1. Structure and outline

The contrast between Judges 2:6–3:6 and Judges 1:1–2:5

Judges 2:6–3:6 (ESV)

6 When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land.

While Judges 1:1–2:5 was full of names of particular tribes, persons, events, and places, a different type of narrative occurs in Judges 2:6–3:6. Following the opening verses about the death and burial of Joshua, particulars are lost to view and replaced by generalizations: Israel, plunderers, enemies, judges, generations, nations.1 Judges 2:6–3:6 is the second part of the double introduction in the book. Judges 1:1–2:5 is the historical introduction. Judges 2:6–3:6 is a theological introduction. It gives the divine perspective on Israel’s problem during the dark days of the judges. Israel’s failure to take the land completely was not because of physical weakness. Rather, the days of the judges were dark because the hearts of the people were darkened by their spiritual adultery. They didn’t know the Lord.