Judges 3

 

Judges 3:1–31

The First Three Judges: Othniel, Ehud and Shamgar


Outline of Chapter 3:

         vv.     1–6           The nations which remained to test Israel

         vv.     7–11         Othniel delivers Israel from Cushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia

         vv.    12–14         Israel falls into discipline under Eglon, king of Moab

         vv.    15–26         Ehud assassinates Eglon

         vv.    27–30         Ehud leads Israel against Moab

         v.       31           Shamgar, another deliverer


Index of Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines:

 

         Introduction         Matthew Henry Outlines Judges 3

         v.       1              Judges 3:1–4 Taken as a Whole

         v.       1              Testing as Found in Scripture

         v.       2              Explanation of the 3rd Person Masculine Plural Suffix of Judges 3:2

         v.       3              Judges 3:3 Compared to Joshua 13:5

         v.       3              Easton and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on Mount Baal-Hermon

         v.       3              Mount Hermon

         v.       3              The Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains

         v.       3              My Translation of Judges 3:1–3

         v.       4              Testing as Taught by R. B. Thieme Jr.

         v.       5              Introduction to the Hittites from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

         v.       5              More Information about the Hittites from M. G. Easton

         v.       5              The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on the Amorites

         v.       5              Opinions as to Who the Perizzites Are

         v.       5              The Varying Opinions of the Hivites

         v.       5              Smith’s Bible Dictionary on the Jebusites

         v.       5               The Probable Locations of These Peoples

         v.       6              How Should Christians Deal with Heathen Today?

         v.       7              Israel Forgot Jehovah Their God

         v.       7              The Abbreviated Doctrine of Baalim

         v.       7              Gill Explains the Groves

         v.      10              The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

         v.      10              John MacDuff’s “The True Spiritual Atlas”

         v.      11              Matthew Henry’s 5 Points on Othniel and the Deliverance of Israel

         v.      11              The Cycles of Israel’s Discipline and Deliverance

         v.      12              A map of Moab in Relationship to Israel

         v.      13              A Brief Summary of the Amalekites

         v.      13              The Abbreviated Doctrine of Moab and Ammon

         v.      16              The Odd Weapons Used in the Book of Judges

         v.      19              Options to Consider in Judges 3:19

         v.      19              Where is Eglon’s Palace?

         v.      20              The Various Rooms of Eglon’s Palace

         v.      20              Various Opinions Concerning this Room of Cooling

         v.      22              What Does the Bible say about Assassination?

         v.      21              Ehud Kills Eglon—Artwork

         v.      23              A Partial List of Ancient Technological Accomplishments

         v.      30              A Summary of Ehud’s Acts

         v.      31              A Complete Translation of Judges 3


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

Baalim

List of the Technological Accomplishments of the Hamitic People Following the Flood

Testing

Racial Intermarriage

 

 

Baal

Moab and Ammon

 


I ntroduction: Judges 3 will move away from summary and into narrative. In fact, we will study three judges in this chapter alone: Othniel, Ehud and Shamgar, the latter judge being given very little air time. I should also point out that these various judges were not kings who ruled over all Israel, but they had territories or tribes over which they likely ruled or judged, although the book of Judges rarely gives us enough information to place them in a particular period of time or any particular territory. In fact, even the exact nature of their political rulership is left unknown.


This chapter begins with a list of the various nations and peoples who still live within Israel and tells of the intermarriage which took place. The proper understanding of this is not the fact that various Israel men marry foreign women (or, vice versa), but that they are influenced enough to walk away from Jehovah God Who placed them in the Land of Promise to begin with. They turn away from God and toward the gods of the heathen. At the first instance of this, God allows the king of Mesopotamia to place Israel into servitude. The one who delivers them was the nephew of Caleb, Othniel, also the son of Kenaz, who was the brother of Caleb. This is one of the most successful deliverances, although we are told very little about it. Israel was subjected to the king of Mesopotamia for eight years and Othniel ben Kenaz delivers Israel into a time of peace for forty years.


Israel again falls under the religious influence of those around them, and God places them under the control of Eglon the king of Moab. This time they are delivered by a man named Ehud, about whom we know very little apart from this narrative. It appears that he did rule over Israel for a time, something which is stated outright in the Greek Septuagint, but only implied by the connectives of v. 31 in the Hebrew.


Unlike the judges who bookend him, what Ehud does is given in great detail. Israel is paying tribute to Moab, and God raises up Ehud, who accompanies the tribute on one occasion. After Ehud gives the tribute to Eglon, king of Moab, he tells him that he has a message from God. They go to Egon’s private residence within his castle and Ehud assassinates Eglon there. Ehud escapes, and then comes back against Moab with Israeli soldiers, and soundly defeats Moab.


After Ehud, Shamgar ben Anath rules (or, judges), who also was a military man.


Also, for the first time in this book, we can make a reasonable guess as to who one of the authors is. We will note that the deliverance described by Ehud is given in some detail and that the vocabulary and sentence structure becomes slightly more difficult during that narrative. We can therefore reasonably conclude that this report was by Ehud himself (certain events which took place were known only to Ehud and to the king that he will kill in this chapter). In my opinion, Samuel, hundreds of years later, gathers these documents from the period of the judges and edits them together, making very few changes (except as moved by God the Holy Spirit).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


I like to present at least one additional outline by another author. What is important about this outline is, it reveals that this chapter is really broken down into two sections; and the latter section is properly subdivided.

Matthew Henry Outlines Judges 3

I. A general account of Israel's enemies is premised, and of the evil they did then. Judges 3:1–7

II. A particular account of the brave exploits done by the first three of the judges. Judges 3:8–31

1. Othniel, whom God raised up to fight Israel's battles, and plead their cause against the king of Mesopotamia (Judges 3:8–11).

2. Ehud, who was employed in rescuing Israel out of the hands of the Moabites, and did it by stabbing the king of Moab (Judges 3:12-30).

                  a.      Israel falls into apostasy again (Judges 3:12–14).

                  b.      Ehud, Israel’s deliverer, assassinates Eglon, king of Moab (Judges 3:15–25).

                  c.      Ehud gathers up Israel’s military and defeats the military of Moab (Judges 3:26–30).

3. Shamgar, who signalized himself in an encounter with the Philistines (Judges 3:31).

Taken from Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, Judges 3 introduction. I further subdivided the section on Ehud.

 

Finally, as we exegete this chapter, we will come to observe, with J. Vernon McGee, that all of the judges had some defect, some odd characteristic, or handicap which God used. The Judges reveal that God can use any man who is willing to be used. Footnote McGee later writes: All of the judges are “little men.” There is not a big one in the lot. These men were used of God because they were—and I have to say it—odd characters. Their very oddness caused God to use them. Footnote


Like many chapters of the Bible, this was a poor chapter division. These first several verses really belong with Judges 2. In Judges 2, God rebukes Israel; and then, from v. 6 on, we are told why. In fact, we are given a history lesson, beginning with the death of Joshua in Judges 2:6. The problem, according to the latter half of Judges 2, is that God sends judges to Israel, yet Israel continually goes astray, chasing after the gods of the heathen. The final few verses of Judges 2 read: And so the anger of Yehowah burned against Israel; therefore, He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers; and [because] they did not listen to [and obey] My voice; I will not continue to expel anyone from them—from the nations which Joshua left when he died—to test Israel by them, whether they keep the way of Yehowah, to walk in them, as their fathers kept [them], or not.” And Yehowah caused to rest those nations that he did not dispossess quickly nor give into the hand of Joshua (Judges 2:20–23). This takes us directly to the first few verse of Judges 3: And these [are] the nations which Yehowah left [in the land of Canaan] to test by them Israel (all of whom had not experienced [lit., known] the [previous] wars of Canaan in order that [these] generations of the sons of Israel would learn [war], [God would] teach them war; specifically to those who have not known [war]): the five warlords of the Philistines, the Canaanite, the Sidonian, and the Hivite, who is living in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon to as far as the entrance of Hamath. They were to test Israel to determine if they would listen to [and obey] the commandments of Yehowah, which He commanded their fathers by Moses. Therefore, the sons of Israel continued living among the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Consequently, they [the Israelites] took their daughters to themselves for wives and their own daughters they gave to their sons; therefore, they served their gods. (Judges 3:1–6). As you can see by simply reading these verses, that Judges 3:1–6 should have closed out Judges 2. By the way, just in case you did not know, the chapter and verse divisions were added hundreds and thousands of years after these books were written, and there is nothing inspired about either.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


The Nations Which Remained to Test Israel


Because the first several verses form one complete thought, it may be helpful to take them in as a whole to begin with. An individual and separate rendering of these 4 verses does not really hold together well.

Judges 3:1–4 Taken as a Whole

Translation

Judges 3:1–4

The Emphasized Bible

Now these are the nations which Yahweh left, that he might by them put Israel to the proof,—all who had not known any of the wars of Canaan; that the generations of the sons of Israel might certainly get to know by being taught to make war,—such, at least, as aforetime knew nothing thereof;—five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites, and the Zidonians, and the Hivites dwelling in Mount Lebanon,—from Mount Baal-hermon as far as the entering in of Hamath. So then [these] were [left] that, by them, he might put Israel to the proof,—to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of Yahweh which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

ESV

Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

NASB         

Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced [lit., known] any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. And they were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which he had commanded their fathers through Moses.

Young's Literal Translation

And these are the nations which Jehovah left, to try Israel by them, all who have not known all the wars of Canaan; (only for the sake of the generations of the sons of Israel’s knowing, to teach them war, only those who formerly have not known them)—five princes of the Philistines, and all the Canaanite, and the Zidonian, and the Hivite inhabiting mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-Hermon unto the entering in of Hamath; and they are to prove Israel by them, to know whether they obey the commands of Jehovah that He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

The first 6 verses form a general summary of Israel during the time of the judges, essentially completing the second half of Judges 2. After Judges 2:6, we will examine specific judges and specific historical events in Israel’s history. In fact, had those who divided these chapters up been on the ball, there would have been a new chapter at Judges 2:7.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And these the nations which left Yehowah to test by them Israel—all of whom did not know all of wars [of] Canaan.

Judges

3:1

And these [are] the nations which Yehowah left [in the land of Canaan] to test by them Israel (all of whom had not experienced [lit., known] the [previous] wars of Canaan...

The following is a list of all of the nations which Jehovah allowed to remain in the land of Canaan to test Israel (which generations had not fought in any of the wars of Canaan;...


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And these the nations which left Yehowah to test by them Israel—all of whom did not know all of wars [of] Canaan.

Septuagint                              Now these [are] the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       And the LORD had another reason for letting these enemies stay. The Israelites needed to learn how to fight in war, just as their ancestors had done. Each new generation would have to learn by fighting... [vv. 1–2].

The Message                         These are the nations that GOD left there, using them to test the Israelites who had no experience in the Canaanite wars.

NAB                                       The following are the nations which the Lord allowed to remain, so that through them he might try all those Israelites who had no experience of the battles with Canaan...

NLT                                        The Lord left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan.

REB                                       As a means of testing all the Israelites who had not taken part in the battles for Canaan, the Lord left these nations,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         These are the nations the LORD left behind to test all the Israelites who had not experienced any war in Canaan.

HCSB                                     These are the nations the LORD left in order to test Israel, since none of these Israelites had fought in any of the wars with Canaan.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan.

Young's Updated LT              And these are the nations which Jehovah left, to try Israel by them, all who have not known all the wars of Canaan...


What is the gist of this verse? God will leave specific nations and groups of people in the land to test Israel—those who had not fought in any wars previously.


We begin this verse with a few difficult words and some difficult sentence structure. Again, it is a situation where the information is simple, but the vocabulary and grammar is not. This does not mean that the writer is particularly complex in his thinking—in fact, this could even indicate that the author is weak in his Hebrew, and the difficulty is that the Hebrew is substandard. Another option is, the author is from an area where they simply speak in this fashion.


Judges 3:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êlleh (ה  ֵא) [pronounced ALE-leh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural adjective

Strong's #428 BDB #41

gôwyîm (ם̣י) [pronounced goh-YEEM]

Gentiles, [Gentile] nation, people, peoples, nations

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1471 BDB #156

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

nûwach (ַחנ) [pronounced NOO-ahkh]

to deposit, to set down, to cause to rest

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong’s #5117 (and #3240) BDB #628

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: And these [are] the nations which Yehowah left [in the land of Canaan]... In the first 6 verses, the specific peoples which God left in and about the land will be named, and the reason that God left them in the land will be explained to us.


Application: At the time that I write this (July-August 2006), Israel has been in a shooting war with Hizbollah which resides in Lebanon. Now Lebanon, at this point in time, is one of the nations which we might see as being a model of how things should be done in the middle east—they are a generally non-violent, democratic nation with a diverse population, which includes a sizable Christian population (which, to the Arab world, essentially means people from the United States who are not Muslim). Hizbollah, one of the many violent, anti-Semitic groups of the middle east, have taken to bombing Israel and have kidnaped a few of Israel’s soldiers. Israel has responded with a great military effort. This is going to be Israel’s life in the middle east. Even though they occupy this postage-stamp sized territory (which is about 0.2% of the Middle East), they are going to find themselves the target of Islamic-fascism and Islamic hatred. Israel has left the God Who bought them, and has pursued other gods (which might be Judaism or humanism); so God has left a number of hostile nations around them. Even before I was a believer, I heard the words peace in the Middle East uttered again and again and 40–50 years later, there is no peace in the Middle East.


Application: At this point in time, because transportation is much less of an issue than it was before, the Middle East is actively exporting its instability, hatred and religious intolerance throughout the world. We have, in the past two dozen years, experienced several attacks specifically aimed against the United States by radical Muslim groups. However, at even greater risk is Europe where once there were nations with a great Christian population (the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany), and now these nations are threatened by the very Muslim populations which they welcomed into their country. Let me caveat that by saying, not all Muslims carry deep and abiding hatred in their souls; however, it is clear that a significant percentage of them do.


Application: God has left hostile populations throughout the world, threatening the very existence of nations who have forsaken Him, just as He has done here in Judges 3 to Israel.


Judges 3:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

nâçâh (ה ָסָנ) [pronounced naw-SAWH]

to test, to try, to attempt, to try to do a thing; to practice doing a thing

Piel infinitive construct

Strong’s #5254 BDB #650

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...to test by them Israel... This actually picks up the thought of Judges 2:23, which essentially explains why God left these nations within the borders of Israel. In the beginning of this chapter, the reason is given almost incidentally; but we will be given the specific nations. Judges 2:20–3:6: So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he said, "Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their fathers did, or not." And Yehowah caused to rest those nations that he did not dispossess quickly nor give into the hand of Joshua And these [are] the nations which Yehowah left [in the land of Canaan] to test by them Israel (all of whom had not experienced [lit., known] the [previous] wars of Canaan in order that [these] generations of the sons of Israel would learn [war], [God would] teach them war; specifically to those who have not known [war]): the five warlords of the Philistines, the Canaanite, the Sidonian, and the Hivite, who is living in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon to as far as the entrance of Hamath. They were to test Israel to determine if they would listen to [and obey] the commandments of Yehowah, which He commanded their fathers by Moses. Therefore, the sons of Israel continued living among the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Consequently, they [the Israelites] took their daughters to themselves for wives and their own daughters they gave to their sons; therefore, they served their gods.


When we put all of these verses together, it is clear that God does not want Israel to experience war for war’s sake; the problem is, Israel goes astray, chasing after the gods of those around them; Israel deserts the God Who bought them. Therefore, God puts them in situations where they must call upon their True God.


We will discuss testing a little later in this exegesis, but perhaps we should look at a few verses which deal with the testing of our faith:

Testing as Found in Scripture

Deut. 8:2: Remember that the LORD your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. Since God knows the heart, His testing reveals to angels and to ourselves what is in our heart.

Deut. 8:16–18: He fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end He might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, 'My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,' but remember that the LORD your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm His covenant He swore to your fathers, as it is today. God makes it clear to us, through testing, that what we receive from Him is grace and undeserved.

Prov. 17:3: A crucible is for silver and a smelter for gold, but the LORD tests the heart. These metals are heated to melting to remove their impurities; God tests the heart of man in much the same way. Zech. 13:9 is a parallel passage.

Jer. 17:9–10: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." God tests mankind in their actions, to properly reward them for their deeds. God does not reward or punish us for what He knows we will do but for what we actually do.

1Peter 1:6–9: In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. The genuineness of our faith is tested, and that testing is more precious than gold—and the result is praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Jesus Christ, which would be the Judgment Seat of Christ.

