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The Book of JUDGES.


CT1 HIS Book contains the history of the Israelites' church and commonwealth from Joshua's death to Eli: during which time, for the most part, it via* governed by Judges; who were persons raised ufi by God in an extraordinary manner to execute his judgments, both in subduing, furnishing, and destroying the wicked enemies of his church, and in administering justice to his people according to ids laws: wherein they were but God's deputies or lieutenants, employed by him in times of extremity; and were to lay down their authority when their work was done, as we see in Gideon's example. It is generally thought that Samuel was the author, as it was certainly written before the two books of Samuel ; for 2 Sam. jci. 21. refers to some passages in the ninth sh. of this book ,• and probably before David's time, for Psalm Ixviii. 7} 8. seems an allusion to Judges v. 4. It is divided into two parts; the first contains the history of the succession of judges from Joshua's death to Samson's, chap. \. xvi. Thereat contains on account of some remarkable events which happened about that time, but were not inserted in the history, lest the thread of it should be broken.


Jn this chapter we have the acts ofJudah and Simeon; Monibezek justly requited; and of Jerusalem and Hebron being taken.

O W some considerable time after the death of Joshua, when they were multiplied, and could people a larger tract of country, it came to pass, that the children of Israel, that is, the elders of Israel, asked the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? Joshua used to direct them, but now each tribe was a distinct government; and to prevent disputes or confusion they asked counsel from God at Shiloh; they did not inquire whether they should go, because God had commanded that, but who should yt

2 first. And the Lord said, Judah shall go up; not as the captain and leader of the rest, but because it was a numerous, valiant tribe, and the Canaanites were very powerful: behold, I have delivered the land into his, hand, that part of it which ke

3 now contends for. And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites: and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him. Each tribe wa» to ftght for himself t but in difficult eases they engaged the help of their neighbours.

4 And Judah went up; and the Lord delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in and about Bezek ten thousand men.

5 And they found Adonibezek, that w, the lord or king of Sezek, in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they

6 slew the. Canaanites and the Perizzites. But Adonibezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cat off his thumbs and his great toes, ftrobably to disable him from

7 war; upon which he made a remarkable confession: And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, petty princes, or Icingt of cities or small territories, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered [their meat] under my table; perhaps he used to send for them at some of his festivals, and make sport with them ; and as I have done, so God hath requited me; I acknowledge his justice and my own guilt. And they brought him to Jerusalem, to strike terror into the inhabitants; and there he died.

8 Now the children of Judah had in Joshua's time (see Joshua xv. 63.) fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire, that is, all the upper city or fort of Zion, which the Jebusites still held

9 against them* And afterward the children of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites that dwelt in the mountain, and in the south, and in the valley.

10 And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before [was] Kirjatharba ;) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, under the con

11 duct of Joshua and Caleb. And from thence he went against the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Dcbir before [was] Kirjathsepher, that is, the city of books, where there was a large library, and ancient records of all these nations; or, as some

12 think, a university: And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife; thus giving some of his company an opportunity ofsignal

13 izing themselves. And Othniel the son of Renaz, Caleb'* younger brother, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife; in this the hand of Pror'idence appeared, as he was Caleffs nephew, and ivas after-ward to be a judge in Israel:

14 And it came to pass, when she left her father's house, and came [to him,] that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted from off [her] ass; and Caleb perceiving what her design was, said onto her, What wilt thou?

'Brcansc ihr author of thi« hiitory Wm here to relate the memorable exploit* of the men of JuJihi therefore, together with those ilune after the death of Joihiw, he ripMti wtre done by them in kit life time;

IS And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land, which is dry and parched; give me also springs of water, some land where there are springs, and which will be more fruitful. And Caleb gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs, some lands with springs on both tides her former inheritance; but, as Caleb had tons, she could only enjoy these till the jubilee.

1C And the children of the Kenite, that is, Jethro, Moses' father in law, -whom he invited into Canaan, Mtmb. x. 29. saying, Come with us, and toe vail do thee good, these went up out of the city of palm trees, the territories, hamlets, and -villages belonging to Jericho, with the children of Judah, into the wilderness of Judah, a mountainous country adjoining to the tribe ofJitdah, which [lieth] in the south of Arad ; and they went and dwelt among the people, it being a Jirofier place for pasturage, and under the protection of Judah; and me read of them long after wider the name of Rhecabites, in the book of Jeremiah.

17 And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and thus requited hit kindness; (tee v. 3.) and they slew the Canaanites that

18 inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah. Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof. It was here the Philistines

19 dmelt. And the Lord was with Judah ; and he drave out [the inhabitants of] the mountain ; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron, vtth great scythes fixed on each side of them; and, being discouraged by these chariots, and distrusting God, he suffired

20 their enemies to prevail against them. And they gave Hebroa unto Caleb, as Moses said: and he expelled thence the three sons of Anak, (A'umb. xiii. S2.)

£ 1 And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem ; but the Jcbnsites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.*

VI And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel:

23 and the Lord [was] with them. And the house of Joseph sent to descry Bethel. (Now the name of the city before

2* [was] Luz.) And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Show us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, where we may most easily surprise it, and

25 we will show thee mercy. And when he showed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of

26 the sword ; but they let go the man and all his family. And the man went into the land of the Hittites, t/iat is, the country to which the Kttitesjled, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz :* which [is] the name thereof unto this day*

* This rity lay in two tribes; Judah drave the moot from his part, but Benjamin <M net, but suffered tUc Jcbiuitef to hold rtw enstl* »n<J fort till Dayid'i tiae.

27 Neither did Manasseh, that is, the half tribe which dwelt in Canaan, drive out [the inhabitants of] Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land, •dfter the death of Jothua they grew remiss in driving out tlie remainder of the Canaanite*, but made fteace with them, which wa»

28 the Jint stefi of their defection. And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, and could earily have driven them outt that yet, through cowardice or covetousness, they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.

29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.

30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among

31 them and became tributaries. Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob:

33 But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out ; and this was the

33 source of all the miseries of Israel. Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh,northe inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them.

34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to

35 the valley: But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Jo

36 seph prevailed, so that they became tributaries. And the coast of the Amorites [was] from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward.f

• It is generally thought to be in Arabia, became there, at Jotrphui tells us, a * city •Ttlut name.

1* We cannot be very exact in the situation of these places. Some cities are said to be taken several times; the Canaanites were driven out, and then probably returned ; anst ihui there were continual struggles betwxn them and th* Israelites, lor wait of courage, and faith ia the promises of OW.


1. TT'ROM the history of Adonizebek we learn the xincer1 tainty of human greatness, and how easily God brings down pride. He had conquered seventy princes; at length he is conquered himself, and treated as he had used them. God is righteous; tyrants and oppressors are an abomination unto him; and their shame and ruin are generally more grievous, in proportion to the extent and greatness of their tyranny. Considering the surprising alterations in the circumstances of many princes, we have no reason to envy their condition ; they are set in slippery places: and the meanest of their subjects, who are contented with their lot, are much happier persons.

2. The cheerfulness with which Caleb enlarged his daughter'* portion, shames those parents who grudge their children a reasonable part of their possessions. When they are dutiful and obedient, every thing reasonable ought to be done to encourage them ; otherwise they will be exposed to many temptations, which parents, for their own eakes, as well as their children's, should endeavour to prevent.

3. How sad is it to see persons losing that comfort which they might enjoy, through a careless and negligent spirit. This was the case with the Israelites ; they suffered the Canaanites to be among them, and by this they lost large tracts of good ground, and found them to be so many plagues and scourges to them. God sets blessings often before us, and is ready to help us, if we will but exert ourselves; the diligent hand maketh rich. In spiritual things it is so: God is ready to assist us against our enemies, and make us more than conquerors ; but if we live at our ease, sink into sloth, and are terrified by every little difficulty, the consequence will be fatal; bad habits will be confirmed, we shall lose what we have at present, and, which will be far the worst of all, shall fall short of the kingdom of heaven.


We have here a flarticular message sent to Israel by an angel, and the effect it had; (then follows a general tummary of the whole, book ;) their idolatry, their fiunis/imenl, and their deliverance.

1 \ N D an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to XJL Bochim,* and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I swarc unto your

• Some say Mi was a prophet; but I rather suppose it was an angel, sncb as usually appeared on any great occasion, and such as we read or'afterward in thin book. The people were probably met at one of their great feasts; the nnuel appeared to coai; from, to remind them of the cuvcwnt they had renewed there.

Vol. II. Q q

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