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In the book of Shoftim (Judges) we are introduced to a the role of a shofet ("judge"). At first glance, it's a very vague role.

Hashem uses judges to prevent the Jews from sinning. But not much else is explained.

Is a Shofet similar to a prophet, a gadol hador, or is it to be taken literally as a "Judge" like an av bet din?

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"Shoftim" translates roughly as "generals"

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In Israel, the word "Shofet" is used to refer to a "dayan" in a secular court. – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 26 '14 at 15:07
Editing in any source or evidence for this answer will greatly improve its quality! – msh210 Feb 26 '14 at 18:31

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