After leaving Egypt and being led by Moses in the dessert, the Jewish people conquered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. After Joshua’s death, a paradox ensued—the Jewish people were autonomous in the their homeland but they now lacked a strong leader to guide them into the future. Instead, the Jewish people were led by a series of 15 prophets, or judges, over three centuries until Samuel, the final prophet, appointed Saul as the first king of Israel.
Notably, one of the great judges of this time period was a woman named Deborah from the tribe of Naphtali. Deborah ruled for 40 years. It was she, along with the general of her army, Barak, who was able to defeat the dreaded enemy army of King Yavin and his undefeated general, Sisera that had been terrorizing the Jewish people. This victory in the first year of Deborah’s rule enabled the Jewish people to live in relative peace during the duration of her reign.
- Click here to view a chart with information on the Jewish judges: http://www.jewishhistory.org/era-of-the-judges/