Commentaries on Judges

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Joshua  ⇐ ⇒  Ruth

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For more great commentaries on Judges, be sure to check:
Commentaries on the Whole Old Testament
& Whole Bible Commentaries

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Order of Contents 

The Best Commentaries  9
Commentaries  9
The Early Church  2
Christ in Judges  1
Bible Characters:
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Gideon  3
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     Jephthah  1
.        Samson  3

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The Best Commentaries on Judges

Devotional & Practical

De Graaf, S.G. – ‘Judges’  1977  55 pp. in Promise and Deliverance, vol. 2: The Failure of Israel’s Theocracy, pp. 11-66  

De Graff is a Dutch Reformed author who focuses on the unfolding of the Covenant through history.  He writes in an easy to read, but insightful style.

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Intermediate

Puritan

Rogers, Richard – A Commentary upon the Whole Book of Judges, preached first and delivered in sundry lectures  EEBO  1615

***‘This for the puritan period is THE work upon Judges.  It is thoroughly plain and eminently practical.’ – Spurgeon

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1800’s

Bush, George

Notes, Critical and Practical on the Book of Judges

Bush was a Biblical scholar, a professor of oriental literature in New York City University, and initially a presbyterian minister.

*** ‘Like other works of this author–of considerable value.’ – Spurgeon

Scripture Questions Designed Principally for Adult Bible Classes: Deut.-Esther

Douglas, George C.M. – The Book of Judges  in Hand-Books for Bible Classes, ed. Dods & Whyte  1881

Douglas (1826-1904) was a Hebraist in the Free Church of Scotland, having studied under Thomas Chalmers and came to be a Principle of the Free Church College.  “He was a scholarly conservative, skeptical of higher critical views.” – DoSCH&T

Fausset, Andrew – A Critical and Expository Commentary on the Book of Judges  1885

Fausset (1821–1910) was an Irish, evangelical, Anglican and Bible scholar.  He is remembered for his part in the Jamieson, Fausset, Brown commentary on the Whole Bible.  This commentary on Judges has been reprinted in the Geneva Commentary Series by Banner of Truth.

‘Remains one of the finest comprehensive and scholarly treatments for the expositor.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Kitto, John – ‘The Judges’ in Daily Bible Illustrations: being Original Readings for a Year, on subjects relating to Sacred History, Biography, Geography, Antiquities and Theology, vol. 2 (Ex.-Jud.)

***‘Exceedingly meritorious.  Refer to it frequently.’  ‘They are not exactly a commentary, but what marvelous expositions you have there! You have reading more interesting than any novel that was ever written, and as instructive as the heaviest theology. The matter is quite attractive and fascinating, and yet so weighty, that the man who shall study those eight volumes thoroughly, will not fail to read his Bible intelligently and with growing interest.’ – Spurgeon

Lange’s Commentary – Judges  by P. Cassel

***‘This is a standard work.  No minister’s library is furnished without the whole set.  Joshua however is inferior to Judges.’ – Spurgeon

Wiseman, Luke – Men of Faith; or Sketches from the Book of Judges  1874  360 pp.

*** – ‘Mr. Wiseman in this work tells of ‘Gideon and Barak, of Samson and of Jephthah’, and he does it in a powerful style.  He was one of the best preachers in the Wesleyan body.  A man of fullness and judiciousness; in fact, a wise man.’ – Spurgeon

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Advanced

Keil, Karl F. – Judges

** – ‘Let our Biblical students not only master the facts and logic, but catch the spirit of these commentaries, and we can have no fear for the issue of that conflict with Rationalism and Popery united, by which Protestantism in this country seems to be threatened.’ – Wesleyan Mehodist Magazine, quoted by Surgeon

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Commentaries on Judges

Medium Level

Puritan

Vermigli, Peter Martyr – A Most Fruitful and Learned Commentary on Judges  ToC  1560

* ‘This would seem to be a profound work.  [Richard] Rogers says of Peter Martyr: ‘Few private men can understand his works, and few ministers who understand them can obtain them; nor if they can will they find in them much that will benefit their simple hearers.’  This has not been our experience with Peter Martyr’s works; on the contrary, we have read them with interest.’

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1800’s

Allen, John – A Spiritual Exposition of the Old Testament: from Joshua to the end of the Psalms  1816

‘Spiritual reflections after the high Calvinistic school.  Some preachers cannot see Christ where He is, but Allen finds Him where He is not.  There is in these reflections much godly savor, but very little exposition.’ – Spurgeon  

This Allen was not the one that translated Calvin’s Institutes.  James Darling said that Allen was an Antinomian (one who believes that Christians are not bound by moral injunctions).  Antinomians, not believing that moral injunctions should be derived from God’s Word, often replaced this large aspect of Scripture’s teaching with finding Christ everywhere in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. 

