Introduction to The Judge Jephthah [Judges 10.6-10.18]
Scripture: Judges 10.6-10.18 (KJV)
Israel fell into idolatry again; the Philistines and Ammonites oppress Israel
6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.
7 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon.
8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.
9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.
In their misery, God chides them for their false gods
10 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.
11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?
12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand.
13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
15 And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.
16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.
The overthrow of the men of Shechem and of Abimelech is followed by a period of temporary peace, after which the people once again fall into their idolatrous sin, and Jehovah gives them into the hands of the nations whose gods they worship. After being greatly distressed by their enemies, the children of Israel cry unto Jehovah, who rebukes them for their past conduct, and sends them back to the gods they had been worshipping. Then the people put away the strange gods, and Jehovah is moved with compassion.
Beginning here, and through the end of the chapter, we have what some have called an expansion of the usual introductory paragraph relating the usual cycle, of apostasy, oppression, crying unto Jehovah, and the sending of relief. The surprise that some have expressed at this is due to their failure to recognize the fact that we have here a double introduction: (1) There is the introduction to the judgeship of Jephthah and his deliverance of Israel out of the hand of the Ammonites, and (2) this chapter also is an introduction anticipating the conflict of Samson with the Philistines. The introduction found here may be why the Samson narrative, which is the second longest in the Book of Judges, has only a single verse introducing the story.
Yates also agreed that, "This chapter is introductory to the Samson story (Judg. 13:1—16:31), as well as to the judgeship of Jephthah (Judges 11:1-40)."
In this chapter we have:
I. Israel's sin that lead them into trouble, Judges 10:6.
II. The trouble itself that they were in, Judges 10:7-9.
III. Their repentance and humiliation over their sin, their prayers and reformation, and the mercy they received from God, Judges 10:10-16.
IV. Preparation made for their deliverance out of the hand of their oppressors, Judges 10:17, 18.
Commentary (Judges 10.6-18; KJV)
Commentary (Judges 10.6-18; GW)
6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.—Judges 10:6 (KJV)
6 The people of Israel again did what the LORD considered evil. They began to serve other gods and goddesses—the Baals and the Astartes—and the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines. They abandoned the LORD and did not serve him.—Judges 10:6 (GW)
And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord…
While Tola and Jair were judges and presided over the affairs of Israel, things went well, but after their death, Israel fell into idolatry again, as the following verses will show.
The familiar phrase is repeated once again—the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord (Jg. 4:1; Jg.6:1; Jg.13:1); their evil is magnified because it was done before the very eyes of God; even as adultery is bad enough, but to commit adultery before the very eyes of your spouse is odious to the most extreme degree. This apostasy seems to have exceeded every former one in the grossness and totality of the idolatry practiced.
The essence of Israel's sin was that they served other gods—there are seven different ethnic and national gods mentioned that Israel went after. Why did they do it? The attraction behind Baal was financial success; with Ashtoreth it was love, sex, and romance. As for the other gods of the neighboring nations around them, it was a matter of "going with the flow" and doing what everyone else was doing. If anything can be said about these false gods, we could say that their followers considered them "relevant"—with it, modern, cutting edge; in going after the fads and fashions of the ungodly nations around them, Israel was trying to "keep up with the Jones."
Sadly, when we see the list of all the gods Israel served, we see that they will serve just about anybody but God; They became universal idolaters, adopting every god of the surrounding nations. Baalim and Ashtaroth may signify gods and goddesses in general; it has been said, "When a man stops believing in God, he does not believe in nothing; he believes in anything."
In the long run, few things make the church look more foolish than running after every fad that comes along in the world. It makes us always a step behind, and never quite with it - and it lets the world dictate the church's agenda. The most relevant and cutting edge thing the church can do is stick with God's eternal message; it is always up to date.
You would think that after all their experiences; the Israelites would learn that when they turned to idolatry, trouble came upon them. Because of their idolatry, they went into slavery again—they served the Philistines and Ammonites for eighteen years. Human nature is fallen nature. Jeremiah has said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). You and I certainly do not know the heart. It is easier for us to point our finger back to these people who lived about one thousand years before Christ and say, “You did wrong,” than it is for us to see what we are doing wrong.
How are we doing today, by the way? May I say that there is a frightful apostasy today in the church. Human nature is like that, and we are in a nation that is in trouble. We have tried every method, political scheme, and political party, and none of them has worked. What is wrong? We have gone to the wrong place for help. Only a turning to God will get us on the right path. I know that sounds square and out of date, but it sounded that way one thousand years before Christ also. The Israelites turned to other gods, refused to serve the living God, and look at what happened.
and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth;
This was not the first time Israel was involved with these two false gods.
Baʿal is a Northwest Semitic title meaning "master" or "lord" that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant. A Baalist or Baalite means a worshipper of Baal.
"Baʿal" can refer to any god and even to human officials; in some texts it is used as a substitute for Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven. Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba‛al was commonly used. Nevertheless, few if any Biblical uses of "Baʿal" refer to Hadad, the lord over the assembly of gods on the holy mount of Heaven, but rather refer to any number of local spirit-deities worshipped as cult images, each called baʿal and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a false god.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,.... Openly and publicly, boldly and impudently, in the very face of God, and amidst all the good things they received from him, which aggravated the circumstances of their sins. What was the evil they did? They served Baalim; the Arabic idol Baal, of which there were many, and therefore a plural word is used; to which the apostle refers 1 Corinthians 8:5; for the word signifies "lords", and there were Baalpeor, Baalzebub, Baalberith, and-so-forth, who seem to have got their name from Bal, Bel, or Belus, a king of Babylon after Nimrod, and who was the first monarch that was deified; the Jupiter of the Heathens. Theophilus of Antioch says, that, according to the history of Thallus, Belus the king of the Assyrians, whom they worshipped, was older than the Trojan War, three hundred twenty two years; and that some call this god Cronus, Saturn Bel, and Bal; the Assyrians called him Bel, and in the Punic or Phoenician language he is called Bal.
Israel Worships Baal(not available)
The name Astaroth was ultimately derived from a 2nd millennium BC Phoenician goddess Astarte, an equivalent of the Babylonian Ishtar, and the earlier Sumerian Inanna. She is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the forms Ashtoreth (singular) and Ashtaroth (plural, in reference to multiple statues of her). Other female deities were Juno, Venus, and Diana. So, word Ashtaroth is plural, and used for flocks of sheep; and Kimchi and Ben Melech say these were images in the form of female sheep.
