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The archetypal judge was Moses, who delegated some judicial responsibilities to local officials (Deut. 16: 18–20; 17: 2–13). Before the monarchy there was no standing army in Israel and charismatic leaders arose who acted with courage and earned respect, and were called judges. The best-known were Deborah, Gideon, and Samson. There were also others, often called ‘minor judges’ (Judg. 10: 1–5; 12: 8–15). Their relation to the charismatic judges is not clear.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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