In order to understand the Israelites; the men and women that came from them, it is important to understand some of their roots.
For four hundred years they were enslaved by the Egyptians. God heard their cries and sent Moses to be the deliverer of His people. God was not only saving them from the brutal treatment of the Egyptians but was also teaching them the supreme power of Almighty God. They would know not only physical freedom but also spiritual freedom. It is a powerful lesson which speaks to us today for it speaks ultimately of the deliverer Jesus Christ who through his death and resurrection frees us from the power of sin and death.
Taking them out of slavery was very difficult. They kept wanting to go back to the only security they knew; that their parents knew, that their grandparents knew, all the way back for four hundred years. When things got tough, when they couldn’t see the next step, they complained and looked back to their slavery. This became their pattern, a very deeply entrenched pattern.
When Moses died, God gave them Joshua to serve as their leader, when Joshua died, he raised up Judges who would hear their complaints and act on their behalves for justice, leaders who would continue the task of establishing his people as their own nation. During this time, the children of Israel, would do evil, get into bondage again, and cry out to God. God would hear their cry and and deliver them. They would do well for awhile and then the cycle would begin again. God was patiently teaching and testing them in order to establish them. He wanted to be their God. He had chosen them as his own special people.