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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Continuing Significance of the Book of Judges

If the modern religious reader of Judges is repulsed by its narratives, the ancient author has been successful. The picture of Israel— especially at the end of the book—is far from attractive or edifying. But it does show what happens to a nation that ignores traditional ethical and moral values. Disaster inevitably follows. If the people of Judah would restore their community's life in the land promised to their ancestors, they need to remember the centrality of the covenant that God made with those ancestors. The stipulations of that covenant require fidelity, commitment, and absolute loyalty to the Lord. The book of Judges is an object lesson about what happens to a people when they ignore the Lord in their national life. The pattern of recurring apostasy has to be replaced by a consistent loyalty. But how does a nation evaluate its level of commitment to the moral values to which it is an heir? This will be the subject of much of the story of Israel's kings that begin in the books of Samuel and continue in the books of Kings.

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