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Deserting the King: The Book of Judges (Transformative Word)

ISBN: 9781577997764
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Tragedy and Heroism

Readers of the book of Judges encounter a host of puzzles to be solved—everything from the book’s purpose and place in the biblical narrative to the precise nature of the historical figures involved. In the midst of so many questions to be answered, how can we allow the book to change our view of the God of both the Old and New Testament?

In Deserting the King, David Beldman guides readers through the book of Judges, tracing the acceptance and rejection, the tragedy and heroism of Israel’s relationship with God and the Israelite monarchy. Along the way, he shows readers how this book—though full of bloodshed, intrigue, and conflict—can help us see God at work in our world.

Praise for Deserting the King

Christians tend to shun the book of Judges when looking for ethical instruction and spiritual uplift. But David Beldman shows, with the aid of modern hermeneutics, that this is to miss some of the most relevant messages of Scripture. Reading these apparently unpromising texts with Beldman, you will be instructed and challenged. In short, this is a most worthwhile study of a valuable part of the Bible.

—Gordon J. Wenham, tutor in Old Testament, Trinity College (Bristol, England); author, Exploring the Old Testament

The "church" in our times is in desperate need of a deep plunge into the book of Judges. I know no one better to guide that plunge than David Beldman. Deserting the King is stunning, formative, and sharpening. I highly encourage all to engage Judges through this book.

—Tyler Johnson, lead pastor, Redemption Church (Arizona)

In this excellent survey, David Beldman does three things. He sets the book of Judges meaningfully within the overarching creational and redemptive narrative of the whole Bible; he clarifies and illuminates the structure of the book and the intrinsic (but easily overlooked) message that structure carries; and he offers penetrating reflections on the relevance of the book to contemporary cultures. To do all this in such a simply-written and easy-to-read short volume, and to do it for one of the more challenging and neglected books in the Bible, is a most commendable achievement. Church and student groups, preachers and teachers, will all find this book opens their eyes and feeds their faith.

—Christopher J.H. Wright, international ministries director, Langham Partnership

The Transformative Word Series

God’s Word is transformative. It is this conviction which gives the Transformative Word series its name and its unique character. Series Editor Craig G. Bartholomew has worked alongside authors from around the world to identify a key theme in each book of the Bible, and each volume provides careful Biblical exegesis centered on that gripping theme. The result is an engaging, accessible thematic exploration of a biblical book, poised to offer you new and refreshing insights.

Learn more about the other titles in this series.

Top Highlights

“Judges is an urgent plea for God’s people to believe in Yahweh and find life in him.” (Page 7)

“Understanding Judges as prophetic literature is beneficial for a number for reasons. First, this view recognizes that Judges is God’s word, which was delivered to a particular people for a specific purpose. In other words, the purpose of the book is not merely historical but theological. Second, it helps us recognize that historical events, when viewed through the proper lens, reveal God and his purposes. These events are valuable in that they disclose the character of God, the reality of the world he created, and his intentions for humanity in the world.” (Page 8)

“How do we attune our ears so that we might hear God speaking to us today through the book of Judges” (Page 4)

“‘God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How can we console ourselves, the murderers of all murderers! The holiest and mightiest thing the world has ever possessed has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood from us? With what water could we clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what holy games will we have to invent for ourselves? Is the magnitude of this deed not too great for us? Do we not ourselves have to become gods merely to appear worthy of it? There was never a greater deed—and whoever is born after us will on account of this deed belong to a higher history than all history up to now!… What then are these churches now if not the tombs and sepulchres of God?’” (source)

“Many events in the settlement period do not appear in Judges, and the things that do appear are included for a purpose.” (Page 7)


  • Introduction
  • Judges in the Context of the Grand Story
  • Cycles, Spirals, and Circles: The Structure of Judges
  • “No King in Israel”: The Regicide of Yahweh
  • The Canaanization of a Holy Nation
  • Violence in the Book of Judges
  • The Enduring Testimony of Judges
  • Conclusion

Product Details

  • Title: Deserting the King: The Book of Judges
  • Author: David Beldman
  • Series: Transformative Word
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Pages: 114
  • Format: Logos Digital, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 5x8
  • ISBN: 9781577997764

About David Beldman

David Beldman is an associate professor of religion and theology at Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, where he loves opening up the riches of Scripture with undergraduate students. He is also on faculty at the Missional Training Center in Phoenix, Arizona, where he teaches in the area of Old Testament. He has published on various aspects of the Old Testament and biblical theology. He is the author of The Completion of Judges: Strategies of Ending in Judges 17‑21 (Eisenbrauns, 2017) and is currently writing a commentary on Judges (Eerdmans).

Sample Pages from Deserting the King


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    Print list price: $12.99
    Save $4.00 (30%)