1. Judges 17:1–21:25 (ESV)
  2. Structure and outline

Difference between epilogue and main section of Judges

Judges 17:1–21:25 (ESV)

1 There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah.

Judges 17:1 – 21:25 is a departure from the cycles of the judges in the main section of the book (Judges 3:7 – 16:31). In that main section we received a bird’s-eye view of things, where we were simply told on repeated occasion that the people did evil in the eyes of the Lord (Judges 3:7, Judges 3:12; Judges 4:1; Judges 6:1; Judges 10:6; Judges 13:1). There we see the cycle of Israel rebelling, God punishing, Israel crying out, and God delivering through a judge. But that is done. In these final chapters, we receive a ground-level, detailed view of life in Israel in the days of the judges. The main section of the book showed how God rescued Israel, but now we get two particular instances of the spiritual chaos that God rescued Israel from. These passages show what life was like when Israel was left to their own resources.1 They are put here to bring out the causes of the chaos in this period. There was in this time no quality spiritual or civil leadership. So people embarked on whatever lifestyle suited their fancy. Idol worship, theft, rape, murder, and so on became the way of life among God’s people. This all occurs on the Levites’ watch. The closing chapters help us see that the main cause of Israel’s moral and spiritual chaos was the failure of the Levites to instruct the people in the faith.