Judges 3:1-11 (Othniel, Israel’s First Judge)

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson

Judges 3:1-11
Othniel, Israel’s First Judge

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul writes about his trust in God, knowing that our sufficiency comes from Him. In his words, he noted the believers’ trust is “through Christ,” but he possibly feared that this expression wouldn’t be fully understood, so he expanded on it.

He points out that we are not sufficient “of ourselves.” If we have trust in the things of God, then they must be from God. One cannot trust in what one does not believe in! This sufficiency from God excludes thinking that it is somehow derived “from ourselves.”

In all things related to faith, God must be the Source. Our faith, our hope, our trust, our reason for our works, etc., all stem from God. Nothing that we possess in our faith can logically stem from ourselves.

This does not mean that we don’t have free will. Rather, the free will we exercise stems from God as well. He is the Source of all things.

One difference between a mature believer and those who are either weak in their faith or who have almost no faith at all is that they have come to the understanding that all things are from, for, and to God. He is absolutely sovereign, and we are living within the confines of His sovereign works over and through creation.

Text Verse: “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

With the understanding of God’s sovereignty, Paul continues his thought by acknowledging that “our sufficiency is from God.” The gospel is from God. The conversion was from God. Growth in Christ was from God. Communication of the gospel to others and their reception of it is from God.

If we as believers can truly accept this, then we stand in a good spot in relation to Him. In the end, there should be no fear of failure, no fear of man, and no worry about the day ahead. God is directing all things according to His wisdom.

We are to engage our feet with this thought in mind. Let us head out each day knowing that the Lord is already aware of all that will transpire, and He is directing our steps according to that plan.

The life you have is a gift from the Lord and is to be used for the Lord. Use it to His glory, and don’t fret about the path you are on. He is there with you, and He will be there at the end, waiting for you.

Such great truths as this are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Taught to Know War (verses 1-6)

Now these are the nations which the Lord left,

The opening words of the chapter give greater detail than what was stated as Chapter 2 closed out. This is a common way that the Bible deals with a subject, first introducing it and then more fully explaining it: v’eleh ha’goyim asher hiniakh Yehovah – “And these the nations which rested Yehovah.” This is how Chapter 2 closed out –

“Then the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and He said, ‘Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, 21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22 so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the Lord, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.’ 23 Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.” Judges 2:20-23

The same word used in Chapter 2 is used here, yanakh, to leave alone, lay down, etc. It comes from the same root at nuakh, to rest. He removed His hand from them at the time, not coming after them as before. Instead, they would be laid up, or rested, within the land, but not necessarily permanently…

1 (con’t) that He might test Israel by them,

l’nasoth bam eth Yisrael – “to test in them Israel.” The reason for this setting aside the destruction of these nations is explicitly said to be for a testing of Israel. Again, it is the same word used as Chapter 2 ended, nasah, to test, try, tempt, etc.

This testing is to be for Israel. In Chapter 2, it was said to find out whether they would keep the ways of Yehovah, to walk in them as their fathers kept them or not. Now, that is further explained with the words…

1 (con’t) that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan

eth kal asher lo yadu eth kal mikhamoth k’naan – “all who no knew all wars Canaan.” The testing is tied into the thought of war. The purpose of the wars in Canaan was to eradicate the inhabitants. Therefore, the testing of obedience in keeping the ways of Yehovah includes this warfare.

This can be seen from what occurred in Joshua. First, Joshua was told that the Lord would be with him in battle –

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” Joshua 1:5-7

However, when disobedience was found in the nation, this was the result –

“So the Lord said to Joshua: ‘Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.’” Joshua 7:10-12

Of this, Keil rightly says, “In the wars of Canaan under Joshua, therefore, Israel had experienced and learned, that the power to conquer its foes did not consist in the multitude and bravery of its own fighting men, but solely in the might of its God, which it could only possess so long as it continued faithful to the Lord.”

This is what the subsequent generations would need to learn. To follow in the ways of the Lord is inclusive of performing in war, being obedient to the Lord’s precepts, and not diverting from them.

(this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war,

Verse 2 is parenthetical and explanatory. The Hebrew construction is quite complicated, but it bears an emphasis that falls on the first word of each main clause: raq l’maan daath doroth bene Yisrael l’lamdam mikhamah – “Only, to end purpose know generations sons Israel, to teach them war.” The word raq signifies a limitation. The only reason for leaving these nations was for the purpose of teaching the subsequent generations of Israel war.

Think of those in the church. It is not uncommon for people to ask why the Lord doesn’t just take home and glorify believers when they come to Christ. Why leave us here to go through all the troubles of life? Because someone must teach the next generation about the Lord.

Judges are in the land, being raised up to lead the people in battle. Likewise, we are being raised up to lead people to the Lord and to disciple them in right doctrine. Israel fought earthly battles, Paul speaks of the spiritual warfare of the church, but the parallels are set to see the similarities between the two.

Remember Paul’s words of the text verse. He said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” Joshua discovered that when Achan sinned.

The nation discovered that again when the treaty with the Gibeonites was made without first consulting the Lord. The nation needed to learn that they were wholly dependent on Him. Their sufficiency was not of themselves, but from God. And this was not a one-time event. It is something that had to be repeatedly taught…

2 (con’t) at least those who had not formerly known it),

Rather than “it,” the word is plural, “them.” Again, the word raq, only, provides the emphasis: raq asher l’phanim lo yadum – “Only, who to faces [meaning before] no had known them.” The plural, them, refers to the wars of Canaan. John Lange rightly states –

“It is not for technical instruction in military science that He leaves the heathen nations in the land, but that Israel may know what it is to wage war, that without God it can do nothing against Canaan, and that, having in the deeds of contemporary heroes a present counterpart of the experience of their fathers, who beheld the mighty works which God wrought for Israel through Moses and Joshua, it may learn humility and submission to the law.”

Said plainly, to learn war does not mean to become proficient at killing the enemy but to acknowledge dependence on God, who alone can provide the victory. As Israel will learn, the consequences for not depending on the Lord (not learning this lesson of war) will be serving other nations. This lesson will be borne out time and again in Judges.

For Israel to learn this, a list of nations is next provided. One can see the flow if the parenthetical words of verse 2 are removed –

“Now these are the nations which the Lord left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan …”

namely, five lords of the Philistines,

The word translated as lords, seren, signifies a lord, but also an axle. Hence, the word may indicate the lord is the central point upon which the city turns. It is always used in relation to the lords of the Philistines, with the exception of it being used once to describe the bronze axels of the carts in Solomon’s Temple.

As for the name Philistine, it comes from palash, signifying to roll in the dust as an act of mourning. They are the Grievers. Also…

3 (con’t) all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath.

The names are in the singular. The whole clause reads: “and all the Canaanite, and the Sidonian, and the Hivite dwelling Mount the Lebanon from Mount Baal Hermon unto to entering Hamath.”

Canaanite means Humbled, Humiliated, or Subdued. Sidon comes from tsud, to hunt. Thus, it is Hunting Place. As it is on the coast, it means to hunt fish and thus Fishery. Hivite means Villagers, or maybe more specifically, Tent Villagers.

A mountain (har) is a lot of something gathered. It is synonymous with a large but centralized group of people.

Lebanon means White One or even Mountain of Snow. However, it is derived from lavan, meaning white. This is identical to lavan, or brick, because bricks turn white when fired. That word carries the connotation of works because bricks imply the work of man as opposed to stone which is created by God.

Abarim provides Lord of Designation or Lord of Destruction for Baal Hermon. However, being consistent with the translation of Hermon from elsewhere, it would be Lord of Sacred, meaning that which is set apart, as in Designation.

Hamath means “Defense” or “Citadel.”

And they were left, that He might test Israel by them,

More exactly, the words read, “And were to test, in them, Israel.” It is through the leaving of these people groups that Israel was to be tested. Would they rely on the Lord? Would they be obedient to Him? This is next explicitly stated…

4 (con’t) to know whether they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

A verb is used as a noun: “to know the obeying, commandments Yehovah which commanded their fathers in hand Moses.” The testing is through war with these nations. Again, it is not for Israel’s education in military prowess, but for their understanding concerning the effects of war, in victory or in defeat.

If Israel obeys, they will prosper against their enemies. When they don’t, they will suffer the consequences of their disobedience through the wars waged against them. As such…

Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Rather, the word Canaanite appears to be used as all-encompassing. That is then subdivided into the individual people groups, all of which are in the singular: “And sons Israel dwelt in midst the Canaanite: the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.”

Of those not already described, Hittite means Terror, Terrible, or Fearsome; Amorite – Talkers (active) or Renown (passive); Perizzite – Villager or Dweller in an Open Country; Jebusite – Treading Down (active) or Trodden Underfoot (passive).

This is not the same as the listing of people groups in verse 3. Those were bordering peoples whom Israel would engage in war. These listed here are those dwelling in Canaan. Israel dwelt in the midst of them.

The John Lange Commentary notes that this verse introduces the second major part of the book of Judges, noting, “THE History of Israel under the Judges: a history of sin, ever repeating itself, and of Divine Grace, constantly devising new means of deliverance. Meanwhile, however, the imperfections of the judicial institute display themselves, and prepare the way for the Appointment of a King.”

While dwelling in the midst of these people groups, it next says…

And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods.

The failings of Israel in relation to the law are highlighted in these words when contrasted to those of Moses. For example –

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your sonFor they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.” Deuteronomy 7:1-5

This generation has grown up apart from the leadership of Joshua. They failed to heed the warnings set forth by the Lord and Joshua, and they have departed from following the Lord. Therefore, they will learn through war what it means to not be obedient. The consequences for their failure will be the result.

With verses 5 & 6 concluded as an introduction to this major section, the Pulpit Commentary says –

“CHAPTER 3:7-11 This section introduces us into the actual narrative of the Book of Judges, the prefatory matter being now concluded. The whole book proceeds on the same model as this section does. The apostasy of Israel; their servitude under the oppressor sent to chastise them; their cry of distress and penitence; their deliverance by the judge raised up to save them; the rest which follows their deliverance. There is infinite variety in the details of the successive narratives, but they are all formed on the same plan.”

Be obedient to what I say
Even if not doing so will turn out for good
It is not right for you to ever disobey
Be sure that this is perfectly understood

If My word is violated, and good comes from that
It is because I ordained that it would be this way
But your disobedience only makes you a brat
Even if good comes from it, you have no right to disobey

Turn from disobedience, and always do right
Do not use the excuse that, “Things will turn out ok!”
That is wickedness in My sight
There is never a time when it is right to disobey

II. Othniel the Son of Kenaz (verses 7-11)

In Judges 2:11-16, the repetitive cycle of falling away and then being drawn back to the Lord is introduced. Reading them now and then comparing them to what is said in the next five verses will show this pattern –

“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.
16 Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.” Judges 2:11-16

“So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs. Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years. When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim. 11 So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.” Judges 3:7-11

So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Rather: vayaasu bene Yisrael eth ha’ra b’ene Yehovah – “And did sons Israel the evil in eyes Yehovah.” This is the second of eight times the masculine term “the evil” is seen in Judges. Each time, it is accompanied by the words “in eyes of Yehovah.” Thus, the offense is personal in the relationship between the people and the Lord…

7 (con’t) They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs.

More precisely: “And forgot Yehovah their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.” The Baals were described in Judges 2. There is the Baal as the main deity, and then there are the Baals of the individual tribes and clans.

Asherahs are based on a nature goddess companion of Baal found in Phoenicia, Assyria, Canaan, etc. They are represented by large wooden pillars or images set up in honor of Ashteroth. Examples can be seen also in Judges 2.

Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel,

It is the common phrase indicating the extreme displeasure of the Lord: vayikhar aph Yehovah b’Yisrael – “And burned nostril Yehovah in Israel.” It is as if the Lord is standing in the midst of the people with His nostril fuming, smoke pouring out of His nose.

8 (con’t) and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia;

vayimkerem b’yad kushanrishathyim melekh aram naharayim – “And sold them in hand Cushan-Rishathaim, king Aram Naharayim.” The name and location are a mouthful. This is the only account where this person is mentioned in Scripture.

As for the meanings, Cushan comes from Cush, the area of Ethiopia. Abarim says that the meaning of Cush is “irretrievably obscure.” The only real clue to its meaning is found in Jeremiah 13:23 –

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23

The skin of the Ethiopian is black, and so most translate Cush as Black. One could argue that is illogical unless the leopard means spots.” But this is just what the word, namer, or leopard, means. It comes from an unused root meaning to filtrate and thus to spot or stain as if by dripping.

The second half of the name, Rishathaim, comes from rishah, wickedness. Being a plural, it would mean Double Wickedness or Extra Wicked. Taken together, the name would most likely mean Black-Double Wickedness.

Aram means Elevated, High, or Citadel. Naharaim comes from nahar, to flow or stream, and speaks of both water and light that flows. But this is used metaphorically for peoples and nations, such as in Isaiah 2, where it says the nations will stream to Jerusalem.

Thus it means Two Steams. The whole name would then mean Elevation (Citadel) of Two Streams, be they of water, light, or something else.

8 (con’t) and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years.

Bullinger states that as a numeral, eight is the superabundant number. As it is seven plus one, “it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order.” As for Israel’s time of service to this guy…

When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord,

vayizaqu bene Yisrael el Yehovah – “And cried sons Israel unto Yehovah.” This is what happened when they were in Egypt –

“Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.” Exodus 2:23

They were in bondage, they cried to the God, He heard and responded. Under Cushan-Rishathaim’s oppression, they again cry out to the Lord. And He again responds…

9 (con’t) the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them:

More precisely: “And raised up Yehovah savior to sons Israel and saves them.” In turning back to the Lord and crying out to Him, He returned to them and brought about their deliverance. It is what verse 2:16 said would take place. As for their savior, it is…

9 (con’t) Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

eth athniel ben qenaz akhi kalev ha’qatan mimenu – “Othniel son Kenaz brother Caleb the younger from him.” Othniel, or Force of God, was seen in Joshua 15 and Judges 1. He is noted as the son of Kenaz, or Hunter. That was explained in Joshua 14 as a name based on a profession, similar to many of our own names. Hence it is someone who seeks a form of wisdom like any such profession would.

He is noted as the younger brother of Caleb, or Dog. Thus, he is a Gentile by genealogy. Of him, it next says…

10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel.

vathi alav ruakh Yehovah vayishpoth et Yisrael – “And became upon him Spirit Yehovah, and judged Israel.” It is a phrase that will be used in Judges, Samuel, and Kings. This is a special marking upon the individual as a divinely appointed Judge to relieve the people in their time of need. Of him, it says…

10 (con’t) He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim.

Rather, it is more precise: “And went out to the war, and gave Yehovah in his hand Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Aram. And prevailed his hand over Cushan-Rishathaim.”