Perhaps, as Baal may signify the sun, so Ashtaroth the moon, with the stars like flocks of sheep about her. Ashtaroth was the goddess of the Zidonians, 1 Kings 11:5; the same as Astarte, the wife of Cronus or Ham, and also said to be the Phoenician or Syrian Venus. Lucian says there was a temple in Phoenicia, belonging to the Sidonians, which they say is the temple of Astarte; and, he says, I think that Astarte is the moon; and the Phoenicians called her Astarte, while to the Grecians she is said to be Venus, and she was worshipped by the Syrians also, as Minutius Felix. There were four of them, and therefore the Septuagint uses the plural expression Astartes, which comes either from Asher, meaning "blessed" ones, or from Asheroth, indicating the groves they were worshipped in; or from "Ash", and "Tor", the constellation Taurus or the bull; so Sanchoniatho said that Astarte had the head of a bull, as the token of her sovereignty.
Astaroth's seal (according to The Lesser Key of Solomon) not available
also the gods of Syria;
Their gods and goddesses were Belus (or Bel) and Saturn (or Jupiter), Astarte and the Dea Syria.
and the gods of Zidon;
The goddess of the Zidonians was Ashtaroth: “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:5 (NKJV); and it seems they had other deities: Astarte or Venus.
and the gods of Moab;
The chief of which were Baalpeor and Chemosh: “So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel” (Num 25:3 (NKJV). “Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon” (1 Kings 11:7 (NKJV).
Moab and Region (not available)
Plains of Moab (not available)
and the gods of the children of Ammon,
The names of the Ammonites idol-gods were Milcom or Molech: “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:5 (NKJV).
and the gods of the Philistines;
These are called gods because their images and places of worship were widespread throughout the land; The names of these gods were Dagon the god of Ashdod: “When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the temple of Dagon and set it by Dagon” (1 Sam 5:2 (NKJV); Beelzebub the god of Ekron, Marnas the god of Gaza, and Derceto the goddess of Ashkalon.
and forsook the Lord, and served not him;
They did not even worship God in conjunction with the above deities, as Jarchi and others observe; at other times, when they worshipped other gods, they pretended to worship the Lord also. They served the creature as well as the Creator; but now they were so extremely sunk into idolatry, that they had altogether forsaken the Lord and his worship at the tabernacle, and made no pretensions about it, but entirely neglected it. The heathen deities mentioned above were, at one time or other, worshipped and served by the Israelites. Some writers express amazement at the repeated apostasies of Israel, wondering how a people so often blessed by God could again and again resort to idolatry, but, human nature being what it is, there is nothing unusual about it. This is exactly the thing that always happens when a people is not diligent to cultivate and nurture the spiritual resources which God has provided.
This very day, America is threatened with a total relapse into idolatry. Oh yes, the old idols of antiquity are no longer visible, but the drunkards of our era are worshipping Bacchus (The Greek and Roman god of wine and revelry.) no less than did the ancient citizens of Crete; and our sex-mad generation is worshipping Aphrodite Pan Demos (the Greek goddess of love and low sensual pleasures.) no less than the wicked inhabitants of Corinth at the top of their Acro Corinthus (a castle noted for impure worship.); and the diabolical leaders of Communistic tyranny all over the world, such as the evil masters of Cuba, China, and Russia (until recently), are worshipping Mars (the God of War) no less than did the ancient Romans. Also, as William Jennings Bryan said a few years ago, "What about the gods of Fashion, Travel, Money, Power, Pleasure, Self, etc."? Are not millions worshipping these gods?
Carl F. H. Henry, editor of "The Christian Century," published an article on November 5, 1980, p. 32, warning America about the consequences of its current lapse into idolatry. "God may thunder His awesome command (I abandon them, or I give them up, as in Rom. 1:24) over America's professed greatness. Our massacre of one million fetuses a year; our deliberate flight from the monogamous family; our normalizing of fornication and adultery; our shameful acceptance of homosexuality and other sexual perversions -- all these things represent a quantum leap in moral deterioration, a leap more awesome than even the gulf between conventional weapons and nuclear missiles. Today, American has all but tripped the worst ratings on God's Richter scale of fully-deserved moral judgment."
The awesome record of God's punitive judgments upon the ancient world, upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and upon many cultures and civilizations since them should be enough to warn America that: There is by us an unseen hidden boundary between God's mercy and God's wrath! They worshipped many gods; not only their old demons Baalim and Ashtaroth, which the Canaanites had worshipped, but, as if they would proclaim their folly to all their neighbours, they served the gods of Syria, Zidon, Moab, Ammon, and the Philistines. It looks as if the chief trade of Israel had been to import deities from all countries. It is hard to say whether it was more impious or foolhardy to do this. By introducing these foreign deities, they rendered themselves dishonorable and despicable, for no nation that had any sense of honor changed their gods. Much of the wealth of Israel, we may suppose, was carried off, in offerings to the temples of the deities in the various countries where they were located, on which, their temples in Israel were expected to have their funding. The priests and followers of those sorry deities would follow their gods, no doubt, in crowds into the land of Israel, and, if they could not live in their own country, would take root there, and so strangers would devour their worldly goods.
If the Hebrews joined themselves to these foreign deities in order to ingratiate themselves with them, they were disappointed, because those nations which they sought to make their friends became their enemies and oppressors by the righteous judgments of God. They did not so much as admit that the God of Israel was one of the many deities they worshipped, but chose instead to cast him off: They forsook the Lord, and served not him at all. Those that think they can serve both God and Mammon will soon come to the place where they will entirely forsake God, and serve Mammon only. If God have not all the heart, he will soon have none of it.
________________________________verse 6 notes________________________________
(Jg. 4:1; NKJV) “When Ehud was dead, the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD.”
(Jg. 6:1; NKJV) “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years,”
(Jg. 13:1: NKJV) “Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.”
Levant. The Levant is a geographical term that denotes a large area in Western Asia, roughly bounded on the north by the Taurus Mountains, on the south by the Arabian Desert, and on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, while on the east it extends into Upper Mesopotamia; however, some definitions include nearly all of Mesopotamia. An imprecise term, Levant refers to an area of cultural habitation rather than to a specific geographic region. The Levant forms the middle part of the Fertile Crescent, between the Nile Valley (Egypt) to the south-west, and Mesopotamia (Iraq) to the east. It consists of Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Jordan.
