Photo provided by Bridgeman/Art Resource, NY.

ON THE COVER: Gideon prays, “Give me a sign,” in this German 16th- to 18th-century stained glass window. An Israelite leader in the years following Joshua’s death, the farmer Gideon was appointed by God to lead the fight against the Midianites, who ravaged Israel’s lands every year at harvest time. In this scene, Gideon seeks a sign from God that he will win. He requests first that God moisten a wool fleece (at left) while keeping the ground around it dry, then moisten the ground while keeping the fleece dry. The Book of Judges records Gideon’s military exploits, but, with one exception, does not describe him or his fellow “judges” as having any judicial role. Author Ellis Easterly examines the tradition of translation surrounding the word “judge” in “A Case of Mistaken Identity.”