4. HOW DOES THIS PATTERN COMPARE WITH THAT IN THE BOOK OF MORMON?
  5. WHERE DO WE STAND? DO WE FALL INTO SIMILAR CYCLES?
  6. HOW CAN PARENTS HELP THEIR CHILDREN REMAIN FAITHFUL AND AVOID ENTRY INTO THIS DEADLY CYCLE?
  7. Some questions to ponder:

Deborah - The Strength Of A Righteous Friend

  1. "And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD" (Judges 4:1). As a consequence of their apostasy, "the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan" (Judges 4:2) and they were oppressed for twenty years.
  2. Deborah, a prophetess, judged Israel at this time.
  3. Deborah called upon Barak to take 10,000 men and go up against the army of Jabin, led by Sisera.
  4. READ JUDGES 4:13-16. Barak's army goes into battle and defeats Sisera's army.
  5. HOW WAS DEBORAH A TRUE FRIEND TO BARAK?
  6. HOW HAVE FRIENDS AND/OR FAMILY MEMBERS HELPED YOU FACE DIFFICULT CHALLENGES? HOW HAVE THEY ASSISTED YOU IN OBEYING THE LORD'S COMMANDMENTS?

Gideon - The Strength Of Faith In God

  1. "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years" (Judges 6:1).
  2. Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites (Judges 6:7).
  3. READ JUDGES 6:11-13. Angel appears to Gideon.
  4. Gideon called to save Israel from the hand of the Midianites (Judges 6:14-16).
  5. READ JUDGES 6:20-23. The power of the Lord confirmed to Gideon.
  6. Gideon sends out a call to four of the tribes for an army to cast out the Midianites (Judges 6:35).
  7. Gideon and his army make camp near the "host" of the Midianites.
  8. The Lord commands Gideon to prepare for the Midianites, for they are delivered into his hand (Judges 7:9).
  9. Gideon was called upon by Israel to be king. People seem to love military heroes and want them as their leader.
  10. The story of Gideon once again provides proof of Nephi's statement, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them" (1 Nephi 3:7).

Samson - The Strength of Covenants & Consequences Of Breaking Them

  1. "And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years" (Judges 13:1).
  2. An angel appears to the wife of Manoah, a Danite.
  3. Samson goes down among the Philistines.
  4. Samson marries a wife of the Philistines (see Judges 14).
  5. After Samson's father-in-law informed him that his wife had been given to another, Samson caused the corn fields of the Philistines be burned (see Judges 15).
  6. Samson fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, Delilah (see Judges 16).
  7. READ JUDGES 16:15-17. Samson finally reveals the source of his strength. Delilah causes his head to be shaven while he was sleeping.
  8. The Philistines took and bound him, brought him to Gaza, "and he did grind in the prison house" (Judges 16:21).
  9. Some Lessons To Be Learned From The Story of Samson.


Gospel Doctrine Notebook

  1. After claiming their inheritance under the leadership of Joshua, the ancient Israelites fell into a cycle of apostasy. As modern Israelites, we are also subject to these cycles unless we strive diligently to keep the commandments. We can either be like Gideon, who had great faith in the Lord and trusted in his promises, or we can be like Samson who did not honor his covenants and lost his destiny.
  2. Record your thoughts on the history of the Israelites in Judges. Do you fall into cycles where your spirituality declines? How can you overcome or prevent these cycles from occurring?


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Changes last made on:  21 April 2014