1Peter 4:12–13: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. Testing should not surprise us, but it should cause us to rejoice.

By no means do these few Scriptures cover the doctrine of testing; however, they give us a brief background and explanation for testing in our lives.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Application: Did you ever think, if I could just solve this or that problem, my life would be a whole lot better? You can’t seem to make your bills month after month, so you think the solution is more money. You have a couple of people at work who do not like you, so they talk behind your back and even sabotage you once and awhile; if only they could mellow out or find another job. Your neighbor never mows his lawn, and he is single-handedly lowering the value of your property. For all I know, you might even pray to God to remove these problems. Or maybe you have real problems—you’re suffering from a painful and debilitating disease; you’ve been removed from the profession in which you have always wanted to work, Hizbollah is lobbing bombs into your general neighborhood. You believe that, if only these things could be resolved, that your life would be significantly better and you would be happier. During the time that I live in, teenagers have more freedom and greater access to money and hedonistic pleasures that at any time in previous history, and they aren’t happy; they aren’t satisfied; and they have not turned toward the God Who bought them. There are going to be problems in your life simply because that is the nature of this world; furthermore, God is going to send some problems your way either to test you, to improve you, or to turn you more towards Him. It is not always man’s nature to turn toward God while in great prosperity; however, man is much more likely to turn toward God during times a great distress. There is that old maxim, there are no atheists in foxholes; you put the most hardened atheist or agnostic in a life or death situation—particularly day after day after day—and many of them will crack, so to speak. Great revivals are more likely to break out in countries where there has been wars and hardship, more than in nations where there is great prosperity. Sometimes, God has to kick us in the hiney to get us to go in the right direction. That is what we have in this chapter of Judges.


Judges 3:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kôl ăsher mean all whom, all that [which]; whomever, all whose, all where, wherever.

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted with, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

milechâmâh (הָמָח׃ל ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine plural noun construct?

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

Kena׳an (ן -ע-נ) [pronounced keNAH-ģahn]

which possibly means merchant and is transliterated Canaan

masculine proper noun; territory

Strong’s #3667 BDB #488


Translation:...(all of whom had not experienced [lit., known] the [previous] wars of Canaan... The people alluded to here are Israelites who were either too young to fight when Israel first took Canaan; or were born after that time.

 

As Wesley said, [This generation of Israel] had no experience of those wars, nor of God's extraordinary power and providence manifested in them. Footnote Judges 2:10 reads: And that previous generation was gathered to their fathers, and another generation arose after them who had not known Jehovah, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.


We stop in mid-sentence and move to the next verse, which completes the parenthetical or secondary thought begun in v. 1c. The chapter and verse divisions in the book of Judges are less than inspired.


...only to know, generations of sons of Israel, to teach them war; only which, before [their] faces, they have not known them.

Judges

3:2

...in order that [these] generations of the sons of Israel would learn [war], [God would] teach them war; specifically to those who formerly have not known [war]):...

...so that this generation of the sons of Israel might know war and that He might teach them war, as they had not faced the Canaanites in war previously):...


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       ...only to know, generations of sons of Israel, to teach them war; only which, before [their] faces [or simply, before], they have not known them.

Septuagint                              Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before they had not known them:... [I changed a portion of Brenton’s English translation from the Greek in order to better match the Greek].

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Israelites needed to learn how to fight in war, just as their ancestors had done. Each new generation would have to learn by fighting...

The Message                         He did it to train the descendants of Israel, the ones who had no battle experience, in the art of war.

NAB                                       ...[just to instruct, by training them in battle, those generations only of the Israelites who would not have had that previous experience]:...

NLT                                        He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.

REB                                       ...his purpose being to train succeeding generations of Israel in the art of warfare, or those at least who had not learnt it in former times.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The LORD left them to teach Israel's descendants about war, at least those who had known nothing about it in the past.

HCSB                                     This was to teach the future generations of the Israelites how to fight in battle, especially those who had not fought before.

JPS (Tanakh)                         ...so that succeeding generations of Israelites might be made to experience war—but only those who had not known the former wars:... [former wars is literally them formerly].


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.

Keil and Delitzsch                  ...only (for no other purpose than) that the succeeding generations (the generations which followed Joshua and his contemporaries) of the children of Israel, that He (Jehovah) might teach them war, only those who had not known them (the wars of Canaan).

LTHB                                     ...only that the generations of the sons of Israel might know, to teach them war, only those who did not before know them:...

Young’s Updated LT             ...(only for the sake of the generations of the sons of Israel’s knowing, to teach them war, only those who formerly have not known them) —.


What is the gist of this verse? God left heathen in the land that Israel would war with, for the sake of those in Israel who did not know war.


Judges 3:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

raq (קַר) [pronounced rahk]

only, provided, altogether, surely—this adverb carries with it restrictive force

adverb

Strong’s #7534 & #7535 BDB #956

lema׳an (ן ַע ַמ  ׃ל) [pronounced le-MAH-ģahn]

for the sake of, on account of, to the intent of, to the intent that, to the purpose that, in order that, in view of, to the end that

compound preposition and substantive which acts like a preposition

Strong’s #4616 BDB #775

This is the substantive ma׳an (ן ַע ַמ) [pronounced MAH-ģahn], which means purpose, intent, combined with the lâmed preposition (which is the only way that it is found in Scripture).

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted with, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see; to learn

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

dôwr (ר) [pronounced dohr]

generation; race; people; age, period, time period [of a generation], a time slice

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1755 BDB #189

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...in order that [these] generations of the sons of Israel would learn [war],... A more literal rendering would be ...only in order to know, generations of sons of Israel, to teach them... God left many groups of heathen within the Land of Promise for the reason given in this verse. These heathen, with whom Israel would war, are there in order for the sons of Israel to learn something. In the previous verse, we are told these are Israelites who have not known war—the heathen in the land would be those whom they would have to war against, so the idea here is, so that these generations of Israelites would learn war. Let me explain why: we are dealing with a generation of Israelites who grew up without having to conquer the land, without having to trek through the desert in order to get to the Land of Promise; they are born, and they find themselves within a land flowing with milk and honey. They did not come out of slavery; they did not have to fight to take this land; they did not have to cross a desert in order to get to this land—they are born and their God-given land is all around them. The end result is, this generation of Israelites (which may have been the first generation to rise up after the Judæan advance to take their own cities) had no appreciation for why they were there. When a generation grows up amid prosperity, they have no concept of how this all happened. Even when they are told, it is ancient history to them, even though that ancient history might have occurred less than 20 years prior to their birth. In our lifetime, we have been blessed with a movie like Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan where we have some concept of appreciation for the generation of men who sacrificed so much for us; however, the Jews of this generation had nothing nearly as graphic to view and understand.


Because this generation of Israelites has no appreciation for what God has given them, they go astray from the Lord of Glory; they chase after other gods; their focus is misdirected.


Application: We have several generations of Americans who have no concept of our spiritual and military history; we have no concept of the real sacrifices which have been made throughout our history in order to obtain and then maintain our precious freedoms. We do not realize how important religious freedom was to those who settled this land; we have distorted religious freedom to mean freedom from religion. So many people today simply ape phrases like separation of church and state, having no real appreciation as to what that actually means. In fact, many do not realize that this phrase does not even occur in our constitution. We have a generation of men who have no concept of personal responsibility, who idolize pimps and rappers; or who have been given so many material things that they have no concept of where these things have come from. What does this passage tell us? It tells us that, if we continue to stray from our spiritual heritage, that we may face increasing violence and war, coming closer and closer to our country. We may even face attacks within our own country.


Application: One of the things which we learn from the Old Testament are historical trends; we observe the actions of the Israelites, their motivations; and we observe what God does and why He does what He does. There are few books which parallel our current condition as closely as the book of Judges does.


Judges 3:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmad (ד ַמָל) [pronounced law-FAHD

to train, to accustom, to teach

Piel infinitive construct; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3925 BDB #540

milechâmâh (הָמָח׃ל ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536


Translation: ...[God would] teach them war;... What is being taught it the feminine noun for battle or war. These generations must be given the opportunity to know and to be taught war. Do not become confused by this. God is not bloodthirsty; God does not delight in the prospect that war will continue within the borders of Israel; God does not delight in the idea that men must face the horror of war. However, when a nation goes so far astray as does Israel, it is war which brings them back to God. I’ve already mentioned the axiom there are no atheists in foxholes. Israel had to learn war in order to appreciate their unique relationship to Jehovah Elohim.


Application: I am certain you have heard that, you can learn the easy way or the hard way. The easy way for us to learn is in Bible class; the hard way for us to learn is to get beat on the head for going astray. Had Israel continued with doctrine; had Israel continued with the observation of the Feast Days and the teaching of the Mosaic Law, the time period of the Judges would have been a cakewalk for them. However, we are given a taste of their day-to-day life and the sorts of decisions which they made in Judges 17–21 (which, arguably, might be the first chapters that we should study). With the sort of thinking they we find in these chapters, it is easier to understand why God had to teach them the hard way, which involved them being in subjection to the heathen around them, and then going to war against these heathen.


The Jews were brought into the Land of Promise by Jehovah Elohim; they owe all of their prosperity to Him. God defeated the heathen who lived in this beautiful land and, during the time of the Judges, we will have generation after generation of Israelites who will pursue the false gods of the very people their fathers warred against. Therefore, Jehovah Elohim will set them at war with the heathen whose gods they worship.


Application: We have several generations of African-Americans who, despite their rich spiritual heritage, have picked up the Koran and have begun to worship a false god; many have even changed their names to reflect this commitment to heathenism. Is it any wonder that today we find ourselves at war with the radical adherents to this same faith? Do you see the parallel between Israel’s history under the judges and our lives today? Don’t think that we can worship heathen gods and that nothing bad will happen as a result.


Application: Do not become confused; religious freedom is a basic tenet of our society; and no one can be forced to worship the God Who bought us. That is, we cannot persecute or prosecute those among us whose faith rests in the idolatry of Islam, Buddhism, or material wealth. We cannot legislate against it; nor can we take vigilante action against it. What we can do is to learn God’s Word; we can apply the doctrine that we learn; and we can evangelize those around us.


Judges 3:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

raq (קַר) [pronounced rahk]

only, provided, altogether, surely—this adverb carries with it restrictive force

adverb

Strong’s #7534 & #7535 BDB #956

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (םי.נָפל) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted with, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393


Translation: ...specifically to those who formerly have not known [war]):... This is followed by the restrictive use of raq again, the relative pronoun, which tell us exactly whom God would teach.


This is followed by the negative and the 3rd person plural, Qal perfect of to know, with a masculine plural suffix. I would have expected a feminine singular suffix to refer back to war; however, this refers back to faces or forward to the heathen who will be named.

 

Keil and Delitzsch write: the suffix attached...refers to “the wars of Canaan,” although this is a feminine noun, the suffix in the masculine plural being frequently used in connection with a feminine noun. Footnote What they had not known were the wars of Canaan, but we are still dealing with a masculine plural being matched to a feminine plural. Another option is that they did not known them refers back to Israel not knowing the Canaanites intimately—that is, in war.


To be honest, I am not thrilled with my first explanation nor with Keil and Delitzsch’s here. However, the third alternative which I have presented I think is the most reasonable. My thinking is that this was a play on words; down in vv. 5–6, we will see that the Israelites knew the Canaanites in marriage (which is what God specifically warned against), but they did not know the Canaanites in war. Although this is not the normal use of the word know, it would seem to be reasonable for this passage.


Let’s summarize this, as it is a difficult passage.

Explanation of the 3rd Person Masculine Plural Suffix of Judges 3:2

We first need to recognize that most Bibles ignore this suffix:

 

NKJV                   ...(this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it),...


The NKJV is one of the best, if not the best, of the English translations to come out of the 20th century; we find the neuter singular suffix also in the ESV, MKJV, NASB, WEB and completely ignored by God’s Word™, HCSB, Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible.

Only two English Bibles that I am aware of, translate this accurately: Young and LTHB, which reads: ...only that the generations of the sons of Israel might know, to teach them war, only those who did not before know them:... Interestingly enough, the Greek translation agrees with the Hebrew as well. Keil and Delitzsch provide a reasonable rendering in their commentary as well.

There are 3 possible explanations:

1.      This 3rd person masculine plural suffix refers back to faces. The problem with this explanation is, the meaning of to the faces probably means formerly in this verse.

2.      Keil and Delitzsch tell us that the masculine plural suffix is frequently used in connection with a feminine noun (in this case war).

3.      This suffix refers to the heathen who will be enumerated in the next verse. There is a clever play on words here; they have known these heathen in marriage; now they will know them in war. This, I think, is the correct understanding here.

I realize that this is probably way more information than you wanted on this little suffix; however, I feel that I must deal with these details in full, whether you are interested in them or not.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

 

Clarke’s interpretation of this passage: This was another reason why the Canaanites were left in the land, that the Israelites might not forget military discipline, but habituate themselves to the use of arms, that they might always be able to defend themselves against their foes. Had they been faithful to God, they would have had no need of learning the art of war; but now arms became a sort of necessary substitute for that spiritual strength which had departed from them. Thus Gods in his judgments leaves one iniquitous nation to harass and torment another. Were all to turn to God, men need learn war no more. Footnote

 

Keil and Delitzsch tell us much the same thing: In the wars of Canaan under Joshua, therefore, Israel had experienced and learned, that the power to conquer its foes did not consist in the multitude and bravery of its own fighting men, but solely in the might of its God, which it could only possess so long as it continued faithful to the Lord. This lesson the generations that followed Joshua had forgotten, and consequently they did not understand how to make war. To impress this truth upon them–the great truth, upon which the very existence as well as the prosperity of Israel, and its attainment of the object of its divine calling, depended; in other words, to teach it by experience, that the people of Jehovah could only fight and conquer in the power of its God–the Lord had left the Canaanites in the land. Necessity teaches a man to pray [and to depend upon God]. The distress into which the Israelites were brought by the remaining Canaanites was a chastisement from God, through which the Lord desired to lead back the rebellious to himself, to keep them obedient to His commandments, and to train them to the fulfilment of their covenant duties. In this respect, learning war, i.e., learning how the congregation of the Lord was to fight against the enemies of God and of His kingdom, was one of the means appointed by God to test Israel, or prove whether it would listen to the commandments of God (Judges 2:22 3:4), or would walk in the ways of the Lord. If Israel should so learn to war, it would learn at the same time to keep the commandments of God. But both of these were necessary for the people of God. For just as the realization of the blessings promised to the nation in the covenant depended upon its listening to and obeying the voice of the Lord, so the conflicts appointed for it were also necessary, just as much for the purification of the sinful nation, as for the perpetuation and growth of the kingdom of God upon the earth. Footnote


Application: This generation of Israelites only knew war from God’s Word and through the stories from their ancestors, but they do not know war with the Canaanites face to face; they have not experienced war directly. Although the Hebrew is difficult at this point, let’s see if you can grasp this point of interpretation and application: when a generation turns from God, one of the things which God wants that generation to face is war. It is in war where some people first begin to grasp how horrible this world really is. It is in war where some people turn to God; or, often, promise to turn to God. It is in war where we lose a great deal of our youthful optimism and it rids us of a lot of false ideas as to what the world is like. Being involved with high school, I am familiar with many of the kids thinking that they will graduate and then somehow, through their efforts, through college and through their job, somehow make this world a better place to live in. Most of us as adults, realize that this is futile, if not absolutely foolish; and that this world as a whole is not going to get any better. Technological advance is not the same as an advance in human morality. Some of our technological advances, particularly many which have to do with computers, are partially a result of a lack of business ethics. What this passage teachers us for today is that a generation which moves so far away from God will not only face the rude awakening that the world isn’t going to get any better, but God often places the young ones into war so that there is no confusion on this issue. For some people, the only way God can gain their attention is to put their lives at risk or to place them in a helpless and hopeless situation.


Although the thought of this verse ends at v. 4, I can tell that what we will have to do at the end of v. 3 is to put these three verses together, so that we can complete the punctuation and so that they flow together.


Five warlords of Philistines and all the Canaanite and the Sidonian and the Hivite dwelling [in] mountain of the Lebanon from mountain of Baal-hermon as far as to an entrance of Hamath.

Judges

3:3

...the five warlords of the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites, who are living in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon [to] as far as the entrance of Hamath.

...the five warlords of the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who live in the region of Mount Lebanon, between Mount Baal-Hermon and the entrance to Hamath.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       Five warlords of Philistines and all the Canaanite and the Sidonian and the Hivite dwelling [in] mountain of the Lebanon from mountain of Baal-hermon as far as to an entrance of Hamath.

