The men and women who are called Judges in the Bible were not Judges as we understand them today. They were more akin to informal military leaders who were called and empowered by God to rescue his people from the oppression of surrounding nations. After their military success, the Judges often implemented or inspired spiritual reform. Historically, the Judges served the nation of Israel in the early part of it’s history, before they were led by kings.
A reoccurring pattern is that the Israelites are oppressed, they call out to God for deliverance, he raises up a Judge to save them, they then turn to God for a time, but later fall away. The cycle repeats.
The actions of some of the Judges are noteworthy and significant. Other Judges are scarcely mentioned, some only garnering the briefest of citations. The lives, work, and heroic acts of these Judges are recorded in the book of Judges.