Judges was a fun book to go through, because I've never actually fully read it before, but I've read most of it in segments, so it was nice to see how they come together. Something that I noticed about this area is the strength of the women. It was funny to see that they all fall in the same book. Deborah, Jael, Jephthah's daughter, Zorah's wife (Samson's mother), Samson's wife, Delilah, the Levite's concubine that brought the remaining tribes of Israel together (except Benjamin), Naomi, and Ruth.
Not all of these women are good, by any means. Samson in particular had problems, between his wife and girlfriend, Delilah. Both of them pressured and pushed Samson to tell them things that he didn't want to. It says of his wife, "She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him" (Jud 14:17) and then she goes and gives the information to his enemies! Delilah's worse. "She said to him, 'How can you say, "I love you," when you won't confide in me?'" (Jud 16:15) and "With such nagging she prodded him day after day til he was tired to death." (Jud 16:16). Then she went and had him tied up and brought on his death.
The other women in this book, for the most part, were decent. What's the difference?
Samson's wife and Delilah didn't realize the influence they could have had on Samson. As women, we hold more power than we realize (or, at least a different sort of power). Throughout the Old Testament, God warns the people about marrying pagan wives, because they will turn them away from Him. As women, we can use the gifts God has given us to uplift and help the men around us, or we can nag them and prod them. They will not become the gentlemen that they can be in that way. It's something I need to work on too, but I have found in the times I do support and encourage, even when I don't 100% agree with their plan, things tend to go smoother than if I try to convince them to do it another way.