Septuagint                              Namely, five lords of the other nations, and all the Canaanite, and the Sidonian, and the Hivite that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.

 

Significant differences:           Although we have other nations in the Greek, rather than Philistines; this could be the gist of αλλοφυλων, the word that we find here. It reads Philistines in the Syriac and Latin, as well as the Hebrew. Apart from this, there are no significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...the Philistines and their five rulers, as well as the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites that lived in the Lebanon Mountains from Mount Baal-Hermon to Hamath Pass.

The Message                         He left the five Philistine tyrants, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living on Mount Lebanon from Mount Baal Hermon to Hamath's Pass.

NLT                                        These were the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers); all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the hill country of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         He left the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon from Mount Baal Hermon to the border of Hamath.

HCSB                                     These nations included: the five rulers of the Philistines and all of the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived in the Lebanese mountains from Mount Baal-hermon as far as the entrance to Hamath.

JPS (Tanakh)                         These served as a means of testing Israel, to learn whether they would obey the commandments which the Lord had enjoined upon their fathers through Moses.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath.

Young's Updated LT              ...five princes of the Philistines, and all the Canaanite, and the Zidonian, and the Hivite inhabiting mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-Hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.


What is the gist of this verse? The nations which God left in Israel are herein named: the Philistines, Canaanites, Sidonians and Hivites.


These verses give a list of enemy nations which roughly describe an ark along the western and northern boundaries of the area which Israel occupied at the time of Joshua. Footnote The landmarks named here are pretty much the same as we find in Joshua 13:5–6, which is somewhat more detailed.


Judges 3:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

chămishshâh (הָ ̣מֲח) [pronounced khuh-mish-SHAW]

five

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #2568 BDB #331

çerânîym (ןרס) [pronounced se-RAW-neem]

warlords, lords, princes, czars, generals, officers; officials, VIP’s

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5633 BDB #710

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814

 

Translation: ...the five warlords of the Philistines,... This verse goes back to complete the thought of v. 1—vv. 1c–2 was parenthetical. Judges 3:3 is a list of the more important enemy forces which are still resident in Israel. The author uses the term çeren (ן ר ס) [pronounced SEH-ren], which means warlord, tyrant, lord, potentate, czar, despot. Çeren is only used of heathen rulers. Barnes suggests that this word is Phœnician in origin, and for that reason, we might ought Footnote to transliterate it. However, I think that warlord is the best English rendering.


The Philistines are primarily found in the book of the Judges and 1Samuel; see Joshua 13:3 Judges 10–16 1Sam. 4:1–2 6:18 13:5, 19–23 29:2.


judges03.gifThree of the five Philistine cities are shown above; as is Sidon, which will be mentioned later in this verse.

Source: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/04/wae/ht04wae.htm

The five major cities of the Philistines were between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea. The five rulers are not enumerated here; this refers to the five rulers of the five major cities of the Philistines named in Joshua 13:3 (i.e., Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron). Footnote Judah, at one time, conquered three of these cities (Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron—Judges 1:18), but apparently control was taken back by the Philistines. I should stop and explain this. The first couple of chapters are introductory chapters, which cover a long period of time. Judah, early on, conquered this three Philistine cities; however, the Philistines were never driven completely out of the valley (Judges 1:19). Therefore, sometime during the three+ centuries which follow, the Philistines took their cities back. We will find this to be the case throughout the history of Israel and Philistia—every few decades, one country will encroach upon the other; some border cities will belong to Israel; and, a few decades later, these cities will be under the control of the Philistines. In the book of Samuel, the Philistines will come into the center of Israel and capture several cities, dividing Israel in half.


Judges 3:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Kena׳ănîy (י.נֲע-נ) [pronounced ke-nah-ģuh-NEE]

merchant, trader; and is transliterated Canaanite, Canaanites

adjective/nominative gentilic; with the definite article

Strong’s #3669 BDB #489


Translation: ...the Canaanites,... The Canaanites were strewn throughout the land—in fact, the Canaanite name is often used to name all of the inhabitants of the land; however, here, it refers to those in the low-lying areas. Footnote Gill, on the other hand, sees these as a particular group of people (in this context) who live along the sea and along the coast of the Jordan River (which would be the low-lying areas). Num. 13:29 gives the spies’ report: Amalek is dwelling in the land of the south, and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite is dwelling in the hill country, and the Canaanite is dwelling by the sea, and by the side of the Jordan.


Judges 3:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Tsîydônîy (י.נֹדי.צ) [pronounced tsee-doh-NEE]

hunting, fishing, catching fish; translated inhabitants of Sidon; transliterated Sidonians

proper noun/gentilic; singular adjective; with the definite article

Strong’s #6722 BDB #851


Translation: ...the Sidonians,... The Sidonians are the Phœnicians; Sidon is one of their cities, along the northern coast of the Mediterranean, shown in the map above. This people and city take their name from Canaan’s firstborn (Gen. 10:15). We find the Sidonians mentioned in the following passages: Joshua 11:8–13 19:28 Judges 10:12 18:7.


Judges 3:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Chivvîy (י..ח) [pronounced khihv-VEE]

villagers, transliterated Hivite

masculine singular, gentilic adjective

Strong’s #2340 BDB #295


Translation: ...and the Hivites,... The Hivites were scattered in several places. To remind you, some Hivites lived in Gibeon made a pact with Israel back in Joshua 9:1–27 11:19. The Hivites spoken of here occupied northern Canaan on up to the entrance to Hamath (this was as far north as the original Israelite spies went—Num. 13:21). Now Joshua had conquered that far north (Joshua 11:17 12:7), but he had not gone any further (Joshua 13:5). The Hivites are one of the most ancient families or races of people, dating back to Gen. 10:17 where we find that they are sons of the Canaanites.


Judges 3:3e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

inhabiting, staying, remaining, dwelling, sitting

Qal active participle

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

Lebânôwn (ןנָבל) [pronounced leb-vaw-NOHN]

white; and is transliterated Lebanon

proper noun/location; with the definite article

Strong’s #3844 BDB #526


Translation: ...who are living in Mount Lebanon,... You may know the location Lebanon from the contemporary events of Hizbollah occupying portions of that country today, and lobbing missiles down into Israel. Lebanon is also shown on the map above as well. We will examine Mount Lebanon in greater detail below:


Judges 3:3f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

Ba׳al (ל ַע ַ) [pronounced BAH-ģahl]

owner, lord, husband; transliterated Baal when referencing the heathen god

masculine singular noun

Strong's #1167 BDB #127

Cheremôwn (ןמ ר∵ח) [pronounced Hermon]

sanctuary; sacred [mountain]; and is transliterated Hermon

proper noun mountain

Strong’s #2768 BDB #356

Together, these are transliterated Baal Hermon; Baal-hermon and are given Strong’s #1179 BDB #128.


Translation: ...from Mount Baal-hermon... The NIV Study Bible speculates that Mount Baal-Hermon is probably Mount Hermon, but they are distinguished in 1Chron. 5:23. Gill says that Mount Baal-Hermon is the same as Baalgad. Footnote

 

Barnes suggests that Baal-Hermon is probably the same as Baal-gad. Barnes: Hammath is always spoken of as the extreme northern boundary of the land of Canaan. It was the gate of approach to Canaan from Babylon, and all the north (Zech. ix. 2; Jer. xxxix. 5). It formed part of the dominions of Solomon (2 Chr. viii. 4) and of the future inheritance of Israel, as described in vision by Ezekiel (xlvii. 16). Footnote


The problem can be better understood if we place Joshua 13:5 side-by-side Judges 3:3:

Judges 3:3 Compared to Joshua 13:5

Joshua 13:5

Judges 3:3

...and the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon to the entering to Hamath;...

...five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that lived in Mount Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to the entering of Hamath.

A problem here is expecting that these passages should read exactly the same, because we find Mount...Hermon and the entrance to Hamath in both of them.

Let’s examine two opinions on this matter:

Easton and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on Mount Baal-Hermon

Easton

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

(1.) Baal-hermon is a city near Mount Hermon inhabited by the Ephraimites (1Chron. 5:23). It is probably identical with Baal-gad (Joshua 11:17).

(2.) Baal-hermon is a mountain east of Lebanon (Judges 3:3). Probably it may be the same as Mount Hermon, or one of its three peaks. Footnote

Baalgad under Mount Hermon is described as “toward the sunrising” in Joshua 13:5. If Mount Lebanon proper is here intended the reading may be taken as correct. But in Judges 3:3 Baal–gad is replaced by Baal-hermon. One or the other must be due to a scribal error. The Baal-hermon of 1Chron. 5:23 lay somewhere East of the Jordan, near to Mount Hermon. It may possibly be identical with Bâniâs. Footnote

The key may be that Mount Hermon actually has 3 peaks. Therefore, we should examine Mount Hermon:

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Since this is a topic which I have not studied extensively, let me pass along some information from www.ancientsandals.com:

Mount Hermon

 Location and Setting:

 

       At 9,200 feet above sea level, Mount Hermon is the highest mountain in Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

       The mountain is actually a cluster of mountains with three distinct summits, each about the same height. This cluster, the Anti-Lebanon Range, extends for approximately twenty miles in a northeast to southwest direction, running parallel to the Lebanon range on the west.

       Runoff from the snow-covered mountain’s western and southern bases feeds several streams and rivers. These merge to become the Jordan River. Additionally, the runoff facilitates fertile plant life below the snow line, where vineyards and pine, oak, and poplar trees are abundant.

       Mount Hermon is called the "gray-haired mountain," or the "mountain of snow," because of the covering of snow, which is present on it most of the year.

Historical and Biblical Significance:

 

       Mount Hermon was also called Senir by the Amorites and Sirion by the Sidonians (Deut. 3:9 Psalm 29:6 1Chron. 5:23 SOS 4:8 Ezek. 27:5).

       The mountain served as the northern boundary of the Land promised by God to Israel (Deut 3:8) and also was the northern limit of the Conquest (Joshua 11:17 12:1 13:5).

       The high places of Mount Hermon were apparently used by the Canaanites for their pagan religious rituals. They referred to the mountain as Mount Baal-hermon (Judges 3:3).

       Jesus and His disciples journeyed north from Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee to the city of Caesarea Philippi at the southern base of Mount Hermon (Matt. 16:13 Mark 8:27). There, Jesus revealed to them His purpose to build His Church and to go to Jerusalem to die and be resurrected (Matt. 16:18-21).

       Mount Hermon was a possible site of the Transfiguration, where Jesus took three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, up on a high mountain for prayer. Before their eyes, Jesus was transfigured. He became radiantly white and conversed with Moses and Elijah, who had appeared beside Him. The disciples’ amazement and fear were further increased, when a voice from heaven exclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!" (Matt. 17:1-8 Mark 9:2-8 Luke 9:29-36).

The Encyclopedia Britannica gives us a little more information about Mount Hermon:


Mount Hermon is a snowcapped mountain on the Lebanese-Syrian border. It is located west of Damascus and rising to 9,232 ft (2,814 m), the highest point on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and is sometimes considered the southernmost extension of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. A sacred landmark in Hittite, Palestinian, and Roman times, it represented the northwestern limit of Israelite conquest under Moses and Joshua. Since the Six-Day War (1967), about 40 sq mi (100 sq km) of its southern and western slopes have been part of the Israeli-administered Golan Heights.

Possibly the key to the confusion here is, there are 3 distinct summits; it is possible that Mount Baal-Hermon could be one summit where sacrifices were offered to Baal; and that Mount Hermon could refer to all 3 summits, or, on occasion, to one particular summit. That Baal-hermon could refer to both a mountain and to a city might also help to relieve some of the confusion in comparing these passages.

mounthermonsnow.jpg

 

The first two sections are quoted from http://www.ancientsandals.com/overviews/mount_hermon.htm and the final one comes from http://www.answers.com/topic/hermon-1. I did a small amount of editing for the Encyclopedia Britannica. The picture of Mount Hermon is from Wikipedia, taken from the page: http://www.answers.com/topic/hermonsnow-jpg.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

And just so we can put this all together:

The Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains

The Lebanon Mountains is a mountain range which runs north-south for about 100 miles (161 km) parallel to the Mediterranean Sea. It rises to about 10,130 ft (3090 m). On its western slopes are the remaining groves of the famous cedars of Lebanon. The snowy peaks may have given Lebanon its name in antiquity; laban is Aramaic for “white.”  Footnote

The Anti-Lebanon Mountain Range runs along the border of Syrian and Lebanon parallel to the Lebanon Mountain Range, but in a northeast to southwest direction, with an average height of 6,500 ft (2,000 m).

Now, I realize that I have beat you to death with information; however, essentially, what we are looking at is those who are on Israel’s northern border (which is strangely prophetic of Israel’s struggles with Hizbollah in Lebanon which is occurring as I write this August 2, 2006).

This information was culled from The American Heritage Dictionary and Encyclopedia Britannica online at http://www.answers.com/topic/lebanon-mountains and http://www.answers.com/topic/anti-lebanon-mountains.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


V. 5 will list the population of degenerate heathen who lived in the land which Israel occupied (Israel did not really possess much of the land adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea).


Judges 3:3g

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Hămâth (תָמֲח) [pronounced khuhm-AWTH]

fortress; sacred enclosure; transliterated Hamath

proper singular noun/location

Strong’s #2574 BDB #332

judges031.gifThis is taken from a larger map: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/04/wae/ht04wae.htm .

Translation: ...[to] as far as the entrance of Hamath. Now that we know a little more about the geography, the entrance to Hamath is the valley which runs between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges. We could be referring to the entire valley here or just to the entrance to the valley. If you examine the relief map to the right, you can see the two sets of mountains in Lebanon, as will as the valley; and beneath this valley is the Jordan River. That general area, the southern valley between the mountain ranges, would be the entrance of Hamath.

 

McGee: the five lords of the Philistines and the other tribes mentioned in this passage were enemies of the Israelites. As we proceed through the Old Testament, these enemies will appear time and time again. They were indeed a thorn in the flesh of the nation Israel. Footnote And may I add, to this day, their ancestors are thorns in the flesh of Israel.


It might be better to take these three verses together:

My Translation of Judges 3:1–3

And these the nations which left Yehowah to test by them Israel (all of whom did not know all of wars [of] Canaan; only to know, generations of sons of Israel, to teach them war; only which, before [their] faces, they have not known them): five warlords of Philistines and all the Canaanite and the Sidonian and the Hivite dwelling [in] mountain of the Lebanon from mountain of Baal-hermon as far as to an entrance of Hamath.

Judges

3:1–3

And these [are] the nations which Yehowah left [in the land of Canaan] to test by them Israel (all of whom had not experienced [lit., known] the [previous] wars of Canaan in order that [these] generations of the sons of Israel would learn [war], [God would] teach them war; specifically to those who have not known [war]): the five warlords of the Philistines, the Canaanite, the Sidonian, and the Hivite, who is living in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon to as far as the entrance of Hamath.

The following is a list of all of the nations which Jehovah allowed to remain in the land of Canaan to test Israel (which generations had not fought in any of the wars of Canaan; because this generation of the sons of Israel might know war and that He might teach them war, as they had not faces the Canaanites in war previously): the five warlords of the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who live in the region of Mount Lebanon, between Mount Baal-Hermon and the entrance to Hamath.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


This thought continues in v. 4:


And so they were to test by them Israel to know if they would listen [and obey] commandments of Yehowah which He commanded their fathers in a hand of Moses.

Judges

3:4

They were to test Israel to determine if they would listen to [and obey] the commandments of Yehowah, which He commanded their fathers by Moses.

These people were there to test Israel, to determine whether or not they would listen to the commandments which Jehovah delivered to their fathers by Moses.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they were to test by them Israel to know if they would listen [and obey] commandments of Yehowah which He commanded their fathers in a hand of Moses.

Septuagint                              And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Moses had told the Israelites what the LORD had commanded them to do, and now the LORD was using these nations to find out if Israel would obey.

The Message                         They were there to test Israel and see whether they would obey GOD's commands that were given to their parents through Moses.

NLT                                        These people were left to test the Israelites—to see whether they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors through Moses.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         These nations were left to test the Israelites, to find out if they would obey the commands the LORD had given their ancestors through Moses.

HCSB                                     The LORD left them to test Israel, to determine if they would keep the LORD's commands He had given their fathers through Moses.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And they existed to test Israel by them, to know whether they would listen to the commands of Jehovah, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

Young's Updated LT              And they are to prove Israel by them, to know whether they obey the commands of Jehovah that He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.


What is the gist of this verse? God left these nations in and around Israel in order to test Israel, to observe whether or not they would obey the commandments of Jehovah given them by Moses.


Judges 3:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

nâçâh (ה ָסָנ) [pronounced naw-SAWH]

to test, to try, to attempt, to try to do a thing; to practice doing a thing

Piel infinitive construct

Strong’s #5254 BDB #650

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

 

Translation: They were to test Israel... The second verb is the Qal imperfect of nâçâh (ה ָס ָנ) [pronounced naw-SAWH], a word which means to test, to try. They refers back to the nations and peoples who also occupied the Land of Promise with Israel; they would be the ones used by God to test Israel. They would offer up religions which Israel may find to be more appealing; and they would attack and exploit Israel, to take from Israel all that they could. Israel had to resist their heathen religion and, at times, go to war against these people.


Judges 3:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

yâda׳ (עַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted with, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen [intently], to hear, to listen and obey, [or, and act upon, give heed to, take note of], to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and be cognizant of

3rd person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mitsevâh (ה-וצ ̣מ) [pronounced mitse-VAH]

prohibition, commandment, precept, that which is forbidden, constraint, proscription, countermand

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #4687 BDB #846

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...to determine if they would listen to [and obey] the commandments of Yehowah,... We have the verb to know for the fourth time in as many verses. God has given Israel an whole host of commandments, one of which is to exterminate the Canaanites.


God had given to Israel the perfect Law for their time, their nation and their culture. God’s Law defined what was right or wrong; it taught the gospel through its ceremonies; and it provided diet and other restrictions which were designed to keep Israel healthy. The more that they obeyed God’s laws, the more likely God would shower them with prosperity; and the more likely that God would use Israel in His plan.


Application: Let me clarify what I said about God using Israel in His plan: believers are used to varying degrees in the plan of God. For instance, Abraham was greatly used, to the point where His offering up of Isaac was a fantastic parallel to the offering up of Jesus Christ for our sins. God was not testing Abraham’s faith, but providing us with a clear picture as to what He would do on our behalf. On the other hand, in this chapter, we will briefly examine Shamgar, who was a believer, who was faithful; and he struck down 600 Philistines with an ox goad. On the other hand, Shamgar was not used as Abraham was to prophesy what God would do for us. We, as believers, will be used of God in varying degrees; the more mature that we are, the more He will use us.


Application: Just in case you thought of this, don’t try to fly under the radar with God. Don’t be just a mediocre Christian in order to get out of serving God. Service to God is not painful; it is not difficult; you will not hate it. God has, in eternity past, designed for you a spiritual gift which is commensurate with your personality, your likes and dislikes, and your environment. Functioning with that spiritual gift is not going to be some great burden. God is not going to take someone who has no interest and no business in being a missionary and send them off to some obscure, 3rd world country to suffer. God’s plan is not for you to live a thoroughly crappy life and then die.


Judges 3:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

tsâvâh (ה ָו ָצ) [pronounced tsaw-VAW]

to commission, to mandate, to lay charge upon, to give charge to, charge, command, order

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong's #6680 BDB #845

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

âb (ב ָא) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household, clan or tribe

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand literally means in [the] hand of; and can be rendered in the power of; by the power of; with; through, by, by means of; before, in the sight of.

Mosheh (ה∵שֹמ) [pronounced moh-SHEH]

to draw out [of the water] and is transliterated Moses

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #4872 BDB #602


Translation: ...which He commanded their fathers by Moses. The people which were left in the land were there for several reasons, one of which included the testing of Israel. God had delivered commandments and rituals and laws for them to obey. God used the people of the land to deal with Israel when these things were not obeyed. In fact, this is much of what the book of Judges is all about. Israel will turn from God and this is tested and revealed by the other peoples in the land. You will recall Deut. 8:2: And you will remember all the way which Jehovah your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.


We discussed the Doctrine of Testing in detail back in Deut. 8:2. However, we often misunderstand the reasons for testing because we are so egocentric. We always want to related everything back directly to ourselves. When I taught, I would have students put problems on the board and then I would go over their work in class and grade them on it. Most students focused in on how they were graded and there were only a few who actually knew what it was that I was doing. The problems on the board were 99% for the rest of the class—so that they could see, step-by-step, how a problem was done. In school, you have to grade everything, so the person who did it got a grade—however, that was never the focus or the reason for having students put their work on the board. However, the students invariably thought that the board problem pertained primarily to the person who did it. Furthermore, they were confused when I would take off points if they left out steps or if their reasoning was faulty. They would tell me over and over again—I got the right answer; but this was of absolutely no help to the person in their seat wondering how that problem was done in the first place. So it is with testing. We always want to throw the focus back on ourselves and we always think that testing is done for us or that God is sitting up there in heaven with a grade book taking notes and that this is the focus of our testing. This is only a part of it and, I dare say, the smaller part. Immediately after the chapter on faith and great heroes of faith, we have the verse: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1). All of the angels around us is the focus of the testing. God has placed us where they can observe our every move. By the way, the setting aside of every encumbrance and sin is rebound: naming your sins to God.


We all suffer in this life and we all are tested in this life. It may be instructive to look at this from the perspective of R. B. Thieme Jr.

Testing as Taught by R. B. Thieme Jr.

Category

Points

Suffering for being out of fellowship.

1.           All believers sin. All believers put themselves out of fellowship by sinning.

2.           Many believers never get back into fellowship or get back into fellowship infrequently; almost accidentally. We regain fellowship with God by naming our sins to Him.

3.           For those who sin, there is punishment; for those who remain out of fellowship for a long time, this discipline intensifies.

4.           The pertinent passage here is Heb. 12:5–13: And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. The author of Hebrews is quoting Prov. 3:11–12 in his exposition.

5.           In other words, because we are sons of God, we are disciplined of God. Obviously, we are disciplined for sinning, as the analogy here is to an earthly father who disciplines us for our benefit.

6.           Unfortunately, I would suspect that 90% of Christendom falls into this category; they think they are facing test after test, but they are being disciplined by God.

Momentum Testing; general points

1.           Part of spiritual growth includes momentum testing; that is, being tested as we grow spiritually.

2.           We do not grow spiritually based upon our suffering, but upon our application of the doctrine which is in our souls to each situation we find ourselves in.

3.           Christianity is not a religion of suffering, or a religion which glorifies suffering; but, as we grow spiritually, we learn to equate prosperity with adversity; and life with death. That is, we can enjoy equal contentment under all circumstances in spiritual maturity. Since we live in the devil’s world among 6 billion other sinners, it is inevitable that we will have some undeserved personal suffering. Any church which promises you continual material and/or personal blessings apart from suffering is a cult. Two great misapplications of human suffering by believers and those who associate themselves with Christianity are:

              a.      Spiritual growth, giving, praying, singing, and/or some other activity or group of activities in the Christian life will eliminate suffering from your life. We will all face adversity from birth to death.

              b.      The approach of the ascetic: Christianity is all about the suffering; the believer should practice self-denial and, in some cultic practices, self-mutilation, self-induced suffering or even self-imposed martyrdom.

              c.      These are both great distortions of the Christian life.

4.           In general, believers will enjoy periods of blessing and periods of human suffering in their lives.

5.           In some cases, believers will be persecuted for their faith, and caused to suffer for their faith in Jesus Christ.

6.           Momentum testing often is the acceleration which propels us to spiritual maturity. Again, bear in mind, that maturity is the result of applying the doctrine from our souls to what we experience; and maturity is not simply a result of suffering.

Momentum Testing; people testing

1.           People testing is a result of both approbation is disapprobation.

2.           We like certain people so much that we are willing to compromise doctrine on their behalf or because of them.

              a.      When a person falls in love, they are often willing to compromise their doctrinal standards in order to please that other person.

              b.      When you have great admiration for this or that person, you sometimes allow their norms and standards to supplant the norms and standards of Bible doctrine.

3.           Just as there are people in this life for whom we have great fondness or respect, there will also be those that we dislike, look down upon or flat out hate. They either rub us the wrong way, they have some unidentifiable characteristic which irritates us, or they do things which we find completely reprehensible.

4.           What we are not allowed in this life is to have mental attitude sins toward this person or that, which sins include hatred, jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, and implacability. When we allow ourselves to become irritated by or antagonistic towards any person, we are surrendering the control of our life to this person, if only temporarily. These sins put us out of fellowship, and our concentration is upon this person of disapprobation.

5.           Quite obviously, we are not allowed to extrapolate from those sins, and to gossip or malign these people that we dislike; and we certainly are not allowed to act upon our hatred (or other mental attitude sins) in any other way.

6.           We need to recognize that the people we love and the people that we hate, and all people in between are those for whom Christ died. In His eyes, we are all equal; we have all sinned; we all have old sin natures; and we all have Adam’s imputed sin.

7.           The basic principle is, we cannot emphasize people and our relationship to people (either good or bad) over God and our relationship to Him. Even legitimate, sinless activity must take a backseat to Bible doctrine.

Momentum Testing; thought testing

1.           The idea is, you must think divine viewpoint instead of human viewpoint.

2.           One of man’s great problems is thinking with arrogance; thinking of himself as greater than he ought to think.

3.           Our thinking should be true humility, rather than arrogance.

4.           Humility excludes rationalization, anger, defense mechanisms, denail and sublimation from our thinking. Footnote

System Testing

1.           We all have some involvement with a variety of organizations or institutions; such as, our family, the company we work for, the school we go to, the team we belong to, the country that we live in, etc.

2.           We might even think of this as organizational testing.

3.           Within any organization of one or more people, there are negative aspects.

4.           Companies can have a variety of motivations, including motivations to produce, to oppress, to shift power or wealth, etc.

5.           Our life’s work is not necessarily to fix the devil’s world. Our association with an organization might improve that organization (ideally, it should); however, it is not necessarily our life’s work to transform the organizations that we are in to some human viewpoint maxim, like the greatest good for the greatest number.

6.           Most of the time, we remain within these organizations and exhibit personal integrity; there are times when we must separate from such organizations.

7.           When you choose to separate from an organization, is should not be a decision made lightly. For instance, a public school is a breeding ground for an incredible amount of institutionalized human viewpoint; where almost all truth is suppressed; however, this does not mean that, if you are a public school teacher, that you must therefore leave the public school system. On the other hand, if you belong to some sort of criminal organization, like a gang; which requires you to break the law on occasion (or regularly), then you have good reason to leave that organization.

8.           You will be tested in the organizations to which you belong; even if you have a company of one. Will you demonstrate personal integrity? Will you demonstrate impersonal love toward all mankind (including the jerks that you work with)? Will you not allow your thinking to be swayed by the human viewpoint aspects of these organizations? These are tests which we all face.

9.           It should be clear that not all testing involves some sort of physical pain.

Disaster Testing; national

1.           At any point in time, we can face a disaster which is bigger than us and bigger than the organizations to which we belong. This is known as natural, national or historical disaster.

2.           This can be a natural disaster, including flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis.

3.           This can be a man-made disaster, which includes war, terrorist acts, governmental encroachment on personal freedom (which can be subtle or severe); economic depression.

4.           Lev. 26 covers the five cycles of discipline which the Jews would face, which included economic depression (in an agrarian society, this would be a lack of rain which would lead to famine) and war.

Disaster Testing; personal

1.           At any point in time, we can face a personal disaster which changes our lives; this would be a change which others would view as the ruination of our lives.

2.           Examples of this would be a severe injury, a severe illness, severe financial setbacks (the loss of one’s business, a considerable loss of one’s assets); the loss of loved ones, etc.

3.           Even a physical handicap or genetic disorder qualifies as a personal disaster, which puts us in disaster testing.

Evidence Testing

1.           For the bulk of this doctrine, I have concentrated on you and I; however, we are not the sum total of God’s creation; God also created angelic beings.

2.           Although some want to confine our souls to simply a chemical reaction and an electrical reaction of various neutrons and processes of our bodies, we have an unseen reality to each one of us. Various forms of neuroimaging may give us limited information about the physical functions of the brain, none of the various types of brain scans actually show us the soul of the person whose brain is being scanned. Given that there is certainly a great unseen reality when it comes to our own souls, this also suggests that there may be more in the unseen world than just our souls. The Bible reveals to us that God created angels before He created us, and that what occurs in this life is related to the angelic conflict.

3.           Scripture tells us the Satan was created as the greatest angel, and that by pride, he rebelled against God and took a third of the angels with him. God sentenced Satan to the Lake of Fire, however, it is clear that Satan is still a part of human history today. What this suggests is, there is an appeal and that Satan is going through an appeal process.

4.           Satan would be objecting to the character of God; that God cannot be love, justice and righteousness; and yet, condemn His created creatures to the Lake of Fire. There are, no doubt, other appeals as well. How can we be blamed for our actions, as we have been created by God. Does this not imply that God did a substandard job in creating us? Is God’s character consistent? Aren’t there times and circumstances where God shows no love; or is unjust; or lacks the ability to see what may happen? We observe the courtroom of God and the objections of Satan in Job 1.

5.           The creation of man and our lives throughout human history, along with the actions and choices of Satan and his minions throughout history, will answer all of Satan’s objections.

6.           Part of the appeal process is, we, as believers, are observed by angels; our actions are observed; God’s involvement in our lives is observed; the function of God’s Word in our lives is observed; and God’s character is observed.

7.           Part of the testing process involves angelic observation; both the observation of elect and fallen angels. Heb. 12:1–3: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

8.           Our actions and decisions throughout this process of life when we are faced with various tests are often evidence tests, by which God’s character and plan are vindicated.

The Solution:

1.           As it is for all problems, the first thing a believer needs to do is to make certain that he is in fellowship. This means, you name your sins to God.

2.           Secondly, you continue to grow spiritually by any means necessary, which may include Bible class, tapes, mp3 files, internet access to spiritual material, rereading your notes, reading your Bible; whatever God has provided for you.

3.           There are times when you go into a full application mode where conventional means of growth are not available and you must apply what you know.

4.           In a disaster, application of doctrine is going to be the application of the various rationales:

              a.      Doctrinal rationale.

              b.      The plan of God rationale.

              c.      The integrity of God rationale.

Biblical passages

1.           The Bible is filled with passages which deal with believers who are being tested, many of which we have already named in Testing as Found in Scripture. Other passages follow:

2.           1Peter 1:6–9: In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials [or tests], so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revealing of Jesus Christ [in this case, the Judgment Seat of Christ]. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

3.           2Chron. 20:9: ”If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house [the Temple of God at this time]and before You––for Your name is in this house––and cry out to You in our distress, and You will hear and save [us].”

4.           Job 5:20: In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword.

5.           Rom. 8:35–37: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Apart from the first category (suffering for being out of fellowship), this doctrine comes from R. B. Thieme, Jr., Christian Suffering; ©1987 by R. B. Thieme, Jr.; pp. 97–112. That book, available through R. B. Thieme, Jr. Ministries, contains essentially the same material in much greater detail. This book also gives several examples of the categories of tests above. My intention here was to simply scratch the surface of this doctrine, and not to replicate the book.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Israel’s faithfulness or lack of it is revealed in their actions and decisions when faced with the gods of the heathen who surround them; and when faced with the persecution and exploitation by these heathen. God had given Israel a myriad of commandments to follow, which included ceremonial law, moral law, civil law, and religious observances; and now the ball is in their court—will they obey the commandments handed down to them by Moses?


This passage parallels the passage which immediately precedes it: So the anger of Jehovah was inflamed against Israel, and He said, "Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed My voice, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of Jehovah as their fathers did, or not." (Judges 2:20–22). In our passage, which is a continuation of this passage, these nations are named and God’s reason for leaving them is repeated. What God is looking for is obedience to His mandates.


And sons of Israel lived among the Canaanite, the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

Judges

3:5

Therefore, the sons of Israel continued living among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.

Therefore, the sons of Israel continued to live among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And sons of Israel lived among the Canaanite, the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

Septuagint                              And the children of Israel dwelt among to the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

 

Significant differences:           None (I had to fix Brenton’s text to agree with the LXX).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       But they refused. And it was because of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites who lived all around them.

The Message                         But the People of Israel made themselves at home among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

HCSB                                     But they settled among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Young's Updated LT              And the sons of Israel have dwelt in the midst of the Canaanite, the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite,...


What is the gist of this verse? Israel then lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and the Jebusites.


