The Spirit of the LORD in Judges: Apostolic Pneumatology

The Foxes in the Corn

I have long marveled at the book of Judges. It has been my privilege to consider this book when teaching Old Testament Foundations at Urshan Graduate School of Theology. As I look at it afresh now and focus primarily on references to the Spirit of the LORD, some new insights have emerged.

Only Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson are said to have encounters with “the Spirit of the LORD.” Of these four, Gideon, Jephthah and Samson are mentioned as examples of people of faith in Hebrews 11. The primary reason the Spirit of the Lord came upon various judges was to enable them to deliver the Israelites from their enemies.

A clue in Judges 2:18 prepares us to know that the Spirit of the Lord is the Lord Himself: “The Lord was with the judge.” Samson’s prayers also indicate that we are not to think of the Spirit as a mere force or as an entity in any way separate from the Lord.

The character of judges like Jephthah and Samson shows that the work of the Spirit in their lives was not a reward for good behavior. We must remember, however, that they are included among other flawed people in Hebrews 11 as examples of people of faith.