How long was the period of the Judges?
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
If you add up the periods that IsraEl’s judges served (as found in the Bible books of Judges and 1 Samuel), and if you choose to believe that each of these periods was consecutive, you will conclude that the judges ruled IsraEl (prior to the period of kings) for about 450 years. However, according to 1 Kings 6:1, it was 480 years from IsraEl’s exodus from Egypt until Solomon started construction of the Temple in the fourth year of his reign.
So, adding that four years to the 40 years of David’s reign and the 40 years of Saul’s reign, then adding the 40 years that IsraEl spent in the desert after leaving Egypt just leaves 356 years for the period of the judges, which includes the periods under JoShua and SamuEl.
Therefore, if we can trust the accuracy of the 480 years that is mentioned in 1 Kings (440 years according to the ancient Septuagint), we must assume that the period of the judges overlapped considerably.