Paperback, 236pp. Published by Gospel Folio Press, 304 Killaly St. West, Port Colborne, ON., L3K 6A6, Canada. ISBN 978-1-926765-29-7.
There aren’t too many books on the Judges of Israel. In that sense this book should be welcomed. However, it is far from a gap filler! This work is thought-provoking, challenging, and Christ-exalting and a worthy addition to the library of anyone wishing to get to grips with this much neglected book. As Mather writes, ‘Some judges were flawed heroes. Some were reluctant heroes. Some were unlikely heroes’. But, against that background, ‘God is not looking for heroes but for men and women who are available to Him, and who will be faithful to Him’.
This is not merely a volume of character studies. In concluding the book with what the author calls two ‘case studies’, he is able to give an interesting commentary on the whole book. There are some difficult issues to cover and Mather is not afraid to deal with them carefully and thoughtfully, although not pressing his view dogmatically. In the matter of Jephthah he says, ‘Jephthah’s sin was not human sacrifice, but human pride’.
There are some useful insights into the study of the book. The author writes about the ‘Judges Cycle’ consisting of four words: ‘sin, servitude, sorrow, salvation’. He shows where this breaks down in the case of Samson, as we come to Judges chapter 13. He also gives a useful analysis of Jephthah’s actions when faced with Ammonite aggression.
Overall, this is an excellent addition to anyone’s study of Judges and a book that will both edify and encourage. My only disappointment with this recommended book is that it seems to lack thoroughness at the proof reading stage.