Rather than being delivered, it says the Lord gave him into Othniel’s hand. The king of Aram was a present being handed over to Othniel. With that, the record of this foe is ended. Because of this event, the next words are stated…

11 So the land had rest for forty years.

This refers to the time after Othniel’s victory, regardless as to the length of his life. During these years, the land sat quietly and without any further harm from their enemies.

Forty is defined by Bullinger as “a period of probation, trial, and chastisement—(not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people).”

And more, because “it relates to enlarged dominion, or to renewed or extended rule, then it does so in virtue of its factors 4 and 10.”

Four, “is the number of things that have a beginning, of things that are made, of material things, and matter itself. It is the number of material completeness. Hence it is the world number, and especially the ‘city’ number.”

Ten signifies “Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.”

Whether at the end of this time of peace or at some point prior to it, the words next say…

*11 (fin) Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Rather than “then,” the text says: “And died Othniel son Kenaz.” Placing this statement at the end of the account would suggest that he died after the forty years. However, the words may simply refer to the ending of his life without any connection to the forty years of peace. Of this and the rest of Judges, Ellicott says –

“Many questions have been raised, such as—Do the forty years include or exclude the period of servitude? Is forty meant to be an exact or a general number? Are the various periods of rest and servitude continuous and successive, or do they refer to different parts of the Holy Land, and do they synchronise? Perhaps no final answer to these questions is as yet possible, and no less than fifty schemes of the chronology of the period of the judges have been attempted, which fact alone proves how insufficient are the data on which to decide.” Charles Ellicott

I would disagree with the last thought. The data are not insufficient. Rather, it is our inability to rightly interpret the data that is problematic. Ellicott died in 1905. Since then, many more opinions have arisen, and there is no agreement on most of these points. As for what we are being shown in the first judge, that will be explained next…

A plan is being worked out by God
In the stream of time it unfolds
With each breath we take or step we trod
The watchful eye beholds

There is trouble along the way
But the Lord remains faithful and true
And with each passing day
The mercies of the Lord renew

Oh Israel, hope in the Lord your God
And know that He has not forgotten you
Someday the Gentiles shall applaud
When to you the message of Jesus finally comes through

III. Explaining Othniel

Othniel is the first judge of Israel. He is the brother of Caleb and son of Kenaz who has pictured the Gentiles in Joshua and Judges 1. The symbolism remains the same here.

Israel is in a time of apostasy, having done evil in the eyes of Yehovah (verse 7). It says they 1) forgot Him, and 2) served the Baals and Asherahs (verse 8). That is two evils –

“‘Has a nation changed its gods,
Which are not gods?
But My people have changed their Glory
For what does not profit.
12 Be astonished, O heavens, at this,
And be horribly afraid;
Be very desolate,’ says the Lord.
13 ‘For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.’” Jeremiah 2:11-13

In response, the nostril of the Lord burned in Israel (verse 8). It is the continued rejection of the Lord at His coming. In rejecting Jesus, they have rejected the Lord. Thus, (verse 8) He sold (makar) them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia.

As was seen in Judges 2:14, Israel sold, makar, themselves to their enemies (Isaiah 52:3). The Lord allowed it to happen because of their actions. Thus, it can be said that the Lord sold them. The names then tell what is happening. They are sold into the hand of Black-Double Wickedness king of Elevated Two Streams. During this period, they serve him.

In Amos 9, the Lord equates Israel to the people of Cush, or Ethiopia –

Are you not like the people of Ethiopia [kushi] to Me,
O children of Israel?” says the Lord.
“Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,
The Philistines from Caphtor,
And the Syrians from Kir?” Amos 9:7

This provides the needed meaning. Israel, equated to the Ethiopians, is in a state of double wickedness. The elevated two streams refer to the House of Israel and the House of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31). Even if they are out of God’s favor at this time, they remain elevated in His redemptive plans. For now, this is the state that they have sold themselves into.

However, the period is only for eight years. It is not a permanent thing. Eight is the superabundant number and is associated with Resurrection and Regeneration. In other words, they will come to accept the resurrected Jesus and be regenerated someday when they cry out to Him (verse 9).

The verse continues with, “And raised up Yehovah savior to sons Israel and saves them.” It speaks of the coming and work of Jesus, including the resurrection, that they will accept at that time. But that is not something that will come out of the blue. There has to be a means by which they will learn this.

Thus, Othniel (Force of God), son of Kenaz (Hunter), Caleb’s (Dog’s) younger brother, is introduced. The Gentile has carried the word of God since Israel rejected Jesus. As explained in both Joshua and Judges 1, Othniel is as a hunter of men in the sense that he is seeking wisdom not only for himself but for others as well.

Therefore, he typifies those who expend themselves in the pursuit of the knowledge of God and in conveying that to others. It is through the Gentiles that the revelation of God in Christ is transmitted back to the Jews. Hence, it says of him in verse 10 that “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel.”

The same terminology was said about Jesus in Isaiah 61:1 and then cited by Him in Luke 4:18. The Spirit of God came upon Jesus. That then transfers to those who believe in Him. During this dispensation, it is a Gentile-led church.

Verse 10 continues, saying that Othniel went out to war (2 Corinthians 10:4, etc.) and delivered Black-Double Wickedness, king of Elevated, into his hand, and his hand prevailed over Black-Double Wickedness. The message of believing Gentiles is that the Messiah, Jesus, will prevail over Israel and the House of Judah.

Romans 10:19 and 11:11 both note that Israel will be provoked to jealousy by the Gentiles. It is true that the Gentiles carry a message first penned by a Jew, but that message was inspired by God. Therefore, it is not an issue to say that it is the message from the Gentiles whose message is what will prevail over the Jews someday. Othniel is being used in typology to reveal this.

From there, the number forty was given to indicate the rest that Israel received. As it is related to enlarged dominion or renewed or extended rule, the factors 4 and 10 indicate that the world (4) at that time will be in a state where “nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete” (Bullinger). That is seen in the words of Isaiah concerning the millennium –

“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9

These few verses are literally crammed with theology if thought through point by point to their logical end: the law cannot save, Jesus is God, the church has not replaced Israel, Israel will come to accept Jesus. On and on, point after point, the message of the word is validated in typology so that we can know when our thoughts are right or wrong.

Paul spoke of our sufficiency being from God in the opening thoughts today. Israel had to learn through war that their trust and sufficiency was to be from God. It is a lesson they have not yet learned. But they will learn it during the greatest war of all time, a war that tragically lies ahead for them and, indeed, for the entire world.

This short story from the book of Judges is given to show us this in advance. Other lessons are yet ahead as we travel through its pages. Let us remember as we read the word that it is all about Jesus. Everything is focused on Him or what He is doing in the world for and through His people. Jesus: praise God for Jesus Christ our Lord.

Closing Verse: “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!” Romans 11:11, 12

Next Week: Judges 3:12-23 The story is good, yes a good one to tell, because it is so fun… (Ehud, Judge of Israel, Part I) (9th Judges Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who judges His people according to their deeds. So, follow Him, live for Him, and trust Him, and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Othniel, Israel’s First Judge

Now these are the nations which the LORD left
That He might test Israel by them
That is, all who had not known
Any of the wars in Canaan

(This was only so that the generations
Of the children of Israel – a point to not omit
Might be taught to know war
At least those who had not formerly known it)

Namely, five lords of the Philistines
All the Canaanites, the Sidonians (and there were a lot)
And the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon
From Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath

And they were left, that He might test Israel by them
To know whether they would obey (and be smelling like roses)
The commandments of the LORD
Which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses

Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites
———-yes, those “ites”
The Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites
———-and the Jebusites

And they took their daughters to be their wives
———-giving approval nods.
And gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods

So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD
They forgot the LORD their God
And served the Baals and Asherahs
Giving false gods an approval nod

Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel
And He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim
———-(there were many tears)
King of Mesopotamia
And the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years

When the children of Israel cried out to the LORD
The LORD raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel
Who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz
Caleb’s younger brother. They had relief for a spell

The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel
He went out to war, and the LORD delivered Cushan-Rishathaim
———-that bad dude
King of Mesopotamia into his hand
And his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim
———-Yes, he was subdued

So the land had rest for forty years, a good long ride
Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now these are the nations which the Lord left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods.

So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs. Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years. When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim. 11 So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

 

 

 

 

 

Judges 2:16-23 (The Lord Was Moved to Pity)

 

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson.

Judges 2:16-23
The Lord Was Moved to Pity

In past sermons, we have highlighted the literary form known as a chiasm. That is a device where a series of thoughts is presented in an order. There is then usually an anchor, a main verse, on which the chiasm turns.

After that anchor, the text turns around and says the same thing in reverse, repeating each previous thought as it goes. Such a device helps explain what is going on and why things are happening in the greater story being presented.

Another useful tool the Bible employs is called parallelism. This device uses successive verbal constructions in the text that are parallel, such as grammatical structure, meter, meaning, sound, etc.

The passage today uses parallelism between verses 16 & 17 and 18 & 19. The structure helps unlock the thought process being presented –

*  16 And raised up, Yehovah, judges.
**  16 And delivered them from hand their plunderers.
X
***  17 And also unto judges no listen.
17 for harloted after gods other, and bowed down to them.

%  17 They turned quickly [rebellion] from the way which walked their fathers.
17 To listen commandments Yehovah. No did thus.

———————————————–

*  18 And for raised Yehovah to them judges. And was Yehovah with the judge.
**  18 And delivered them from hand their enemies all days the judge.
X For sighs, Yehovah, from their groaning from faces their oppressors and their pushers.
***  19 And it was in dying the judge, they turn back and corrupted from their fathers [they didn’t listen]
19 To walk after gods other, to serve them, and to bow down to them.
%  19 No cast from their practices and from their way the stubborn [rebellion].

Text Verse: “As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?” Psalm 42:1, 2

One can easily see the parallelism in the psalm once the device is explained. The as/so gives an immediate parallel thought. Likewise, thirsting for is set in parallel to coming and appearing. There is the desire in both.

There are more parallels in the surrounding verses in Joshua 2. For example, it says in verses 2:14 and 2:20, vayikhar aph Yehovah b’yisrael – “And burned nostril Yehovah in Israel.”

Following these similar words can help eliminate confusion, explaining what otherwise seems a giant heap of seemingly indiscernible thoughts that have no cohesion with one another.

Chapter 2 of Judges is like a bridge between the book of Joshua and what lies ahead in Judges. Things that appear to have been intentionally left out of Joshua are explained here. Things that will occur in Judges are first noted here. Paying heed to the connecting words and thoughts will help bring the narrative into focus.

As for Christological typology, there is not much revealed in our verses today. Despite this, they definitely show us the need for a Savior. Where Israel is shown to fail, we know that Jesus – the greater Israel – prevailed.

The Bible is making a point about the world’s need for a Messiah. Israel is being used to show us this. Such great truths are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Lord Raised Up Judges (verses 16-19)

16 Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges

vayaqum Yehovah shophtim – “And raised up, Yehovah, judges.” It is a key thought in the book as it sets the pattern for what will occur throughout it. As the people are humbled or as they depart from the Lord, Yehovah will raise up a judge who will attend to the particular matter that has arisen.

This is the first time that the word shophtim, or judges, is used in the book. The word comes from a primitive root meaning to judge. It has been seen in all of the books of the Bible so far, but this is the first time that it is used in the sense of a national hero filling the role designated by the Lord.

For example, it says in Deuteronomy 16 –

“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which the Lord your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment.” Deuteronomy 16:18

That is not the type of judge referred to now in Judges. That was a person appointed by the people to handle matters of law within the community. Those referred to now are appointed by the Lord and are filled with the necessary endowments to meet the particular situation that has arisen within the land.

Unlike a king, they serve under the Lord without any power to make laws. Also, unlike a line of kings, there was no unbroken succession of judges. The Lord would raise up a hero, he would fulfill his time as the leader, and then someone else would eventually be selected as a judge to meet the next need of the people. Of them, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown correctly states that a judge…

“was usually accompanied by a special call, and the people seeing them endowed with extraordinary courage or strength, accepted them as delegates of Heaven, and submitted to their sway. Frequently they were appointed only for a particular district, and their authority extended no farther than over the people whose interests they were commissioned to protect. They were without pomp, equipage, or emoluments attached to the office. They had no power to make laws; for these were given by God; nor to explain them, for that was the province of the priests—but they were officially upholders of the law, defenders of religion, avengers of all crimes, particularly of idolatry and its attendant vices.”

In this role, and under the authority of the Lord, they are those…

16 (con’t) who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.

Rather, it reads, “and delivered them from hand their plunderers.” This thought will occasionally be seen throughout the book. The nation will turn from the Lord, He will allow them to be plundered, and when they cry out to Him, he will send a judge to remedy their plight.

An immediate example of everything thus far described is seen in the first judge to be named in the next chapter –

“So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs. Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years. When the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the children of Israel, who delivered them: Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim. 11 So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.” Judges 3:7-11

Unfortunately, just as they failed to heed the Lord, they failed to heed their judges…

17 Yet they would not listen to their judges,

v’gam el shophtim lo shameu – “And also unto judges no listen.” The word “listen” signifies to hear and obey like it does when we say, “Go to your room! You didn’t listen to me.” The people may have heard, but they did not attend to what they heard…

17 (con’t) but they played the harlot with other gods,

ki zanu akhare elohim akherim – “for harloted after gods other.” Throughout Scripture, idolatry is considered as spiritual adultery. Israel was wed to the Lord, and they have turned from Him.

The judge was selected to bring the people’s attention back to the Lord and what He had done or would do for the people. Despite that, they constantly fell into idolatry, turning away from Him. In turning to other gods, it next says…

17 (con’t) and bowed down to them.

The words are in violation of the Ten Commandments – “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Included in that thought, it also said, “you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (Exodus 20:5). Rather than hearing and obeying…

17 (con’t) They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the Lord;

The word “obeying” is the same word just used in the first clause, meaning to listen and obey. The judge was given as the representative of the Lord. He would instruct the people in the way of their fathers. The law would be presented as it had been in times past. And yet, no sooner had they heard, then they turned away, failing to obey.

17 (con’t)  they did not do so.

lo asu ken – “no did thus.” These words set up what follows. In other words, this is a negative clause. The next verses will contain the word ki, meaning for or when, which reiterates the sequence of events just presented…

18 And when the Lord raised up judges for them,

Based on the negative clause that ended the last words, in this instance the word ki is more appropriately translated as “for” instead of “when.” It reads: v’ki heqim Yehovah lahem shophtim – “And for raised Yehovah to them judges.”

The word qum means to arise, stand up, stand, etc. However, it carries with it the thought of establishment, as in, “I will establish [qum] my covenant with you…” The Lord raises up [qum] the judge from the people, and He causes him to stand as his representative. In this capacity…

18 (con’t) the Lord was with the judge

Rather, it says, “and was Yehovah with the judge.” The judge that was established before the Lord had the Lord with him. It wasn’t just that the Lord put the guy in charge and let him run things. Instead, the judge represented the Lord, who is the Leader of the people. In this capacity, it says…

18 (con’t) and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge;

The judge is the instrument by which the Lord accomplished the deliverance. Thus, it is not the judge who was to be credited for the deliverance. If one reads the narrative today, or if one talks about what occurred, this is often what is presented. “Samson delivered Israel from the Philistines.”

Rather, it should read, “The Lord delivered the Philistines by the hand of Samson.” This is the proper way of considering what is presented throughout the book of Judges. He is the One who selects, directs, and empowers the judge to act. This is based on the next words…

18 (con’t) for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning

ki yinakhem Yehovah minaaqatam – “For sighs, Yehovah, from their groaning.” The word nakham is variously translated here: moved to mercy, repented, moved to pity, took pity, relented, etc. It comes from a primitive root signifying to sigh, as when one breathes heavily.

This word is used to describe the action of the Lord. And yet, elsewhere, it says –

“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent [nakham].
Has He said, and will He not do?” Numbers 23:19

One could say then that there is a contradiction in Scripture. Regardless of the translation, it says in Numbers that the Lord does not nakham and yet it says here in Judges 2 that He does nakham. The matter has to be considered by the limitation of language and what gets lost in translation.

Using the word nakham while applying it to the Lord is a literary device known as an anthropomorphism. It is taking human attributes and ascribing them to the Lord. God is Spirit, he doesn’t actually sigh, but there needs to be a way to describe what the Lord is doing and why He is doing it. In the Song of Moses, it says –

“For the Lord will judge His people
And have compassion [nakham] on His servants,
When He sees that their power is gone,
And there is no one remaining, bond or free.” Deuteronomy 32:36

The Lord had covenanted with Israel. He promised to protect them and to deliver them forever. However, He also promised that they would be judged and punished for their actions. He would not simply let them go about disgracing His name.

Therefore, a word is chosen to describe the action of the Lord that man can relate to, even if it cannot literally be applied to the Lord. If someone is given a giant bolder to break into little rocks, the conversation after a few hours may go like this –

“You are really getting at that old bolder.”
“Yes, he is feeling the pain of the sledgehammer today.”

The rock isn’t feeling anything, but we are ascribing to it a personality and human characteristic that makes the action understandable. Likewise, the Lord is effecting His purposes upon Israel while both keeping them as His people and yet while accomplishing His promised judgments upon them at the same time.

As time and human history is moving forward, the Lord is working through Israel to teach the world a lesson about how He deals with humanity in anticipation of the coming and returning of the Messiah. This lesson is being presented to us through the nation of Israel.

As for the Lord’s response to their groaning, it is…

18 (con’t) because of those who oppressed them and harassed them.

mipne lokhatsehem v’dokhaqehem – “from faces their oppressors and their pushers.” Both words are derived from roots meaning “to press.” The first, lakhats, is quite often translated as oppress. The other is a new and rare word, dakhaq, found only here and Joel 2 –

“Before them the people writhe in pain;
All faces are drained of color.
They run like mighty men,
They climb the wall like men of war;
Every one marches in formation,
And they do not break ranks.
They do not push [dakhaq] one another;
Every one marches in his own column.
Though they lunge between the weapons,
They are not cut down.” Joel 2:6-8

The idea is that the enemy pushes into Israel to oppress them, and they push out on Israel, thrusting them away. The Lord allows this to correct them, but He also ends it to preserve them. In this, they are a microcosm of what happened at the flood of Noah.

The Lord allowed the world to be destroyed because of their wickedness. And yet, the Lord saved the world of man through the flood by preserving Noah. Everything that occurs is to uphold His word, first to the world of man as stated in Genesis 3:15, and then to the nation of Israel as seen in Exodus 34:10-28.

Proper fellowship, service, and worship of the Lord is the aim of the redemptive narrative. That is ultimately found in our relationship with Jesus, the promised One. Each step in Scripture is to bring the world to this understanding.

As for Israel and their immediate relationship with the Lord, the narrative continues, saying…

19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted

v’hayah b’moth ha’shophet yashuvu – “And it was in dying the judge they turn back.” What seems implied by this, and which is generally borne out by the rest of the book, is that the appointment of a judge was for his entire life.

The judge was given to lead the people in the way of their fathers. They were to follow his leading. However, this was based on his leadership, not based upon their allegiance to the Lord. As soon as the judge died, the people would turn back from the way he had led…

19 (con’t) and behaved more corruptly than their fathers,

v’hishkhitu m’avotam – “and corrupted from their fathers.” The meaning of “from” is obtained from the context. In this case, it means “more than their fathers.”

In other words, if their fathers were corrupt, they corrupted from (more than) them. Each judge would turn them back to the Lord’s way, but then each time the judge died, the people would become increasingly more corrupt than their ancestors…

19 (con’t) by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them.

la’leketh akhare elohim akherim l’avedam u-l’hishtakhoth lakhem – “to walk after gods other, to serve them, and to bow down to them.” Instead of the serving and bowing down to Yehovah who delivered them and who kept His covenant promises with them, they would be faithfully unfaithful and turn to those gods that never did a thing for them. In this repetitive pattern…

19 (con’t) They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.

lo hipilu mimaalehem u-mi’darkam ha’qashah – “No cast from their practices and from their way the hard.” The word qashah is translated in various ways, but it generally signifies hard or severe. In this case, one can look back to Exodus 32:9 where it is used in conjunction with the neck –

“And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!” Exodus 32:9

The people who were called stiff-necked by the Lord at the time of Moses remained stubborn at the time of the Judges. In fact, increasingly more so. Therefore, there would be consequences.

The same terminology is used in these verses as was stated in the warning to the leaders of Israel in Joshua 23 –

“When you have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you.” Joshua 23:16

Those words of Joshua are now beginning to come true…

Who can find the end of God’s grace?
Who can say, “It goes this far, but no further does it go!”?
Can you this attribute of God erase?
The answer comes back as a resounding “No!”

What God has done is because of who He is
When He grants salvation, it is a gift – handed out to you
He will never take it back; He is not in that biz
His word stands firm because He is Faithful and True

Praise be to God who does not forget His word
But sends it forth as a testimony of His mercy and grace
To the ends of the earth, His message is heard
And those who come to Jesus, will see a smile upon His face

II. Through Them I May Test Israel (verses 20-23)

20 Then the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel;

vayikhar aph Yehovah b’yisrael – “And burned nostril Yehovah in Israel.” It is the natural and inevitable consequence of the people’s stubborn rebellion. The Lord fumes at their conduct and determines to take corrective measures because of it…

20 (con’t) and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers,

More precisely, it reads as stated in Joshua 23 – “And said, because which crossed over the nation, the this, My covenant which I commanded their fathers.” The nation of Israel is in a covenant relationship with the Lord. Their fathers had agreed to it with their mouths, and the Lord subsequently gave the commandments of the covenant to them.

However, they crossed over that covenant, as if they had removed themselves from it. He had spoken the words of the agreement, expecting compliance, not just from the fathers, but from all subsequent generations. Here, the Lord notes Israel had crossed over…

20 (con’t) and has not heeded My voice,

v’lo shamu l’qoli – “and no listened to my voice.” As before, the word “listen” means to both hear and to obey. They had failed to do so. As such…

21 I also will no longer drive out before them any

gam ani lo osiph l’horish ish mipenehem – “Also I, no will add to dispossess man from their faces.” Of this, Keil incredibly says, “The Lord said, ‘Because this people has transgressed my covenant, … I also will no longer keep my covenant promise … and will no more drive out any of the remaining Canaanites before them.’”

There is never a time that the Lord will say, “I will no longer keep my covenant promise.” It is impossible for Him to violate His own word. Rather, this is exactly what He said to the people. He is simply fulfilling His covenant promises –

“But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. 56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.” Numbers 33:55, 56

When the people respond in obedience to the word of the Lord, He keeps His covenant promises to be with them, bless them, prosper them, etc. When they fail to uphold their side of the covenant, He keeps His covenant promises to turn from them, to bring the curses of the covenant upon them, and to bring them to ruin.

It is Israel, not the Lord, who changes in relation to the covenant. To this day, much of the church has not figured this out, just like national Israel. Because of the people’s conduct, the Lord would not drive out even a man from before them…

21 (con’t) of the nations which Joshua left when he died,

Rather – “from the nations which Joshua left; and he died.” The meaning is derived from what was recorded in Chapter 1. The land was sufficiently subdued by Joshua for the people to receive their inheritance. It was their job to continue to wipe out the inhabitants after assuming their land grants.

However, they failed to do this, thus turning from the Lord. As such, the Lord says that He would no longer dispossess these people…

22 so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the Lord, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.”

The words are rather difficult, and so a paraphrase is needed to get what is being conveyed. However, even with paraphrasing the words, further explanation is needed.

First, it doesn’t say, “I may test.” The previous verses contain a quote from the Lord. However, these words probably are not a continuation of that. Instead, this appears to be an explanation from the chronicler as to what the quote means.

Second, a verb is being used as a noun to describe the hoped-for obedience of the people.

Literally, it reads, “To end purpose testing in them Israel, the keepers – they – way Yehovah, to walk in them, according to which listened their fathers, if not.”

By the Lord leaving the inhabitants in the land, Israel is being tested if they will be the keepers of the way (sg.) of the Lord or not. That is then defined as walking in them (pl.), meaning the commandments of the Lord, which are cumulatively seen as the way of the Lord, according to the manner which their fathers had walked.

The words are admittedly a bit confusing, but the intent is not impossible to determine despite a large amount of varying scholarly opinion. Testing Israel through the inhabitants is the stated purpose for the matter.

However, the reason here is in relation to keeping the ways of the Lord. On the other hand, the same word, nasah, is used again in Judges 3:1 where, on the surface, the test seems to be for an entirely different purpose. That will be seen in a minute. For now, the test is in relation to obedience. As such, it next says…

23 Therefore the Lord left those nations,

vayanakh Yehovah eth ha’goyim ha’eleh – “And rested Yehovah the nations the these.” The word translated as “left” is not the same as in verse 2:21. There, it was the word azav, to leave, but in the sense of giving up on it. The Bible says a man shall leave his father and mother, uniting to his wife. He forsakes what is past. Joshua’s death meant that he could no longer pursue them.

Here, the word is yanakh, to leave alone, lay down, etc. It comes from the same root as nuakh, to rest. He is removing His hand from them at the time, not coming after them as before. Instead, they would be laid up within the land, but not necessarily permanently.

It is the same word that will be used in Judges 3:1 –

“Now these are the nations which the Lord left [yanakh], that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath.” Judges 3:1-3

These nations have been laid up according to the purpose of the Lord…

23 (con’t) without driving them out immediately;

l’bilti horisham makher – “to except dispossessing them quickly.” The word “quickly” explains the situation for now. Verse 2:21 seems to indicate the Lord would no longer drive out the nations at all. However, that was a reaction to the nation passing over the covenant. In a state of disobedience, they would not be driven out.

However, the words of Chapter 3 show that Israel will be tested and taught to know war through them. As Israel turned to the Lord in faithfulness, it could be expected that the Lord would be with them to learn war and to drive out the inhabitants. It is the driving out of the inhabitants that proves obedience. Therefore, the word “quickly” allows for this. Finally…

*23 (fin) nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.

v’lo nathanam b’yad Yehoshua – “and no gave in hand Joshua.” This tells us that withholding the inhabitants at the time of Joshua was purposeful. This goes back to what was explained in Chapter 2.

It was argued that the timing of those events was when Israel made a covenant with the inhabitants of Gibeah. In doing so, they had not obeyed the voice of the Lord. They failed to check with Him prior to making that covenant.

An unfortunate part of going through this narrative is that many translators take the simple prefix meaning “and,” and they translate it as “but,” “therefore, “so,” “then,” “when,” “nevertheless,” etc. In doing this, they insert their presuppositions into the text. As such, it makes it much harder to determine what is actually going on.

For example, these paragraphs are not necessarily chronological. But by saying, “then,” the reader assumes they are. In saying “so” or “nevertheless,” it makes it seem like one thing is a consequence of the other. This may not be the case at all.

Looking at these verses word by word helps open up what is going on. I could be wrong about the placement of Joshua and the treaty with Gibeon being tied into these verses in Judges (that we looked at last week), but those things happened at some point during the life of Joshua.

As nothing else in the book of Joshua even hints at the failings of the people, apart from the account of Achan, it is a reasonable, and even likely, conclusion that the assumption is correct. This necessary connection was left out of Joshua to highlight him as a type of Christ.

On the other hand, including that account now is given to highlight the tender mercy of the Lord in relation to the stubborn nature of Israel. We cannot learn the lesson of the law, it being a tutor to lead us to our need for Jesus, unless we understand how the failures of Israel demonstrate this.

We have seen that in the first two chapters of Judges. That will continue in a new way now that we have crossed this bridge, meaning Chapter 2 of Judges. It’s exciting to think of what lies ahead in the rest of the book, but that doesn’t compare – in the slightest – to what lies ahead for those who have called on Jesus.

He is the Subject of the Bible. He is to be the Object of our affections. He is the Way to be reconciled to God. Jesus is the point and purpose of everything we encounter in this wonderful word. That may not be seen explicitly in passages such as the one today, but it is there, nonetheless. Everything is leading us to a greater understanding of our need for Him.

So be contemplative as you read the word. Consider what it says. Mull over what God is telling you about His Son. And be sure to thank Him often for His patience with you as you, like Israel, fail Him from time to time. Your trusting in, and obedience to, the Lord after your salvation is not unlike Israel’s.

The Lord has left us in a land that has been conquered, but in which there are still enemies, spiritual enemies, that will come against us. When we follow the Lord and His word, they are defeated. When we don’t, they are not. We are learning war through our testing in this land.

The land of Israel belonged to Israel. Heaven belongs to believers in Christ. But until the consummation of the redemptive plans of God, we remain in our battles, awaiting the culmination of what God has ultimately prepared for us – Israel in the millennium and the church in glory.

Like Israel, the Lord will never leave you. He has covenanted with you through the cross, and He will never fail to uphold His side of that deal. Hold fast to that wonderful news. God in Christ has brought us back to Himself, and that comes with a guarantee. Let us continue in the battle we face until the day that is consummated.

