Study Guide

Book of Judges Setting

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The Land of Canaan

Don't forget, Shmoop-ites: it took Israel a really long time to get to Canaan, and it's meant to be the Promised Land—where Israel's destiny will be fulfilled, God's blessings will pour down from heaven, beautiful women flock instinctively like the salmon of Capistrano, and so on. Unfortunately, during Judges, Canaan has become the Wild West. Canaan's lawlessness is summed up several times with the phrase "In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes" (17:6; see also 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). This of course foreshadows more peaceful times down the road when kings like David and Solomon rule Israel. For now, though, the quickest gunslinger is often the one in charge, though mystical heroes—the judges—do periodically ride into town to right wrongs and violently impose justice on the bad-guys.

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