I think the picture that most of us get, when we picture “judges” is of an old guy, in a robe, who holds himself above and aloof what is going on. Most of us gave something like fear, or at least caution, about this image. We get images about how we are the subject of judgement.
This is quite different than what the bible means by judges. For example, in the book of judges, we’re told that the Israelis cried out to God. God raised them up a deliverer, and the Spirit of the Lord came on this guy. Scripture goes on to say that he became Israeli’s judge and went to war with Israeli’s conquerer.
What would it do to our images of God, if this book had been called “Warrior Dudes” instead of “Judges”? I know, that term doesn’t sound all that biblical. And I’m not wanting to be irreverant. Nor do I want to soft peddle the issue. Certianly the judges would be called to turn their attentions on their own people when their own people were acting against God’s will.
The thing I’m thinking about though, is that judgement is necessary and required. And not just for the well-being of the judged. As parents, we couldn’t protect our kids from bullies and older brothers if we didn’t judge the bullies and older brothers. As citizens, we can’t protect people from harassment or discrimination if we’re not willing to judge the harassers and disciminators.
There’s probably all sorts of interesting things about enlightenment views on reasoning and the modern era in the idea that a judge ought to be removed from what he is judging. Given that we’re fallible humans it’s probably a good idea to seperate things out and remove the judge from the other parts of the process.
But God’s judges, those are dudes with swords. They wield them to protect those who can’t protect themselves. That’s a pretty cool thing.