How Many Judges Are There in the Book of Judges

Title: How Many Judges Are There in the Book of Judges?


The Book of Judges, found in the Old Testament of the Bible, is a significant historical account of the Israelites’ early days after their settlement in Canaan. It portrays a tumultuous period of Israel’s history when they were governed by a series of charismatic leaders known as judges. In this article, we will explore the number of judges mentioned in the Book of Judges and shed light on their significance in shaping the destiny of the Israelites.

The Number of Judges:

The Book of Judges features a total of twelve judges who rose to prominence during various times of crisis in Israel’s history. These judges were not appointed through a formal selection process but were instead chosen by God to deliver the Israelites from their oppressors and lead them back to the path of righteousness. The twelve judges mentioned in the book are:

1. Othniel: He was the first judge mentioned in the Book of Judges. Othniel, the nephew of Caleb, delivered Israel from the cruel King Cushan-Rishathaim and ruled for forty years.

2. Ehud: Raised by God to deliver Israel from the Moabite king, Eglon, Ehud served as a judge for eighty years.

3. Shamgar: Though his story is brief, Shamgar’s victory over the Philistines is celebrated. His exact period of judgeship is not mentioned.

4. Deborah: The only female judge mentioned in the Book of Judges, Deborah played a vital role in leading the Israelites to victory against the Canaanites. She governed for forty years.

5. Gideon: Known for his famous fleece test, Gideon led Israel to victory over the Midianites. He served as a judge for forty years.

6. Abimelech: Despite being mentioned as a judge, Abimelech was not a godly leader. His reign was marred by violence and ended tragically.

7. Tola: Serving for a period of twenty-three years, Tola brought peace to Israel after the death of Abimelech.

8. Jair: Known for his thirty-two sons, Jair ruled over Israel for twenty-two years.

9. Jephthah: A mighty warrior, Jephthah delivered Israel from the Ammonites. He governed for six years.

10. Ibzan: Ibzan served as a judge for seven years and is primarily known for having thirty sons and thirty daughters.

11. Elon: The judge mentioned briefly, serving for ten years, is known for his descent from the tribe of Zebulun.

12. Samson: Perhaps the most famous judge, Samson possessed supernatural strength. He fought against the Philistines and served as a judge for twenty years.


1. Were the judges like the judges we have today?
No, the judges in the Book of Judges were not legal professionals but rather charismatic leaders chosen by God to guide and deliver the Israelites from their oppressors.

2. Did each judge rule over the entire nation of Israel?
No, the judges ruled over specific regions or tribes of Israel rather than the entire nation. Their leadership was localized, and their authority varied.

3. Why did God choose judges to lead Israel?
God chose judges to remind the Israelites of their covenant with Him and to deliver them from their enemies whenever they strayed from His path.

4. Why were there only twelve judges mentioned in the Book of Judges?
The twelve judges mentioned in the Book of Judges represent a significant period of Israel’s early history. Their accounts highlight the cyclical pattern of the Israelites’ disobedience, oppression, repentance, and deliverance.


The Book of Judges provides a fascinating account of Israel’s early history, highlighting the role of the twelve judges who emerged in times of crisis. Each judge, chosen by God, played a crucial role in delivering the Israelites from their oppressors and guiding them towards righteousness. Their stories serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and the consequences of straying from His path.

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