Closing Verse: “They did not destroy the peoples,
Concerning whom the Lord had commanded them,
35 But they mingled with the Gentiles
And learned their works;
36 They served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.” Psalm 106:34-36

Next Week: Judges 3:1-11 It’s really swell, he got the approval nudge… (Othniel, Israel’s First Judge) (8th Judges Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who judges His people according to their deeds. So, follow Him, live for Him, and trust Him, and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Lord Was Moved to Pity

Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them
Out of the hand of those who plundered them in every town
Yet they would not listen to their judges
But they played the harlot with other gods, and to them
———-bowed down

They turned quickly from the way
In which their fathers walked, so we know
In obeying the commandments of the LORD
They did not do so

And when the LORD raised up judges for them
The LORD was with the judge and delivered them
———-in country and city
Out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge
For the LORD was moved to pity

By their groaning because of those who oppressed them
And harassed them in every city, even Jerusalem

And it came to pass, when the judge was dead
That they reverted and more corruptly behaved
Than their fathers, by following other gods
To serve them and bow down to them, for other gods they slaved

They did not cease from their own doings from day to day
Nor from their stubborn way

Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel
And He said, “Because this nation has transgressed
My covenant which I commanded their fathers
And has not heeded My voice as I addressed

I also will no longer drive out before them
Any of the nations, so to you I tell
Which Joshua left when he died
So that through them I may test Israel

Whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, giving them a shot
To walk in them as their fathers kept them or not

Therefore the LORD
Left those nations, so we understand
Without driving them out immediately
Nor did He deliver them into Joshua’s hand

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do so. 18 And when the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them. 19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.

20 Then the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, 21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22 so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the Lord, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.” 23 Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.

 

 

 

Judges 2:11-15 (Evil in the Sight of the Lord)

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson.

Judges 2:11-15
Evil in the Sight of the Lord

A key point in Israel’s history is noted in the words of verse 12, “the Lord brought Israel out of the land of Egypt.” It is mentioned repeatedly throughout the law, the historical books, the Psalms, and in the prophets.

Over and over, the words are brought back into the redemptive narrative to remind Israel of where they were and how they got out of that state. Stephen reminded the people of it in Acts 7. Almost as often as it is mentioned, there is an accompanying note about Israel’s rebellion.

“The Lord did this for you, but you turned away despite that.” In the case of Stephen, he reminded them of what the Lord had done, and then he reminded Israel of their rejection of Moses who gave them the law of the Lord. Instead of obedience to Him, they fashioned a golden calf, sacrificed to idols, and rejoiced in the work of their own hands.

Likewise, the author of Hebrews mentions this incident while citing the promise of the Lord that there would be a New Covenant to replace the one that continuously resulted in disobedience and failure…

Text Verse: For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.” Hebrews 8:7-9

The author of Hebrews didn’t just pull his words out of thin air. Rather, he was citing the prophet Jeremiah, a prophet under the Mosaic Covenant. The New Covenant, therefore, isn’t just a nutty idea proposed by a wandering rabbi named Jesus without any merit at all.

Rather, it is the word of the Lord to the people of Israel that what they had been living under, meaning the Old Covenant, was not the end of the story. It is, instead, a steppingstone on the way to something far, far better. And this is a good thing not only for Israel but for the whole world. Israel is just the immediate proof of that.

Where there was a failure to continue holding fast to the Lord in the Mosaic covenant, leading to being disregarded by Him, there is victory in the New Covenant, leading to being reconciled to God once and forever. The book of Judges is an integral part of understanding this, and our verses today are a necessary portion for understanding why.

The ongoing lesson of Scripture is that God is working, even through our disobedience, to bring full, final, and forever reconciliation between Himself and us. It is a marvelous lesson, and it is to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. As the Lord Had Sworn to Them (verses 11-15)

What is presented in these verses, beginning with verse 11 and going through the rest of the chapter, is a summary of the rest of the book of Judges. Joshua and his generation are dead and buried. From there, the deeds of the quickly apostatizing nation are highlighted. This was seen as the previous verses closed out –

“So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel. Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash. 10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.” Judges 2:7-10

The inevitable result of not driving out the inhabitants of the land, as noted in Chapter 1, is now seen…

11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,

More precisely, it reads: vayaasu bene Yisrael eth ha’ra b’ene Yehovah – “And did sons Israel the evil in eyes Yehovah.” Saying “the evil” adds its own stress to the words.

It is a phrase commonly used in Deuteronomy. This is the first of eight times it will be seen in Judges, and it will continue throughout the Old Testament, especially in the books of Kings and Chronicles.

For example, the word ra, or evil, is used nineteen times in Joshua, but eight times it includes the article, ha’ra, the evil, when referring to the people’s conduct before the Lord. Each time, it says the evil was done b’ene Yehovah, or “in the eyes of Yehovah.” Thus, the offense is personal in the relationship between the people and the Lord.

What is interesting is that in Judges, the use of the article, ha, is always said in relation to the conduct of the sons of Israel, meaning the people collectively. However, later, when kings rule the land, that same term will usually refer to the conduct of the king, he being the one to do “the evil.”

One can see the contrast. During the time of the Judges, the Lord is the ultimate leader of the people. It is the judge, the Lord’s temporarily appointed leader, who is called to bring the people back from doing “the evil.” Once the kingdom is established, it is the king himself who causes the people to err or who brings them back to the Lord.

As for this instance of doing “the evil,” it is…

11 (con’t) and served the Baals;

vayaavdu ha’baalim – “and served the Baalim.” The word baal simply means a master, owner, lord, etc. Among other things, for example, it can refer to a husband in relation to a wife, the owner of a piece of property, a master of assemblies, or the captain of the guard.

In this verse, it is used in the sense of gods. They can be general gods, such as worshiping the sun or stars, or they can be the names of specific gods, such as Baal-Zebub, Baal-Berith, etc. This type of worship was specifically warned against by Moses in Deuteronomy 4:15-31 (and elsewhere). In those verses, he says –

“When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil [ha’ra: the evil] in the sight of the Lord your God to provoke Him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess; you will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed.” Deuteronomy 4:25, 26

John Lange gives a good sense of the meaning of baal

“Baal (בַּעַל), as deity, is for the nation, what as master he is in the house, and as lord in the city. He represents and impersonates the people’s life and energies. Hence, there is one general Baal, as well as many Baalim. The different cities and tribes had their individual Baalim, who were not always named after their cities, but frequently from the various characteristics for which they were adored. The case is analogous to that of Zeus, who by reason of his various attributes, was variously named and worshipped in Greece.”

Serving the Baals is what describes the evil committed in the sight of the Lord. This is especially so because in serving the Baals it means something else also takes place…

12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers,

Israel has proved itself to be a nation of liars. This is exactly what they ardently claimed would never happen –

“So the people answered and said: ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed.’” Joshua 24:16, 17

The words are also closely connected to the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 29 which speak of the time when Israel falls under the curses of the law. This is rather ominous, considering that these words come just after the record of the death of Joshua. Here is what Deuteronomy said –

“Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 29:25

This thought here falls exactingly in line with the words of Jesus –

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:13

Some translations capitalize Mammon, personifying it. As it is set in contrast to the true God, that appears proper. The same idea is seen here in Judges. The people’s attention was directed to the Baals of the land, and their hearts were thus torn away from Yehovah elohe avotam, Yehovah God of their fathers…

12 (con’t) who had brought them out of the land of Egypt;

Rather, the words are personal, using a verb as a noun: ha’motsi otam me’erts mitsrayim – “the Bringer Out you from land Egypt.” The Lord is set in direct contrast to the Baals. They had done nothing for the people; He had brought them out of Egypt.

As Egypt is a picture of bondage, the parallel to Jesus in the New Covenant cannot be overlooked. He brought Israel out of bondage to the law. However, as it is by law that the knowledge of sin comes about, He didn’t just bring Israel out of the bondage to sin, but all men, even those not under the Law of Moses.

This is because Adam was a man under law. In his disobedience to the law, his transgression spread to all men. Paul explains this in Romans 5, explicitly stating it in verse 12 –

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—”

The Law of Moses only highlighted the work of sin through law, but it could not remove sin from man because the offense of Adam had already been committed. However, Jesus was born under the law but not bearing Adam’s sin. Thus, He was able to not only be the Bringer Out from Adam’s transgression but also from the transgressions committed under the Law of Moses for Israel.

What we are seeing in Judges is a typological representation of the greater work of Jesus Christ. Let us not be like Israel who was brought out…

12 (con’t) and they followed other gods

vayel’ku akhare elohim akherim – “and walked after gods other.” The words continue to follow the thought of Deuteronomy 29:26, “And they walked and served gods other.”

Israel was called by the Lord, was delivered from the bondage of Egypt to serve Him, and the people were given the law to direct them in how to serve Him. In observing the law, they would be kept from serving other gods.

This was the intent of the law. It wasn’t just, “Here is what you are to do to actively serve the Lord,” but it was also, “Here is what you are not to do in order to properly serve the Lord.” Hence, the law included Moses’ words of Deuteronomy 4, cited earlier.

“Israel, you are to do this and not do that. In performing according to this word, you will do well.” However, they did what they were not to do by walking after other gods. In doing that, they also failed to do the other things they should have done. This is the natural result of serving other gods…

12 (con’t) from among the gods of the people who were all around them,

Rather than “the gods” and “people,” it is both less and more specific, saying, “from gods the peoples who around them.” It is as if Israel simply followed gods in a willy-nilly manner, bumbling around to whatever god they could latch onto from whatever people group happened to be nearby.

This thought also follows from Deuteronomy 29, “gods that no they did know and no He had given to them.” This walking after these various gods is then explained saying…

12 (con’t) and they bowed down to them;

It is an exact repeat from Deuteronomy 29:26: vayishtakhavu la’hem – “and bowed down to them.” The people didn’t just follow after these gods, but they subordinated themselves to them and worshiped them, as the act of bowing down implies. This is one generation after the people were brought into the land.

In other words, some of the people alive at this time were young men and women who actually saw the Jordan stop flowing and who then crossed over into the Promised Land. They had been partakers of the manna until that day, and yet, they were unable or unwilling to ensure that what their eyes had beheld was properly communicated to their own children…

12 (con’t) and they provoked the Lord to anger.

vayakisu eth Yehovah – “And enraged Yehovah.” The word kaas means to be vexed or angry. In this case, it is the actions of the people that caused the Lord to become angry. This was exactly what Moses warned of in the verses already cited from Deuteronomy 4 –

“When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil [ha’ra: the evil] in the sight of the Lord your God to provoke [kaas] Him to anger…” Deuteronomy 4:25

Though Israel’s history at this point is not yet that far along, the inevitable result of their actions is spelled out in the continued words of Deuteronomy 29 –

“Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book.” Deuteronomy 29:27

This shows the longsuffering of the Lord. Israel almost immediately turned away from Him. And yet, it would be many hundreds of years and generations of falling away before they were first exiled. Still, from that first generation after entering Canaan…

13 They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.

Rather, it is singular and the action is directed: vayaazvu eth Yehovah vayaavdu la’baal v’la’ashtaroth – “And forsook Yehovah and served to the Baal and to the Ashtoreths.” Instead of serving l’Yehovah, or “to Yehovah,” they are serving “to the Baal” and “to the Ashtoreths,” trading the glory of the Lord for what He had created or for what man has devised.

What we cannot miss is that they have not only given allegiance to other gods but that they have failed to give honor to the Lord. That is seen, for example, in Deuteronomy 32 –

“They have corrupted themselves;
They are not His children,
Because of their blemish:
A perverse and crooked generation.
Do you thus deal with the Lord [l’Yehovah],
O foolish and unwise people?
Is He not your Father, who bought you?
Has He not made you and established you?” Deuteronomy 32: 5, 6

In serving other gods, they are dealing falsely with the Lord. It is reflected in the name Israel – He Strives with God. Israel strives with God (for God) or he strives with God (against God). Either way, Israel strives with God. So it is when they worship the Lord or when they worship other gods. Within just one generation, Israel was striving against God…

14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel.

v’yikhar aph Yehovah b’Yisrael – “And burned nostril Yehovah in Israel.” This is what Deuteronomy 29:27 said would be the case, “And burned nostril Yehovah in the land.” In order to correct their deficient thinking and aberrant conduct, it next says…

14 (con’t) So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them;

So far, God’s judgment on Israel has followed according to the words of Deuteronomy. The exception to that is that the words Baal and Ashtaroth have been substituted for the heavenly host –

“And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.” Deuteronomy 4:19

“They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.” Judges 2:13

The male singular, Baal, with the feminine plural, Ashtoreths, is notable. Baal is probably speaking of the sun, which would then encompass all lesser Baals, of which there were many and which are derived from it. Ashtoreths is probably referring to the moon-goddess Astharte of the Canaanites and any other associated female deities. This is speculation, but it would explain the matter.

Thus, Moses’ words concerning the sun, moon, stars, etc., have been realized in these false gods. Here, however, a new thought is introduced. It is the consequence of their actions. The words speak of a singular hand of many enemies: vayitnem b’yad shosim vayashosu otam – “And gave them in hand plunderers and plundered them.”

There are two new words here. The first is the noun shasah, plunderer. The second is the verb shasas, to plunder, from which the noun is derived.

They had accumulated all of the wealth of those they had conquered. They had also gained the wealth of those they subdued but failed to exterminate, as noted in Judges 1. However, along with having them under tribute, Israel began to mingle with them and serve their gods while simultaneously forsaking the Lord.

Therefore, what they had gained from the Lord’s care for them, they lost because of their neglect of Him. But more than just plundering, it next says…

14 (con’t) and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around,

Again, it is one hand of many enemies – “And He sold them in hand their enemies from around.” The idea of the Lord selling Israel is not that He has made a profit off them. Rather, it is that He simply handed them over to their enemies as if they were property to be disposed of. “Here, I don’t want this anymore. Do what you will with it.”

Moses spoke of exactly this in the Song of Moses –

“For they are a nation void of counsel,
Nor is there any understanding in them.
29 Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would consider their latter end!
30 How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the Lord had surrendered them?” Deuteronomy 32:28-30

But because the term “sold” is used, it must carry more meaning than the word “gave” seen in the previous clause. There, the Lord opened His hands and gave Israel into the hands of the plunderers. But this was because of their actions. Therefore, the selling must be what they did as well. This is seen in Isaiah 52 in reference to Jerusalem, the city that represents the Lord’s people –

“For thus says the Lord:
‘You have sold yourselves for nothing,
And you shall be redeemed without money.’” Isaiah 52:3

The truth of the matter is that Israel sold themselves to their enemies. Because of their actions, the Lord allowed it to happen. Thus, it can be said that the Lord sold them…

14 (con’t) so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.

v’lo yaklu od la’amod liphne oyvehem – “And no able again to stand to faces their enemies.” This is a specific curse stated in the law in both Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 –

“I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies [liphne oyvehem: to faces your enemies].
Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.” Leviticus 26:17

Instead of being able to stand against the faces of their enemy in battle, they would be defeated before them, unable to face off with them. And remember, this all began within the first generation after the death of Joshua.

15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity,

b’kol asher yatsu yad Yehovah haytah bam l’ra’ah – “In all where went out, hand Yehovah in them to evil.” In other words, not only was the power (the hand) of the Lord not with them, it was actively fighting against them, frustrating their efforts.

This is certainly not only referring to the previous two verses concerning being plundered and unable to face their enemies, but in industry, agriculture, contentment at home, and so forth.

As noted earlier, these verses are an opening summary to what is contained in the rest of the time of the Judges, which also encompasses the book of Ruth chronologically. In it, there will be strife, drought, oppression, inter-tribal warfare, and so forth.

This is exactly the opposite of what is promised in the blessings noted in the law when Israel was obedient –

“You shall not make idols for yourselves;
neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves;
nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it;
for I am the Lord your God.
You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary:
am the Lord.
‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them,
then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing;
you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid;
I will rid the land of evil beasts,
and the sword will not go through your land.
You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you.
Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight;
your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.
‘For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.
10 You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.
11 I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.
12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
13 am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves;
I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.” Leviticus 26:1-13

Israel failed at the “You shall not’s,” the “You shall’s,” and the “If you’s” of the opening verses of Leviticus 26. And so, instead of the many blessings they could have received, they immediately began to fall under the penalty of the curses…

15 (con’t) as the Lord had said,

Rather: ka’asher dibber Yehovah – “according to which spoke Yehovah.” The Lord didn’t say. Instead, He spoke His commands, and that was that. The words are not conditional, nor do they allow for the input of the people. Further…

15 (con’t) and as the Lord had sworn to them.

“And according to which swore Yehovah to them.” This is in accord with all of the words of Leviticus 26:14-43 and the other words of cursing throughout the law. Israel failed to heed, they turned from the Lord, and they were hemmed in, crushed, oppressed, and greatly chastised by the Lord…

*15 (fin) And they were greatly distressed.

The word translated as distressed is rare: vayetser lahem meod – “and distressed to them very.” The only other time the word yatsar, or distressed, has been seen was in Genesis 32 –

“Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, ‘We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. And he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape.’” Genesis 32:6-8

Jacob actually thought he had met his end and began to divide up the family in hopes of saving some of them. It was a time of great uncertainty, but also of prayer, petition, and reminding the Lord of His promises. This is just what the chastening of the Lord is intended to bring about for Israel now and throughout their history.

The corrective measure for the stubborn heart and the stiff neck is the heavy hand of the Lord. That is what Israel faced because of their careless attitude towards Him.

The god of self will fail you every time
Just as Baal and the Ashtoreths will
When one is under law, there is multiplied crime
And that, my friend, is a very bitter pill

But in Christ Jesus there is grace
There is reconciliation for the wayward soul
Through Him is granted one’s heavenly place
Because He alone has it all under control

You must choose what God or gods you will serve
Only one path will lead to restoration and life
Choose the grace of Christ; this you shall observe
Through Him alone is ended the enmity and strife

II. Which by Nature Are Not Gods

During the analysis of these verses, I mentioned the work of Christ in relation to the law, noting that the law is a type of bondage intended to highlight the sin nature in man. That is not a small point of theology merely to be tucked away and referred to only during a sermon on tithing.

Rather, it is the key and central point of all of God’s dealing with man in Scripture. It began with the first words ever spoken by the Lord to His creature –

“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” Genesis 2:8, 9 & 15-17

With those words, law was established. With the violation of the law, sin entered the stream of human existence. Later, when the law was given through Moses, a standard for right conduct was set, but sin was already present in man. Therefore, the law was unable to take away sin in fallen man. Instead, it only magnified it.

In Galatians 4, Paul says this to those who had been saved through acceptance of the gospel –

“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.” Galatians 4:1-11

Paul explained the work of Christ in relation to those under the law. However, apart from any Jews that may have come to the Lord through Paul’s ministry, the church at Galatia was a Gentile church.

Paul’s point was that Judaizers had come in and infected their thinking. They were never under the law, and yet they were observing the law that Christ had fulfilled. They had set aside grace and were placing themselves back under bondage.

But what does Paul say in verse 8? “But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.” That sounds just like Israel in Judges 2. They are serving those which by nature are not gods. They are nothing at all.

For the Galatians, there was no knowledge of the true God, let alone how to serve Him properly. Like people from any pagan culture, some may have known there was a God who created all things, but they only had that knowledge from general revelation. They had no specific knowledge of Him as the Jews did.

In an attempt to either be reconciled to the God they were sure existed, or to appease the “gods” they thought controlled their lives and destiny, they served idols. They became slaves to these false gods. They were under a type of bondage to them in that they felt obligated to them through sacrifices, rites, gifts, etc.

When they heard and received the gospel of God’s grace in Christ, they were freed from these things. They were no longer under bondage but liberated to serve the true God as sons with the promise of a full inheritance.

Paul showed the Galatians where they had been, where they were in Christ, and where they were heading because of the lies of the Judaizers. He is making a logical defense against the insertion of the Law of Moses into their lives by carefully showing them these things.

And so, Paul directly questioned the Galatians in verse 9. The word “But” implies a contrast. They did not know God, and at that time, they “served those which by nature are not gods.” In contrast to this state, he then says, “But now after you have known God…”

The word translated as “known” is not the same as in the previous verse. Instead of ignorance, they had now obtained knowledge concerning God. And yet, to qualify the thought, he then says, “…or rather are known by God.”

God has testified that He knows those who are His. Paul’s qualification of his first words is because it is God who “has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into” their hearts. God has known them and testified to the fact that they are His by the giving of the Spirit.

Because of this, they moved from bondage to freedom. Next, to show the utterly absurd nature of what they were doing by accepting the premise of the Judaizers and inserting the law into their lives, he then asks, “How is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements…?”

Paul is incredulous that they would give up on the marvel of being reconciled to God through the grace of Jesus Christ and turn to the law. The law couldn’t save a single Jew in all of history. It only showed them how sinful their sin was and that they needed something else.

He spoke about the dilemma of being under the law in Romans 7 –

“For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:22-25

It is this type of dilemma that caused Paul to call the law and its accompanying precepts “weak and beggarly elements.” It was ineffective in bringing salvation. In fact, even if someone delighted in the law, all it could do was make him miserable.

Further, the more they delighted in it, the more misery it would produce! But Paul notes that by turning to the law, it appeared that they “desire again to be in bondage.”

He, in a sense, says, “Wasn’t freedom in Christ enough? Wasn’t the reception of the Spirit sufficient? Did you find bondage that wonderful?” Paul is stunned at the situation! If he were alive today, he would continue to be stunned.

This pernicious infection is still seen in God’s people in one form or another 2000 years later. Countless souls have said, “Christ’s work isn’t enough!” In so doing, they disgrace that great and exalted Name and the work He so faithfully accomplished.

Israel continuously rejected the Lord who gave them the law in order to serve other gods. Israel rejected the Lord who fulfilled the law, instead pursuing the god of self-righteousness.

And both Jews and Gentiles continue to work at destroying the grace of God that is found in Jesus Christ to this day by imposing the law on those who are unschooled in what the meaning of the word “grace” is.

One can join with Israel the nation of today, having not yet come to Christ, and stand under the condemnation of the law or he can stand with the Israel of God and be freed from condemnation through the grace of the Lord.

As a point of doctrine, this does not mean that a Gentile becomes a Jew when saved. What it does mean is that he joins the commonwealth of Israel and of those Jews – of the stock of Israel – who have followed the truth of the gospel. What we need is grace, not more law. And that is how the Bible ends when John proclaims, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

The time of the Judges is a time under the law. It is a cyclical time of rebellion and restoration as the people swerved away from or back to the Lord based on that law. We live in the time of grace. In grace, there is no condemnation or fear, only fellowship and reconciliation.

Let us learn the lesson of Israel by learning the lesson of the law versus grace. To this day, Israel the nation is still stuck under the first, and they are in bondage to it. For those who come to Christ, there is freedom and sonship. Choose wisely. Choose Jesus.

Closing Verse: “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:16

Next Week: Judges 2:16-23 What brought it about wasn’t pretty… (The Lord Was Moved to Pity) (7th Judges Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who judges His people according to their deeds. So, follow Him, live for Him, and trust Him, and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Evil in the Sight of the Lord

Then the children of Israel did evil
In the sight of the LORD, yes committing many bothers
And served the Baals
And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers

Who had brought them out of the land of Egypt
And they followed other gods, worshipping with clangor
From among the gods of the people who were all around them
And they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD
———-to anger

They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel
So He delivered them into the hands
Of plunderers who despoiled them, a sad story to tell

And He sold them into the hands
Of their enemies all around
So that they could no longer stand
Before their enemies, but retreated from their ground

Wherever they went out
The hand of the LORD was against them for calamity
As the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them
And they were greatly distressed from the lack of amity

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.

 

 

Judges 2:1-10 (The Weepers)

Judges 2:1-10
The Weepers

My brother and I were talking many years ago about politics and the like. He said, “Liberty is not congenital.” I had no idea what that meant, but I agreed because I didn’t want to look stupid. Eventually, I found out that it means a condition or trait present at birth.

It is true. Liberty is not something that is passed on simply because you are born into it. In a single generation it can be lost. Each generation must work to maintain what they have and then carefully instruct the next generation to safeguard it as well.

The same is true with faith. It is not congenital. Nobody is born with faith, in the sense that they know who to worship, how to properly worship, and that you must have a heart for that worship. These things have to be learned through instruction.

And these things can be trained out of a person before they ever come to be. In other words, a person may ask his mom, “Mom, why are we here? How did we get here?” Mom, being ultra-atheist, explains, “It was because of a big bang. And then, we evolved from goo, went to the zoo, and eventually became me and you.”

Children brought up in such an environment can easily have any hope of faith in God taught out of them in advance of it ever arising. But it can also be overcome later in life.

Text Verse: “That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

Israel was given a charge by the Lord. They failed to heed that charge, and they suffered greatly because of it. But that was not the first time it happened. In fact, it happened over and over again for Israel. It has happened within the church as well.

Once great denominations are nothing more than cesspools of stinking sewer. Seminaries established to instruct in proper Christian theology don’t even accept Christianity as true anymore. Churches that start out teaching the word of God often wind up doing nothing more than bringing money in and blowing it on things that have nothing to do with the word of God or sharing the gospel.

Unless the fear of the Lord and proper worship of Him in spirit and in truth are taught, those things will fly away in a jiffy. Unless the word is held as sacred and precious, it will be anything but to those who enter into the doors of a church. These things are certain.

Very infrequently, someone may have a desire to open the Bible and discover its truths for living. Normally, it takes people already set and grounded in the word to call people back to what is right. That is what we will see in our passage today.

Such great lessons as this are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The People Lifted Up Their Voices and Wept (verses 1-10)

Then the Angel of the Lord

There is no article before angel. Rather: vayaal malakh Yehovah – “And came up messenger Yehovah.” The same term is used of Haggai (Haggai 1:3) and priests in Malachi 2:7. Other similar uses of messenger without the article are found in Isaiah 42:19 and Malachi 3:1. These are referring to people, not the Lord.

It is seen in Scripture that when an angel speaks, it is to individuals. When a messenger speaks, it is to multitudes. In this case, the messenger is speaking to multitudes. Thus, it is probable that this is a human messenger conveying the word of the Lord.

Having said that, the coming words are in the first person, and the messenger does not say something like, “Thus says Yehovah.” However, the instance in Malachi 2:7 says –

“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

A priest spoke on behalf of the Lord as His messenger. Therefore, this could simply be Phineas conveying the word of the Lord. Without the article included, this is a good supposition. Adding in the article gives a false sense of what is being said. Ironically, the translators leave out the article in the next clause….

1 (con’t) came up from Gilgal to Bochim,

Rather: min ha’gilgal el ha’bokhim – “from the Gilgal unto the weepers.” This messenger is coming from Gilgal, which was the location of the tabernacle of the Lord until it moved to Shiloh. Hence, the words now could have been recorded prior to or at the time of the move to Shiloh, which was first seen in Joshua 18:1. I believe this occurs at the time of Joshua 9. The reason for that will be seen as we continue.

As for the name here, it is not yet the name of the location. Rather, it is the state of the people. The word is prefixed by an article: ha’bokhim – the weepers. That anticipates the words of verse 4.

Gilgal comes from the word gilgal, meaning a wheel. It thus means A Circle, A Wheel, or, figuratively Liberty (as in a rolling away). Hence, it is The Liberty. The word bokhim is only seen here and in verse 5. It comes from bakah, weeping. Being plural, it means weepers. The place derives its name from the event.

1 (con’t) and said: “I led you up from Egypt;

The verb is imperfect: va’yomer aaleh etkhem mi’mitsrayim – “And said, I will bring you up from Egypt.” Due to the imperfect, this is a reference to the words of Exodus 3, which will be cited in the coming clauses.

The imperfect is being used to remind the people of what was recorded in the Scriptures. Thus, it appears to provide evidence that this is a priest acting as a messenger of the Lord rather than the Angel of the Lord. Egypt means Double Distress or Double Trouble. Next…

1 (con’t) and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers;

Again, the verb is imperfect: va’avi etkhem el ha’arets asher nishbati la’avotekhem – “And I will bring you unto the land which I swore to your fathers.” The entire sentiment is as if it is being remembered from Exodus 3 –

“Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; 17 and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.’” Exodus 3:16, 17

1 (con’t) and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you.

va’omar lo apher beriti itkhem l’olam – “And said, ‘No annul my covenant with you to forever.” The messenger uses the word parar, to break, make void, annul, etc. What is this referring to? Cambridge says –

“[I will never break my covenant] The allusion is not to the ‘oath sworn to the forefathers,’ but, as the phrases in the next verse shew, to the covenant at Sinai, Exodus 34:10 ff. For the expression cf. Deuteronomy 31:16; Deuteronomy 31:20 JE; Leviticus 26:44, Genesis 17:14 P; it is used rather frequently in the later prophetic style, e.g. Isaiah 24:5, Jeremiah 11:10, Ezekiel 44:7 etc.”

Of the Mosaic Covenant (Sinai), it says this in Hebrews –

“For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:18, 19

If this is referring to the Mosaic covenant, then either the Lord’s word isn’t true, or the word l’olam is referring to the end of the age rather than forever in the absolute sense. However, this promise was never made through the Mosaic Covenant. Cambridge is incorrect. It is referring either to what was said to Noah or Abraham –

“It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” Genesis 9:14, 15

“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:7, 8

As the covenant with Noah was to all people and over all the earth, that isn’t what is being referred to. However, the covenant to Abraham was made with the descendants of Abraham, and it included a land grant concerning Canaan. Thus, this is what the messenger is referring to.

This is confirmed by the Lord’s words to Israel in Leviticus 26 when referring to the Abrahamic Covenant –

“Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break [parar] My covenant with them;
for I am the Lord their God.” Leviticus 26:44

Only after saying this does the Lord appeal to the Mosaic Covenant –

“But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God:
am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:45

The sequence of thought is –

  • The Lord will lead the people up from Egypt.
  • The Lord will bring the people into the land sworn to the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
  • The Lord will never break His covenant with the people, as noted concerning the Abrahamic covenant in Leviticus 26.

Therefore…

And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land;

The words are emphatic: v’atem lo tikretu berith l’yovosheve ha’arets ha’zoth – “And you, no shall cut covenant to inhabitants the land, the this.” Cambridge is correct that this is a precept of the Mosaic Covenant, but that covenant stems from the Abrahamic Covenant. However, it is not all-inclusive of it.

The land grant is a part of it, but it does not represent the totality of the covenant. Paul explains this in Galatians 3. The law is what provides the conditions for receiving the land promised under the Abrahamic Covenant, how to obtain and keep it, etc. Because of this, the Lord had commanded…

2 (con’t) you shall tear down their altars.’

There is a strong emphasis in the words: mizb’khotehem titosun – “their altars you shall (surely) tear down.” They were not given any choice in the matter but were emphatically instructed to take this action. The words are repeated from Exodus 34 –

“Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. 13 But you shall [surely] destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.” Exodus 34:12-16

2 (con’t) But you have not obeyed My voice.

v’lo sh’matem b’qoli – “And no have heard in my voice.” To hear is to obey. The words went into their ears, but they were not acted upon. Rather, the people failed to do as instructed. An infraction of the law has taken place. Specifically, they cut a covenant with the inhabitants of the land –

“Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. 15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.” Joshua 9:14, 15

During this time, the sanctuary was at Gilgal. The messenger of the Lord, probably Phineas, came with the word of the Lord to the people, repeating the precepts of the law that promised them life and prosperity in the land. They did not heed the words of the Lord. Therefore, the question is asked…

2 (con’t) Why have you done this?

It is the same question spoken to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The only difference is that here it is in the plural: mah zoth asitem – “What this you (all) have done?” The emphasis is on the first word, “What?” It is almost as if the Lord is incredulous. “You are just like your first mother, Eve. She refused to hear My words, and now you have followed suit!”

Just as Eve was deceived by the serpent, so Israel was deceived by the ruse of the Gibeonites. However, there is a difference between what happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden and what will happen to Israel in the Land of Promise…

Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you;

v’gam amarti lo agaresh otam mipnekhem – “And also, I said, ‘No I will drive them from your faces.’” This was not explicitly stated in the law, even if it was inferred. For this reason, some translations make this a statement of determination by the Lord, such as the NKJV renders the words starting in verse 2, “You have not obeyed my voice. Therefore…” This may be the intent. However, it was also stated in Joshua’s farewell addresses to the leaders and to the people –

“Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations—these that remain among you—and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, 13 know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” Joshua 23:12, 13

“If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.” Joshua 24:20

If this is, as I am convinced, something that occurred at the time of Joshua 9, then this is not a statement of determination but a warning. It would explain the reason why Joshua told the people they could not obey the Lord in his farewell address.

But think on this and on the contrast to what occurred in the garden where the same word, garash, is used –

“Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove [garash] out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:22-24

Through disobedience, the man was driven out of Eden and away from the presence of the Lord. He would live in a land where thorns and thistles would be brought forth for him (Genesis 3:18).

However, in Canaan – a land completely filled with literal thorns and thistles – the enemy will not be driven out. Instead, they will remain and afflict the people, as it next says…

3 (con’t) but they shall be thorns in your side,

The words seem incomplete: v’hayu lakhem l’tsidim– “And they shall be to you to sides.” There is a wide variety of translations for the word “sides.” Some opinions are distress, snares, vanity, poverty, thorns, thorns in your sides, to trap you, enemies, adversaries, etc. The answer seems to be in Numbers 33:55 –

“But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell.”

The messenger is using a literary device, kind of like a portmanteau, by taking a familiar passage and combining two words into one. The word thorns is tsanim. The word sides is tsidim. There is a single letter difference between the two. By saying “to sides,” he is implying “to thorns in your sides” as is recorded in Numbers 33.

Therefore, they are in a land of literal thorns and a land of figurative thorns as well.

3 (con’t) and their gods shall be a snare to you.’”

v’lolehem yihyu lakhem l’moqesh – “and their gods shall be to you to snare.” This was explicitly stated by Moses –

“Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the Lord your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.” Deuteronomy 7:16

Canaan was to be as a symbolic return to the presence of the Lord for Israel. There was to be a close and personal relationship with Him. But just as in the Garden where the serpent deceived Adam and his wife, these gods would be a snare to the people in Canaan.

It is a repeat of what has already taken place. It is, as Solomon said in our text verse. “That which has been is what will be.” In this case, it is because man cannot pay attention and learn from the past. Adam was told of the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit – his point of law. He failed because he followed another god (himself – “You shall be like God…”), his spiritual connection to the Lord was severed, and he was expelled from Eden to the east.

Israel has been told the consequences of violating their law. They have failed, they will follow other gods, their spiritual connection to the Lord (the tabernacle/temple) will be severed, and they will be expelled out of Canaan to the east.

Despite this, the words of verse 1 still apply, “And said, ‘No annul my covenant with you to forever.’” Even if Israel falls under the curse of the Mosaic Covenant, the covenant to them because of the fathers (the Abrahamic Covenant) still stands.

This is repeated in Jeremiah 31 at the time that the Lord promises a New Covenant to Israel –

“Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The Lord of hosts is His name):
36 ‘If those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the Lord,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever.’
37 Thus says the Lord:
‘If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done, says the Lord.’” Jeremiah 31:35-37

Some people will abscond with the blessings of Israel and apply them to the church. They will do this by misusing, verses from the New Testament. For example, Paul says this to us –

‘For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29

Those who hold to replacement theology will say that Israel is out and that the church is now spiritual Israel, having received the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant. The logic of this is that because we are Abraham’s seed, the promise now belongs to the church.

The problem with that is that the prophecies refer to the seed of Israel. That term is never used of the church. Further, the seed of Israel is equated to the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel is comprised of Jacob’s twelve sons by birth and Joseph’s two sons through adoption, not the church.

However, another counterargument is that Paul also said this in Galatians 3 –

“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Galatians 3:16-18

The incorrect logic suggested here by replacement theology is that if Christ is the Seed, and the church is in Christ, then the transfer from Israel to the church has taken place. The problem with that is that the law is not Israel. The law was given to Israel. Likewise, the New Covenant was given to Israel –

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

It cannot be that the church is Israel because the New Covenant established the church, which did not exist when the covenant was made. Rather, it was made with Israel while Christ was still alive and in anticipation of His coming death –

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!’” Luke 22:19-22

The Lord did not establish a covenant with an entity that did not yet exist except potentially. Rather, the church arose out of the New Covenant. That is explicitly stated in Hebrews 9 –

“And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15

The New Covenant was given for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant. The church was never under the Mosaic Covenant. For now, the verses continue with…

So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.

Rather, it is a single voice that is raised: “And it was, according to speaking messenger Yehovah the words, the these, unto all sons Israel, and lifted the people their voice and wept.” The people speak with a united voice. This explains the name given to the location.

Using the word bakah, the words say: vayisu ha’am eth qolam vayivku – “and lifted the people their voice and wept.” There are many weepers lifting a united voice. Thus, ha’bokhim means the weepers.

These events now being recorded, but actually belonging at the time of Joshua, would explain why he was faithful in his time after the events of Joshua 9 with the Gibeonites. It would also explain why he was adamant to instruct Israel in his farewell addresses to the leaders and the people. It would further explain why he made a covenant before the Lord concerning this issue –

“So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
26 Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.’ 28 So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance.” Joshua 24:25-28

And more, it would explain why this account is given right after the opening chapter of Judges. It sets the tone for everything that follows. Despite the lesson at Gibeon, despite the protestations of Joshua, and the covenant that was made, the failures that lie ahead are marked out by the example and the warnings that were so carefully presented during the life of Joshua.

Then they called the name of that place Bochim;

As noted in verse 1, the name of the place is derived from what occurred in verse 4: vayiqreu shem ha’maqom ha’hu bokhim – “and called name the place, the it, Weepers.”

The Concise Bible Dictionary goes one step further and states the obvious for us, saying, “Bochim symbolically is not simply ‘weepers,’ but ‘weepers over disobedience.’” That is correct.

Cambridge, as they usually do, tears things apart in an attempt to look smarter than they are. They say, “such a form as Bochim, active ptcp. plur., is very unusual in a place-name, and it has probably been adapted to suit the present occasion.”

They completely miss the point of what is being said. The name is to be a reminder to the people of the cost of disobedience which these people were weeping over.  Therefore, it next says…

5 (con’t) and they sacrificed there to the Lord.

vayizb’khu sham l’Yehovah – “And sacrificed there to the Lord.” Either this was at Shiloh or it was at Gilgal. Those are the two locations where it was noted that the tabernacle was located in Joshua. As verse 1 said that the messenger of Yehovah came up from Gilgal, it appears that this is where the event occurred.

Therefore, the sacrifices were conducted at the tabernacle in order to atone for their wrongdoing and to restore a right and propitious relationship with the Lord. They had made a covenant with the people of Gibeon instead of destroying them and tearing down their altars. In their heartfelt repentance and sacrifices, the Israelites sought to be restored to the Lord. Next, it says…

And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel went each to his own inheritance to possess the land.

vayshalakh Yehoshua eth ha’am vayelkhu bene Yisrael ish l’nakhalato la’resheth eth ha’arets – “And sent Joshua the people. And went sons Israel man to his inheritance to possess the land.” It is the same thought as that which closed Joshua 24 –

“And sent, Joshua, the people; man to his inheritance” (CG).

This supports the idea that the previous verses occurred at the time of Joshua 9. The narrative sums up the faithfulness of Joshua after the events at Gibeon.

No other such thing is recorded during the entire time of his leadership. The error was identified, the sacrifices were made, and the warning was heeded. The words in this verse are closing out the life of Joshua just as did the words of Joshua 24. That is why the next three verses are included in this narrative now…

So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua,

The words here are identical to Joshua 24:31 with the exception of the first two words in the Hebrew –

Joshua 24:31 – And served Israel Yehovah all days Joshua.
Judges 2:7 – And served the people Yehovah all days Joshua.

7 (con’t) and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua,

The words here are letter for letter identical to Joshua 24:31 with the exception the spelling of Joshua’s name –

Joshua 24:31 – יהושע
Judges 2:7 – יהושוע

Judges 2 adds in a vav, the sixth letter of the Hebrew aleph-beth. Out of over 200 references to Joshua, the only other time this vav is seen in Joshua’s name is in Deuteronomy 3:21. Six represents man, especially fallen man. In Joshua, he was being used a type of Christ. Here, he is being represented as a fallen man needing to sacrifice. It would explain the difference in spelling.

7 (con’t) who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

There is much more variation in the corresponding clause in Joshua 24:31 –

Joshua 24:31: and who had known all work Yehovah which He had done to Israel.
Judges 2:7: who had seen all work Yehovah, the great, which He had done to Israel.

There is an intimacy in what the people had known in Joshua. There is the visible experience in what the people had seen according to Judges. The work of the Lord is also noted as great in Judges.

Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died when he was one hundred and ten years old.

It is letter for letter identical to the corresponding clause of Joshua 24:29.

And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres,

There is one significant difference in these words and the corresponding words of Joshua 24:30 –

Joshua 24:30 – “And they buried him in border his inheritance in Timnath Serakh.”
Judges 2:9 – “And they buried him in border his inheritance in Timnath Kheres.”

The words are the same letters, but the first and last are transposed:

Joshua 24:30 – סרח
Judges 2:9 – חרס

Timnath Serah means Extra Portion. Timnah Heres means Portion of the Sun. The name of the place in Joshua typologically referred to the full scope of Christ’s work as noted in Isaiah 49:6. His work includes not only Israel but the Gentiles as well, making the effect of it the Extra Portion.

In Judges, this typology is not needed and the name of the place is called Portion of the Sun. The earthly Joshua would find his portion in the Sun of Righteousness, who is Christ (Malachi 4:2).

9 (con’t) in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash.

The words are identical to the corresponding clause in Joshua 24, with one exception –

Joshua 24:30: Which in Mount Ephraim from north to Mount Gaash.
Judges 2:9: In Mount Ephraim from north to Mount Gaash.

Noting these differences, we next read…

10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers,

v’gam kal ha’dor ha’hu neespu el avotav – “And also all the generation, the it, was gathered to its fathers.” This refers to verse 7, which spoke of those who outlived Joshua. At that time, when the last of that generation was gone…

10 (con’t) another generation arose after them

vayaqum dor akher akharehem – “And arose generation another after them.” The words are painfully ominous. After reading about the people serving the Lord, one can only wince at what he knows must be coming. It is the Bible’s way of introducing such things…

*10 (fin) who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.

More precisely, it reads, “which not did know Yehovah and also the work which He had done for Israel.” This explains the addition of the word “great” to the works of the Lord in verse 7. It reveals the contrast. His work was great, and yet the people did not remember His work. That sets the tone for what lies ahead.

Sons of God through faith in His promise
This is how the deal is sealed
One cannot be a doubting Thomas
And expect for his spirit to be healed

But if we trust in what God has done
If we hold fast to the promise
Believing in the word concerning His Son
He our fears will take and calm us

Then all good things will come to us
God will be pleased with the faith we possess
Yes, if we place our trust in the Lord Jesus
And Him as Lord we do confess

This is what God would ask of you
This is what He expects you to do

II. An Explanation of the Typology

Despite the detailed wording of these verses, the typology is brief and not overly complicated. I am confident that the story belongs chronologically at the time of Joshua 9, but it would have been inappropriate to the tenor of Joshua to include this in the book where he so poignantly pictures Christ.

However, it is included in Judges to show us the effects of the work of Christ after its completion.

A messenger came from the Gilgal, the Liberty, to the weepers. The messenger is not identified. He is simply a messenger of the Lord. He reminds the people of what the Lord had done. He speaks on behalf of the Lord in the first person. This unnamed messenger is typical of the Bible.

The Lord had said He would bring the people up from Egypt (Double Trouble). That typologically is bringing us out of the bondage of sin. Man is born in sin, and he cannot redeem himself. Thus, he is in double trouble.

He then said He would bring the people up to a land which He swore to their fathers. The land of Canaan is typical of being saved, something that the Lord said He would do for His people.

