본문 바로가기
  • Home

The Spirit of God and the Ethics of the Judges

이사야 1

1남서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examines the characteristics of God’s Spirit in the Judges period, in which the judges in the book of Judges were symbols of God’s presence in the age of Judges, replacing the Ark of the Covenant. In the Old Testament, the representative method of acknowledging and announcing that God had chosen the leaders of Israel was anointing with oil. Samuel anointed Saul (1 Sam 10 : 1) and David (1 Sam 16 : 13) as leaders. However, in the book of Judges, Othniel (Judges 3 : 10), Gideon (Judges 6 : 34), Jephthah (Judges 11 : 29), and Samson (Judges 13 : 25; 14 : 6,19; 15 : 14) were not anointed by God. Through the presence of the spirit, they became the leaders of Israel and saved the Israelites from the oppression of the Gentiles. This was different from the traditional anointing. These leaders, clothed with the Spirit of God, have won wars and brought peace. Their extraordinary or supernatural powers were not innate, but due to the presence of the spirit. The period of the judges, which shows more convoluted dramas than any other part of the Old Testament, such as wars between nations, struggles for power, superhuman heroes, and tragic deaths, shows that God was with the people of Israel even in difficult situations. Obviously, the period of Judges was the time when the ark, which was the symbol of God’s presence, existed, but the author of the book of Judges did not mention the ark, but instead filled the place with a small number of charismatic leaders. After all, the Spirit of God in Judges is showing another symbol of God’s presence, replacing the previous form of anointing to select people. Othniel, who was a stranger like his uncle Caleb, was the first charismatic leader who saved Israel during the period of the judges. The peace that came for a generation until his death was the period Jacob’s descendants owed to the Kenizzites. It was the Spirit of God that made the cowardly and timid Gideon into a mighty warrior. To Gideon seeking a sign of salvation, God showed the sign of the time of the Exodus, provided salvation that Israel could not boast of, and the ‘day of Midian’ was remembered as an event of liberation from foreign rule and slavery. Jephthah, who won the war against Ammon, was the protagonist of an incident that cannot be understood by general ethics and common sense. Jephthah, in whom the Spirit of God came upon him, did not fully trust God who gave him the Spirit and made the wrong vow. He won the war, but he followed the Gentile human sacrifice and caused the division and destruction of the community. Samson, who received the Spirit of God four times, used the Spirit that came upon him only for personal greed and revenge. The purpose of his birth was to save Israel from the Philistines, but the fight against the Philistines he made remained only on a personal level. Even his death in the temple of Dagon has nothing to do with God’s spirit. He is the only judge among the war heroes in the book of Judges who failed to complete his given mission. Judges with the Spirit of God are not only remembered as good leaders. The Spirit of God appearing in the book of Judges was only related to military achievements, yet the presence of the Spirit was not continuous but temporary, and it did not cause any ethical or internal changes to the person upon whom the Spirit came.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.