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eighteen years: Jabin oppressed them tut fight yeart,' v. f .' Eglon eighteen; an their sins increased, so did their fitmishment.

15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehad the son of Gera a Benpmite, (that tribe being immediately oppressed, and Jericho lying in it,) a man left handed: and by him the childreft of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab ; fierhafi» the usual tribute, with some additional present, to conciliate hit

1C favour, and gain admittance. But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, Kke a bayonet, of a cubit length, about half a yard, and he did gird it under his raiment upon his fight thigh, that he might not be suspected, and the more easily

17 draio it out. And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man, and therefore less able

18 fo resist, or to defend himself. And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present ; he went fiart of the way with his company, mho were

19 not informed of Ms design. But he himself turned again from the quarries, or graven images, that [were] by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand, someMng of consequence that I mutt deSver in private unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from'him ; he would not suffer him toftroceed till the servants ivere "withdrawn.

39 And Ehud came unto him, and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone, a cool chamber, where he used to retire in the heat of the day for private business, or to tleep, as is usual in hot countries. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee ; not from Jehovah, tut God, which was a common name for the heathen deities, as some apprehend. And he arose out of [his] seat, to show-hit regard

21 to the message. And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly :*

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

23 his belly; and the dirt came out.f Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them, he walked through the anticfiamber, •where the guard used to stand, or the people to receive audience,

24 without any marks of fear, and they suspected nothing. 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 covcreth his feet in his summer chamber, he is lain down to sleep, at which time especially they covered their feet.

* It was surprising the guards jho-jld allow an enemy to be alone with the king; but supposing that he was unarmed and lame, they apprehended no danger.

t He died instantly, before he had time to cry out. Ehud might have an extraordinary impulse upon his mind to do this, and might be assured it was lawful and the witl •f God, and would succeed; but tUece are no such impulss* uow, and it U folly and u» (o pretend, w them.

25 And they tarried till they were ashamed, could not tell mhat to say or think ; fearing either to disturb him, or to be thought to neglect him; and they knocked, 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

26 earth. And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath, a /Wain in

37 F.fihraim, beyond the borders of Benjamin. And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them ; he led Israel on to

28 the attack, •while the Moabites were in confusion. And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the Lord hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they -went down after him and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, to prevent any escaping, and suffered not a man to pass over,

39 to bring or carry intelligence. And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man ; all these were floated about Jer

30 ieho, and were the chief of his forces, /unfit, valiant men. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years, that is, to the end of the eightieth year after Othniei's death, as v. 11.

31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad : and he also delivered Israel.*

REFLECTIONS.

1. TXT E see in this chapter the benefit of afflictions, and the V V wisdom and goodness of God, in suffering enemies and'evils to surround us, in order to promote and strengthen our virtue. God proved Israel by their enemies; he brought them to repentance by sufferings; and then delivered them. Thus 'God deals with us; he sends tribulations to awaken us, to prerent our growing secure and careless, (a temper destructive of every thing great and good,) and to excite our repentance and'earnest cries to the Lord. Let us improve our afflictions to this purpose, else God will punish us worse. The Israelites' first slavery was eight years, and then eighteen. So God will deal •with us. If lighter afflictions do not mend us, h« will send "heavier, yet all with a merciful design.

• Thii might probably be in Ehud's rime; the Philistine! might nuke an excursion Into that part of the country where Shamgar lived; perhaps a spirit of courage and strength came upon him, as upon Othniel or Samson, and seizing his ox goad, which in those coon* Cries were near eight feet long, with a spike at one end to goad the ox, and a paddle t.T snad» •tthe other to clear the plough ; and, (ailing on them, he stew six hondrt-d men; perhaps his servants assisted him; and others might join Mm, thcugU thil was thi/ LdUy inUruaB£BR *ey bad, Ttnu Cod can uve bjr few u wcU » bjr many.

nrij

; lit; lil: 5 Judges, iv. 321

12 5 s*|f *• Those whom God raises up for important service, he will "t 11 3 =~ -Qualify for and succeed in it. The Spirit came upon Othniel and

prase I

3. The reverence with which Eglon rose to receive a message from a god, shames the irreverence of many Christians. Though he was a king, in private, and unwieldy ; though he was a proud, tyrannical oppressor; yet he rose to receive a message from a God whom he knew not. It becomes us to receive messages from the true God, whom we profess to know and fear, with the greatest reverence of mind. The messages delivered to us from him are all kind and gracious, not intended to destroy, but to save us; and therefore carelessness and disregard are highly unbecoming and provoking to him.

