Introducing Judges #4: Divine judgment and divine mercy

Chapter 2 tells us how to read the rest of the book. It is the theological framework for, or interpretation of, the stories that follow. It sets up the following cycle:

2:10-13 disloyalty

2:14 judgment

2:15 repentance

2:16 mercy and deliverance

2:17-19 the cycle is repeated (and gets worse)

The first story of a judge (Othniel in 3:7-11) is a rather colourless story that seems design to illustrate this cycle:

The Cycle of Judges

The cycle, however, can be broken down into two parallel movements of ‘moral symmetry’:

human disloyalty -> divine judgment

human repentance -> divine mercy

We see these two divine responses repeated throughout the book of Judges.