The book of Judges tells the story of Israel's total failure after the death of Joshua. Judges were tribal chieftains, and their story can be quite disturbing. It serves as a tragic tale of how Israel's leaders became increasingly corrupt and no better than the Canaanite tribes they had overthrown. Though sad, this is also a story of hope for the future.
Judges illustrates the vicious cycle of apostasy, oppression, and deliverance. Yahweh repeatedly raises up “judges” (rulers who were military and judicial leaders) to deliver the people following a period of foreign oppression. However, the increasing corrupt leadership and populace led to some of the most violent events recounted in the Bible. The theme of this book is summarized in Judges 21:25, "In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes."