The Absolute Worst Bible Stories: What I Noticed When I Read Judges
by Wes McAdams
When I was a kid, I loved the book of Judges. It was full of violence and gore. There were tent pegs, strong men, lions, death, and destruction. I loved it. It made me think God would be an awesome movie director. Unfortunately, I was reading the book of Judges all wrong. The book of Judges is a collection of some of the worst stories in the Bible. And if you don’t recognize them as the worst stories in the Bible, you’re probably not reading them correctly.
Stories That Should Make You Weep
Israel was supposed to drive the Canaanites out of the land of Israel; but unfortunately, Israel not only failed to drive the Canaanites out, they became exactly like the Canaanites in the worst possible ways. They raped, murdered, worshiped idols, and even sacrificed their own children. They were overcome by pride, lust, vengeance, cowardice, and idolatry.
Even the good guys, the judges whom God sent to lead and deliver His people, were often as wicked as the people they were supposed to lead. From the beginning to the end, the judges themselves seem to get progressively worse.
One judge sacrificed his young daughter. One judge married a Philistine, slept with a prostitute, and shacked up with a woman who tried to have him killed on multiple occasions. One judge said he didn’t want to be the people’s king, but named his son, “Abimelech” (My-Father-Is-King). That warped young man, by the way, grew up and murdered all of his brothers so he could rule.
The book of Judges is absolutely spilling over with blood. People were whipped, stabbed, crushed, and burned with fire. Sadly, our glorification of violence and bloodshed makes young boys read this book and say, “Cool,” when we all ought to have tears streaming down our cheeks when we read these stories. There is nothing “cool” about it…