(1 Co. 8.5, 6; NKJV) “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”
7 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon.—Judges 10:7 (KJV)
7 The LORD became angry with the people of Israel. So he used the Philistines and Ammonites to defeat them.—Judges 10:7 (GW)
And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel…
Some people have a problem with verses like this, because they cannot accept the idea that their God sometimes gets angry. But it is a fact documented many places in scripture. But here’s the difference between His anger and mine; my anger is sinful, His anger is righteous. In this case His anger burned like fire, he was exceedingly incensed against them, and nothing could provoke Him more than idolatry.
The predatory incursions of these two hostile neighbors were made naturally on the parts of the land respectively adjacent to them. But the Ammonites, animated with the spirit of conquest, carried their arms across the Jordan; so that the central and southern provinces of Canaan were extensively devastated. God can afford to remove His instrument when that instrument fails Him. A great many people think that God has to have the church, even a particular church, and that God has to have America because it is sending out missionaries. May I say to you that God does not have to have any of us. He is not dependent upon us at all. We are, however, dependent upon Him.
Israel was probably at its lowest point at this time. Things were very bad for them.
• “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.” (Judges 2:14; NKJV)
• “A Contemplation of Asaph. O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?” (Psalms 74:1 (NKJV).
• “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies”…“Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, And the rocks are thrown down by Him.” (Nahum 1:2, 6; NKJV)
• Also see Deuteronomy 29:20-28; 31:16-18; 32:16-22.
and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon; that is, due to His divine displeasure, He delivered them into their hands, and they became subservient and were in bondage to them, and as such they were little more than "slaves.” Part of them, that lay to the west of the land of Israel, fell into the hands of the Philistines; and another part, which lay to the east, were oppressed by the children of Ammon, particularly those that were on the other side of the Jordan River. God renewed his judgments upon them, bringing them under the power of oppressing enemies. Had they fallen into the hands of the Lord immediately, they might have found that his mercies were great; but God let them fall into the hands of man, whose tender mercies are cruel. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines that lay south-west of Canaan, and of the Ammonites that lay north-east, both at the same time; so that between those two millstones they were miserably crushed.
If Israel wanted to serve the gods of the Philistines and the Amorites, God would allow them to do so, by selling them into servitude to the Philistines and Amorites. Of course, Israel was never blessed when it served these other gods; instead, they were harassed and oppressed; they were severely afflicted—but God was giving them what they wanted.
• “So the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor…” (Judges 4:2; NKJV).
• “And when they forgot the LORD their God, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. Then they cried out to the LORD, and said, 'We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD and served the Baals and Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You” (1 Sam 12:9-10; NKJV).
• “Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink because there is no water, And die of thirst” (Isaiah 50:2; NKJV).
8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.—Judges 10:8 (KJV)
8 They oppressed and crushed the people of Israel that year. For 18 years they oppressed all who lived east of the Jordan River in the land of the Amorites in Gilead.—Judges 10:8 (GW)
And that year they vexed and oppressed (crushed) the children of Israel,
The land of the Philistines was on one side, and the children of Ammon on the other; meaning either that it was the year in which Jair died (see Chapter 49), as suggested by Jarchi; or it was the first year they began to bring Israel into bondage, as put forward by R. Isaiah: "and from that year", as Kimchi and Ben Melech thought, they vexed and distressed them, and they continued to vex and distress them
God had specified that, if any of the cities of Israel should succumb to idolatry, the rest should make war upon them and isolate them, Deuteronomy 13:12-18. They had been jealous enough in this matter, almost to an extreme, in the case of the altar set up by the two tribes and a half (see Joshua 22:1-34); but now they had grown so very badly behaved that when one city was infected with idolatry the next took the infection and instead of punishing it, imitated and out-did it; and therefore, since those that should have been revengers to execute wrath on those that did this evil were themselves guilty of the same thing, and were not inclined to take revenge of any kind.
or, as Abarbinel interprets it, "with that year", they vexed and oppressed them eighteen years; and these eighteen years of their oppression are not to be reckoned as taking in the years of Jair's government or as commencing from sometime within it, as Bishop Usher, Lightfoot, and others stipulate; for it does not appear that there was any oppression in his days, but from the time of his death to the raising up of Jephthah, a new judge, the people were oppressed by the children of Ammon.
all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan, in the land of the Ammonites, which is in Gilead;
that is, the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh.
___________________________________verse 8 notes_________________________________
(Deut 13:12-18 (NKJV) "If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell in, saying, 'Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, "Let us go and serve other gods" '--which you have not known--then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword--utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock, with the edge of the sword. And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again. So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers, because you have listened to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the LORD your God.”
9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.—Judges 10:9 (KJV)
9 Ammon also crossed the Jordan River to fight the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. So Israel suffered a great deal.—Judges 10:9 (GW)
Moreover, the children of Ammon passed over Jordan…
Not content with the oppression of the tribes on the other side of the Jordan River, which had lasted for eighteen years, they crossed over the Jordan and into the land of Canaan to ravage that territory, and bring the other tribes into subjection to them, particularly the tribes of Judah, and Benjamin, and Ephraim. By degrees they pushed forward, gaining the land of the most famous tribes of Israel, who were unable to make headway against the invader because they had forsaken God. God brought the neighboring nations upon them, to chastise them for their apostasy.
to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim.
These tribes that lay next to them on the other side of the Jordan were the first the Ammonites encountered and had to fight with and subdue, when they had crossed the Jordan River. The Israelites had degenerated to the point that they themselves were so like the heathen, that they had become, in some respects, perfect Amorites (Ezekiel 16:3), or because by their sin they forfeited their title to this land, so that it might justly be looked upon as the land of the Amorites again, from whom they took it.
Now the threatening of God was fulfilled; that they should be slain before their enemies, and should have no power to stand before them, Leviticus 26:17, 37. Their ways and their doings procure this to themselves; they have sadly degenerated, and so they come to be greatly victimized.
so that Israel was sore distressed;
by the Ammonites in the east, threatening those three tribes, mentioned, and the Philistines on the west, who harassed and plundered the tribes that lay nearest them; Asher, Zebulun, Naphtali, Issachar, and Dan; and it happened the same year in different parts, by different enemies.
• “And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul” (Deut 28:65; NKJV)
• “Now Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" And Saul answered, "I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do" (1 Sam 28:15; NKJV).
• “And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands” (2 Chron 15:5; NKJV).
______________________________verse 9 notes_________________________________
(Ezek 16:3; NKJV) “and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: "Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.” These tribes were the most famous, and probably the most corrupt, of all the Canaanites. So Isaiah calls the princes of Judah rulers of Sodom, 1:10; and John the Baptist calls the Pharisees a generation or brood of vipers, Matthew 3:7. This is strong language: but the invective of the prophet exceeds it far. It is the essence of degradation to its subject; and shows the Jews to be as base and contemptible as they were abominable and disgusting.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(Leviticus 26:17,37; NKJV) “I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you…They shall stumble over one another, as it were before a sword, when no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies.”
10 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.—Judges 10:10 (KJV)
10 Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help. They said, “We have sinned against you. We have abandoned our God and served other gods—the Baals.”—Judges 10:10 (GW)
And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord…
The children of Israel were in misery when they saw the destruction of their country caused by the invasion of powerful enemies in different areas of their land; this opened their eyes to a sense of their sins, and to what caused it, and lead them to confess their sins.
saying, we have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim;
They prayed and confessed that they were guilty not only of sins of omission; neglecting God as if He was irrelevant and powerless: but also, there were sins of commission; gross idolatry, in serving Baalim, and other gods we have mentioned. These people finally got so desperate that they turned to God. Here we see the same old story being acted out once again. It is the hoop of history that is rolling, and it is still rolling today. So then what happened?
What we have here is a humble confession which Israel makes to God in the midst of national misery. Now they admitted the wrong they have done, like a felon upon the rack, and promised to reform, like a child spanked with a switch. They not only complain of the suffering, but acknowledge it is their own sin that has brought them to the trouble they were in; therefore God is righteous, and they have no reason to fret and complain. They confess their omissions, where their sin began--"We have forsaken our God," and their commissions--"We have served Baalim, and herein have done foolishly, treacherously, and very wickedly."
"We have sinned" "The repentant confession of Israel's sins undoubtedly occurred during a hastily called meeting of their leaders." If this was the case, there was probably a prophet on-hand who, upon behalf of Jehovah, spoke the stern words of Judges 10:13, 14.
The first step of repentance is confession of sin, and the best proof of its sincerity is given by the transgressor, when he not only grieves over the painful consequences which he has suffered as the result of his offenses, but also over the dreadful evil he has committed against God.
• “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” (Judges 3:9; NKJV)
• “Then they cried out to the LORD, and said, 'We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD and served the Baals and Ashtoreths” (1 Sam 12:10; NKJV).
• “Many times He delivered them; But they rebelled in their counsel, And were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, When He heard their cry” (Psalms 106:43-44; NKJV).
• “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses…Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses…Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses” (Psalms 107:13, 19, 28; NKJV).
____________________________verse 10 notes___________________________________
Cried—they prayed to the Lord, and confessed their sins.
11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?—Judges 10:11 (KJV)
11 The LORD said to the people of Israel, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines,.—Judges 10:11 (GW)
And the Lord said unto the children of Israel…
We do not know the method that the LORD used to deliver this accusation to the Israelites; but it was probably not made through the high priest, whose duty it was to interpret the will of God.
Kimchi and Abarbinel say that a prophet was sent, see (Judges 6:8), whom Ben Gersom takes to be Phinehas, but he could not be living at this time. If the messenger was not a prophet, was it an angel, possibly specially created for this event; or could the messenger have been none other than the uncreated one, the Son and Word of God, who might appear in human form, and to whom all that is said here is germane.
did not I deliver you from the Egyptians;
This was a humbling message which the Lord sent to Israel. It was an act of pure kindness for God to take notice of their cry; He did not turn a deaf ear to it and refuse to send them an answer. It was kind of Him, as well, that when they began to repent he sent them a message that was sure to increase their repentance, and prepare them for deliverance. Now in this message, He upbraids them for their great ingratitude, reminds them of the great things he had done for them, such as delivering them from their enemies. First, they were delivered from the Egyptians, after 400 years of captivity and slavery by bringing them out of subjection and bondage to them, and by delivering them out of their hands at the Red sea; they conquered the Amorites and settled upon their land, and since their settlement there, the Ammonites had joined with the Moabites to oppress them (Judges 3:13); the Philistines were troublesome in the days of Shamgar (see Chapter 14), and afterwards other enemies had given them trouble, however, upon their petition God had wrought many a great salvation for them,
Did not I deliver you
Reference is made here to no less than seven nations from whose power the Lord had delivered Israel. These are: (1) The Egyptians; (2) the Amorites; (3) the Ammonites; (4) the Philistines; (5) the Sidonians; (6) the Amalekites; and (7) "The Maonites who are otherwise unknown to this period. It is surprising that the Midianites were not included here, but it may be, as suggested by Dalglish, that, "`Maonites' is here a reference to the Midianites." It should be pointed out that the Septuagint (LXX) uses`Midianites' I lieu of `Maonites.'
Hervey observed that, "These references to former deliverances of Israel are of great historical value ... They show the existence of a real history in the background of that which has been preserved in the Bible." Furthermore, there are references here that mention events recorded in Exodus and in Num. 21:21-35, thus giving irrefutable evidence of the existence of the entire Pentateuch at a time long before the monarchy had been established in Israel.
Did not I
• “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.' " (Judges 2:1-3; NKJV).
• “So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore” (Ex 14:30; NKJV).
and from the Amorites;
The kings of Sihon and Og, whose countries were taken from them, and put into Israel’s hands, when they attempted to stop them in their march to the land of Canaan:
“Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, "Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into fields or vineyards; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the King's Highway until we have passed through your territory." But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. Then Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the people of Ammon; for the border of the people of Ammon was fortified. So Israel took all these cities, and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and in all its villages…So they defeated him, his sons, and all his people, until there was no survivor left him; and they took possession of his land” (Num 21:21-25, 35; NKJV).
from the children of Ammon;
when they joined with the Moabites against them, (Judges 3:13)
• “So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died. And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. Then he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, went and defeated Israel, and took possession of the City of Palms. So the children of Israel served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years. But when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab” (Judges 3:11-15; NKJV).
and from the Philistines?
in the times of Shamgar (see Chapter 14). “After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel” (Judges 3:31; NKJV).
____________________________________verse 11 notes____________________________________
(Judges 6:8; NKJV) “that the LORD sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage.”
(Judges 3:13; NKJV) “Then he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, went and defeated Israel, and took possession of the City of Palms.”