Dods, Marcus – Israel’s Iron Age: Sketches from the Period of the Judges in The Expositor’s Library  1874  There are 7 chapters, entitled: ‘Joshua’, ‘Gideon’, ‘Jotham’, ‘Jephthah’, ‘Samson’, ‘Eli’, & ‘The Blessings of the Tribes’

Dods was a liberal.

*  “Dr. Dods considers that to find Samson and other judges types of our Lord Jesus is mere fancy, and he interprets upon ‘a rational principle’ which renders his book dry and unspiritual; at the same time his sketches are not without value.” – Spurgeon

Groser, W.H. – Joshua and his Successors: an Introduction to Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel, with Notes Critical and Illustrative, vol. 1 (Joshua), 2 (Judges-Ruth-Samuel 1-12)  1874

Kirk, Thomas & Lang, John Marshall – Studies in the Book of Judges  Buy  473 pp.  Reprinted by Klock & Klock

Lang, John Marshall – Men of the Bible: Gideon and the Judges, a Study Historical and Practical  1890

Lang was a Church of Scotland minister and author, to be distinguished from John Peter Lange, the editor of the whole Bible commentary.

‘An old, well-reasoned work.  Helpful for its historical material.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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1900’s

Davis, John

Conquest and Crisis: Studies in Joshua, Judges and Ruth  Buy  1969

‘A systematic consideration of the central themes of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, incorporating into its material the latest archaeological findings in the Near East…  Deals with the difficult problems…  A commendable volume.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Israel from Conquest to Exile: a Commentary on Joshua to 2 Kings  Buy  1994

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Advanced

Burney, Charles Fox – The Book of Judges: with Introduction and Notes  1920

‘Abounds in textual, philological, historical, geographical, and archaeological material which translators and those who preach from a careful exegesis of the text will find helpful.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Hengstenberg, E.W. – Time of the Judges

**  “This great author contends ably for the Pentateuch, but the perusal of his book reminds us of the king who ‘Fought all his battles o’er again, And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain.'” – Spurgeon

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The Early Church on Judges

Compilation

Franke, John – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel  Buy 

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Individual Father

Origen – Homilies on Judges  Buy

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Christ in Judges

Browne, Robert – Christ in the Prophets: Judges  1873

*  “Of the High Church order, and praised by the Saturday Review.  What worse need be said?  Yet will we add that the savor of Christ in these books saves them from unqualified condemnation.” – Spurgeon

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The Life of Gideon  Judges 6-7

Bruce, John – The Life of Gideon Illustrated and Applied  1870

Bruce was a Free Church of Scotland minister.

**  “The author deserves attention, both for matter and style.  Note Hugh Miller’s high opinion of his ‘Biography of Samson’.  Gideon is a better work, but both are over-estimated.” – Spurgeon

“A very full, devotional exposition.” – Cyril J. Barber

Rogers, George – The Valor of Faith; or, the Gospel in the Life of Gideon  1859  170 pp.

***‘A thoroughly lively little book.  Each of the eight chapters is full of thought.’ – Spurgeon

Whyte, Alexander – Gideon  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921 

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Jephthah  Judges 11

Whyte, Alexander – Jephthah and his Daughter  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921 

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Samson  Judges 13-16

Bruce, John – The Biography of Samson; Illustrated and Applied  1854

Bruce was a Free Church of Scotland minister.

**  “Hugh Miller said: ‘There is a poetic richness in the style, which at one time reminds us of Chalmers, and at another of Jeremy Taylor, but which in reality is Mr. Bruce’s own, that does not seem poor or bald beside even the blank verse of the great master of English song.’  We think this eulogy is greatly overdone.” – Spurgeon

Kirk, Thomas – Samson: his Life and Work  1891

“Six moving messages based upon Judges 13-16.  Well reasoned, deeply devotional, and true to the Scriptures.” – Cyril J. Barber

Whyte, Alexander – Samson in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921

In Poetry

Quarles, Francis – The History of Samson  EEBO  1631

**  “This queer, quaint, odd volume of rhyme is far from despicable.  Kitto frequently quotes Quarles upon Samson, and says of him that he was a poet of no mean order.  We are glad to have his testimony to confirm our own opinion.  Refined tastes will be offended, but those who wish for quaint thought will be gratified.  The book is very rare.” – Spurgeon

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Related Pages

Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries