I. Title, Origin, And Place In The Canon
The book's name derives from the title given to the heroes dominating its central section. In Israel “judging” denoted both rendering verdicts and directly effecting justice. Ideally, Israelite judges personified God's government by embodying his salvation and government in military deliverance and administration.
The author remains unknown. The latest event to which Judges alludes (18:31) is a deportation, either of northern Galilee in 734-732 b.c. or of the whole northern kingdom in 721 b.c. The book's confidence in the superiority of the southern kingdom and in the spiritual effectiveness of the monarchy suggests composition under one of Judah's righteous kings, Hezekiah (716-687 b.c.) or Josiah (640-609 b.c.).
While English Bibles, following the Septuagint and Vulgate, place Judges among the historical books, the Hebrew Bible numbers it among the former prophets with Joshua, Samuel, and Kings. These books constitute a unified historical narrative striving not simply to inform, but to confront the reader with a proclamation of the ways, truth, and judgment of God.