After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel begin a downward spiral. Israel begins to adopt the corrupt practices of the Canaanites they failed to drive out of the land. This leads to a cycle of sin, oppression, repentance, deliverance, and peace, which eventually leads back to sin.
The book of Judges highlights six judges during this time and shows their increasing corruption. These judges start off fairly well but become increasingly worse. The book ends with two very disturbing stories that show how lawless the people have become. The central verse that summarizes this says, "In those days Israel had no king, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes."