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and activity. When these cases happen, they make a generous impression on the minds of godly men. Every sincere heart is grieved at the lukewarmness and indifference of his fellow christians. Let us guard against these things, cultivate a genetous> public spirit, be willing to give up our own trifling concerns for the interest of God's church and people, and join hearts and hands to promote it.
CHAP. V. 19, to the end.
In -which Deborah celebrates the -victory itself, and ascribes all the praise to God; she then describes the destruction of Sisera, and the disappointment of his friends, in a -very poetical and beatrtiful manner; and concludes the chaftter as much like a prophetess as a poet, ivilji a devout rjisJi and prayer addressed to Jehovah.
1 9 rT* H E kings came [and] fought, they were more ready to JL assist fine anotlier than the tribes of Israel were; then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money, they came not out of « rnercenanj disfioaition, tut out of friendship to one another and enmity to God's people; a vast army, that filled the country and
20 reached to the waters of Megiddo. They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera; Jehovah was on Israel's side; dreadful meteors, fierce flashes of lightning, impetuous storms of hail and rain, affrighted the enemy's horses,
%\ overthrew their chariots, and turned them against Sisera. The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon, swelled by the rains, prevented their flight, or swept, many away who were mounded in battle! O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength ; probably alluding to the prayer she had offered in the time of action, which had the same effect at the
22 lifting ufi of j\foses' hands in the war with Aniatck. Xhen Were the horse hoofs broken by the means of the prahcings, tramplings, or pliinging's among the stones, the prancings of their mighty ones, their best horses, who threw their riders and left them a prey to Israel's sword. In the midst of this description
23 of the victory she introduces a solemn cjcccralion. Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the
54 Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.* Blessed
above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenitebe, blessed shall she be above women in the tent; she shall be highly ertolled and affilauded, and many blessings wished to her by all 25 Israel for what she did to Sisera in the tent. He asked water, [and] she gave [him] milk; that he might not suspect her design, she brought forth butter in a lordly dish, or bowl, suitable 26 to his dignity. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman’s hammer: and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head with his own sword, when 27 she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down : at her feet he bowed, he fell ; where he bowed, there he fell down dead. An elegant descrisition of a man who has received a mortal wound ; at the first stroke he attempted to rise ; but, being stunned, he bowed, 38 he fell, he lay down : he struggled, he fell, he died. The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, sure of his success and impatient at his delay, Why [is] his chariot [so] long in coming 2 why tarry the wheels of his chariots : She thought it would be an easy conquest, and won29 dered what could detain him so long. Her wise ladies answered her, and endeavoured to cheer her shirits ; yea, she returned answer to herself, her hofies got the better of her fears, and 30 she said, Have they not sped 2 have they [not] divided the prey they have surely obtained the victory, and so cannot come so soon, but must have some time allowed to divide the sfoil r to every man a damsel [or] two ; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needle work, of divers colours of needle work on both sides, [meet] for the necks of [them that take] the spoil Only fit for great fiersons, and by the ancient laws restrained to them : shoils and firesents fit for her and her wise ladies. So let all thine enemies perish, O LoRD ; so suddenly, effectually, shamefully, and irrecoverably ; but [let] them that love him [be] as the sun when he goeth forth in his might ; let them increase in lustre, flower, and Jorce, like the sun going forth to its meridian strength and brightness. And the land had rest forty years, that is, from the conquest of Jabin.” * Thus concludes this charming composition; and, we may add, in the words of an an
cient commentator, “let Homer and Virgil go now and compare their poetry with this song ef a woman.”
a. TX7"E observed in the last chapter the vanity of selfconV V fidence, in the case of Sisera. It may be useful here, to reflect on the vanity of trusting to others, or expecting too much from them, as illustrated in the circumstances of his mother. She was confident he would be successful, return home •with wealth and honour, and enrich his friends and relations; but her hope was turned into shame, and her confidence into disappointment. And so it may be with us, if we expect too much from man. The race it not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. It is good to guard against confidence, even in the wisest and most potent of the children of men. But God « a Being in •whom we may confide, every way equal to our wishes and expectations; and he will never disappoint us. Trust ye in the JLord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. Let us also rejoice and trust in Christ Jesus; he it the captain of <mr sahation. He will come again victorious, to be admired in hi* saints, to enrich and reward all his faithful servants. Toward his second appearance may we direct our believing thoughts, and say, Why are his -chariots to long m coming? Why tarry the wheels of his chariots f
2. The enemies of God have reason to tremble, and all his friends to rejoice: this was Deborah's conclusion, let it be so, that is, it shall be so. The prayer of a prophet is the prediction of heaven. All the enemies of God's church, however powerful and terrible, shall be destroyed; and we may without a revengeful disposition pray that their schemes .may 'be disappointed, and their counsels baffled, h is peculiarly proper to do this when celebrating former deliverances ; let all the enemies of God's church be like those, from whose power and hand God hath often delivered the British church and nation. But let all his friends rejoice; for they shall be as the sun when he goeth forth in hit might. All that love God, that seek him, and serve his interest, shall appear great and illustrious in the sight of the world ; they shall be growing in lustre ; their fiath shall be Kke the shining Kght. And after they, have served God and their generation in this world, they shall for ever shine forth at the tun in the kingdom of their leather.
This chapter contains an account of Israel'* fourth oppression by the Midianites, and of their deUi-erance by Gideon, the fourth of their judges.
I ,/% N D the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the JL\- Lor.d ; after the death of Deborah and Barak they fell into idolatry; (see ~v. 10.) and the Lord delivered them into |T 2 the hand of Midian seven years.* And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: [and] because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which [are] in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds, to secure thtmsctves and their families, and their cattle from being plundered by them.
3 And [so] it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and tjie Amalekites, and the children of the east, probqbly Arabians, even they came up against them, when the
4 harvest was nearly rijie; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor
5 ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tenls,t and they came as grasshoppers, or locusts, for multitude; [for] both they and their camels were without num
6 her: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites and their confederates, being obliged to part with their money tq buy corn; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.
7 And it came to pass when the children of Israel cried unto
8 the Lord because of the Midianites, That the Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, probably ivhcn met together at some of their public festivals, which said unto them, Thus saith the Lord Gob of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt,
9 and brought you forth put of the house of bondage; And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians who pursued you, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, even tl\e Canaanftes, and gave
10 you their land; And I said unto you, I [am] the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; do not serve them, nor through fear be temftted to warshift them; but ye have not obeyed my voice. He probably said natch more, but this was the substance, and it had a good effect; the people humbled themselves, and rtpented, and God appeared for them. ^
• These were a contemptible people, who had no hrad ; ther were almost entirely destroyed about two hundred years before, see Numb. xxxi. 'though descended from Abraham, they were great enemies to lsrael> and full of revenge.
t The Arabians especially did so; they lived in tents, and removed from place to place for pasture, till they had are up tax country, and then removed. Tllisc came up like lotuttl for multitude, und destroyed tvery thing before them.
11 And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which [was] in Ophrah, that [pertained] unto Joash the .Abiezrite ; he appeared in the form of a weary traveller, sitting under an oak belonging to Joash, ivho was a worshipper of Baal: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the wine prese,
18 to hide [it] from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord [is] with thee, thou mighty man of valour. Gideon perhaps was thinking of the oppression of Israel, revolving in his mind what could be done to deliver them; and the angel assured him of God's
13 presence and help. And Gideon said unto him, Oh, my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where [be] all his miracles which our fathers told us of, say* ing, Did not the Lord bring usuip from Egypt ? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the han,ds of the Midianites ; our melancholy condition shows that God is not with
14 .us. And the Lord looked upon him, that is, the angel, God's representative, looked upon him in a powerful, efficacious manner, so as to inspire him with courage, and endow him with authority, and said, Go in this thy might, now bestowed upon thee, and thou shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? have I not given thee commission?
15 therefore make no excuses nor delays. And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family [is] poor in Manasseh, and I [am] the least in my father's house; with great modesty and diffidence declining the commission, his family, or tribe, being poor, and he having no means
16 to raise forces. And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shall smite the Midianites as one man, destroy them to a man; as he did, ch. viii.
17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me, by authority from God; and that I may be assured it is a divine com
18 mission : a reasonable and proper request. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, a meat offering, and set [it] lu.liin- thee, as Abraham and Lot did: and the angel condescended to his request, and he
19 said, I will tarry until thou come again. And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought [it] out unto him under the oak, and presented [it,] as a token of respect, and to accommodate ttifn in hi*
20 journey, still taking him to be only a prophet. And the angel
of God said unto him, Take the flesh, and the unleavened cakes, and lay [them] upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so; however strange the order might appear, ie 31 obeyed. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that [was] in his hand, and touched the flesh and the