This book contains the history of the Israelites under the Judges, which lasted two hundred and ninety nine years: under Othniel, forty, under Ehud, eighty, under Barak, forty, under Gideon, forty, under Abimelek, three, under Tola, twenty - three, under Jair, twenty - two, under Jephtha, six, under Ibzan, seven, under Elon, ten, under Abdon, eight, under Samson, twenty. As for the years of their servitude, they coincide with the years of some or other of the Judges. In the five last chapters we have an account of some memorable events, which happened in the days when the Judges ruled. As to the state of Israel during this period,
They were miserably corrupted, and miserably oppressed. Yet we may hope, the tabernacle service was kept up, and that many attended it.
It seems, each tribe had its government within itself, and acted separately, without any common head. This occasioned many differences among themselves.
The government of the Judges was not constant but occasional. By their judging Israel is meant chiefly, their avenging Israel of their enemies, and purging them from their idolatries.
During the government of the Judges, God was in an especial manner the king of Israel. It is not improbably supposed, that the prophet Samuel was the penman of this book.