A Biblical judge  was “a ruler or a military leader as well as someone who presided over legal hearings. The Judges were not necessarily actual judges or elders or rulers in accordance with the traditionally accepted title in ancient Israel. They were actually more like local deliverers who were raised up by God to bring relief to the oppression that was brought about by their enemies.

(Hebrew: שופט šōp̄êṭ/shofet, pl. שופטים šōp̄əṭîm/shoftim)

Moses was a shofet over the Israelites and appointed others to whom cases were delegated in accordance with the advice ofJethro, his Midianite father-in-law.

The Book of Judges mentions twelve shoftim: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon,Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. The First Book of Samuel mentions Eli and Samuel, as well as Joel and Abiah (two sons of Samuel). The First Book of Chronicles mentions Kenaniah and his sons. The Second Book of Chronicles mentions Amariah and Zebadiah (son of Ishmael). These judges ruled Israel for a period of time that most scholars say was about 325 to 350 years (beginning in app. 1400 – 1350 B.C.). The judges continued until Saul was made king, which ended the line of judges. Following is a list of the judges, how long each ruled, years of oppression and years of peace.

List Of The Second Line Judges Of Israel And Israel Oppressors
Judge – Deliverer The Oppressor Years of Oppression Years of Peace
Othniel Mesopotamia 8 Years 40 Years
Ehud The Moabites
The Ammonites
The Amalekites
18 Years 80 Years
The Canaanites 20 Years 40 Years
Gideon The Midianites 7 Years 40 Years
3 Years
23 Years
22 Years
Jephthah The Ammonites 18 Years 6 Years
7 Years
10 Years
8 Years
Samson The Philistines 40 Years 20 Years
Eli The Philistines 40 Years
Samuel The Philistines 20 Years
Total 111 Years 339 Years

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