After the death of Yehoshuah (Joshuah), the Jewish people have no strong and formal central government. Instead, for over four-hundred years they are led by judges and guided by their prophets.
The Torah provides the Jewish people with sufficient direction and structure to maintain internal law and order. Their loyalty to the principles of the Torah makes this all work.
The Bible (Judges 2) provides a pattern for history during this period. Simply, when the Jewish people do not meet up to expectation, G-d allows them to become dominated by neighboring nations. When the hardship becomes unbearable, G-d endows a judge to lead them into battle and they prevail.
One of the great judges during this period is a woman. Her name is D'vorah (Deborah) and she is also a great prophet.
Throughout most of this period, the Jewish people maintain a national sanctuary for sacrificial worship. As prescribed in the Torah, the people assemble three times a year to celebrate the major holidays. This is a major source for spiritual inspiration and it also unites the nation in service to G-d.
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