You will notice in a precursory reading of this passage that there is some overlap between the people named in Judges 3:3 and those named here; and there are some additions and some exclusions. Let me suggest that, throughout the time period of the Judges, these are the people with whom Israel rubbed shoulders with; those listed here are people who might share a city with Israel; they might live in the city next to an Israelite city; and their relationship was one of tolerance and interaction. That is, the Jews sometimes married women (and men) from these groups; and these are people with whom Israel did not necessarily have a continued antagonistic relationship. On the other hand, those named in v. 3 were those with whom Israel warred more frequently. We find Canaanites on both lists, as there were a great many descendants from Canaan; and I assume the Hivites mentioned in v. 3 would not be those with whom Israel allied themselves.


Judges 3:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

3rd person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

qereb (ברק) [pronounced KEH-rebv]

midst, inward part

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #7130 BDB #899

With the bêyth preposition, it means in the midst of, among, into the midst of (after a verb of motion).

Kena׳ănîy (י.נֲע-נ) [pronounced ke-nah-ģuh-NEE]

merchant, trader; and is transliterated Canaanite, Canaanites

adjective/nominative gentilic; with the definite article

Strong’s #3669 BDB #489


Translation: Therefore, the sons of Israel continued living among the Canaanites,... Notice the difference here in the vocabulary as compared to v. 3. Here, Israel is living among the Canaanites; in vv. 1–3, the author named the nations which God left in the Land of Promise. Here, the author will name people who are left within the present borders of Israel, with whom Israel had close contact. Canaanites are a large group of people, who are scattered throughout the land.

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comments: The two peoples [the Israelites and the Canaanites] by degrees came to be on habits of intercourse. Reciprocal alliances were formed by marriage till the Israelites, relaxing the austerity of their principles, showed a growing conformity to the manners and worship of their idolatrous neighbors. Footnote Instead, their instructions were: "When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces” (Ex. 23:23–24).


Judges 3:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

Chittîy (י. ̣ח) [pronounced khiht-TEE]

transliterated Hittite

gentilic adjective; with the definite article

Strong’s #2850 BDB #366


Translation: ...the Hittites,... The Hittites are the sons of Heth, once thought to be some made-up group of peoples from the Bible.


It might be helpful to include what the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia and Easton have to say about the Hittites:

Introduction to the Hittites from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

The “sons of Heth” are noticed 12 times and the Hittites 48 times in the Old Testament. In 21 cases the name Occurs in the enumeration of races, in Syria and Canaan, which are said (Gen. 10:6 f) to have been akin to the early inhabitants of Chaldea and Babylon. From at least 2000 b.c. this population is known, from monumental records, to have been partly Semitic and partly Mongolic; and the same mixed race is represented by the Hittite records recently discovered in Cappadocia and Pontus. Thus, while the Canaanites (“lowlanders”), Amorites (probably “highlanders”), Hivites (“tribesmen”) and Perizzites (“rustics”) bear Semitic titles, the Hittites, Jebusites and Girgashites appear to have non–Sem names. Ezekiel (Ezek. 16:3, 15) speaks of the Jebusites as a mixed Hittite–Amorite people. Footnote

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

More Information about the Hittites from M. G. Easton

Palestine and Syria appear to have been originally inhabited by three different tribes.

(1.) The Semites, living on the east of the isthmus of Suez. They were nomadic and pastoral tribes.

(2.) The Phoenicians, who were merchants and traders; and

(3.) the Hittites, who were the warlike element of this confederation of tribes. They inhabited the whole region between the Euphrates and Damascus, their chief cities being Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Kadesh, now Tell Neby Mendeh, in the Orontes valley, about six miles south of the Lake of Homs. These Hittites seem to have risen to great power as a nation, as for a long time they were formidable rivals of the Egyptian and Assyrian empires. In the book of Joshua they always appear as the dominant race to the north of Galilee.

Somewhere about the twenty–third century b.c. the Syrian confederation, led probably by the Hittites, arched against Lower Egypt, which they took possession of, making Zoan their capital. Their rulers were the Hyksos, or shepherd kings. They were at length finally driven out of Egypt. Rameses II. sought vengeance against the “vile Kheta,” as he called them, and encountered and defeated them in the great battle of Kadesh, four centuries after Abraham.

They are first referred to in Scripture in the history of Abraham, who bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and the cave of Machpelah (Gen. 15:20 :23:3–18). They were then settled at Kirjath–arba. From this tribe Esau took his first two wives (Gen. 26:34; Gen. 36:2).

They are afterwards mentioned in the usual way among the inhabitants of the Promised Land (Ex. 23:28). They were closely allied to the Amorites, and are frequently mentioned along with them as inhabiting the mountains of Palestine. When the spies entered the land they seem to have occupied with the Amorites the mountain region of Judah (Num. 13:29). They took part with the other Canaanites against the Israelites (Joshua 9:1; Joshua 11:3).

After this there are few references to them in Scripture. Mention is made of “Ahimelech the Hittite” (1Sam. 26:6), and of “Uriah the Hittite,” one of David's chief officers (2Sam. 23:39; 1Chron. 11:41). In the days of Solomon they were a powerful confederation in the north of Syria, and were ruled by “kings.” They are met with after the Exile still a distinct people (Ezra 9:1; compare Neh. 13:23–28).

The Hebrew merchants exported horses from Egypt not only for the kings of Israel, but also for the Hittites (1Kings 10:28, 1Kings 10:29). From the Egyptian monuments we learn that “the Hittites were a people with yellow skins and 'Mongoloid' features, whose receding foreheads, oblique eyes, and protruding upper jaws are represented as faithfully on their own monuments as they are on those of Egypt, so that we cannot accuse the Egyptian artists of caricaturing their enemies. The Amorites, on the contrary, were a tall and handsome people. They are depicted with white skins, blue eyes, and reddish hair, all the characteristics, in fact, of the white race” (Sayce's The Hittites). The original seat of the Hittite tribes was the mountain ranges of Taurus. They belonged to Asia. Minor, and not to Syria. Footnote

I am sure that is way more than you wanted to know about the Hittites. For a century or so, their actual historicity was doubted. You must bear in mind that, simply because we do not have corroborating extra-Biblical evidence about this or that person, people or event found in Scripture, that does not indicate that Scripture has simply been made up at that point.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Judges 3:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Ĕmôrîy (י .רֹמ ֲא) [pronounced eh-moh-REE]

mountaineer (possibly); and is transliterated Amorite

gentilic adjective; with the definite article

Strong’s #567 BDB #57


Translation: ...the Amorites,...


It would not hurt to know a little about the Amorites.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on the Amorites

The word Amorite is always in the singular like the Babylonian Amurrû from which it is taken

The Varying Use of the Name Amorite: The name Amorite is used in the Old Testament to denote (1) The inhabitants of Palestine generally, (2) The population of the hills as opposed to the plain, and (3) a specific people under a king of their own. Thus (1) we hear of them on the west shore of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:7), at Hebron (Gen. 14:13), and Shechem (Gen. 48:22), in Gilead and Bashan (Deut. 3:10) and under Hermon (Deut. 3:8; Deut. 4:48). They are named instead of the Canaanites as the inhabitants of Palestine whom the Israelites were required to exterminate (Gen. 15:16; Deut. 20:17; Judges 6:10; 1Sam. 7:14; 1Kings 21:26; 2Kings 21:11); the older population of Judah is called Amorite in Joshua 10:5, Joshua 10:6, in conformity with which Ezek (Joshua 16:3) states that Jerusalem had an Amorite father; and the Gibeonites are said to have been “of the remnant of the Amorites” (2Sam. 21:2). On the other hand (2), in Num. 13:29 the Amorites are described as dwelling in the mountains like the Hittites and Jebusites of Jerusalem, while the Amalekites or Bedouins lived in the south and the Canaanites on the seacoast and in the valley of the Jordan. Lastly (3) we hear of Sihon, “king of the Amorites,” who had conquered the northern half of Moab (Num. 21:21–31; Deut. 2:26–35).

Varying Use of the Name Explained: Assyriological discovery has explained the varying use of the name. The Hebrew form of it is a transliteration of the Babylonian Amurrû, which was both sing. and plural. In the age of Abraham the Amurru were the dominant people in western Asia; hence Syria and Palestine were called by the Babylonians “the land of the Amorites.” In the Assyrian period this was replaced by “land of the Hittites,” the Hittites in the Mosaic age having made themselves masters of Syria and Canaan. The use of the name “Amorite” in its general sense belongs to the Babylonian period of oriental history.

The Amorite Kingdom: The Amorite kingdom was of great antiquity. About 2500 b.c. it embraced the larger part of Mesopotamia and Syria, with its capital probably at Harran, and a few centuries later northern Babylonia was occupied by an “Amorite” dynasty of kings who traced theft descent from Samu or Sumu (the Biblical Shem), and made Babylon their capital. To this dynasty belonged Khammu-rabi, the Amraphel of Gen_14:1. In the astrological documents of the period frequent reference is made to “the king of the Amorites.” This king of the Amorites was subject to Babylonia in the age of the dynasty of Ur, two or three centuries before the birth of Abraham He claimed suzerainty over a number of “Amorite” kinglets, among whom those of Khana on the Euphrates, near the mouth of the Khabur, may be named, since in the Abrahamic age one of them was called Khammu-rapikh and another Isarlim or Israel. A payment of a cadastral survey made at this time by a Babylonian governor with the Canaanite name of Urimelech is now in the Louvre. Numerous Amorites were settled in Ur and other Babylonian cities, chiefly for the purpose of trade. They seem to have enjoyed the same rights and privileges as the native Babylonians. Some of them were commercial travelers, but we hear also of the heads of the great firms making journeys to the Mediterranean coast.

The Amorite kingdom continued to exist down to the time of the Israelite invasion of Palestine, and mention is made of it in the Egyptian records as well as in the cuneiform Tell el-Amarna Letters, and the Hittite archives recently discovered at Boghaz-keui, the site of the Hittite capital in Cappadocia. The Egyptian conquest of Canaan by the kings of the 18th Dynasty had put an end to the effective government of that country by the Amorite princes, but their rule still extended eastward to the borders of Babylonia, while its southern limits coincided approximately with what was afterward the northern frontier of Naphtali. The Amorite kings, however, became, at all events in name, the vassals of the Egyptian Pharaoh. When the Egyptian empire began to break up, under the “heretic king” Amenhotep IV, at the end of the 18th Dynasty (1400 bc), the Amorite princes naturally turned to their more powerful neighbors in the north. One of the letters in the Tell el-Amarna correspondence is from the Pharaoh to his Amorite vassal Aziru the son of Ebed-Asherah, accusing him of rebellion and threatening him with punishment. Eventually Aziru found it advisable to go over openly to the Hittites, and pay the Hittite government an annual tribute of 300 shekels of gold. From that time forward the Amorite kingdom was a dependency of the Hittite empire, which, on the strength of this, claimed dominion over Palestine as far as the Egyptian frontier.

The second successor of Aziru was Abi-Amurru (or Abi-Hadad), whose successor bore, in addition to a Semitic name, the Mitannian name of Bentesinas. Bente-sinas was dethroned by the Hittite King Muttallis and imprisoned in Cappadocia, where he seems to have met the Hittite prince Khattu-sil, who on the death of his brother Muttallis seized the crown and restored Bente-sinas to his kingdom. Bente-sinas married the daughter of Khattu-sil, while his own daughter was wedded to the son of his Hittite suzerain, and an agreement was made that the succession to the Amorite throne should be confined to her descendants. Two or three generations later the Hittite empire was destroyed by an invasion of “northern barbarians,” the Phrygians, probably, of Greek history, who marched southward, through Palestine, against Egypt, carrying with them “the king of the Amorites.” The invaders, however, were defeated and practically exterminated by Ramses III of the 20th Egyptian Dynasty (1200 b.c.). The Amorite king, captured on this occasion by the Egyptians, was probably the immediate predecessor of the Sihon of the Old Testament.

Sihon's Conquest: Egyptian influence in Canaan had finally ceased with the invasion of Egypt by the Libyans and peoples of the Aegean in the fifth year of Meneptah, the successor of Ramses II, at the time of the Israelite Exodus. Though the invaders were repulsed, the Egyptian garrisons had to be withdrawn from the cities of southern Palestine, where their place was taken by the Philistines who thus blocked the way from Egypt to the north. The Amorites, in the name of their distant Hittite suzerains, were accordingly able to overrun the old Egyptian provinces on the east side of the Jordan; the Amorite chieftain Og possessed himself of Bashan (Deut. 3:8), and Sihon, “king of the Amorites,” conquered the northern part of Moab.

The conquest must have been recent at the time of the Israelite invasion, as the Amorite song of triumph is quoted in Num. 21:27–29, and adapted to the overthrow of Sihon himself by the Israelites. “Woe unto you,” it reads, “O Moab; you are undone, O people of Chemosh! (Chemosh) has given your sons who escaped (the battle) and your daughters into captivity to Sihon king of the Amorites.” The flame that had thus consumed Heshbon, it is further declared, shall spread southward through Moab, while Heshbon itself is rebuilt and made the capital of the conqueror: “Come to Heshbon, that the city of Sihon (like the city of David, 2Sam. 5:9) may be rebuilt and restored. For the fire has spread from Heshbon, the flame from the capital of Sihon, devouring as far as Moab, and swallowing up the high places of Arnon.” The Israelite invasion, however, prevented the expected conquest of southern Moab from taking place.

Disappearance of the Amorite Kingdom: After the fall of Sihon the Amorite kingdom disappears. The Syrians of Zobah, of Hamath and of Damascus take its place, while with the rise of Assyria the “Amorites” cease to be the representatives in contemporary literature of the inhabitants of western Asia. At one time their power had extended to the Babylonian frontier, and Bente-sinas was summoned to Cappadocia by his Hittite overlord to answer a charge made by the Babylonian ambassadors of his having raided northern Babylonia. The Amorite king urged, however, that the raid was merely an attempt to recover a debt of 30 talents of silver.

Physical Characteristics of the Amorites: In Num. 13:29 the Amorites are described as mountaineers, and in harmony with thins, according to Professor Petrie's notes, the Egyptian artists represent them with fair complexions, blue eyes and light hair. It would, therefore, seem that they belonged to the Libyan race of northern Africa rather than to the Semitic stock. In western Asia, however, they were mixed with other racial elements derived from the subject populations, and as they spoke a Semitic language one of the most important of these elements would have been the Semites. In its general sense, moreover, the name “Amorite” included in the Babylonian period all the settled and civilized peoples west of the Euphrates to whatever race they might belong. Footnote

The use of Amorite here was probably to those who lived in the hill country of Palestine, as opposed to the plains.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Judges 3:5d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Perizzîy (י. ̣ר) [pronounced per-ihz-ZEE]

which possibly means rural population, rustics; and is transliterated Perizzite

gentilic adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #6522 BDB #827


Translation: ...the Perizzites,...


There are certainly differing opinions on these ancient peoples.

Opinions as to Who the Perizzites Are

Scripture

Incident

Easton

Villagers; dwellers in the open country, the Canaanitish nation inhabiting the fertile regions south and south–west of Carmel. “They were the grazers, farmers, and peasants of the time.” They were to be driven out of the land by the descendants of Abraham (Gen. 15:20 Ex. 3:8, 17 23:23 33:2 34:11). They are afterwards named among the conquered tribes (Joshua 24:11). Still lingering in the land, however, they were reduced to servitude by Solomon (1Kings 9:20). Footnote

Fausset

[The Perizzites are] one of the ten doomed tribes of Canaan (Gen. 15:19–21). Six including Perizzite are enumerated Ex. 3:8, 17. The Canaanite and Perizzite are joined in Gen. 13:7. From Joshua 11:3; Joshua 17:15, they seem to have occupied the woods and mountains. Bochart (Phaleg. iv. 36) makes them an agrarian race living in villages only, the name signifying "rustics." Bezek was their stronghold, and Adoni–bezek their chief (Judges 1:4–5), in the S. of Palestine, also on the western sides of Mount Carmel (Joshua 17:15–18). Reduced to bond service by Solomon (1Kings 9:20 2Chron. 7:7). The Hebrew perezot, "unwalled country villages" or "towns," were inhabited by peasants engaged in agriculture like the Arab fellahs (Deut. 3:5 1Sam. 6:18 Ezek. 38:11 Zech. 2:4). Footnote

Smith’s Bible Dictionary

One of the nations inhabiting the land of promise before and at the time of its conquest by Israel. (1450 b.c.). They are continually mentioned in the formula so frequently occurring to express the Promised Land (Gen. 15:20 Ex. 3:8, 17 23:23 33:2 34:11). The notice in the book of Judges locates them in the southern part of the Holy Land. The signification of the name is not by any means clear. It possibly meant rustics, dwellers in open, unwalled villages, which are denoted by a similar word. Footnote

Again, it appears as though these are a people who continued to live within the Land of Promise after it was conquered by the Israelites.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Judges 3:5e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Chivvîy (י..ח) [pronounced khihv-VEE]

villagers, transliterated Hivite

masculine singular, gentilic adjective; with the definite article

Strong’s #2340 BDB #295


Translation: ...the Hivites...


Next to cover would be...

The Varying Opinions of the Hivites

Scripture

Incident

Easton

The Hivites are one of the original tribes scattered over Palestine, from Hermon to Gibeon in the south. The name is interpreted as “midlanders” or “villagers” (Gen. 10:17 1Chron. 1:15). They were probably a branch of the Hittites. At the time of Jacob's return to Canaan, Hamor the Hivite was the “prince of the land” (Gen. 24:2–28).


They are next mentioned during the Conquest (Joshua 9:7 11:19). They principally inhabited the northern confines of Western Palestine (Joshua 11:3 Judges 3:3). A remnant of them still existed in the time of Solomon (1Ki. 9:20). Footnote

Fausset

Hebrew always in the singular = "midlanders" (Ewald), "villagers" (Gesenius). Their abode was about Hermon and Lebanon (Joshua 11:3, "under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh"; Judges 3:3, "from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath"); toward Tyre (2Sam. 24:7), and Sichem or Shechem (Gen. 34:11), and Gibeon (Joshua 9:1, 7). Descended from Ham (Gen. 10:17). (See AVIM, with whom Septuagint identify them).


A warm, impulsive, unsuspicious people, as their readiness to accept the cunning proposition of Simeon and Levi shows; peaceful and commercial, more keen to gain cattle and wealth than to wage war, as the same story shows; as also that of Abimelech (Judges 8:33–9:53). The Shechemite idol Baalberith, "Baal of the covenant," was a god of peace not war. Their not revenging themselves on Jacob's family, as he feared, is another proof of their quiet spirit. The Gibeonite Hivites showed the same unwarlike spirit, with the additional element of craft wherewith they in their turn deceived Israel, as Jacob's sons had deceived their forefathers. Footnote

Smith’s Bible Dictionary

The Hivites (or the villagers) are descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham (Gen. 10:17; 1Chron. 1:15). We first encounter the actual people of the Hivites, at the time of Jacob's return to Canaan (Gen. 34:2).


We next meet with the Hivites, during the conquest of Canaan (Joshua 9:7 11:19). The main body of the Hivites were, at this time, living in the northern confines of western Palestine –– "under Hermon, in the land of Mizpeh" (Joshua 11:3), "in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon, to the entering in of Hamath" (Judges 3:3). Also see 2Sam. 24:7.

As you can see, the Hivites had several recorded encounters with the Hivites.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Judges 3:5f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Yebûçîy (י ̣סֻב׃י) [pronounced yevoo-SEE]

an inhabitant or descendant of Jebus; transliterated Jebusite

adjective gentilis with the definite article

Strong’s #2983 BDB #101

With a voluntative, cohortative or jussive, the wâw conjunction means that, so that. It expresses intention. The wâw conjunction can express informal inference or consequence (so, then, therefore); especially at the beginning of a speech. The wâw conjunction can connect alternative cases or contrasting ideas and be properly rendered or, but, yet. The wâw conjunction can also be rendered for.


Translation: ...and the Jebusites.


And we have one more people to cover:

Smith’s Bible Dictionary on the Jebusites

The Jebusites are the descendants of Jebus, who is the third son of Canaan (Gen. 10:16 1Chron. 1:14). The actual people first appear in the invaluable report of the spies (Num. 13:29). When Jabin organized his rising against Joshua, the Jebusites joined him (Joshua 11:3).

"Jebus, which is Jerusalem," lost its king, in the slaughter of Beth–horon (Joshua 10:1, 5, 26; compare with Joshua 12:10), was sacked and burned by the men of Judah (Judges 1:21), and its citadel finally scaled, and occupied by David (2Sam. 5:6).

After this, they emerge from the darkness, but once, in the person of Araunah, the Jebusite, "Araunah, the king," who appears before us in true kingly dignity, in his well–known transaction with David (2Sam. 24:23 1Chron. 21:24–25). Footnote

These people—the Canaanites, Amorites, Hivites, Perizzites, and the Jebusites represent the larger groups of people living within the land of Palestine after Joshua had conquered the land.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Again, the first thing that you might be asking yourself is, what is the difference between this and v. 3? Maybe you lost track in the details. Why do we have a list of heathen in both of these verses? In v. 3, we have the heathen tribes who existed in the Land of Promise as city-nations. These were people who were independent of Israel and generally hostile toward Israel. In this verse, we have the peoples who lived with the Israelites, generally sharing the same cities. Although their relationships were often strained, there were times of peace when Israel intermarried with these groups mentioned in this verse. Obviously, there is some overlap—there are some groups of Canaanites and Hivites who operate completely separately from Israel, and there are some Canaanites and Hivites who live among the Israelites. At the time that I write this, we—meaning the United States—have an uneasy relationship with some Arab nations. Many of our movies depict Arabs as our enemies. On the other hand, Arabs live among us as loyal, United States citizens. There is no contradiction in this; just as, in World War II, we were at war with the Japanese, even though there were hundreds of thousands of loyal Japanese who lived within our nation’s borders (whose loyalty we betrayed, by the way).


It is for the reasons cited in this chapter and the previous one that God allowed the heathen nations to live in with the Israelites. They were used to test and to discipline the Israelites. In fact, throughout the book of Judges we will see nothing but failure on the part of the Israelites and discipline and testing being done by God via the other peoples of the land. This is a book where it will be difficult to find one completely right thing being done by any person in Israel.


It may help to sum up the general areas that these people occupied.

The Probable Locations of These Peoples

Scripture

Incident

Amorites

The Amorites are ethnically indistinguishable from the Canaanites and generally occupy the hill country. Footnote

Canaanites

The name Canaanite here becomes more specialized and refers to those indigenous peoples who lived in the low lands.

Hittites

Although the Hittites, at one time, appeared to occupy a huge region east and northeast of Israel (stretching from the Euphrates all the way to Damascus), we apparently have pockets of them living norther of Galilee and/or in the mountain regions of Palestine.

Hivites

They appear to be living in the northern confines of western Palestine.

Jebusites

The Jebusites occupied Jerusalem.

Perizzites

These appear to be an agrarian people who lived in villages in southern Canaan.

Their Locations are also Given in Scripture:

Joshua 11:1–3

When Jabin, king of Hazor, heard of this, he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings who were in the northern hill country, and in the Arabah south of Chinneroth, and in the lowland, and in Naphoth-dor on the west, to the Canaanites in the east and the west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites under Hermon in the land of Mizpah.

It should be obvious that we are dealing with a large group of peoples who are scattered throughout the Land of Promise.

Gill sums this up by saying: [These are people] who all had cities in the several parts of the land, with whom the children of Israel were mixed, and with whom they were permitted to dwell. Footnote

We have exactly these same 6 tribes named in Ex. 3:8, 17 23:23 33:2 34:11 Deut. 7:1 20:17 Joshua 3:10 9:1 11:3 12:8 24:11 (in the first passage Deuteronomy and from two passages in Joshua, the Girgashites are added to the mix) 1Kings 9:20 (the Canaanites are not named—2Chron. 8:7 is a parallel passage) Ezra 9:1 (the Moabites and Egyptians are added to this list, but the Hivites are left out).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


These other people who remained in the land—this was a joint decision by God and the people. God had originally commanded Israel to remove all of the people of the land and, although part of Israel began this process, most of them did not, preferring peace to war, and preferring to place their enemies into slavery, perhaps thinking that to be more profitable and humane as opposed to just killing them. Because they chose to not remove the other peoples from the land, God chose to let the enemy nations remain to test Israel and her faith to the God Who brought them out of Egypt. They did not destroy the peoples, as Jehovah commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and learned their practices and served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons and they shed innocent blood—the blood of their sons and their daughters when they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan—and the land was polluted with the blood (Psalm 106:34–38).


Obviously, they failed the test. Now, what do we learn from this? (1) Israel did not have the entire Word of God, so Israel did not have a complete standard. (2) You may argue, but Israel had the Law, and that should have been enough—and you are partially correct—Israel did have enough of the Law to know what to do. However, the Word of God was not in their hands. It was difficult for Charlie Brown to open up his Bible to Deut. 8:2, even though Deut. 8:2 had already been written. (3) Israel did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Certain citizens of Israel and leaders had been given the Holy Spirit, but the population as a whole did not have access to the Holy Spirit, as we have today. For these reasons, they were failures.


Application: After reading these points, you should be asking: okay, we have the entire Bible and we all have easy access to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit today—so now what’s the problem? In each dispensation, God has a different array of circumstances and a different spiritual environment, if you will. What some religions teach is that, let’s say from this day forward, you decide to be righteous (through whatever deeds and thoughts get you called righteous by that religion). Shouldn’t an Almighty God, Who knows that you were born into sin, respect this and accept it as righteousness? The answer is no, and for two completely separate reasons: (1) God is a holy God Who cannot suffer sin (he cannot allow even the smallest sin in His realm); and, (2) no one, and I mean, NO ONE, ever, say one week or more prior to his death decides to turn their life around and to remove sin from their lives, and then successfully holds to that resolution for the rest of their lives. The choice that Adam made and the inheritance of the old sin nature run so deep in our nature, that even with full access to the Holy Spirit and even with full access to the Word of God, we cannot remain sinless. We might lead a relatively moral life; we might even be kind to most of the people we come into contact with; but, make no mistake, there are no Christians (or unbelievers) who have gone for a week or so without sin. The fall of Satan and then the fall of man was so effectual as to cause a completely unremovable blight from man’s existence. Only the most drastic measures can every restore us.


Application: Today, the less that you understand God’s plan and the Word of God, the more likely you are to question everything which happens around you—particularly the difficulties and the tragedies. In eternity future, you will fully understand every decision which God made that impacted you life, and you will see that decision as being a result of perfection and righteousness. In eternity future, you will understand the reasons and the importance of the events and the things which have occurred in your life, including what appeared to be at the time the most tragic events. In all of this, God character—His love and His righteousness—will be vindicated.


And so they took their daughters to themselves for wives and their daughters they gave to their sons and so they served their gods.

Judges

3:6

Consequently, they [the Israelites] took their daughters to themselves for wives and their own daughters they gave to their sons; therefore, they served their gods.

Consequently, their sons and daughters intermarried, resulting in worship and servitude to their heathen gods.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they took their daughters to themselves for wives and their daughters they gave to their sons and so they served their gods.

Septuagint                              And they took their daughters to themselves to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Some of the Israelites married the people of these nations, and that's how they started worshiping foreign gods.

The Message                         They married their daughters and gave their own daughters to their sons in marriage. And they worshiped their gods.

NLT                                        ...and they intermarried with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites worshiped their gods.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The Israelites allowed their sons and daughters to marry these people. Israel also served their gods.

HCSB                                     The Israelites took their daughters as wives for themselves, gave their own daughters to their sons, and worshiped their gods.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods.

Young's Updated LT              And they take their daughters to them for wives, and their daughters have given to their sons, and they serve their gods.


What is the gist of this verse? Instead of opposing the heathen in the land, the Jews interacted with them socially, to the point of intermarriage and attending their heathen religious rituals.


Judges 3:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

nâshîym (םי.שָנ) [pronounced naw-SHEEM]

women, wives

feminine plural noun; irregular plural of Strong’s #802

Strong’s #802 BDB #61


Translation: Consequently, they [the Israelites] took their daughters to themselves for wives... Given that sons of Israel is the subject of the previous and the next verse; it is reasonable to apply the 3rd person masculine plural to sons of Israel. They faced the strongest temptation a man can face—women—and took them as wives, despite God’s warning to them not to take heathen women to them as wives. Deu 7:1–4: "When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.”


Judges 3:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: ...and their own daughters they gave to their sons;... They allowed their own daughters to be married to heathen. This is actually a whole different thing, although we may not recognize it as such from our culture. The father, in many cases, could choose the husband for his daughter; or he could keep a marriage from occurring (see 1Cor. 7:36–38). The parent with a little knowledge could have prevented such marriages from taking place. However, apparently, for the most part, they did not do so.


Judges 3:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbad (ד ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor; to be a slave to

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5647 BDB #712

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...therefore, they served their gods. This is exactly what God warned against—serving heathen gods. The intermarriage which took place was not the problem; being seduced by heathen religion is the problem. This was first broken down through social interaction so complete, that they freely married one another. King Solomon is given as a prime example of this in 1Kings 11:1–4: Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, "You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.


Application: There is a lot of racial stuff which is taken out of context here. Some ministers teach that intermarriage between races (a rather imprecise term) is forbidden by the Bible. That is not what is being taught here. In fact, there are times when a white Protestant would be better off marrying a Black Baptist as opposed to a Caucasian Catholic. The key is the religious persuasion of the people, and this is stated and restated in Scripture so that only the most blind miss it. Now, if you don’t want to marry outside your general ethnic background, there is nothing wrong with that. That is your choice. If you are attracted to those outside your general ethnic background, then marriage is not forbidden. However, what the Bible clearly forbids is intermarriage between those who believe in the True God and heathen who worship Satan in one of his many forms. Let me be as clear on this as I can: Buddha is a representative of Satan; the Mormon John Smith is a representative of Satan; Mohammed is a representative of Satan; almost every single Pope is a representative of Satan. We are not to intermarry with those who are heathen and worship Satan and that is what these people are doing. Now, don’t get all weird and think we need to do something about them. We are not in the dispensation of Israel where these kinds of heathen were to be removed from the land. We are not Israel, even though we are true Israel’s spiritual children. We are in a dispensation of live and let live when it comes to the various religions, but we are not to be unequally yoked.


Application: For the most part, this is a no-brainer—you do not persecute those of other faiths. It is a no-brainer because this is a part of our American culture at the time that I write. However, in the past, this was not the case. One of the reasons that people came to the United States was for religious freedom; not to be free from religion, but to be able to worship God in the way they believed to be true. The key is, it was a different dispensation. So, during this period of time that we are studying, it would have been legitimate for the Jews in the land to attack and destroy the heathen who lived among them—unless, of course, they agreed to worship Jehovah Elohim, the True God of the Universe. In the first incarnation, our Lord could walk into the Temple and throw out the money changers, as He was still a part of the Age of Israel; and, more importantly, He is the Lord of Glory of Whom the Temple spoke. However, we don’t get to beat up the usher’s taking up a collection in our own churches; we don’t get to walk into the church’s office and destroy the cards or letters which deal with offerings; and we don’t get to walk down the street to the local mosque and burn it down. We are in a completely different dispensation, the chief difference being, in relationship to these matters, that we are not living in a theocracy and there are no theocracies for the Church Age. During the Age of Israel, Israel was a theocracy—a nation ruled by God. In the Church Age, there are no nations ruled by God. Law enforcement personnel are representatives of God, as Paul tells us, because they enforce the laws of the land; but we do not worship them, nor are they our religious leaders.


In fact, since we live in a different dispensation, and because so many Christians have no clue as to how to interact with unbeliever, let me spend some time on this. Christians get so goofy on dealing with unbelievers, primarily because they cannot differentiate between dispensations.

How Should Christians Deal with Heathen Today?

1.      You do not separate yourself from all the unbelievers in this world. You do not set up some kind of system to where the only people you allow yourself to come in contact with are other believers. 1Cor. 5:10

2.      You do not marry an unbeliever and you do not enter into a close relationship with an unbeliever if that relationship would compromise your testimony. 2Cor. 6:14

3.      If you marry an unbeliever, then you don’t get to divorce him or her on a whim, religious or otherwise. 1Cor. 7:12–15

Christians go totally weird on these points. Let me expand on these points below:


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Application: The Corinthians were all mixed up when it came to their relationships with unbelievers. Paul had to explain to them: I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not write you concerning the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. What I wrote was that you were not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one (1Cor. 5:9–11). When a believer is involved in gross sin and immorality (and we are not talking rumors here, but overt displays of rebellion against God), we are not to associate with those believers. In fact, these are the ones who are supposed to be removed from the church just like the Israelites were to remove the Canaanites from the land. We are not called upon to do a witch hunt and to ferret out the believers who have quietly and inconspicuously entered into the realm of immorality—just those who parade this immorality as a part of their day-to-day life. Those we separate from. However, we don’t separate from unbelievers, as the only way we could do that is to actually leave this world. We are surrounded by unbelievers and their immorality. How on earth, if you have no contact with unbelievers, can you bring them the gospel? And what if, while you were an unbeliever, every believer in your periphery shunned you? How would you have ever heard the gospel? And so we don’t get totally weird—this does not mean that you can’t send your child to a private school. What it does mean is that you do not make a day-to-day concerted effort to make certain that you are not in contact with unbelievers. It is your life and your testimony before them which helps to point them in the right direction.


Application: When it comes to close relationships, such as marriage or a business partnership, you don’t engage in these with unbelievers. That is, you do not marry an unbeliever no matter how much in love you are and no matter how marvelous they seem to be. Even if you just cannot bear to live even a minute outside their light, you don’t get to marry an unbeliever. Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership does righteousness and lawlessness have; or what fellowship exists between light and darkness. Of what harmony has Christ with Belial; or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (2Cor. 6:14–15). Although there would be times when a business partnership between and believer and an unbeliever would be allowed; you have to be careful. Your reputation as a believer is tied to that business. If the business practices are immoral, then you are associated immorality with Jesus Christ. If the business entertains prospective clients in ways which encourage immorality or drunkenness; if the business practices less than legitimate business strategy; this is all associated with you and you are associated with your Lord Jesus Christ. Now, to not go off on a completely other tangent, this does not mean you just keep praying about it until you have convinced yourself that it is okay to do. People, when they are uncertain about something, just keep praying until they are certain. This is goofy as well. Your guidance comes from God’s Word, not through prayer. In prayer, you are talking to God—He isn’t talking to you.


Application: Finally, you got married to an unbeliever, you became a believer, and now you see that you can get out of this marriage because he or she is an unbeliever. Wrong! If you are bound to a wife, do not seek to be released (1Cor. 7:27a). If any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away. and a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let her not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise, your children are unclean (1Cor. 7:12b–14a).


Application: Let me cover one more thing here: marrying outside your race. There are some groups of people who vehemently oppose intermarriage between races (even though the concept of a race is just about as imprecise as you can get). They often point to passages like this and some even go to passages which deal with the construction of the tabernacle to justify their weird ideas. First of all, getting married is an individual thing—if you find a particular race in general to be unattractive, then this doesn’t mean that you have to marry someone from that race because God allows marriage between different races. That is goofiest idea #1 to dispel. I mention this because some people hesitate becoming a believer or being willing to do what God has planned for them because they feel that God will choose for them what they do not want to do no matter what—like being a missionary and they don’t want to be a missionary no way no how. God does do things which are not our first choice. Had I known that the end result of my becoming a believer would be that I would move to Humble, TX, I might have balked, not wanting ever to move to anywhere, TX. However, after the fact, God has blessed me tremendously here—more than I could every fully grasp in this life. But I’ve strayed from my original point, intermarriage: Moses married an Ethiopian woman in Num. 12:1. Although God gives Moses hell over tapping the rock twice with his stick, God never deals with this marriage as though there is a problem. Rahab the prostitute of Jericho, who was a member of the people whom God specifically told Israel not to intermarry, married Salmon, of the house of Judah, and was in the line of our Lord (Matt. 1:4–5). Ruth, who was a Moabitess, married Boaz, and they were also in the line of Christ (and were only a couple of generations removed from the throne of David) (Matt. 1:5). My point is that there is intermarriage which is sanctified by the Word of God. Rahab was an exception to the specific prohibition of intermarriage between the sons of Israel and the Canaanites in the land. The key to the prohibition against intermarriage in the Bible is always corruption of the faith. When God’s Word is compromised, intermarriage is forbidden. With Rahab, we know there was no compromise; with Ruth, we know there was no compromise; with the Ethiopian woman, we can assume that there was no compromise, as her relationship with Moses never appears to become an issue with anyone but a couple of narrow-minded people (Miriam and then she fired up Aaron). For those who want more information, refer back to the Doctrine of Racial Intermarriage, found back in Ex. 34:16.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Othniel Delivers Israel from Cushan-rishathaim, King of Mesopotamia


Although it will appear as though this verse merely expands upon the previous phrase and served their gods; this verse actually begins a case history; the first heathen ruler who exacts a tribute from Israel, and the first judge who delivers Israel.


And so did sons of Israel the evil in a sight of Yehowah and so they forgot Yehowah their God and so they served the Baalim and the Asheroth.

Judges

3:7

Soon thereafter [lit., and so] the sons of Israel committed [lit., did] the [first and greatest] evil in the sight of Yehowah: they forgot Yehowah their God and they served the Baalim and the Asheroth [possibly, Ashtaroth].

So then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah, forgetting Jehovah their God and serving the Baals and the Asheroth—the gods of the Canaanites.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so did sons of Israel the evil in a sight of Yehowah and so they forgot Yehowah their God and so they served the Baalim and the Asheroth.

Septuagint                              And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves [which is the Greek translation of Asheroth].

 

Significant differences:           None, apart from the final word being translated rather than transliterated in the LXX.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Israelites sinned against the LORD by forgetting him and worshiping idols of Baal and Astarte.

The Message                         The People of Israel did evil in GOD's sight. They forgot their GOD and worshiped the Baal gods and Asherah goddesses.

NLT                                        The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. The forgot about the Lord their God, and they worshiped the images of Baal and the Asherah poles.

REB                                       The Israelites did what was wrong in the eyes of the Lord: forgetting the Lord their God, they served the baalim and the asheroth.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The people of Israel did what the LORD considered evil. They forgot the LORD their God and served other gods and goddesses-the Baals and the Asherahs.

HCSB                                     The Israelites did what was evil in the LORD's sight; they forgot the LORD their God and worshiped the Baals and the Asherahs.

JPS (Tanakh)                         The Israelites did what was offensive to the Lord; they ignored the Lord their God and worshiped the Baalim and the Asheroth.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.

Young's Updated LT              And the sons of Israel do the evil thing in the eyes of Jehovah, and forget Jehovah their God, and serve the Baalim and the shrines.


What is the gist of this verse? The end result of Israel intermarrying with the Canaanites was that they forget Jehovah Elohim, Who had brought their fathers to the Land of Promise, and they worshiped the heathen gods instead. This verse begins an specific historical event, rather than continues the generalization of the previous verses.


Judges 3:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ra׳ (ע ַר) [pronounced rahģ]

evil, bad, wicked; evil in appearance, deformed; misery, distress, injury; that which is displeasing [disagreeable, unhappy, unfortunate, sad]

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7451 BDB #948

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳êynayim (ם̣יַני̤ע) [pronounced ģay-nah-YIM]

eyes, two eyes, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes; face, appearance, form; surface

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

Together, the bêyth preposition and ׳ayin literally mean in the eyes of; it can be understood to mean in the opinion of, in the thinking of, in the estimation of; as ____ sees things to be.

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: Soon thereafter [lit., and so] the sons of Israel committed [lit., did] the [first and greatest] evil in the sight of Yehowah:... After intermarrying with the heathen around them, the people of Israel began to do evil in the sight of God. God had warned them not to intermarry and not to chase after the gods of the heathen; and yet they did. With this verse, we begin a specific historical example of this.


Judges 3:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâkach (ח ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHKH]

to forget; to forget and leave

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7911 BDB #1013

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...they forgot Yehowah their God... At the time, God had the Law written on stone for any Israelite to see (Deut. 27:2–3 Joshua 8:30–32). The Israelites were to gather at least thrice a year to observe sacrifices and to worship God (I would assume there were services wherein the Law was taught). Furthermore, we have the command of Moses: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you--with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant--and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you.” (Deut. 6:4–14). The Law of God was to be ingrained into their thinking by any means possible.


That Israel forgot their God means several things:

Israel Forgot Jehovah Their God

1.      Israel had forgotten their heritage; they had forgotten that God had led their forefathers out of Egypt and into the Land of Promise with great signs and wonders.

2.      In the United States, we have forgotten our own heritage. We have turned freedom of religion into freedom from religion; even though, through the clear references to God in our many historical documents, including the Declaration of Independence, we have sought to remove any mention of God from any governmental institution. Almost any student knows the phrase separation of church and state; although far fewer realize that this is not a part of our constitution; and that the guarantee was, our government would not establish a state or national religion (e.g., the Church of England; the Church of Rome).

3.      Israel no longer attended their thrice yearly gatherings to worship and celebrate the God Who bought them; although opinions vary widely on this issue, it appears as though, at best, Israel gathered yearly to recognize God—and that only during the time of Samuel and Eli. When Israel turns back to God in the book of Judges, this appears to be for only a temporary period of time.

4.      Israel had forgotten the Word of God; they no longer studied the Word and they no longer taught God’s Word to their children, as Moses had urged them.

5.      Not only did they marry outside their religion, but they began to follow the heathen gods and the heathen faiths of the Canaanites who lived around them.

Although we are not a theocracy in the United States, as Israel was, we are a client nation—a nation which preserves and teaches the Word of God; and a nation which regularly sends out missionaries to teach Jesus to those who have not heard.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Judges 3:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbad (ד ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor; to be a slave to

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5647 BDB #712

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Ba׳al (ל ַע ַ) [pronounced BAH-ģahl]

owner, lord, husband; transliterated Baal when referencing the heathen god

masculine plural noun

Strong's #1167 BDB #127


Translation: ...and they served the Baalim... Exactly as God had predicted and exactly as Moses had predicted—if the Israelites allowed the Canaanites to live in the land, then they would fall into idolatry. “They sacrificed to demons who were not God, whom they have not known who are recent and whom your fathers did not dread. You neglected the Rock Who begot you and you forgot the God Who gave you birth.” (Deut. 32:17–18). This occurred again and again. In fact, one of the key phrases of the book of the Judges is: Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of Jehovah and they served the Baals (Judges 2:11; see also Judges 3:12 4:1 6:1 10:6 13:1). And they forgot His deeds and His miracles that He had shown them...they did not remember His power, the day when He redeemed them from the adversary (Psalm 78:11, 42).


We studied the Doctrine of Baal in Num. 22:41 and this is the second time we have a reference to Baalim in Scripture (the first was in Judges 2:11). There is a debate as to whether this stands for the pantheon of gods of the heathen or whether this stands for the statues and images of same. So, let’s go to the Doctrine of Baalim.


I have found that it is helpful to abbreviate doctrines and place them within the exegesis.

The Abbreviated Doctrine of Baalim

1.      There are 4 possible interpretations of the use of the word Baalim (translated Baals, lords, Baalim):

         a.      This can be the intensive plural usage, as Elohim is occasionally used; when the noun often takes a singular verb, even though it is a plural noun.

         b.      This word can be used to refer to a specific pantheon of gods worshiped by the heathen.

         c.      Baalim could be a simple plural noun, referring to the variety of gods worshiped by the surrounding heathen.

         d.      Baalim might refer to the idols, carved images, and statuettes so often found among the heathen and in heathen Baal worship.

2.      In several passages, it is clear that this simply refers to the several gods worshiped by the heathen (Judges 3:5–7 10:6–8 Hosea 2:17).

3.      There is at least one instance where this may be reasonably interpreted as referring to the images and idols of Baal worship (1Sam. 7:3–4).

4.      There are a few instances where this word might be seen as an intensive plural or referring to a pantheon of gods; however, there is no passage which is so compelling as to demand that interpretation.

5.      The plural use of the noun; and its occasional use to refer to the images and idols, is a consistent application of this plural noun, which does no damage that I can see to the interpretation of any of the passages wherein the word I found.

If you would like to confirm this for yourself, either go to the complete doctrine of Baalim or examine the passages for yourself: Judges 2:11 3:7 8:33 10:6, 10 1Sam. 7:4 12:10 1Kings 18:18 2Chron. 17:3 24:7 28:2 33:3 34:4 Jer. 2:23 9:14 Hosea 2:13, 17 11:2.

You may think, this is a lot of time to spend on this little word; or, if you went to the doctrine itself, which is 5 pages long, you might think, this is way too much time to spend on this little word; the idea is, I want it to be clear what the meaning of the word is; and that there are no questions or preconceived notions to be applied; whether you spend anytime learning the entire doctrine is a whole other question.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Judges 3:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Ăshêrôwth (תרֵשֲא) [pronounced uh-shay-ROHTH]

happy; transliterated Asherahs, Asheroth; refers to the female goddesses, the figurines which represent the goddess; or groves or shrines where she is worshiped

feminine plural, proper noun

Strong’s #842 BDB #81


Translation: ...and the Asheroth [possibly, Ashtaroth]. Clarke tells us: Ashtaroth is read in this place by the Chaldee Targum, the Syriac, the Arabic, and the Vulgate, and by one of Dr. Kennicott’s manuscripts. Footnote You may wonder, is there really any actual difference here? Yes, there is. Asheroth generally refers to the idols which are worshiped or the groves or shrines Footnote where pagan gods and goddesses are worshiped (to confirm these meanings, see Ex. 34:13 Deut. 7:5 12:3 1Kings 14:15, 23 2Kings 17:10 18:4 23:14). Ashtaroth, however, refers to the goddesses which are worshiped. If Asheroth is the word here (which is what is found in the Masoretic text), then we are dealing with the images of the pagan female deities. This would indicate, through simple parallelism, that Baalim and Asheroth here together are the idols or images which represent the gods and goddesses of the pagan, who were simply demons which the heathen worshiped. If the other ancient manuscripts are correct, then this verse refers to the pagan deities, both male and female, which Israel served.


If this is a reference to the groves where this worship takes place, Gill makes several points:

Gill Explains the Groves

1.      Jupiter was worshiped in a grove of oaks, called the oak of Dodoma.

2.      Apollo was worshiped in a grove of laurels in Daphne.

3.      There were usually groves where idol temples were built.

4.      In Phœnicia, or Canaan, Dido the Sidonian queen built a temple for Juno in the midst of the city, where was a grove of an agreeable shade.1

5.      Barthius observes, that most of the ancient gods of the Heathens used to be worshipped in groves.2

6.      Even the groves and trees themselves were worshipped, as Tacitus says of the Germans, that they consecrated groves and forests, and called them by the names of gods.3

7.      Groves are here put in the place of Ashtaroth (Judges 2:13).

8.      Perhaps the goddesses of that name were worshipped in groves; and if Diana is meant by Astarte, Servius says that every oak is sacred to Jupiter and every grove to Diana.4

9.      Ovid speaks of a temple of Diana in a grove.5

10.    But as they are joined with Baalim, the original of which were deified kings and heroes, the groves may be such as were consecrated to them; for, as the same writer observes the souls of heroes were supposed to have their abode in groves.6

11.    It was in this time of defection that the idolatry of Micah, and of the Danites, and the war of Benjamin about the Levite's concubine, happened, though related at the end of the book; so Josephus places the account here.7

All of this was taken from Dr. John Gill, John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible; from e-Sword, Judges 3:7. The text was edited somewhat and put into points. The references which follow are his.

1  "Lucus in urbe fuit media", &c. Virgil. Aeneid. l. 1.

2  Animadv. ad Claudian. de raptu Proserp. l. 1. v. 205.

3  De mor. German. c. 9. Vid. Plin. l. 12. 1.

4  In Virgil. Georgic. l. 3. col. 295.

5  "Est nemus et piceis", &c. Ep. 12. v. 67. Vid. Metamorphous l. 11. Fab. 9. v. 560.

6  In Virgil. Aeneid. l. 1. col. 481. & in l. 3. col. 721.

7  Antiquities l. 5. c. 2. & 3.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


In my opinion, the early manuscripts are correct in this case, and the Hebrew is not. Serving the Baalim and the Ashtaroth makes more sense when these things are placed on equal footing as the male gods and female goddesses. It makes less sense for Baalim to refer to the male gods, and to have the word here for groves or shrines; and the verb fits better with gods and goddesses, rather than with the idols, carved images and figurines.


In any case, nowhere does the Bible teach that we all worship the same God, and just call Him by different names. Whether it is the Old Testament and the uniqueness of Jehovah, the God of Israel (see the 1st commandment or Deut. 6:4); or whether we are in the New Testament studying the absolute perfection and uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the Bible is clear that there is but One God and One Mediator between God and man the Man Christ Jesus (1Tim. 2:5).


With this verse, we begin a recognizable literary form Footnote found in the Judges: We begin with Israel becoming apostate, God sells them into oppression; in distress, they call out to God; God sends them a deliverer and temporarily delivers them. We will find this general scenario repeated in Judges 3:12–30 as well. Because this form is found several times throughout the Judges, I show a section break at v. 7 rather than v. 8.


And so burned an anger of Yehowah against Israel and so He sold them into a hand of Cushan-rishathaim, a king of Aram-Naharaim. And so served sons of Israel Cushan-rishathaim eight years.

