Once settled into their own land, the people of Israel turned away from God and did what was right in their own eyes (Jg 21:25). They bowed down to idols and fell into the hands of their enemies. In their distress, God raised up judges to deliver His people, though they repeatedly fell back into the same habit of apostasy once the threat had been eliminated (Jg 2:11-23). This period is represented by three of the most well-known judges: Deborah (Jg 4-5), Gideon (Jg 6-8), and Samson (Jg 13-16).
After this, God used Samuel to judge and guide the nation’s return to the Lord. The people demanded that Samuel appoint a king over them and, at God’s direction, he met their request (1 Sam 7-8). Samuel anointed Israel’s first two kings (1 Sam 10:1; 16:13) and he is depicted here pouring out the flask of oil that symbolizes Israel’s transition to a kingdom.The first three kings, Saul, David, and Solomon (see 1-2 Sam; 1 Kgs 1-11), are the prominent figures on this panel. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14) who received a divine covenant that an eternal kingdom would be established from his throne (2 Sam 7). Solomon built the Lord’s temple as the central place of worship for the nation (1 Kgs 8:12-61). Following Solomon’s reign, however, the kingdom divided in two and began once again departing from God (1 Kgs 12). This period is portrayed by the fallen crown, broken scepter, and torn garment bearing the Hebrew names of Israel (on top) and Judah (on bottom), the northern and southern kingdoms.
(click here to listen to messages from the Series)