12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand.—Judges 10:12 (KJV)
12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to me for help. Didn't I rescue you from them?—Judges 10: (GW)
The Zidonians also…
These people were left in the land by the Divine Will to oppress Israel, despite the fact that there is no other mention of them in the Bible, or of the misery they gave them, or of how they were delivered from them. God corrected them, and in mercy delivered them, and therefore, you might reasonably expect that either through fear or through love they would be faithful to Him and His service.
and the Amalekites;
Israel had to go against the Amalekites soon after leaving Egypt (Exodus 17:13), and when they arrived in the land of Canaan, the Amalekites joined with the Moabites and the Midianites to war against them, (Judges 3:13) (Judges 6:3)
and the Maonites did oppress you;
meaning either the old inhabitants of Maon, a city in the mountains of Judah, which was located near a wilderness with the same name, (Joshua 15:55) (1 Samuel 23:24) or it could be a people of Arabia, called by the name, Strabo, and Diodorus Siculus, or Minaeans (Mehunim), also mentioned with the Arabians, (2 Chronicles 26:7) and who perhaps came along with the Midianites, when they oppressed Israel; though some have thought the reference is to the old inhabitants of Bethmeon and Baalmeon, (Numbers 32:38) (Jeremiah 48:23).
The Septuagint LXX has "the Midianites," which Dr. Wall thinks is the true reading, and I would concur. But the Maonites might be a tribe of Arabs; the inhabitants of Maon. (Jos 15:55). (1Sa 23:24, 25); (1 Sa 25:2) which assisted Moab: "42 Their enemies oppressed them and made them subject to their power. 43 He rescued them many times, but they continued to plot rebellion against him and to sink deeper because of their sin. (Psalms 106:42,43; GW)
and ye cried unto me, and I delivered you out of their hands;
All those mercies and deliverances are mentioned to intensify the awareness of their sins. The Lord had so often come to their aid, and yet they deserted him and fell into idolatry. Jarchi observes that there are seven salvations or deliverances mentioned in opposition to the seven sorts of false gods or idols they had served (see verse 6).
___________________________verse 12 notes___________________________________
(Ex 17:13; NKJV) “So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword” Amalek might have been the name of the ruler of this people continued down from their ancestor, (see Clarke on Exodus 17:8 (note)), as Pharaoh was the name of all succeeding kings in Egypt. If this were the case, then Amalek and his people mean the prince and the army that fought under him. But if Amalek stand here for the Amalekites, then his people must mean the confederates he had employed on this occasion.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(Judges 6:3; NKJV) “So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them.” People of the East were probably those who inhabited Arabia Deserta, Ishmaelites.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(Joshua 15:55; NKJV) “Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Juttah,” Maon—In a desert to which this town gave name, David took refuge for a considerable time from the persecution of Saul; and in this place Nabal the Carmelite had great possessions.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(1 Samuel 23:24; NKJV) “So they arose and went to Ziph before Saul. But David and his men were in the Wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon.”
(2 Chronicles 26:7; NKJV) “God helped him against the Philistines, against the Arabians who lived in Gur Baal, and against the Meunites.” And God helped him—"And the WORD of the Lord helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians who lived in Gerar, and the plains of Meun."—Targum. These are supposed to be the Arabs which are called the Meuneons, or Munites, or Meonites.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(Numbers 32:38; NKJV) “Nebo and Baal Meon (their names being changed) and Shibmah; and they gave other names to the cities which they built.”
(Jeremiah 48:23; NKJV) “On Kirjathaim and Beth Gamul and Beth Meon.”
(1Sa 23:24, 25; NKJV) “So they arose and went to Ziph before Saul. But David and his men were in the Wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David. Therefore he went down to the rock, and stayed in the Wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued David in the Wilderness of Maon.” The wilderness of Maon—Maon was a mountainous district in the most southern parts of Judah. Calmet supposes it to be the city of Menois, which Eusebius places in the vicinity of Gaza; and the Maenaemi Castrum, which the Theodosian code places near to Beersheba.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(1 Sa 25:2; NKJV) “Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.” in Carmel -- now Kurmul. The district takes its name from this town, now a mass of ruins; and about a mile from it is Tell Main, the hillock on which stood ancient Maon.—Jamieson Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.—Judges 10:13 (KJV)
13 But you still abandoned me and served other gods. That's why I won't rescue you again—Judges 10:13 (GW)
Ye have forsaken me, and served other gods…
God had delivered them many times from circumstances that seemed hopeless; He did it miraculously so they would know that He was the one who saved them. Therefore, you would think they would be extremely grateful.
It is not clear whether someone is speaking for God (a prophet) or as Keil has stated; "If it had been a prophet who spoke, such an event would surely have been recorded. The message of these verses was evidently delivered in front of the tabernacle, where the people had rallied and called upon the Lord. The message came either through the High Priest, or through an inward voice in which God spoke to the hearts of His people." I would agree with Keil.
God’s word is sharper than a two-edged sword; therefore, when they heard "Yet you have forsaken me, and served other gods”, those words might have cut them to the heart. They knew they had chosen to worship the gods of their neighbors, even though they were aware of all the great and wondrous things God had done for them. You could say they turned their back on the mercies of God for their own delusions. Now they know that God is justified in His actions; He can choose to abandon them to the gods that they had served, and their time as a nation would be over, since they would be slaves to their enemies.
wherefore I will deliver you no more;
This was said in order to bring them to a sense of their own sin and danger. This threat was not an absolute, since after this he did deliver them, but it was always conditional; unless they repented of their idolatries, and forsook them.
• “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.”—Judges 2:12 (NKJV)
• "But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”—Deut 32:15 (NKJV)
• "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”—1 Chron 28:9 (NKJV)
• "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.—Jer 2:13 (NKJV)
• "Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.”—Jonah 2:8 (NKJV)
14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.—Judges 10:14 (KJV)
14 Cry out for help to the gods you chose. Let them rescue you when you're in trouble.”—Judges 10:14 (GW)
Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen…
Israel cries out to the Lord, but God says He will not deliver them.
a. Why was God so harsh with Israel? Because they had to be truly sick of their sin before they would give up their idols and actually turn to God, and God is allowing Israel to see if they are really sick of their sin. It was their choice to worship these lifeless figures of birds and animals; no one persecuted them and forced it upon them. Jehovah had defended them and fed them and showed them impressive miracles, so they didn’t need another god to serve. In an ironical or sarcastic way, the LORD issues them a challenge; to call upon them for help in their time of distress, but what help could those things that have no power give them?
b. You might ask those who worshipped foreign gods, “How’s that working out for you?” This is a question that we hear today when taking into consideration the actions of politicians and the effects of smoking cigarettes. It is an accepted fact that smoking can harm your health, but many people smoke despite the warnings. One technique used to get people to stop smoking is to put them in a small, unventilated room and make them smoke for hours on end, until they can hardly bear it. It makes them sick of smoking, and makes them truly want to stop.
c. Far too often, a Christian's "crying out to the Lord" is really just a wish that things were different. God desires that our hearts be turned towards Him, and that in our hearts we want no one but Him
d. God wants from Israel the same thing He wants from us—a heart that will put its hand to the plow and not look back (Luke 9:62); that knows there is nothing worth following except God.
let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation;
To awaken them to a thorough repentance and reformation, he lets them see:
1. Their foolishness in serving Baalim. They had been out a huge expense to obtain the favour of such gods; however, they could not help them when they needed their help the most: "Go, and cry unto the gods which you have chosen, see what they can do for you now. You have worshipped them as gods—test them; do they have either a divine power or a divine goodness to be used for you. You paid your homage to them as your kings and lords—test them; will they protect you now. You brought your sacrifices of praise to their altars as if they were your benefactors, imagining that they gave you your corn, and wine, and oil, but a friend indeed will be a friend in need; how is that working out for you now?" Note, it is necessary, in true repentance, that there is a full realization of the utter insufficiency of ourselves, and of all those things to help us in any way, which we have idolized and set upon the throne in our hearts in competition with God. We must be the source of our fulfillment; we cannot be happy or content anywhere but in God.
2. Their misery and danger in forsaking God. "See what a position you have put yourselves in; now you can expect nothing else than that I should say, I will deliver you no more; and what will become of you then?" This is a warning to them, not only as what he might do, but as what he would do if they stopped at confessiong what they had done wrong, and did not put away their idols and return to Him in the future.
• “And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.”—1 Kings 18:27-28 (NKJV)
• “Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, "What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother." But the king of Israel said to him, "No, for the LORD has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab."—2 Kings 3:13 (NKJV)
• “What will you do in the day of punishment, And in the desolation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your glory?”—Isaiah 10:3 (NKJV)
• But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.”—Jer 2:28 (NKJV)
________________________________verse 14 notes___________________________________
(Luke 9:62) “Jesus replied, No one who has just put his hand to a plow and (then) continues to look back is fit for the kingdom of God.” The man who puts his hand to a plow and starts plowing forward, but then continually looks back and continues to do so; constantly trying to plow forward while he looks behind him cannot run a straight furrow. It is entirely proper for him to stop his plow and then, while standing still, to view what he has done, in order to correct mistakes. But to plow in one direction while looking in the other direction will never do.
A man’s heart cannot be divided. He cannot serve both God and mammon and he cannot serve God while he worships false gods with his neighbors. He must love God and be obedient to biblical teaching and then, by God’s grace and power he will be fit for the kingdom of heaven.
15 And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.—Judges 10:15 (KJV)
15 The people of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do to us whatever you think is right. But please rescue us today!” Judges 10:15 (GW)
And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, we have sinned,
Oh, there were plenty of other sins, but the particular sin that God hates, for it says “Our God is a jealous God,” is idolatry. By serving other gods, particularly those of their neighbors and enemies, they seemed, from what follows, to have a true sense of their sin, and their confessions of it seemed to be candid, if not sincere. Note, True penitents will offer themselves to God to correct them as he sees fit, knowing that their sin is highly offensive to Him and that it has its just deserts, and that God is not severe or extreme in his demands.
The repentance of this people was kind, meaningful, and serious; and their regret was deep. And they gave proofs that their repentance was genuine, by putting away all their idols: but they remained fickle and uncertain.
The repentance of Israel reported in these verses was no merely obligatory maneuver. It was genuine.
1. They confessed their sins to the Lord (Judg. 10:10,15a).
2. They bared their backs for punishment (Judg. 10:15b).
3. They put away the idols representing foreign gods (Judg. 10:16a).
4. They served the Lord (Judg. 10:16b)." It appears that there was also a full recognition of the fact that Israel deserved the punishment that God had brought upon them.
On this occasion, Israel made a unassuming submission to God's justice, with a humble request for His mercy. The children of Israel met together, probably in a solemn assembly at the door of the tabernacle to hear this message from God; they were not driven to despair by it, though it was very threatening, but they resolved to lie at God's feet, and, if they perished, they will perish there. They not only repeat their confession, We have sinned, but, they surrendered themselves to God's justice: Do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee. For proof they had a change of heart, they brought forth fruits meet for repentance: They put away the gods of strangers, strange gods; worshipped by those nations that were strangers to the commonwealth of Israel and to the covenants of promise, and they served the Lord. Need drove them to Him. They knew it was a waste of time to go to the gods whom they had served, and therefore returned to the God whom they had slighted. This is true repentance not only for sin, but from sin.
We have sinned
• “For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.”—2 Sam 12:12 (NKJV)
• “And David's heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly."—2 Sam 24:10 (NKJV)
• “Then he looks at men and says, 'I have sinned, and perverted what was right, And it did not profit me.”—Job 33:27 (NKJV)
• “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy”.—Prov 28:13 (NKJV)
do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee;
“Lord, do your worst. Punish us; inflict us with any punishment you see fit; famine or pestilence. They would have to acknowledge that anything God did to them was just and righteous, and what their sins deserved.”
Israel is at a place of total surrender to God; after admitting their sin, without making excuses, they say to Him, Do to us whatever seems best to You. How hard it is for us to come to this place! Usually, the prayer of our hearts is "do to me watever seems best to me"
Anyone who has children knows how we can say "sorry" without really meaning it. But now, Israel is really sorry in their hearts, not only in their words:
1. But Israel had finally discovered that the worst of serving God was better than the best of serving idols.
2. When Israel finally repents - not only in heart, but in action—God has mercy on them and begins to raise up a deliverer
deliver us only, we pray thee, this day;
They plead for God's mercy: Deliver us only, we pray thee, this day, from this enemy. They acknowledged what they deserved; yet, they pray to God not to deal with them according to what they deserve. Note, we must submit to God's justice with a hope in his mercy.
They wanted out of the hands of men; but, they chose to fall into the hands of God; and however he saw fit to deal with them, they prayed that this once he would save them out of the hands of their enemies.
