What Was A Judge In The Bible

The Historical Context of Judges in The Bible

The practice of judging in Ancient Near East contexts dates back to at least the Egyptian Old Kingdom (c. 2600–2134 BCE). As the civil government and religious hierarchy increased in size and complexity, the role of judges became increasingly important in maintaining law and order. This was particularly true during the kingdom of Israel, which was established in the 10th century BCE. In this period, judges were responsible for administering justice and resolving disputes between citizens. The books of Judges and Deuteronomy provide the most comprehensive description of the role played by judges in Israelite society.
The role of the judge during the kingdom of Israel was to uphold and apply the laws set down in Shiloh, a center of religious and political power. Judges were chosen from the elite class and entrusted with the responsibility of ruling with justice. They were passionate advocates of the justice that God prescribed and were expected to not only interpret the laws but also demonstrate them in action.
The ideal judge was someone of unquestioned integrity, wisdom, and courage. They had to demonstrate a close relationship with God, acting as his direct representative here in the world of man. This meant that the judge was required to be impartial and to deal justly with all members of society, regardless of their background or social standing.
Judges were responsible for ensuring that justice was meted out to all members of society. This responsibility included protecting property rights, settling disputes between neighbors, and judging cases of civil and criminal law. They were expected to interpret the law as it had been handed to them, and to pass judgement according to the law.
The judges of Israel were also responsible for spiritual guidance. They were responsible for reminding the people of their covenant with God and for teaching them about the importance of moral and religious laws.

Notable Judges in The Bible

Throughout the Bible there were many legendary judges whose stories were told. Some of the more famous judges were Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson.
Gideon was a military leader who successfully led his people in defeating their enemies. It was said that he was one of the most powerful warriors to ever live, and that he wielded the power of divine justice and mercy. Gideon was renowned for being wise and faithful to the Lord and his will.
Jephthah was another military leader and the leader of the tribe of Gilead. He was known for leading a military campaign against the Ammonites. He is best remembered for his rash vow to sacrifice the first person to come out of his house if victory was ensured in battle.
Finally, Samson is the best remembered of the biblical judges. He was renowned for his strength and his courage. His story is filled with examples of how his God-given strength enabled him to defend his people against their enemies.

Modern Judicial Systems

Modern judicial systems are very different from the methods used to settle disputes presented in the Bible. In many respects, the process for settling disputes is more formalized and more complex. Contemporary trial proceedings include opening statements, witnesses testify under oath, the presentation of evidence, cross-examination, and more.
The modern legal system is built upon the foundations of English common law and its innovations. These developments, such as the adversarial system and the presumption of innocence, are derived from the greatest of British legal traditions such as the Magna Carta, Protection of Rights and Liberties, and Habeas Corpus.
The modern courtroom jury is also a far cry from the trial by jury system seen in the Bible. Today, jurors are expected to act as impartial fact-finders rather than as judges. The jury is expected to consider only the facts presented and make their decision based on those facts.
The modern judiciary is also much more sophisticated than what was seen in the Bible. Judges today are required to have a high level of education, training, and experience. They are also held to a higher standard of ethical and moral behavior.

Contemporary Religious Courts

In many cases, religion and the law are still intertwined. Religious courts, such as Sharia courts in Muslim countries, still exist today. These courts exist in place of, or alongside, the more widely accepted secular courts.
Religious courts take a different approach to dispute resolution. They are less focused on establishing legal rights and more focused on finding a resolution that both parties can accept. These courts are usually made up of religious authorities and are seen as a way of preserving cultural heritage, enforcing religious law and providing justice according to religious doctrine.
The role of religious courts varies from country to country. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, religious courts are the primary source of justice and they hold significant power over criminal and civil proceedings. In others, such as the United Kingdom, religious courts are allowed to exist only when their rulings are not in conflict with the law of the land and when their jurisdiction is limited to minor civil matters such as marital disputes or inheritance.

Judging in a Secular World

In a secular society, judging takes on a different form. Judges are expected to be impartial and to rule according to the law and the evidence. Judges are entrusted with upholding the values of the state and must always demonstrate fairness and impartiality.
In practical terms, the role of a judge in a secular society is to ensure that justice is done and that the laws of the land are respected. Judges are expected to be impartial interpreters of the law and to remain impartial in their decisions. They must reject any influence from outside sources, including religion and personal opinion.
Judges must be consistent in their decisions and must act according to the principle of “equality before the law”. This means that all people should receive the same treatment, regardless of their social standing or personal beliefs.

The Impact of Judges on Society

The impact of judges on society is undeniable. From the earliest days of the kingdom of Israel to the modern judicial systems of today, judges have been entrusted with upholding the rule of law and passing judgement on matters of civil and criminal law.
By upholding the rule of law, judges ensure that society remains orderly and just. They help to maintain social stability, the rule of law and prevent anarchy. Judges also play an important role in resolving disputes and protecting individual rights.
In addition to their legal roles, judges are also responsible for shaping public opinion. Through their rulings and speeches, they can influence the way people think and act. A judge’s rulings and words can inspire, motivate, and educate people.

The Role of Religion in Judges

The role of religion in judgements is highly debated. On one hand, some argue that the role of religion should be kept separate from the judicial process while others argue that religious values should be used as a source of guidance in judicial decision-making.
Regardless of which opinion is accepted, it is undeniable that religious values can play a role in judicial thinking. When faced with complex cases, it is possible for judges to refer to religious doctrine as a source of guidance. This practice is often seen as beneficial to the judicial process as it ensures that judgements are informed by principles of justice, truth and morality.
At the same time, some argue that religion should be kept out of the judiciary altogether. Judges should always remain impartial and should not allow their personal religious beliefs to influence their decision-making.


Judging has a long and varied history. From the earliest days of the Bible and beyond, judges have been entrusted with the responsibility of administering justice and protecting the rights of citizens. Today, judges still play an important role in protecting the rule of law and ensuring justice is served. Religion can play an important part in the judiciary, but it is important that judges remain impartial and that religious influences remain separate from their decision-making.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

Leave a Comment