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Icons of the Bible: Othniel - The First Judge

Updated: Sep 25, 2022


Man holding up sword
Othniel -The First Judge

The Icons of The Bible Series will go through all the people of the Bible in chronological order. I will attempt to provide you focused article and videos that will help you become more familiar with those whom God chose to tell us about in His Holy Scripture. - Andy


"The Name Othniel: Summary


MeaningGod Is Force, Lion Of ElEtymologyFrom (1) a verb עתן ('atan), to be exalted or violent like a lion, and (2) אל ('el), the word God.Related names• Via עתן ('atan): Athaliah, Athlai, Othni• Via אל ('el): See the 'browse by form' menu for a long list of 'el-names.

The Name Othniel in the Bible


There is one man and possibly one village named Othniel mentioned in the Bible. Othniel the man was a son of Kenaz of Judah, who was a brother of Caleb, the friend of Joshua. He was first noted for conquering the city called Kiriath-sepher (= City of Scribes) for which he received Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, his cousin, for a wife (Joshua 15:17, Judges 1:13). Their sons were named Hathath and Meonothai, who sired a class of craftsmen (1 Chronicles 4:13). After an eight year occupation by king Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim, Othniel rose to the rescue, defeated the evil oppressor and governed for forty peaceful years as Israel's first judge (Judges 3:9-11). The town named Othniel may be mentioned in 1 Chronicles 27:15, in a list of the twelve commanders of Israel during the reign of king David. The twelfth commander is listed as Heldai the Netophathite of Othniel. A Netophathite is someone from Netophah, which appears to have been a cluster of villages, and of which Othniel may have been one. But it's also possible that Othniel's progeny of craftsmen peopled Netophah, in which case Othniel is a patriarch rather than a village.." from the article: Othniel Meaning



The Books of Judges

Video from BibleProject


"Watch our overview video on the book of Judges, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. In Judges, the Israelites turn away from God and face the consequences. God raises judges in cycles of rebellion, repentance, and restoration." from video introduction.


Who Were the Judges of Israel?

Before Israel had a king, it had a series of tribal leaders called judges. God used these men and women to save the Israelites from their enemies and lead them back to him. The Book of Judges records this dark chapter in ancient Jewish history, noting each judge’s deeds and the circumstances surrounding them.

After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, Joshua led them into the promised land. When Joshua and his generation died, so did the Israelites’ knowledge of God (Judges 2:10). They began worshipping other gods. So the Lord handed them over to their enemies and used the surrounding nations to test them, seeing whether they would walk in his ways as their ancestors did (Judges 2:22).

That’s when the judges came in:

“Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.” —Judges 2:16

But every time a judge died, Israel went astray again, returning to sinful practices and idolatry. It was a constant cycle of sin and deliverance. Israel rebels. God disciplines them. Israel repents. God delivers them.

So who were the judges? The book of Judges lists twelve:

  1. Othniel

  2. Ehud

  3. Shamgar

  4. Deborah

  5. Gideon

  6. Tola

  7. Jair

  8. Jephthah

  9. Ibzan

  10. Elon

  11. Abdon

  12. Samson

.." from the article: Who Were the Judges of Israel?


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