#121 Biblical Times II (Judges – Prophets)

#121 Biblical Times II (Judges – Prophets – Priests)

In this lesson you will learn about the different types of leaders in Ancient Israel: Judges, Prophets, and Priests. Judges were the legal voices for the people and would guide the laws and ways of practical living. Prophets were the interpreters of culture and community and taught people how to best live their lives. Finally, Priests (Kohanim in Hebrew) were the religious leaders (not to be confused with priests in the Christian world today) who worked in the sacred temples and led religious practices.


Samson was the last of the judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible (chapters 13 to 16) and one of the last of the leaders who “judged” Israel before the institution of the monarchy. Samson is sometimes considered to be an Israelite version of the popular Middle Eastern Heracles figure.

According to the biblical account, Samson was given immense strength to aid him against his enemies and allow him to perform glorious feats, such as quickly killing a lion, slaying an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass, and destroying a temple of the Philistines with his bare hands. However, if Samson’s long hair was cut, he would lose his strength.


Deborah was a prophet and the wife of Lapidoth. She rendered her judgments beneath a date palm tree between Ramah in Benjamin and Bethel in the land of Ephraim.

The people of Israel had been oppressed by Jabin, the king of Canaan, whose capital was Hazor, for twenty years. Stirred by the wretched condition of Israel she sends a message to Barak and tells him that Lord God had commanded him to muster ten thousand troops of Naphtali and Zebulun and concentrate them upon Mount Tabor, the mountain at the northern angle of the great plain of Esdraelon. At the same time she states that the Lord God of Israel will draw Sisera to the River Kishon. Barak declines to go without the prophet. Deborah consents, but declares that the glory of the victory will therefore belong to a woman. As soon as the news of the rebellion reaches Sisera he collects nine hundred chariots of iron and a host of people.

As Deborah prophesied, a battle was fought (led by Barak), and Sisera is completely defeated. He himself escapes on foot, while his army is pursued as far as Harosheth of the Gentiles and destroyed. Sisera comes to the tent of Jael; and he lies down to rest. He asks for a drink; she gives him milk; and while he is asleep she hammers a tent-pin through his temple.[6]

The Biblical account of Deborah ends with the statement that after the battle, there was peace in the land for 40 years. (Judges 5:31)

Traditional Jewish chronology places Deborah’s 40 years of judging Israel (Judges 5:31) from 1107 BC until her death in 1067 BC.

#3 KOHANIM or cohen is the Hebrew word for priest used colloquially in reference to the Aaronic priesthood who had the important job of keeping Jewish ritual items and rules.

During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, kohanim performed the daily and holiday (Yom Tov) duties of sacrificial offerings. Today, kohanim retain a lesser though distinct status within Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism, and are bound by additional restrictions according to Orthodox Judaism.


1. What are the three types of leaders in Ancient Israel?
2. What is the hebrew word for “Priest?”
3. What is the role of the Priest?
4. What is the role of the Prophet? And who is a famous Prophet?
5. What is the role of the Judge? and who is a famous Judge?
6. If you could have been one of these leaders in Ancient Egypt, which one would you choose for yourself?

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