He also said that He would never break His covenant with them. It is typical of eternal salvation. Despite Israel’s rejection of Him, He has never broken this word to them. Likewise, despite our turning from Him, He will never break His word to us.

From there, He reminded the people that they were not to make covenants with the inhabitants of the land and they were to tear down their altars. However, Israel had not heeded His voice. Likewise, many of those saved by the Lord don’t heed the voice of His word.

And so, just like Eve in the Garden and just like Israel with the Gibeonites, the Lord would ask us, “What this you (all) have done?” Further, He notes that with this attitude, He will not drive out the enemies before the people.

If we don’t know the Bible, there is no way we can defeat the enemy. The Lord will not work through those who are disobedient and who do not apply His word to their lives. For example, it is one thing to claim the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6, and it is another to actually know what the words are speaking of and how to apply them.

Instead, the Lord tells them that the inhabitants will be “to your sides,” meaning thorns in their sides. We can trust in our own abilities, or we can rely on the Lord. Even the apostle Paul understood this –

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

The fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16) will not be overcome when we are not living rightly before the Lord and when we are not clearing out what is improper from our lives.

Next, it noted that all the people lifted their voices and wept. How many revivals in church history reflect what is stated here? Churches are dead, believers have left their first love, and then they come to their senses. It is the state of the church at any given time when their failure to adhere to the Lord becomes evident.

And more, it is the state of any person who truly understands his salvation or who remembers his salvation after turning back to the Lord. As for Israel, they called the place Weepers. However, as the Concise Bible Dictionary said it, these are weepers over disobedience.

Until we identify and acknowledge our failures before the Lord, we cannot properly turn to, or back to, Him. Upon realizing the error of their ways, the people made a sacrifice to the Lord. If it is a new believer, the sacrifice is accepting Jesus. If it is one turning back to the Lord, David gives the appropriate sacrifice –

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

The last verses of the passage today were sufficiently explained in Joshua 24, but the differences were noted and explained. Our text verse noted that things continuously repeat. This is true in both the world and in the people of God.

We keep turning from the Lord, the Lord initiates the process of restoration, and for those who accept it, God forgives and heals. He accepts our faith because it is truly all we have to offer Him. Even loving God is an act of faith because we have not seen Him. We receive His word by faith, and we fall head over heels for Him by faith.

Let us remember the lesson of Israel, and instead of falling into disobedience, let us remain faithful to the Lord all our days. But let us also remember that when we fail Him, He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.

Israel has been kept through thousands of years of failure. And because of Jesus, we – His people – are in Christ. Therefore, He will keep us through each and every failure. Praises be for the love of God that is found in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Closing Verse: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17

Next Week: Judges 2:11-15 This is what happens when people are not productive and get bored… (Evil in the Sight of the Lord) (6th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who judges His people according to their deeds. So, follow Him, live for Him, and trust Him, and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Weepers

Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim
———-and said:
“I led you up from Egypt and to the land brought you

Of which I swore to your fathers; and I said
‘I will never break My covenant with you, so it is true

And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land
You shall tear down their altars, but you were quite remiss
And you have not obeyed My voice
Why have you done this?

Therefore I also said
‘I will not drive them out before you, this I will not do
But they shall be thorns in your side
And their gods shall be a snare to you

So it was, when the Angel of the LORD
Spoke these words to all the children of Israel
That the people lifted up their voices and wept
They knew things would not go well

Then they called the name of that place Bochim
And they sacrificed there to the LORD, an offering from their hand
And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel
Went each to his own inheritance to possess the land

So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua
And all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua
———-during that whole spell
Who had seen all the great works of the LORD
Which He had done for Israel

Now Joshua the son of Nun
A man who was strong and bold
The servant of the LORD
Died when he was one hundred and ten years old

And they buried him within the border
Of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, where he did abide
In the mountains of Ephraim
On Mount Gaash’s north side

Then all that generation had been gathered to their fathers
Another generation arose (and it is a sad story to tell)
After them who did not know the LORD
Nor the work which He had done for Israel

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ ” So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.

Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the Lord. And when Joshua had dismissed the people, the children of Israel went each to his own inheritance to possess the land.

So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel. Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash. 10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.

 

 

 

 

Judges 1:27-36 (The Boundary of the Amorites)

 

Artwork by Douglas Kallerson.

Judges 1:27-36
The Boundary of the Amorites

While typing the first half of the sermon, I was almost depressed by the state of the content of what is being presented. A tribe is introduced into the narrative and it immediately says that the tribe failed to drive out the inhabitants.

By the time my friend Sergio woke up and greeted me, which was when half the day was already over, I gave him this short reply, “Judges 1:27-36. Depressing. They didn’t dispossess. Again and again, it says this.”

Under law, they were commanded to dispossess the inhabitants. Tribe by tribe, their failure is recorded. In his commentary on verse 28, Charles Ellicott cited a lengthy article by someone named Mozley. It was as depressing to me as the narrative in Judges 1. A short portion of it says –

“As to the morality of these exterminating wars, we must bear in mind that men and nations must alike be judged by the moral standard of their own day, not by the advanced morality of later ages. We learn from unanimous testimony that the nations of Canaan had sunk to the lowest and vilest depths of moral degeneracy. When nations have fallen thus low, the cup of their iniquity is full; they are practically irreclaimable. To mingle with them would inevitably be to learn their works, for their worst abominations would find an ally in the natural weakness and corruption of the human heart. The Israelites therefore believed that it was their positive duty to destroy them, and the impulse which led them to do so was one which sprang from their best and not from their worst instincts. It must not be forgotten that the teaching of Christ has absolutely changed the moral conceptions of the world. It intensified, to a degree which we can hardly estimate, our sense of the inalienable rights of humanity and of the individual man.” (Mozley, Lectures on the Old Testament, p. 103). Ellicott 1:28

Text Verse: “They did not destroy the peoples,
Concerning whom the Lord had commanded them,
35 But they mingled with the Gentiles
And learned their works;
36 They served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.” Psalm 106:34-36

Israel was told to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan. This wasn’t simply because Israel “believed it was their positive duty.” Instead, it was because the law commanded them to do so. Thus, their failure is a violation of the law.

As for the comments about Christ absolutely changing the moral conceptions of the world, that is so out of touch with reality that it is hard to imagine Ellicott would cite the commentary. Israel was under law. We are under grace. The reason Christians don’t go killing pagans and heathens has nothing to do with moral conceptions. There is simply no allowance for it.

The church is not a nation, and it has no divine mandate for such things. Mozley even admits that nothing has changed in moral conceptions by saying, “When nations have fallen thus low, the cup of their iniquity is full; they are practically irreclaimable.”

That is the state of most of the world today. The rest that aren’t there yet are catching up quickly. The only difference between the culling of the peoples that Israel was supposed to effect and the culling of the world that will come about in the (probably near) future is who will accomplish it.

The purpose of the law was to lead people to the understanding of their need for Christ. Sin is the problem, and it must be judged. God will not overlook a single sin ever committed. The difference between believers and unbelievers is that sin in believers is judged in Christ. Unbelievers will be held accountable for their sins.

Judges 1 provides a snapshot of God’s work in Christ in a positive way. It takes real stories of real events that took place, including the disobedience of Israel, and shows us how God, through Jesus, is completing what Israel could not complete, meaning the restoration of the human family into one group.

And He is doing it in this chapter through ten named sons of Israel. Of the number ten, Bullinger states –

“Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.” E.W. Bullinger

God is using Israel to show us other, more wonderful, things in typology. It is a marvelous way for us to see clearly what is going on in the history of redemption. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again, and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Epic Fail (verses 27-36)

In the previous verses, the land of Judah, which includes Simeon whose inheritance is within Judah’s borders, was described (1:1-20). That was followed by a note concerning Benjamin’s failure to drive out the Jebusites from Jerusalem (1:21).

After that, we see the combined house of Joseph in a brief conquest (1:22-26). This broad brushstroke of tribal matters that started in the very southern part of the land continued northward. This continues with words that closely follow Joshua 17:11-13, beginning with…

27 However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages,

Literally: v’lo horish m’nasheh eth beith sh’an v’eth benotekha – “And no dispossess Manasseh Beth Shean and her daughters.” The term daughters refers to the smaller villages surrounding the main city.

Here, we have a look at the failures of the tribes west of the Jordan located north of Benjamin to properly eradicate the inhabitants of the land. The list begins with the half-tribe of Manasseh and moves northward to the central and northern areas of Canaan.

Notice the progression: First Benjamin, then the house of Joseph, and here it continues with Manasseh and then Ephraim, the two sons of Joseph. This is likely to draw attention to the success of the house of Joseph when they worked together, but when they did not, their failures are noted.

As for the names, Manasseh means both To Forget and From a Debt. Beth Shean means House of Ease or House of Security. Next…

27 (con’t) or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages;

The meaning of Taanach is uncertain. Some think it is derived from an Egyptian or Arabic word. There is no corresponding root word found in Scripture. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names cites an equivalent Arabic verb that means to wander and thus translates it as Wandering Through.

Dor means To Dwell, but it is identical to the word translated as generation, as in the time period of one’s dwelling. Ibleam means Devouring the People or The People Flow Forth. Megiddo comes from gadad, to penetrate or cut. Hence, it signifies Invading or Intruding.

The cities just mentioned are listed as belonging to the half-tribe of Manasseh in Joshua 17:11. However, they are actually located within other tribal inheritances –

“And in Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth Shean and its towns, Ibleam and its towns, the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, the inhabitants of En Dor and its towns, the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns—three hilly regions.”

The meaning is probably that the tribes failed to work together. A state of spiritual lethargy has settled in. Rather than relying on the Lord and join with their brothers, they have thrown up their hands and are unwilling to do what is necessary to drive the inhabitants out. The reason for the failure, an inexcusable reason, is next provided…

27 (con’t) for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land.

It is singular: v’yoel ha’k’naani la’shevet ba’arets ha’zoth – “and determined the Canaanite to dwell in the land the this.” The words of this clause are taken letter for letter from Joshua 17:12. Canaanite means Humiliated, Humbled, or Subdued.

The inhabitants were determined, so Manasseh chose to live with them. This shows a lack of trust in the power of the Lord, and an unwillingness to ask the other tribes to assist them in destroying the natives. This is evident from the next words…

28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out.

With a few minor word and spelling differences, the words are very close to those of Joshua 17:13.

And it was when strong sons Israel, and they gave the Canaanite to forced labor, and disposing [וְהוֹרֵ֖שׁ] not he dispossessed him. Joshua 17:13

And it was when strong Israel, and he put the Canaanite to forced labor, and dispossessing [וְהוֹרֵ֖ישׁ] not he dispossessed him. Judges 1:28

The differences are enough to let us know the words were not simply copied from one account to the next, and yet, the one confirms the other because of the high level of similarity between the two.

If they were able to make these people submit to forced labor, then they were able to exterminate them. They just didn’t. This became a marriage of convenience for Manasseh and of inconvenience, but acceptable tolerance, to the Canaanite. With this sad commentary concerning Manasseh complete, it next turns to his younger brother, Ephraim…

29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; so the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.

It is singular in reference to both entities: v’ephrayim lo horish eth ha’k’naani ha’yoshev b’gazer vayeshev ha’k’naani b’qirbo b’gazer – “And Ephraim no dispossessed the Canaanite, the dweller in Gezer. And dwelt the Canaanite in his midst in Gezer.”

Notice that nothing is said of them being brought under forced labor. Because of this, it is common for scholars to say that they made a covenant of friendship with them or something similar. This is incorrect. It expressly says that they were put to forced labor in Joshua 16:10.

Ephraim means both Twice Fruitful and Ashes. Gezer means Part or Portion. Gezer will remain under the control of the Canaanites until the time of Solomon –

“(Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and taken Gezer and burned it with fire, had killed the Canaanites who dwelt in the city, and had given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife.)” 1 Kings 9:16

Like their brother Manasseh, this became a marriage of convenience for Ephraim and of inconvenience, but acceptable tolerance, to the Canaanite. Likewise…

30 Nor did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or the inhabitants of Nahalol;

v’zevulun lo horish eth yoshve qitron v’eth yoshve nahalol – “And Zebulun no dispossessed dwellers Kitron and dwellers Nahalol.” Zebulun means Glorious Dwelling Place. The name Kitron is found only here in Scripture. Nahalol is certainly the same place spelled elsewhere as Nahallal and Nahalal. Thus, both cities are probably variant spellings of the first two cities mentioned in Joshua 19:15 –

“Included were Kattath, Nahallal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities with their villages.”

Kitron comes from one of several possible roots. The first is qitor, thick smoke. That is derived from the verb qatar, to make sacrificial smoke. As such, it would mean something like Place of Incense Burning. It may also come from qaton, to be small. If so, it would mean Little One.

Nahalol is identical to nahalol, found only in Isaiah 7:19. There, it is translated as pastures or watering holes. Young’s says, “commendable things.” That then comes from nahal to lead or guide to a watering place or a place of rest. The most known use of that is found in Psalm 23 –

“He leads [nahal] me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:2

Strong’s defines it as Pasture. I define it as Led to Rest.

30 (con’t) so the Canaanites dwelt among them, and were put under tribute.

More precisely: “And dwelt the Canaanite in his midst and were to force labor.” The same pattern of disobedience in driving out the inhabitants has been seen in each tribe thus far mentioned. As for Asher…

31 Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob.

This continues the unhappy list of disobedience. One tribe after another is failing to do what the Lord instructed through Moses.

Asher means Happy or Blessed. Acco is only found here. Where its root is from is not certain. Some say it is Egyptian, some Chaldean, some Arabic. Others think it may be Greek. Abarim gives its best shot with Serpent or Sun Struck. Strong’s suggests it comes from a root meaning to hem in.

Sidon means Hunting Place or Fishery. Akhlav is found only here. It comes from khelev, fat. Thus, it means Fertile or Abundant. Akhziv comes from akhzav, deceptive or disappointing. That comes from kazav, to be a liar. Thus, it literally means Lying or Liar, but the intent is probably Deceptive or Disappointing. Strong’s says Deceive.

Khelbah also comes from khelev, fat. Thus, Strong’s defines it as Fertility. Aphik is the same as Apheq mentioned elsewhere. It comes from aphaq, meaning to contain, refrain, or be strong. Hence, it is Fortress. Rekhov means Wide Space or Open Place.

32 So the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land;

Rather, it is singular mixed with the plural: “And dwelt the Asherite in midst the Canaanite, inhabitants the land.” Instead of placing the Canaanite in the midst of whatever particular tribe, as has been seen in the previous verses, it places the Asherite in the midst of the Canaanite.

32 (con’t) for they did not drive them out.

It is referring to the Canaanite: ki lo horisho – “for no did drive him out.” Of this, Cambridge says, “Originally no doubt the text ran ‘was not able to drive them out’ (LXX).” In other words, they believe that the Greek translation, which says, “was not able to” is the original.