16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.—Judges 10:16 (KJV)
16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods they had and served the LORD. So the LORD could not bear to have Israel suffer any longer.—Judges 10:16 (GW)
And they put away the strange gods from among them…
This was an evidence of the genuineness of their repentance, and showed their confessions and disgrace to be legitimate.
Here strange gods contrasts with "other gods" in Judges 10:13. The radical critics who held sway in the early twentieth century, promptly, found this to be evidence of two different sources! Moore wrote that, "`Foreign gods' is the phrase of E, for which the Deuteronomic expression is `other gods.'" We have called attention to this as a classical example of the arrogant stupidity of those late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Biblical critics! Boling said of such earlier critics that this blunder resulted from their failure to observe, "The change of speakers; the Lord speaks in Judg. 10:13, and the author of Judges speaks in Judg. 10:16." Their error was in finding "two sources" instead of finding "two speakers." Upon the basis of such passages as this, we are justified in receiving the statement in Judg. 10:16b as a strong indication that God would again deliver Israel.
• “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”—2 Chron 7:14 (NKJV)
• “Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who dwelt with them from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to him in great numbers from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.”—2 Chron 15:9 (NKJV)
• “He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem; and he cast them out of the city.”—2 Chron 33:15 (NKJV)
• “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.”—Jer 18:7-8 (NKJV)
• Heb. gods of strangers.
• “Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, When He heard their cry; And for their sake He remembered His covenant, And relented according to the multitude of His mercies.”— Psalms 106:44, 45
• “I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; And I will not come with terror.”—Hosea 11:9 (NKJV)
and served the Lord;
and only him, both in private and in public; in the observance of duties, both moral and ceremonial; attending and serving in the sanctuary, and by offering sacrifices to God there, according to His will. This is true repentance, to put away evil, and serve God in the correct way.
and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel;
God's gracious return in mercy to them, which is expressed here very tenderly, His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Not that there is any grief in God (he has infinite joy and happiness in himself, which cannot be broken in upon by either the sins or the miseries of his creatures), nor that there is any change in God: he is in one mind, and who can turn him, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever? But his goodness is his glory. By it he proclaims his name, and magnifies it above all names; and, as he is pleased to put himself into the relation of a father to his people that are in covenant with him, so he is pleased to represent his goodness to them by the compassions of a father towards his children; for, as he is the Father of lights, so he is the Father of mercies. As the disobedience and misery of a child are a grief to a tender-hearted father, and make him feel very sensitive because of his natural affection, so the provocations of God's people are a grief to him (Psalms 95:10), he is broken with their whorish heart (Ezekiel 6:9); their troubles are also a grief to him; so he is pleased to speak when he is pleased to appear for the deliverance of his people, changing his way and method of proceeding, as tender parents when they begin to relent towards their children with whom they have been displeased. Such are the tender mercies of our God, and so far is he from having any pleasure in the death of sinners.
What a proof of the philanthropy of God! Here his compassions moved on a small scale; but it was the same principle that led him to give his Son Jesus Christ to be a sacrifice for the sins of the WHOLE world. God grieves for the miseries to which his creatures are reduced by their own sins. Be astonished, ye heavens, at this; and shout for joy, all ye inhabitants of the earth! for, through the love whence this compassion flowed, God has visited and redeemed a lost world!
It is not definitely stated here that God would deliver Israel again, but the following sequence of events related to Jephthah indicate that he surely did so. The Scriptures often speak of God's love for Israel in terms of human love and compassion, and this one reminds us of another example.
"How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I cast thee off, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboiim? my heart is turned within me, my compassions are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of my anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in wrath." (Hosea 11:8, 9).
When God grieves.
The LORD’s grief as expressed here is to be understood as being in the manner of men; for grief does not belong to God, there being no passion in him; but it denotes his carriage or behavior, which shows what looks like sympathy in men; a love and affection for Israel, notwithstanding their ill behavior to him, and a change of his dispensations Providence towards them, according to his unchangeable will; so Maimonides understands it of the good will and pleasure of God, to cease from afflicting the people of Israel; but Abarbinel is of opinion that this refers to the soul of Israel, which was shortened and contracted, as the word signifies, because of the labor of servitude, the affliction and distress they were in.
_____________________________________verse 16 notes_____________________________
(Psalms 95:10; NKJV) “For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.” They did nothing but murmur, disbelieve, and rebel, from the time they began their journey at the Red Sea till they passed over Jordan, a period of forty years. During all this time God was grieved by that generation; yet he seldom showed forth that judgment which they most righteously had deserved.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(Ezekiel 6:9; NKJ) “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations.” The object of God's chastisements shall at last be effected by working in them true contrition. This partially took place in the complete eradication of idolatry from the Jews ever since the Babylonian captivity. But they have yet to repent of their crowning sin, the crucifixion of Messiah; their full repentance is therefore future, after the ordeal of trials for many centuries, ending with that foretold in Zec 10:9 Zec 13:8, 9 Zec 14:1-4, 11. "They shall remember me in far countries" (Eze 7:16 De 30:1-8).—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
(Hosea 11:8, 9; GW) ““How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboim? I have changed my mind. I am deeply moved. I will not act on my burning anger. I will not destroy Ephraim again. I am God, not a human. I am the Holy One among you, and I will not come to you in anger.” Justice demands thy punishment; Mercy pleads for thy life. As thou changest, Justice resolves to destroy, or Mercy to save. My heart is oppressed, and I am weary with repenting—with so frequently changing my purpose. All this, though spoken after the manner of men, shows how merciful, compassionate, and loath to punish the God of heaven is. What sinner or saint upon earth has not been a subject of these gracious operations?—Adam Clarke's Commentary
THE INTRODUCTION FOR JEPHTHAH (Judges 10:17-18)
As Yates noted, "This forms an introduction for the story of Jephthah."
