By Levi Clancy for לוי on
The book of Judges portrays tribal Israel as failing to really exert control over Canaan.
Despite conquering the land, enemies within and without pester Israelite hegemony and the Israelites beg God for victory over these agitators. The Israelites are delivered a series of Judges, superhuman military heroes who gave give Israel victory in the throes of battle, but who were not political leaders nor sought to be so.
Despite the initial success of the Judges, they are not authoritative enough to impose order.
Israel necrotizes due to social disorder within, epitomized by the Outrage at Gibea, a brutal rape; and also foreign agitation without, such as Israel's persistent enemy the Philistines in the southwest of Canaan.