The book of Judges traces a pseudo-history of the Israelites after the conquest of Joshua. Israelite judges are more often legendary military heroes than arbitrators of justice. The people follow a cycle of obedience, success, idolatry, bondage, and deliverance. The message is that while God will always deliver his people, the cycle of disorder and bondage can only be broken by a centralized monarchy. “There was no king in Israel” foreshadows the arrival of an anointed king and also evokes a Christological hermeneutic. The symbolism of trees returns in the account of the prophetess Deborah, the calling of Gideon, and the fable of the trees in search of a king. The stage is set for the book of Samuel and the creation of the Israelite monarchy.