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Judges and Ruth: God in Chaos

By Barry G. Webb, Series edited by R. Kent Hughes

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The book of Judges powerfully demonstrates the chaos that can arise when sin reigns in people’s hearts. In contrast, the book of Ruth offers a message of redemption and hope following disorder. Set in a time when everyone “did what was right in his own eyes,” both books work together to highlight God’s faithfulness in the midst of Israel's disobedience.

Exploring the stories of figures such as Gideon, Samson, Naomi, and Ruth, this accessible commentary emphasizes the countless ways God protected and preserved his people in the Bible. Experienced preacher Barry Webb explores important connections between Judges and Ruth, reminding us of God’s promises to his people and offering practical applications for daily life—pointing us toward the hope of the coming King of kings, Jesus Christ.

Part of the Preaching the Word series.

Read Chapter 1


Barry G. Webb

Barry G. Webb (PhD, University of Sheffield) is the senior research fellow emeritus in Old Testament at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books and his work has been published in eight different languages. Barry and his wife live in Australia and have three daughters and five grandchildren.

Product Details

Category: Biblical Studies
Commentaries & Reference
Format: Hardcover w/ Jacket
Page Count: 304
Size: 6.0 in x 9.0 in
Weight: 19.2 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-0676-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-0676-5
ISBN-UPC: 9781433506765
Case Quantity: 28
Published: November 30, 2015

Table of Contents


  1. After Joshua: The Legacy of a Great Leader (1:1–21)
  2. Judgment Day: What Went Wrong? (1:22—2:5)
  3. Losing Our Children: “Another Generation . . . Who Did Not Know the Lord” (2:6–15)
  4. The Program (2:16—3:6)
  5. Othniel: A Model Savior (3:7–11)
  6. Ehud: Holy Laughter (3:12–30)
  7. Shamgar: The Man from Nowhere (3:31)
  8. Barak: Captain Lightning (4:1–24)
  9. Singing (5:1–31, First Reflection)
  10. Mothers (5:1–31, Second Reflection)
  11. Mavericks (5:1–31, Third Reflection)
  12. Gideon: The Making of a Leader (6:1—8:3)
  13. Gideon: Self-Destruction (8:4–35)
  14. Abimelech: The Son from Hell (8:29—9:57)
  15. First Interlude: Tola and Jair (10:1–5)
  16. Jephthah: The Negotiator (10:6—12:7)
  17. Second Interlude: Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8–15)
  18. Samson: The Savior No One Asked For (13:1–25)
  19. Samson: Saint and Sinner (14:1—16:31)
  20. Religious Chaos: Micah and His Idols (17:1—18:31)
  21. Moral Chaos: The Levite and His Concubine (19:1—21:25)


  1. Emptiness: Going Away and Coming Back (1:1–22)
  2. Seeking: The Kindness of God (2:1–23)
  3. Finding: The Promise of Rest (3:1–18)
  4. Fullness: Four Redeemers (4:1–22)


“I have been instructed and often moved by these scholarly and pastorally perceptive expositions. Barry Webb opens up the texts carefully and accessibly, and does so with the sensitivity of an experienced pastor. Such pastoral scholarship is powerful and edifying.”
Christopher AshWriter in Residence, Tyndale House, Cambridge

“Expository preaching involves much more than defining Hebrew and Greek words, or cool and collected explanations of obscure issues raised by biblical texts. It involves grasping both the theological message of the Scriptures and letting that message grasp us who preach week in and week out. Barry Webb is not only the finest interpreter of the book of Judges; he is also the book’s finest expositor. His presentation of the principle enduring theological points of each literary unit in Judges and Ruth is clear, practical, and passionate. This book is a great gift first to preachers, but ultimately to God’s people who will hear from them the living and life-giving Word of the Lord from these books.”
Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Wheaton College

“These are insightful, stimulating, often challenging expositions from the pen of a great exegete and preacher.”
James Hely Hutchinson, Director, Institut Biblique Belge, Brussels

“In his homiletical commentary, Professor Webb’s sermons lead us through the chaotic waters of Judges until we arrive at the end of Ruth where the storm finally settles with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. In this exegetically accurate, highly engaging, and masterfully accessible commentary, a seasoned scholar with a pastor’s heart captains us to the only surety of our souls—the great redeemer, Jesus Christ.”
Douglas Sean O'Donnell, Senior Vice President of Bible Publishing, Crossway; author, Matthew and The Song of Solomon (Preaching the Word)

“Barry Webb has a special skill for a comprehensive interpretation of Scripture: solid exegetical scholarship is combined with deep theological insights and relevant pastoral wisdom applied to our present day situation. The narrative style of the commentary makes it easy to read. Webb’s prudent work clarifies in an astonishing manner the theological meaning of Judges and Ruth as a part of the entire Biblical canon testifying to God’s work of creation and redemption, to his sovereign grace and faithfulness. This is Biblical theology at its best and very helpful for preachers and all believers.”
Miikka Ruokanen, Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Helsinki; Guest Professor, Nanjing Union Theological Seminary and Fudan University, Shanghai

“What happens when a society turns its back on God? Judges and Ruth opens up the era of Israel’s judges in a way that resonates in so many ways with the social, religious, and moral crises of our own age. This is a book worth recommending to anyone interested in leadership. Many commentaries are good for reference, but difficult to read. Barry Webb has given us one that you will find difficult to put down. Making Christian sense of Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, and the rest of the Judges and bringing them alive so that they “still speak” is a task beautifully executed by one who looks back over a life-time of study of the Bible, experience of life, and observation of the world. It is a seamless blend of scholarship, devotion, life-wisdom, and understanding of modern society.”
David Seccombe, Former Principal, George Whitefield College, Capetown

“In this careful reading of the text within the immediate context of Judges and Ruth, the wider Old Testament message, and ultimately the whole story of the Bible, Barry Webb gives us what we need most from a commentary—a gospel driven encouragement to love and serve our Lord more deeply.”
Peter Sholl, Director, MOCLAM, Monterrey, Mexico

“Barry Webb’s teaching and preaching have been a gift to the churches. Barry preaches the Word with a gentle clarity that shows he deeply understands both the text and the people to whom he is preaching. This expository commentary on Judges and Ruth bears all the hallmarks of Barry’s scholarship and much-loved preaching. Those preparing to preach on these two wonderful books will benefit greatly from Barry’s expositions as well as all who read them. This is the kind of preaching that nourishes faith as we advance in the knowledge of God and of the Savior he has provided.”
Mark D. Thompson, Principal, Moore Theological College