That doesn’t bear up at all with the first clause nor with the number of cities that were left in Canaanite hands. Rather, the Hebrew is correct. Thus, it is a resounding note of abject failure on the part of Asher. Along with them, the list of botch jobs continues…

33 Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh or the inhabitants of Beth Anath;

Naphtali followed suit with the others and failed to do as instructed.

Beith Shemesh means House of the Sun. Beith Anath comes from beith, house, and anah, a word having four distinct meanings: to answer or respond; be occupied with; to afflict, oppress, or humble; or to sing. Thus, it can mean House of Answer, House of Business, House of Affliction, or House of Singing.

33 (con’t) but they dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land.

Each is referred to in the singular: “And he dwelt in midst the Canaanite, inhabitants the land.” Like Asher, Naphtali is placed among the Canaanites rather than the Canaanites dwelling among him. But Naphtali at least made it hard on those around them…

33 (con’t) Nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were put under tribute to them. 

Like other cities in some of the tribes, Naphtali got the upper hand on the inhabitants and profited off of them. But they failed to do as instructed in the law. Being the first chapter of Judges, it is a depressing anticipation of the problems that lie ahead for Israel because of their faithlessness to the Lord. Next…

34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains, for they would not allow them to come down to the valley;

The lack of properly translating the words as given in the text is maddening. It reads, “And pressed the Amorite sons Dan the mountain-ward, for not would he give him to come down to the valley.” It carries the sense of Dan trying to come down the side of the mountain but the Amorite was so numerous and strong that they literally pressed Dan toward the mountainous area, keeping them from the emeq, or depth, below it.

Amorite means Renown. Dan means Judge. A mountain (har) is a lot of something gathered. It is synonymous with a large but centralized group of people. The reason for Dan’s failure is stated as follows…

35 and the Amorites were determined to dwell in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim;

Rather, “And was determined the Amorite to dwell in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim.” Kheres is found only here. It comes from kheres, the sun. Strong’s defines it as Shining. Abarim goes with Sun or Irritant.

Aijalon comes from ayyal or deer. Hence, it signifies Place of the Deer. However, that comes from the same root as ayil, or ram, which is derived from a word indicating strength. Hence, Place of Strength is not out of line.

Shaalbim comes from shual, fox. Thus, most commentators call it Foxes or Place of Foxes. That, however, comes from shoal, hollow hand or handful, and the meaning extends to this.  The connection is that foxes will dig out a hollow to live in.

In the gospels, Jesus said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20). We also see this in Luke –

“On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, ‘Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.’
32 And He said to them, ‘Go, tell that fox, “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”’ 33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.” Luke 13:31-33

Thus, the meaning would extend to Place of Hole-diggers, meaning those who would try to trip others up.

35 (con’t) yet when the strength of the house of Joseph became greater, they were put under tribute.

The sense is correct, but it reads: “and became heavy hand house Joseph and they were to forced labor.” The house of Joseph must be speaking of Ephraim and Manasseh together. It appears to indicate that they were willing to work together and bring their combined hand down upon these inhabitants.

However, instead of destroying them, they put them to forced labor. It is a final failure in a chapter that has highlighted many failures of the tribes of Israel beginning in verse 1:19. With that complete, a final word concerning the Amorite is provided…

*36 (fin) Now the boundary of the Amorites was from the Ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela, and upward.

v’g’vul ha’emori mimaleh aqrabim meha’sela va’mae’lah – “And border the Amorite from Ascent Akrabbim, from the crag and upward.”

Maaleh Aqrabim means Ascent of Scorpions. There are scorpions in this barren area, but in Scripture, the scorpion is also used figuratively for a scourge. If Sela is the name of a location, this is the only time it is mentioned. But ha’sela means “the crag.” It speaks of a craggy rock or a cliff.

Because of this, Barnes thinks it is referring to the same location where Moses and Aaron were told to bring water from the rock (sela). Whether that is correct or not, and there is no reason to assume it is not, the sela is used to refer to Jesus typologically in Numbers 20 as the Giver of the water of life.

It is debated what these words are telling us. They are affixed at the end of the chapter and so they are summing something up. Some think it is telling us that it is a way of saying that only the southern area of the land was secured. Ellicott says –

“This notice is added to account for the obstinate resistance of the Amorites, by showing the extent of their domain, which reached far to the south of Petra [meaning Sela is referring to Petra]. … Another opinion given is, that the verse is added to sum up the chapter, by showing that neither the northern, eastern, nor western boundaries were thoroughly secured, but only that of the southern tribes.”

What I submit is that we are being told a sad truth. The Ascent of Akrabbim is at the most southern point of the land of Israel. It was referred to when the Lord determined the borders in Numbers 34:4. It was noted again in Joshua 15:3 when describing the southern boundary of Judah. This is the last time it is mentioned in Scripture.

In Joshua 24:12, the “two kings of the Amorites” were mentioned. This was not speaking of the two kings, Sihon and Og, on the eastern side of Jordan. Rather, it was collectively speaking of the inhabitants, placed under the Amorites on the east and the Amorites on the west in relation to the Jordan.

Directions are not described as north being up and south being down, as we refer to them. However, the word alah, up or above, does refer to that which follows, such as in 1 Samuel 16:13 –

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward [va’mae’lah]. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.”

As this chapter has been dealing with the tribes within Canaan beginning with Judah in the south and going forward, this final verse is essentially saying, “And the border of the Amorite is from the Ascent of Akrabbim, from the crag (a noticeable crag where the most southern tip of Canaan is located) and upward (meaning all the way north through the tribal inheritances in Canaan).”

We can first look at the victory of the Lord in Joshua as the book closed out as evidence –

“I sent the hornet before you which drove them out from before you, also the two kings of the Amorites, but not with your sword or with your bow. 13 I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” Joshua 24:12, 13

Immediately after these words, Judges 2 will begin with –

“Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: ‘I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, “I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.” But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.” Judges 1:1-4

Despite Canaan being given to Israel, and despite the Lord defeating the Amorite continuously under Joshua, the people failed to continue with what he began. The land of Canaan was filled with the Amorite.

An inheritance awaits us that is sure and true
It is given to all who come forward and receive
It was secured by Christ Jesus, who makes all things new
It is ours for the taking if we just believe

Calling on Jesus is what is good in God’s sight
The inheritance is ours, though we did nothing it to receive
Eternal life, dazzling and bright
Is ours for the taking if we just believe

Don’t fail to come forward; hear the plea
It is waiting, if you will but receive
You and all the saints, around the glassy sea
It is yours for the taking if you just believe

II. Epic Fail, Israel; Epic Achievement, Christ

The first two sermons in Judges 1 dealt with 1) the matter of Adoni-Bezek who was defeated, and then 2) the subduing of foes within Judah and the taking of Kirjath Sepher. The victor over Kijath Sepher was given Achsah as his wife.

There was the bringing together of the people groups of the world through the gospel in the first account. In the second, the completed work of Christ was seen to go from Jewish believers to Gentile believers.

In the third sermon, shorter snapshots were seen giving pictures of the church age, of doctrines both false and proper, the continued obstinacy of the Jews to come to Christ until after the church age, the process of salvation, etc.

The verses here begin with Manasseh. As always, the name anticipates Christ who forgets our sins, having paid our sin debt. In relation to Manasseh was Beth Shean, House of Security. It is the state of the believer in Christ. Taanach, Wandering Through, is our state in the world as we anticipate the rapture and glorification.

That continues to be explained by Dor, To Dwell, specifically the time of one’s dwelling. The next name, Ibleam, The People Flow Forth, speaks of the multitude who are reckoned among the church. Megiddo, Invading, refers to the progress made into the world of fallen man, even if it is not all-encompassing, signified by the determination of the Canaanites to not be dispossessed.

Finally, we see, “And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out.” The church is in the commonwealth of Israel. While national Israel has been on the outs, the church has grown strong, but has not (nor will it) completely subdue the world.

Ephraim (Twice Fruitful and Ashes) was then brought in. As always, he anticipates Christ who brings in both Jews and Gentiles through the work of His afflictions. It is He who grants our Portion, signified by Gezer.

Zebulun (Glorious Dwelling Place) was next named in connection with Kitron (Place of Incense Burning). Christ is the One who grants the Glorious Dwelling Place for His people through His sacrifice. The word qatar doesn’t just signify manufactured incense, but that of sacrifices and offerings, such as –

“You shall receive them back from their hands and burn [qaatarthem on the altar as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before the Lord. It is an offering made by fire to the Lord.” Exodus 29:25

What we have seen in Judges 1 is a contrast between Israel under the law and the work of Christ in the church because of the grace of Christ. Through accepting His sacrifice, the next location Nahalol, Led to Rest, is realized.

After Zebulun, Asher (Happy or Blessed) was named. It is the state of the believer because of the work of Christ. The name Acco is obscure, so I won’t even attempt its meaning. However, Sidon (Fisher) logically points us to Jesus’ words about His followers being fishers of men.

Ahlab (Fertile or Abundant) follows after that in the harvest that has come. The next Achzib, Deceive, refers to those who claim the gospel but never believe. Paul speaks of such in 2 Timothy –

“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:13

Helbah (Fertility) speaks of the state of the world ready to be evangelized. Aphik (Fortress) refers to the secure state of those in Christ while Rehob (Wide Space) speaks of their freedom in Him, no longer bound by the constraints of the law and thus freedom from sin.

Naphtali (My Wrestlings) was next named. It speaks of the work of Christ on behalf of believers. In connection with that is named Beth Shemesh (House of the Sun). As seen in Joshua, it is a reference to Malachi 4:2 –

“But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.” Malachi 4:2

Also, Beth Anah is a name that fully depends on one of four roots, each of which could point to the work of Christ. House of Singing is sufficient. That would be an apt description of believers in the Lord.

Lastly, Dan (Judge) was named. Christ is the One to Judge His people and to Judge for His people. In connection with Dan was noted the Amorite (Renown). As seen elsewhere, the name can be used positively about believers or negatively about nonbelievers. In this case, it is referring to those who have their renown because of Christ.

The named cities are Mount Kheres, the mount is a large but centralized group of people. Mount Kheres, or Shining, would thus refer to the glorious church Paul refers to in Ephesians 5:27.

Aijalon (Place of Strength) refers to the state of the church in Christ (Philippians 4:13, etc.). And Shaalbim, Place of Foxes and thus Place of Hole-diggers, looks to the church where Satan and those opposed to the gospel are continuously trying to trip up believers to be ineffective.

With that noted, the final part of verse 35 said, “when the strength of the house of Joseph became greater, they were put under tribute.” It speaks of the final state of the world of believers in Christ.

Joseph (He Shall Add/Take Away) will eventually completely prevail over those who have come against it. Jesus is the One to add to His church, both Jews and Gentiles, having taken away their reproach. At this time, it is a Gentile-led body with some Jews included. Someday, the house of Joseph – believers in Christ, will be fully formed from both.

With this overall snapshot of what is going on in the church as opposed to what was seen in the history of Israel, verse 36 abruptly introduced the words, “And border the Amorite from Ascent Akrabbim, from the crag and upward.”

It speaks of those in the church (Renown) who began with the work of Christ (Akrabbim), signified by His scourges and which allowed the water of life to flow from Him (ha’sela: the Rock) and then continue from that point on. It takes the flow of Judges 1 directly back to the first account in the chapter, that of Adoni Bezek.

The uniting of the family of God was realized in the pouring out of the spirit. The seventy kings (representing the seventy main families of all people on earth) who were disabled at the dividing of the tongues (Babel) are brought back together under Christ into one family because of the giving of the Spirit.

Each of these accounts of the ten named tribes has given details of the work of God in Christ and how it relates to His people. Some have given more detail, such as Judah mentioning Caleb to introduce the Gentiles, in order to complete a picture of what is going on.

The shorter accounts, such as that of Zebulun, are no less important. They just focus on a particular aspect. The really interesting part of it all is that ten sons are named in the process, even though Levi is obviously not mentioned because he has no tribal inheritance. But what about Issachar?

Those names are: Judah, Simeon, Benjamin, Joseph, Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan. By naming Joseph separately, which is inclusive of Manasseh and Ephraim, this was made possible.

Think of it! To fit the typology, Joseph was included in this chapter along with his sons Manasseh and Ephraim. If he wasn’t, it would mean that only nine tribes were named. Nine is the number of finality and judgment. That is not the focus of Judges 1.

Likewise, if Issachar (whose name doesn’t fit the typology) was named, the number would be eleven, the number of disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration would be the result. That wouldn’t make any sense at all.

The cycle, from the account of Adoni-Bezek to the last cryptic words of the chapter, is seen to be complete in the typology presented. The overall picture is very well displayed in what has been provided.

Be confident that even such hopeless and depressing accounts of Israel’s failures are there for a greater purpose. Their failures, and ours, only highlight the incredible splendor of what God has done in Christ.

Having said that, don’t shoot for failure so that God will be magnified even more. Paul warns us about such an attitude in our closing verse today. Rather, shoot for your very best because You are then honoring the very Greatest – JESUS!

Closing Verse: “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come’?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.” Romans 3:5-8

Next Week: Judges 2:1-10 Water gushing out of them peepers… (The Weepers) (5th Judges Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who judges His people according to their deeds. So, follow Him, live for Him, and trust Him, and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Boundary of the Amorites

However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants
Of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages too
Or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages
Or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, this they failed to do

Or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages as they had planned
For the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land

And it came to pass, when Israel was strong
But obviously not strong enough, no doubt
That they put the Canaanites under tribute
But did not completely drive them out

Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who in Gezer dwelt
So the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them, together
———-they did melt

Nor did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron
Or the inhabitants of Nahalol, darnit and shoot
So the Canaanites dwelt among them
And were put under tribute

Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco
Or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik
———-or Rehob also
So the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants
———-of the land
For they did not drive them out; they did not make them go

Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh
———-or the inhabitants of Beth Anath
But they dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land
Nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath
Were put under tribute to them and at their command

And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains
For they would not allow them down to the valley to come
And the Amorites were determined to dwell
In Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim making Dan glum

Yet when the strength of the house of Joseph became greater
They were put under tribute, like a plucked bird
Now the boundary of the Amorites
Was from the Ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela, and upward

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. 28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out.

29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; so the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.

30 Nor did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites dwelt among them, and were put under tribute.

31 Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob. 32 So the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.

33 Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh or the inhabitants of Beth Anath; but they dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were put under tribute to them.

34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains, for they would not allow them to come down to the valley; 35 and the Amorites were determined to dwell in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim; yet when the strength of the house of Joseph became greater, they were put under tribute.

36 Now the boundary of the Amorites was from the Ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela, and upward.