Judges of ancient Israel

Home » History » Judges of ancient Israel
History No Comments

* History of the People of Israel

* The Decalogue

* Advertising Laws

* Israel asks for a king

* Conclusion


With the ability to freely choose an essay topic, concerning judicial ethics, as final course work, immediately gives the imagination free rein to do work also awaken the sense of interesting research, and that the result recommendations of the task provide positive and tangible in the daily work of the judges of our time and those who aspire to occupy these positions.

Reflecting on choice of topic I offer, I realized that the judge’s role transcends more than I imagined, to cite just one example, when Jesus of Nazareth, was brought before the Praetor Pontius Pilate, for this, in accordance with the Rome delegated authority deems it, hence my interest in the actions of this “Judge”, but my concern was not limited to the time that divided the history of mankind, but called to my attention the fact that Jesus belonged to a people who not only had their customs and beliefs, but also had their judges, so pretentious so I decided to know the behavior of those “judges”, their ethics to administer justice, and their actions within of his tribe, the people of Israel. It is in this sense that justify the relevance of the topic, as the Bible itself tells us: “What exists now, existed, and what has to be there already. God makes history repeating [1] being is an irrefutable truth, let’s see how the judges of our time making history acting judges of the people of recurrence.


Speaking of ethics in our times involves a return to the past, so that we justify the origins of those values that society demands of its officials, and specifically for those called to administer justice. In this sense, the present paper provides an overview of the ethics of the Judges of the People of Israel, from Egypt who was called as God’s chosen people. Since his departure from Egypt, the people of Israel were led by Moses, who besides being his spiritual guide, and the means of communication with God, had in principle the task of settling disputes between members of the people in this regard became necessary the appointment of judges who will look to settle such disputes.

The appointment of judges demanded the special conditions found in those calls to the administration of justice, its designation and mode of procedure was due to circumstances prevailing at the time, but that does not escape a certain all current requirements. The judge who exhibited behavior contrary to the laws and ordinances of the people of Israel, had social repercussions that impacted directly on their credibility, in that sense share biblical examples that illustrate the behavior of judges, both positively and negatively.

In these times the impact it might have to reflect on the actions of those judges is significant, but not remember precisely would the trial divided the course of humanity, but Jesus was tried before a tribunal with authority bequeathed to Rome by circumstances merely political, these were the circumstances that caused however are not in the fault, was sentenced to die.

There are many examples that, as suggested above, are quite interesting for study, is that the Bible itself refers to the ethical conditions that must accompany a Judge.

Then share Bible stories, very personal appreciation of what may have meant in the time of ancient Israel act as judge, and also appreciate the wise decisions within a framework of prudence and justice became famous to the judges of Old Testament.

History of the People of Israel

The story of the people of Israel back to the emigration of the tribe of the same name, to which the Bible refers to the duration of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which comprises about 1350 BC. Although there is no documentation that evokes chronologically, this part of the story is justified from the year 1250. C., which has the subject of the Jewish rebellion in Egypt, who according to their traditions leader named Moses, meaning “saved from the water”.br> As the story of the Old Testament of the Bible, a providential withdrawal of the Red Sea, historically marked the victory of the people of Israel on the Egyptian empire. Subsequently, for the year 1200, the Israelites are colonizing southern Canaan, along the Jordan River to West Jordan, settling in Gibeon. It is from there when the Israelites over the Canaanites expire, and being led by Joshua occupy Elah Valley. Consequently and directed by Samuel, the Israelites defeat the Philistines north of Jerusalem, instaurndose the first monarchy of Israel, King Saul, who later was succeeded to the throne by King David, of the Tribe of Judah.

King David, happens to the throne his son, King Solomon known for his wisdom and communion with God, it is in this period that Israel sees its historic splendor, thanks to an economic boom, which was declining until the northern tribes Canaan manage a confrontation with King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, this event that upsets the establishment of two kingdoms, the kingdom of Israel (the subject of our study) and the kingdom of Judah.

The two Jewish kingdoms were besieged by the people of Damascus and Philistines, and from its separation begins a journey in search of the union, at this stage in history the people of Israel, its culture, history, social organization is immersed in the struggle for survival. Hence the question What role did its judges Giving way to other questions within which protrudes What was the ethical behavior of judges of the people of Israel

The Decalogue

The faithfulness to the God of Israel, was to obey his commands, and that in doing and behave according to the law of God, takes hold the welfare of the people chosen by God. But in this sense that God commanded the law

As we share the story of the people of Israel, they were delivered from Egypt in the hands of Moses, and through him, the Lord made known to the people their laws, the former being the ten commandments, which were delivered directly to Moses, written on two stones, which fills what today would be the rule of law, based on the legal maxim that “no crime or punishment without a previous law.” In this sense these commandments would be the beginning of many other laws to which the people should be governed, being specifically, the following:

* 1. Love God above all things.

* 2. Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in vain.

* 3. Sanctify the holidays.

* 4. Honor your father and your mother.

* 5. Do not kill.

* 6. Not commit impure acts.

* 7. Thou shalt not steal.

* 8. You shall not bear false witness or lies.

* 9. Not suffer impure thoughts or desires.

* 10. Not covet other people’s property.

These commandments are consecrated with a degree of supremacy over other laws and recommendations likewise, through Moses be educated and instituted the people. Thus, in the biblical books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, are enacted other laws that deal with war, chastity, health, the atonement of murders by an unknown author, the administration of justice, firstfruits and tithes, acts of violence, slaves among other equally important.

