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Monday, July 23 2012

Israel In History and Prophecy: The Judges

Studies in this complete series of Israel In History and Prophecy:
1. Roots and Branches 2. Jacob's Family 3. Moses 4. The Exodus 5. Passover
6. Law Of The LORD 7. The Sinai Journey 8. Joshua 9. The Judges 10. Samuel
11. Saul and David 12. The Civil War 13. Jerusalem 14. Zion 15. King David
16. Solomon 17. The Tabernacle 18. The Temple 19. Israel and Judah 20. The Lost Ten Tribes
21. Kingdom Of Judah 22. Back To Babylon 23. The Prophets 24. Babylon and Persia 25. The Return Of Judah
26. Jews 27. Judaism 28. Purim 29. Hanukkah 30. Hasmonean Judea
31. Roman Judea 32. Herod 33. The Messiah 34. The Zealots 35. Aelia Capitolina
36. Rome and Islam 37. Balfour Declaration 38. Israel Of Judah 39. The New Covenant 40. Alpha and Omega


"The LORD raised them up Judges"

After an extended march of forty years (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Sinai Journey), the "children of Israel" had arrived in the land that the LORD had promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac). They moved in under the faithful and steadfast, to the LORD, leadership of Joshua (see From Moses And Aaron To Joshua and Eleazar).

Tribal Map

"2:6 And when Joshua [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Joshua] had let the people go, the children of Israel [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Jacob's Family] went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. 2:7 And the people served the LORD [see Who Is The LORD? and The Church In The Wilderness] all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.

2:8 And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 2:9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim [see Jacob's Blessing Of Ephraim And Manasseh; also Why East And West Manasseh?], on the north side of the hill Gaash." (Judges 2:6-9 KJV)

Exactly as prophesied, "31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them." (Deuteronomy 31:16 KJV). As we read above, it didn't happen during the time of the strong leadership of Joshua (in many ways, both Moses and Joshua were baby sitters for people who had no depth of righteous character), but when he was gone, "they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger."

"2:10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works [see Works Means Obedience] which he had done for Israel.

2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD [see Who Is The LORD?], and served Baalim: 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 2:13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

2:14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 2:15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed." (Judges 2:10-15 KJV)

If the Law that was given to the Israelites in the Sinai had merely been an invention of themselves, or of some new religion, they would simply have been hypocrites. But what they were given was the Eternal Law of the LORD (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD) and so what they did was evil. The LORD then permitted their enemies (i.e. the people who had been driven out of the land) to overpower them, for a prescribed time, in order to get them to repent. A "judge" was then raised up by the LORD. It became a cycle ("when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them") that itself became the recurring theme of the Book of Judges.

"2:16 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 2:17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD]; but they did not so. 2:18 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 2:19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way." (Judges 2:16-19 KJV)

If not for the Greater Purpose of "Israel" (i.e. the coming of the Messiah from that line from Abraham), it is unlikely that "Israel" would exist at all today. Throughout their history, they continued to rebel and corrupt themselves before the LORD - culminating when they rejected and killed Him when He was born as a man (see Who Is The LORD?). That will be corrected in due time (see When Do Jews Become Christians? and The Passed Over Pharisees), but until then, the story of "Israel" has been that of a nation that, more than any other, because they specifically were given to know Him, has rejected the LORD.

"2:20 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches and A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac], and have not hearkened unto my voice; 2:21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: 2:22 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. 2:23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua." (Judges 2:20-23 KJV)

"The anger of the LORD was hot against Israel"

The Book of Judges record a number of men (Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, and others), and at least one woman (Deborah), who served as "Judges" during the era from the death of Joshua to Samuel (Samuel will be dealt with separately in the next study in this series). While they did indeed serve as judges, in the way that the term is commonly defined today, they were also warriors who were raised up to deliver the Israelites from the Judgment of wrath that the LORD decreed upon the Israelites for their idolatry and general lawlessness.

Ehud kills Eglon "Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother" judged Israel after "the spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war." Notice here also that the Scriptures are beginning to use the term "Israel" for the country - they had progressed from a man named Israel, to a family of Israel's children, to a political territory named Israel - and yet they had squandered every opportunity at every stage i.e. "the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God." So the LORD punished them, and then sent deliverers, "judges," to restore to them what they should never have lost for themselves.

"3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves. 3:8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years. 3:9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 3:10 And the spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. 3:11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died." (Judges 3:7-11 KJV)

The Judges were not simply typical tribal warlords with political ambitions. Like all of the others, Ehud became a Judge after "the LORD raised them up a deliverer." The result however was always brutal and bloody - any of the Judges, as well as "children of Israel" of that ancient time, would have no problem fitting in to the "civilized" world of today.

"3:12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 3:13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. 3:14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

3:15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab. 3:16 But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. 3:17 And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man. 3:18 And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present. 3:19 But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him.

3:20 And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat. 3:21 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: 3:22 And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out. 3:23 Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them.

3:24 When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber. 3:25 And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth." (Judges 3:12-25 KJV)

Deborah is very unique in that very few women rose to the level of service, to the LORD, in Israel as she did - but the results were the same as the men. So too, in the incident of the killing of Sisera, which was done by a woman, "Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite." His incorrect thought that he would be safe there was the ironic target when she drove a tent peg through his skull while he was asleep.

Deborah

"4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. 4:2 And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles [see also What Did The Messiah Say About Gentiles?]. 4:3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. 4:5 And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah [see also Naioth In Ramah] and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. 4:6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 4:7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.

4:8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.

4:9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. 4:10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.

4:11 Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.

4:12 And they showed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. 4:13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.

4:14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. 4:15 And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. 4:16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.

4:17 Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

4:18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.

4:19 And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.

4:20 Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

4:21 Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

4:22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will show thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.

4:23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. 4:24 And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan." (Judges 4:1-24 KJV)

Gideon is one of the most well-known of the Judges. From what is recorded of him, he was less of a brute than the others, but just as brutal. It was the way of the savage world that "the children of Israel" had created for themselves in their "freedom."

Gideon

"7:7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. 7:8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets [see Gideon's Trumpets]: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

7:9 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. 7:10 But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: 7:11 And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. 7:12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.

7:13 And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.

7:14 And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

7:15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. 7:16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.

7:17 And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. 7:18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

7:19 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. 7:20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 7:21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

7:22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath. 7:23 And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites. 7:24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. 7:25 And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan." (Judges 7:7-25 KJV)

Fact Finder: Samson was one of the most famous of the Judges. How and why did he become involved with Delilah?
See Delilah: Why The Fatal Attraction?


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This Day In History, July 23

1014: Brian Boru, "high king of Ireland," was killed while fighting Viking invaders at the Battle of Clontarf.

1348: The first English order of Knighthood, the Order of the Garter, was founded.

1500: Pedro Cabal claimed Brazil for Portugal.

1563: Construction of El Escorial began in Spain by Philip II, a Hapsburg.

1564: The birth of William Shakespeare, England's greatest playwright. He died on the same date in 1616.

1588: The second of three battle encounters of Britain's Royal Navy fleet against the Spanish Armada (carrying thousands of European Marines) that was sent by the Papacy and Roman Catholic Europe to invade England.

1625: Frederick Henry became Stadtholder (ruler) of the Netherlands after the death of Maurice of Nassau.

1632: Three hundred colonists departed for New France (northeastern North America) from Dieppe, France.

1633: The League of Heilbronn was established. It united South German Protestants with Sweden and France against the Catholic League and the Imperialists.

1661: Charles II became king of England.

1891: Jews were expelled from Moscow, Russia.

1918: The British Navy under Admiral Keyes raided the German submarine base at Zeebrugge.

1929: The Fascist government of Italy banned the use of foreign words.

1941: King George of the Hellenes and the Greek government fled the Greek mainland from the advancing Germans; the Greek army also formally surrendered to Germany and Italy.

1945: The Russian army liberated the Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrueck concentration camps.

1950: Chaing Kai-shek evacuated Hainan, leaving mainland China to Mao Zedong and the communists.

1952: Gamal Abd al-Nasser, 34, and others, including future Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, seized control of the government of Egypt in a bloodless coup. The "Free Officers Movement" forced King Farouk to abdicate and into exile. Egypt was declared a republic in June of the next year. Another revolution in 2011 overthrew that revolution.

1967: A riot in Detroit, Michigan left 43 people killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned.

1969: Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment.

1995: Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp discovered Comet Hale-Bopp. At the time of its discovery, the comet was 7.15 au (i.e. astronomical unit; 1 au = the distance from the earth to the sun) from the sun and 1.5 years from perihelion (peri = around, helion = the sun). The comet was estimated to have a 40 kilometer diameter nucleus.





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