4. God never wants instruments when he has work to do for his church and people. Shamgar was an honest farmer, at the plough, and had no thought of being employed to be the deliverer of Israel, till God called him ; then, with his ox goad he slew six hundred Philistines. The servants of God have no reason to fear in the darkest scenes, and amidst the greatest distresses, for their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is fas name: he will

some way or other plead his own cause, and defeat and destroy all his enemies ; happy, therefore, are the fieoflle whose God is the Lord.

CHAP. IV.

This chafiter gives an account of the oppression of Israel byJabin f of their deliverance by Deborah and Barak; and the death of Sisera, general of the host.

\ AND the children of Israel again did evil in the sight

2 Jl\. of the Lord, when Ehud was dead. And the Lord sold them, delivered them for slaves, into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor, in the northern part* of Canaan, where the people gathered together and put themselves under his government: the city had been destroyed, (see Joshua xi. 10, 11.) but it was now rebuilt and fortified. Jabin mas a common name for their king, the captain of whose host [was] Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles, a

3 place near to Hazor. And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, armed ivith, scythes; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel, laying them under a large tribute to support huforcttt

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and shewing great hatred to them because of their former wV» lories.*

4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidotii,f she judged Israel at that time; being a woman of eminent holiness, prudence, and acquaintance with the law, she determined causes

5 and controversies. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah, between Ramah and BetKel in mount Ephraim; she sat there to administer justice; and the children of Israel

6 came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali ; so called, to distinguish it from another city of that name; Barak had probably distinguished himself Ay some exploit; and she 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 chil

7 dren of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon, by my secret but powerful providence, Sisera the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand; though thou hast but few, and he has many, yet I assure thee of success; and hit

coming to Kishon, which, river ran at the foot of Tabor, shall be

8 a sign to confirm thy faith. And yet it seemed to waver, for 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; he via* unwilling to venture without her presence, counsel, and firayers.

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: with heroic courage she ivent with him to his city to raise forces, and, by her presence, roused and animated his men.

10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, where he proclaimed God's intention and his oion commission; and he went up to mount Tabor with ten thousand men at his feet; some from the other tribes joined him or followed him, but they were all foot soldiers, and a contemptible handful in comparison mith Jabin's chariots and army: and Deborah went up with not appear, to the plain near Kedesh, where they dwelt in tenttt

11 him. 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. This is mentioned here to make way for the story at the close of the chapter. They had removed from the wilderness of Jutlah, (see eft. i. Id.} for what reason does

* This was peculiarly grievous to Israel, because Haroshcth was in the middle of Hie tribe of N.t|>huli; no wonder slum they cried unto the Lord.

t_ Some think this wns the name Oi her country, not of herhusbjjul, as no nam« ef a man in H-.brcw ends in olti.

| Perhaps in some vistun, or by an on^ej appearing to her ; sec chc.ft. v. 93.

12 under the protection of that city. And they (not the Kenites, but some other persons) showed Sisera that Barak the son of

13 Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. 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 ; a vast multitude, with which they thought to surround, or shut up and starve Barak and his men in the mountains: they never thought he

14 would dare to come down and attack them in the flam. 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, as general, tojightfor thee against thine enemies ? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him, strong in faith, and trusting in.

15 Gad; therefore the apostle celebrates him, Heb. xi. 32. And the Lord discomfited Sisera, probably with thunder, lightning^ hailstones, and the like, as appears from the next chapter, and all [his] chariots, and all [his] host with the edge of the sword before Barak; they were broken and dispersed, trampled upon by their own horses, and cut to pieces by their own chariots; so that Sisera lighted down off [his] chariot, and fled away on

16 his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host unto Harosheth of the Gentiles, to the very gates of their own city; and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword ; [and] there was not a man left in the field, to make resistance; so complete ivas the victory, that the Psalmist, when praying against the enemies of the church, refers to it, Psalm Ixxxiii. 9, 10.

17 Howbeit, Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite. Hcber's was a considerable family, like Abraliam's; the women had tents for themselves ; and Sisera thought no search would- be made for him there : for [there was] peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite, a cessation of hostility, because they were a peaceable people, and laid no claim to the land, being

18 only sojourners. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me ; fear not ; standing at her tent door, she saw himjlying and invited him in, and at that time probably had no intention of doing him an injury. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she cov

I~9 ered him with a mantle, a rug, or blanket, to conceal him. 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 with the cream on it, or butter, as appears, ch. v. 25. and gave him drink, and covered him ; which showed her respect, and in

* These chirints vrert urmed with scythes at tho axletreo, which would make a lirodigioui slaughter among the footmen. Such were mod among the ancient Briloiu.

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