17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.—Judges 10:17 (KJV)
17 The troops of Ammon were summoned to fight, and they camped at Gilead. The people of Israel also gathered together and camped at Mizpah.—Judges 10:17 (GW)
Then the children of Ammon were gathered together…
The forces of Ammon crossed over the Jordan River, as they had done earlier (see Judges 10:9) and they were harassing three of the tribes of Israel that made their home there; but now that they had been informed by a herald at arms, that the children of Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, had joined forces in a popular uprising to defend their country, their rights, and their liberties, the children of Ammon came back and crossed over Jordan again. This time they changed tactics; from carrying on guerrilla warfare, the Ammonites proceeded to a well planned military campaign. Their aim was to wrest control of the whole trans-jordanic territory from its actual occupiers.
and encamped in Gilead;
that is, in the land of Gilead, part of which belonged to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the other part to the half tribe of Manasseh:
and the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped at Mizpeh:
There were several cities in the land of Israel, on both sides of the Jordan with this name; Mizpeh. This Mizpah was either in the tribe of Gad or in eastern Manasseh, for it seems there was a city with this name in each of these territories, see (Genesis 31:49) (Joshua 11:3). In this great crisis, a general meeting of the Israelitish tribes was held at Mizpeh.
Literally, they cried against Israel—they sent out criers (heralds) in different directions to stir up all the enemies of Israel; and when they had collected a mighty force, they camped in Gilead. Of course, Mizpah was also in Gilead; we cannot be certain just exactly where this was, but Bruce identified it with that place, "Where Jacob and Laban piled `the cairn of witness' (Gen. 31:46)." This, of course, could be correct.
Things are now working towards their deliverance from the Ammonites' oppression. God had said, "I will deliver you no more;" but now they are not what they were, they are something else, they are new men, and now he will deliver them. That threatening announcement was meant to convince and humble them, and, it had its desired effect. Now, it is revoked in order to provide for their deliverance. The Ammonites are hardened; much like Pharaoh was hardened against letting the Israelites go. They gathered together in one body, so that they might be destroyed with one blow. The Israelites are animated to try for their own rescue. During their eighteen years of oppression, as was the case in their former servitudes, they were sorely treated by their enemies, because they would not incorporate; each family, city, or tribe, would stand by itself, and act independently, and so they all became an easy prey to their oppressors, because they lacked any sense of a common interest to cement them together: but, whenever they got together, they did well; as they did here. When God's Israel become as one man to advance a common good and oppose a common enemy what difficulty can stand before them?
________________________________verse 17 notes________________________________
(Genesis 31:49; NKJV) “also Mizpah, because he said, "May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from another.”
(Joshua 11:3; NKJV) “to the Canaanites in the east and in the west, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite in the mountains, and the Hivite below Hermon in the land of Mizpah.” The land of Mizpeh—There were several cities of this name: one in the tribe of Judah, (Joshua 15:38); a second in the tribe of Benjamin, (Joshua 18:26); a third beyond Jordan, in the tribe of Gad; and a fourth beyond Jordan, in the tribe of Manasseh, which is that mentioned in the text. See Wells's Geography. Calmet supposes this Mizpeh to be the place where Laban and Jacob made their covenant, and from which circumstance it took its name. See Genesis 31:48, 49.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(Gen. 31:46; NKJV) “Then Jacob said to his brethren, "Gather stones." And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there on the heap.”
18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead..—Judges 10:18 (KJV)
18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever starts the fight against Ammon will rule everyone who lives in Gilead.”—Judges 10:18 (GW)
And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another…
They are camped together, and each tribe has a ruler, headman or leader. The phrase, the people and princes of Gilead is conflicted, and the meaning would be clearer if the passage were written, The people of Gilead, that is, the princes of Gilead.
what man is he that will begin to fight with the children of Ammon?
The Israelites lacked leadership. That is always characteristic of men, or of a generation, that have turned from God. Lack of leadership has definitely characterized our nation for the last twenty–five years. In fact, there has been a lack of leadership in the world for many years. We need vital leadership, but we cannot seem to find it. This was Israel’s experience. Now they are going to turn to a most unusual man for guidance. Under normal circumstances they would not have turned to him at all.
The battle lines were set, with the forces of Ammon ready to go against the children of Israel. However, Israel has a problem because they don’t have a general to command them, and lead them into battle. God's pattern for doing great works among His people is to choose a man or woman and then advance that person in the eyes of the people, until they also choose him or her.
Our God could do the work all by Himself or He could dispatch angels who would do the work for Him. My wife and favorite singer sings a song that goes like this;
“He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone for you and me.”
It appears that, although the spirit of patriotism had excited the people at large to come forward against their enemies, yet they had no general, none to lead them forth to battle. God, however, who had accepted their sincere repentance, raised them up an able captain in the person of Jephthah, whom we will soon learn more about; and in him the hope and future of the people were concentrated, as we shall see in the following chapter.
The people and princes of Gilead, met to consult first about a general that would be commander-in-chief against the Ammonites. Up till then most of the deliverers of Israel had an extraordinary call to the office; consider Ehud, Barak, Gideon; but the next Judge is to be called in a more common way, by a convention of the states, who sought out a man fit to command their army. There was one man they found who was admittedly well qualified for the purpose, and God showed that He was accepting of their choice by putting his Spirit upon him (Judges 11:29); so that this occasion is of use for direction and encouragement in ages to come, when extraordinary calls are no longer to be expected. Let such be impartially chosen to serve the public trust and power as God has qualified him, and then God will graciously own those who are thus chosen.
• “Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, "Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?”—Judges 1:1 (NKJV)
• “Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. “ Isaiah 11:5-8 (NKJV)
• “They shall call its nobles to the kingdom, But none shall be there, and all its princes shall be nothing.”—Isaiah 34:12 (NKJV)
he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead,
This is the promise they guarantee publicly, to encourage some person to take command of them, and go before them into battle, promising him that he would be judge or governor over all the tribes on that side of the Jordan. This means that he would be head over those tribes of Israel which dwelt east of the Jordan River. Gad, Reuben and half of Manasseh were those tribes.
In those ancient times much depended on the beginning; a war was generally decided in one battle, the first impression was therefore of great consequence, and it required a person skillful, valiant, and strong, to head the attack. Jephthah was a person in whom all these qualifications appear to be present. When God aims to deliver, he, in the course of his providence, will find out, employ, and direct the proper means.
he shall be
• “Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, "Who shall be first to go up for us against the Canaanites to fight against them?"—Judges 1:1 (NKJV).
• “Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.”—Judges 11:11 (NKJV)
• “And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in among the cities of Gilead.”—Judges 12:7 (NKJV)
• “So the men of Israel said, "Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father's house exemption from taxes in Israel."—1 Sam 17:25 (NKJV)
_______________________________________verse 18 notes_________________________________
(Judges 11:29; NKJV) “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon.” Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah—The Lord qualified him for the work he had called him to do, and thus gave him the most convincing testimony that his cause was good.—Adam Clarke's Commentary