Advertising Laws

Moses with the elders of Israel, ordered that any law shall be in writing in such a way that today would be seen today as a principle of disclosure, in order to enforce these laws and no one can claim ignorance [2] so that Moses was committed by God to make known to all the people the laws and ordinances of God, [3] and in the same sense and for being a spiritual leader of the chosen people, was called upon to settle conflicts suscitasen tribes are in, a task that included performing the functions of judge, making more complex the task of Moses.

Once, when Moses was visited by his father, he could appreciate how hard the work of Moses, who was not only sought to inquire of God, but also to judge people’s disputes. In this situation his father made him a suggestion, in order to delegate these functions.

Appointment of Judges.

Moses aware that the fact people judge disputes of his remaining time to devote to the affairs of the Lord, obeyed the suggestion that his father introduced him in the name of the Lord. Happened that were chosen from all the people able men, “real men” who were appointed as judges [4] thus shows that for appointment as judges, they must have specific conditions that guarantee good performance responsibilities at your office.

“And I charged your judges, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; Thus the small and the large will hear, you have no fear of none, for the judgment is God … [5] ”

Administration of Justice. “Judges and officers shalt thou in all the cities which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.”

Do not pervert justice thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous [6]

From the above quotations we can see the following circumstances:

* To be chosen as a judge was required to possess virtues.

* Judges should have fear of God, which is seen as the knowledge of God.

* They must hate greed, so valiesen not take their position for personal party.

* They must be incorruptible.

To play the position of judge is further appreciated that laid the foundation that annihilate with equality before the law, the trial orality and commitment to act fairly.

It should be noted that in this period of history, was characterized by the same prerogatives as the code of Hammurabi instituted with the understanding of just punishment was achieved with the application of “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.

Judges of wrongdoing

In times of ancient Israel, there were also cases of corrupt judges who were left, not only in the administration of justice, but also in their everyday behavior.

Illustrative examples we can mention, in the foreground, two judges for elders, who were led by their instincts and lent to stalk an honorable wife while she was bathing in the privacy of your home, not being matched by the surprised and respectable lady, used their prestige as judges, difamndola and achieving it to be unjustly condemned, to the point that their wickedness was discovered and were sentenced to the penalty that could operate maligned women [7]

Another case which illustrates the misdemeanor judges, happens once Samuel grew old, and they had two sons who were serving as judges, the council of elders of Israel met for claiming Samuel corrupt attitude desautorizndolos judges and their children to continue the work of his father [8] Given the circumstances the people of Israel asked Samuel to appoint him a king, not only to the rule but also to be tried, is in this sense that evidenced a lack of confidence that inspired the judges called judging.

Israel asks for a king

In the request to Samuel to appoint a king for the people, and as requested the king to govern well must also judge, returning to shift the function of judging the person who directs or governs, as in the time of Moses. Once designated Saul as the first king of Israel, and as expected this was not eternal other kings succeeded him, excelling in the role of King Solomon judging.

Came to pass before King Solomon were two women who claimed the same child motherhood, and reciprocally accused of being mothers of a dead child, so motherhood claimed for themselves the child still alive. In this situation partiese Solomon ordered the child in half in order to deliver in equal parts to the two women what remained of the child in these circumstances is revealed the true mother, whom he ordered to be handed [9] It was this trial, along with other feats that showed the wisdom God had put in King Solomon.

Book of the “judges” of the People of Israel

In the Bible, and specifically in the book of “Judges”, which is the second of the historical books of the Old Testament, summarizes the period between the death of Joshua and the birth of Samuel [10] highlighting so particular, the role played by “twelve judges.” This book presents Israel in a most critical stage in its history, coincides with the penetration of the Hebrew tribes in Canaan and the establishment of the monarchy, this situation is stalking the Philistines.

The tribes of Israel were isolated from each other, without a central government to ensure unity and provide means of defense, being validly common point in all the tribes, faith in the God of Israel.

The justification for the existence of Judges in Israel, was due to the infidelity of his people to the Lord your God, as it were dedicated to the worship of false gods, so that the Lord allows His people to fall into the hands oppressive, until His people back to their true God proceeding.

Judges are to be leaders sent by God to free his people from oppression, restore peace and possession of their property. Ie it comes to divine justice, the justice of God, all judges are motivated by a deep sense of loyalty to their God.

When we refer to the book of Judges, we must understand that this is divine justice. Is that these heroes come in the name of God to give his people promised.


Go back to the history of ancient Israel, and specifically, the role of the judge, that in principle such a role was played by his guide, as in the case of Moses, we see that this task had such importance that for this role should appoint people with proven integrity, ethical standards chosen by themselves at the time, besides being exposed to public scrutiny, appreciated as this function be performed neatly warranted, not only in the tasks expected of a judge but also in their actions everyday.

For the appointment of a judge, whether in the hands of your guide or a person engaged on an exclusive basis to these ends, it is noted that such a designation had been given in principle by God, who is naming and allows a citizen to be honored with such a position, in this sense means that the judge must first be to God, which is only fair, and who belongs to justice.

Once a citizen is appointed as a judge, called biblical exhortations to righteousness, to equality before the law, probity in administration of justice and the everyday proceed.

With the appointment of a judge prevents the people take the law into their own hands, not in vain God appoints the authorities to submit ourselves in obedience to them, and all authority is given by God, we avoid falling into situations and experienced by the people of Israel, where stoning a “criminal” or sinful in a public square was the epitome of justice.