Judges

3:8

So then the anger of Yehowah burned against Israel and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim, the king of Aram-Naharaim [probably, Mesopotamia]. The sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.

Therefore, the anger of Jehovah burned against Israel and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim, the king of Mesopotamia. Afterwards, the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:


 

Masoretic Text                       And so burned an anger of Yehowah against Israel and so He sold them into a hand of Cushan-rishathaim, a king of Aram-Naharaim. And so served sons of Israel Cushan-rishathaim eight years.

Septuagint                              Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.

 

Significant differences:           Apart from the proper noun Mesopotamia, there are no significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       This made the LORD angry, so he let Israel be defeated by King Cushan Rishathaim of northern Syria, who ruled Israel eight years and made everyone pay taxes.

The Message                         GOD's hot anger blazed against Israel. He sold them off to Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim. The People of Israel were in servitude to Cushan-Rishathaim for eight years.

TEV                                        So the Lord became angry with Israel and let King Cushan Rishathaim of Mesopotamia conquer them. They were subject to him for eight years.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The LORD became angry with the people of Israel. He used King Cushan Rishathaim of Aram Naharaim to defeat them. So Israel served Cushan Rishathaim for eight years.

HCSB                                     The LORD's anger burned against Israel, and He sold them to Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram of the Two Rivers, and the Israelites served him eight years.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And the anger of Jehovah was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. And the sons of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight year.

Young’s Updated LT             And the anger of Jehovah burns against Israel, and He sells them into the hand of Chushan-Rishathaim king of Aram-Naharaim, and the sons of Israel serve Chushan-Rishathaim eight years.


What is the gist of this verse? Because Israel had fallen into idolatry, God put them under the thumb of Chushan-Rishathaim, the king of Mesopotamia, for a period of 8 years.


Judges 3:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

chârâh (חָר ָה) [pronounced khaw-RAWH]

to burn, to kindle, to become angry, to evoke great emotion

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #2734 BDB #354

aph (ף ַא) [pronounced ahf]

nose, nostril, but is also translated face, brow, anger

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #639 BDB #60

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: So then the anger of Yehowah burned against Israel... What burned was the anger of Jehovah. It burned against Israel for their idolatry. Since God had redeemed (purchased) Israel, it was up to Him whether or not to sell Israel. Israel had completed a very successful conquest of the land. However, their success was due to God, and when they turned from Him, He would send them failure. “You neglected the Rock Who begot you and you forgot the God Who gave you birth. And Jehovah observed and spurned them, because of the provocation of His sons and daughters. Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them; I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, sons in whom is no faithfulness...I will heap misfortunes upon them; I will use My arrows on them.” (Deut. 32:18–20, 23). And the anger of Jehovah burned against Israel and He gave them into the hands of looters who looted them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies (Judges 2:14).


Judges 3:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâkar (ר-כ ָמ) [pronounced maw-KAHR]

to sell, to sell [betroth] [a daughter]; to sell [deliver over] [a people]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #4376 BDB #569

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand literally means in [the] hand of; and can be rendered in the power of; by the power of; with; through, by, by means of; before, in the sight of.

Kûwshan Rishe׳âthayim (ם.י-תָע ש .ר ן-ש) [pronounced koo-SHAHN-rish-ģaw-THAH-yim]

twice-wicked Cushan; and is transliterated Cushan-rishathaim

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #3573 BDB #469

This proper noun is apparently a combination of Strong’s #3572 and the dual of #7564. The latter word means malevolence, corrupt nature, reprehensiveness, wickedness. The former is simply the proper noun Cushan.


Translation: ...and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim,... According to the NIV Study Bible, Cushan-rishathaim is probably a caricature of the of the name of the ruler who was involved here. In the Hebrew, this means doubly evil Cushan. Footnote

 

Barnes: Nothing is known from history, or the cuneiform inscriptions, of the political condition of Mesopotamia at this time, though Thotmes I and III in the 18th Egyptian dynasty are known to have invaded Mesopotamia. It is, however, in accordance with such an aggressive Aramean movement towards Palestine, that as early as the time of Abram we find the kings of Shinar and of Elam invading the south of Palestine. There is also distinct evidence in the names of the Edomitish kings (Gen. xxxvi. 32, 35, 37) of an Aramean dynasty in Edom about the time of the early Judges. Compare, too, Job I. 17. Footnote


It should be also noted that those who temporarily ruled over Israel were not more righteous than Israel in any way; they were simply used by God to discipline Israel. You have sold your people cheaply and You have not profited by their sale. You have made us a reproach to our neighbors—a scoffing and a derision to those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations and a laughingstock among the peoples. All day long my dishonor is before me and my humiliation has overwhelmed me, because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles, because of the presence of the enemy and the avenger (Psalm 44:12–16). At some point in time, we here in the United States may find ourselves under the domination of an Arab power, or the power of the Chinese communists; or subdued by a reorganized USSR. It is not that they have become more righteous, but that we deserted our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Judges 3:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

Ăram (ם-רֲא) [pronounced uh-RAHM]

the highland; exalted; and is transliterated Aram

masculine singular construct, proper noun

Strong’s #758 BDB #74

The difference between this noun and Strong’s #758 is the vowel point, which was added much later (we have an a here instead of an â. This is simply the construct state of Ărâm.

nâhărayim (ם.י-רֲהָנ) [pronounced naw-huh-rah-YIM]

two rivers; two streams

masculine dual noun

Strong’s #5104 BDB #625

Together, these nouns are listed as Strong’s #763 BDB #74. We could reasonably render this as Aram of the two rivers, which is Mesopotamia.

The Septuagint and the Vulgate render this as Mesopotamia.


Translation: ...the king of Aram-Naharaim [probably, Mesopotamia]. The Hebrew here is transliterated Aram-Naharaim, which means high place between two rivers. We are speaking of Mesopotamia, which lies between the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers (although it is possible that this could refer to the Euphrates and one of its tributaries). Throughout the book of Judges, we are not told what portion of Israel is taken into servitude. My impression is that this might involve one or more tribes, but not really all of Israel. Furthermore, it appears as though some of the events in the book of Judges ran concurrently (at least, at the very end).

 

Wesley tells us: Mesopotamia was that part of Syria which lay between the two great rivers, Tigris and Euphrates. This lay at such a distance, that one would not have thought Israel's trouble should have come from such a far country: which reveals so much the more of the hand of God in it. Footnote


By the way, we have a little play on words here, which is completely lost to those reading this in the English. We are speaking of the doubly-corrupt Cushan, king of Aram of the two rivers.

 

Matthew Henry gives us a good background here: Cushan-Rishathaim is the king of that Syria which lay between the two great rivers of Tigris and Euphrates, then called Mesopotamia, which signifies in the midst of rivers. It is probable that this was a warlike prince, and, aiming to enlarge his dominions, he invaded the two tribes first on the other side Jordan that lay next him, and afterwards, perhaps by degrees, penetrated into the heart of the country, and as far as he went put them under contribution, exacting it with rigour, and perhaps quartering soldiers upon them. Laban, who oppressed Jacob with a hard service, was of this country; but it lay at such a distance that one could not have thought Israel's trouble would come from such a far country, which shows so much the more of the hand of God in it. Footnote


Judges 3:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

׳âbad (ד ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor; to be a slave to

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5647 BDB #712

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Kûwshan Rishe׳âthayim (ם.י-תָע ש .ר ן-ש) [pronounced koo-SHAHN-rish-ģaw-THAH-yim]

twice-wicked Cushan; and is transliterated Cushan-rishathaim

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #3573 BDB #469

This proper noun is apparently a combination of Strong’s #3572 and the dual of #7564. The latter word means malevolence, corrupt nature, reprehensiveness, wickedness. The former is simply the proper noun Cushan.

shemôneh (ה∵נֹמ ש) [pronounced shemoh-NEH]

eight

masculine singular numeral

Strong’s #8083 BDB #1032

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040


Translation: The sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years. This particular king is not known to history, at least by the name Cushan-rishathaim; however, the ZPEB is quite informative on this point. Since Othniel will be the deliverer later alluded to, it is most likely that this incident occurred soon after the death of Joshua, since Othniel is mentioned in Joshua 15:17 and Judges 1:13 (recall that we had a tough time determining just exactly how he and Caleb were related). Aram-Naharaim (or Aram of the two rivers) is known both from Egyptian Manuscripts as well as from the Tell-el-amarna (the Amarna letters). ZPEB suggests that the people could have been the Mitanni and that Cushan-rishathaim was a Hittite ruler of that time period. This is further made reasonable by the fact that the Assyrian empire was on the rise in the 12th century. ZPEB offers another theory which they describe as highly speculative. Footnote Given the location of Mesopotamia, it is likely that they had encroached on the land of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

 

Edersheim claims that there are Persian traditions that the monarchs of Iran, who held dominion “by the streams,” waged war against Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor. Of their heroes, who are described as Cushan, or from the land of Chusitan (= Scythians, Parthians?), the most notable is Rustan or Rastam, a name evidently akin to Rishathaim. Footnote This suggests that this was either a real title or a play of words on the title.


It is also suggested that Cushan is an adjective based upon Cush, meaning that we may be dealing with a Cushite coalition; or that Ethiopia had ties with Mesopotamia. From the little information given, it is difficult to tell what the connection is, if any.


The Israelites sold themselves into slavery to the gods of the Canaanites, worshiping that which is not-God; God therefore gave them into slavery to those whose god is not Jehovah. God actually started out quite easy. They are not but a few decades away from the generation of men who brought them into the Land of Promise, and already, this younger generation has strayed so far from the truth as to worship the gods of the heathen around them. Eight years of subjection to Mesopotamia is not much more than a little nudge.


I want you to clearly recognize here that, if all nations and peoples worship the same God, yet refer to Him by different names, then the Bible is in strong disagreement with this idea. Here, the basic problem is that Israel intermarried with the heathen of the land; and these heathen led Israel astray to worship other gods. You cannot hold to the liberal notion that “We call God, God; but others call Him Buddha or Allah.” If this were the case, God’s discipline of Israel throughout the book of Judges would make little or not sense, because their transgression is worshiping the gods of the people still living in the land. If their gods are equally valid, then God would have no reason to discipline Israel.


Application: You are free to believe in whatever you want to believe in; however, you cannot hold to the Bible and, at the same time, think that all religions are equally valid; or that all religions simply worship the same God, but with a different name. This is in strong disagreement with the Bible.


And so cried sons of Israel unto Yehowah. And so raised up Yehowah a deliverer for sons of Israel. And so delivered them Othniel ben Kenaz, brother of Caleb, the younger [brother].

Judges

3:9

Then the sons of Israel cried to Yehowah, so Yehowah raised up a savior for the sons of Israel. Othniel ben Kenaz, [younger] brother of Caleb, delivered them.

As these eight years dragged on, the sons of Israel cried in desperation to Jehovah; therefore, Jehovah raised up a savior on their behalf: Othniel, the son of Kenaz, who was the younger brother of Caleb.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so cried sons of Israel unto Yehowah. And so raised up Yehowah a deliverer for sons of Israel. And so delivered them Othniel ben Kenaz, brother of Caleb, the younger [brother].

Septuagint                              And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, and the LORD raised up a deliverer [or, savior] to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Israelites begged the LORD for help, and he chose Othniel to rescue them. Othniel was the son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz.

The Message                         The People of Israel cried out to GOD and GOD raised up a savior who rescued them: Caleb's nephew Othniel, son of his younger brother Kenaz.

NLT                                        But when Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord raised up a man to rescue them. His name was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help. The LORD sent a savior to rescue them. It was Othniel, son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz.

HCSB                                     The Israelites cried out to the LORD. So the LORD raised up Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's youngest brother as a deliverer to save the Israelites.

JPS (Tanakh)                         The Israelites cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised a champion for the Israelites to deliver them: Othniel the Kenizzite, a younger kinsman of Caleb.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                             When the children of Israel cried to Yahweh, Yahweh raised up a savior to the children of Israel, who saved them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.

Young’s Updated LT             And the sons of Israel cry unto Jehovah, and Jehovah raises a saviour to the sons of Israel, and he saves them—Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.


What is the gist of this verse? Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, is raised up by God to deliver Israel.


Judges 3:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

zâ׳aq (ק ַע ָז) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

to cry out, to call, to cry

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto; into, among, in; toward, to; against; concerning, regarding; besides, together with; as to

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: Then the sons of Israel cried to Yehowah,... This was somewhat of a shock to the children of Israel; God gave them the land (which they had forgotten the details of); and, suddenly, they were under the control of this heathen king who, apparently, was collecting tribute from them. This caused them to re-discover the God they had forgotten, and they cried out to Jehovah for help.


I want you to realize that Israel here was not simply whining because their taxes were too high. The tribute which they were expected to pay was apparently extraordinary; to the point where they were barely able to pay what was expected of them. I would be hard-pressed to come up with a percentage at this point, but perhaps they were paying in the 60–90% range, so that they were left with bare sustenance. Very few of us have any sort of grasp as to how hard farmers work. In fact, most of us would be unable to handle what they do. Most of Israelis farmed; and most of what they produced was being taken from them by the king of Mesopotamia. Very likely, on a regular basis, the army of Cushan-rishathaim would come into Israel and demand payment—probably during the harvest times (which would be twice a year). Whereas, Israel was supposed to leave 10% of their fields unharvested for the poor, that may have been all that was left for them as a nation. A huge army would show up, say twice yearly, demanding tribute; and a town-ful of farmers had no recourse but to pay them what they desired. At some point, it got so bad, that Israel knew not where to turn, so they cried out to their God, Jehovah.


There are details which are, obviously, left out. Were these prayers offered before the Tabernacle of God, when they gathered at the Tabernacle? Were these individuals praying to God? We don’t know, and reasonable arguments might be made for both approaches; however, what is clear is, even though Israel had forgotten the God Who bought them, they had the means with which to recall Him, and then to go to Him. That is, somehow, some way, God’s truth is revealed to them; and they call out to Jehovah, the God Who bought them. Maybe their parents had told them of Jehovah God, and they had forgotten, in their pursuit of heathen women and in the pursuit of their gods. Perhaps they rediscovered the Tabernacle of God and perhaps a priest spoke from God’s Word there.


In any case, these Israelites are helpless and in a hopeless situation. They seem to lack the organization to respond to Cushan-rishathaim, whose army is probably extensive. They are completely undeserving, and still they call out to the God of their fathers.

 

Matthew Henry paints an interesting, hypothetical picture at this point: At first the Jews made light of their trouble, and thought they could easily shake off the yoke of a prince at such a distance; but, when it continued eight years, they began to feel the smart of it, and then those cried under it who before had laughed at it. Those who in the day of their mirth had cried to Baalim and Ashtaroth now that they are in trouble cry to the Lord from whom they had revolted, whose justice brought them into this trouble, and whose power and favour could alone help them out of it. Affliction makes those cry to God with importunity who before would scarcely speak to him. Footnote


Judges 3:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to cause to raise up, to cause to stand, to establish, to fulfill; to uphold, to perform [a testimony, a vow, a commandment, a promise]

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

yâsha׳ (עַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHĢ]

deliverer, savior, saving; less literally, redeemer, rescuer, lifesaver, liberator

masculine singular, Hiphil participle

Strong’s #3467 BDB #446

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

 

Translation: ...so Yehowah raised up a savior for the sons of Israel. The word deliverer is the Hiphil participle of yâsha׳ (ע ַש ָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHĢ], which means to deliver, to save. Joshua’s name was in part built upon this word. Yâsha׳, in the participle, should be translated deliverer, savior; and less literally, redeemer, rescuer, lifesaver, liberator.


Note that Israel is completely undeserving; all they have done is cried out to God—they have not removed the altars of the false gods, they have not repudiated the pagan gods—but they have called out to Jehovah God instead of these heathen gods.


Also note, in this dark time, when Israel is completely undeserving, Jehovah raises up a savior for the sons of Israel. Obviously, that savior comes from the sons of Israel. Even in a time when we have so few people functioning as God requires, still, even in His Word, there is foreshadowing of Jesus Christ to come—a Savior raised up from the sons of Israel, for the very undeserving sons of Israel.


Judges 3:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

yâsha׳ (עַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHĢ]

to deliver, to save; to set free, to preserve; to aid, to give relief

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3467 BDB #446

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳Âthenîyêl (ל̤אי.נ תָע) [pronounced ģoth-nee-ALE]

possibly lion of God; God is might; and is transliterated Othniel

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #6274 BDB #801

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Qenaz (ז-נ ק) [pronounced keNAHZ],

possibly side, flank; is transliterated Kenaz

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #7073 BDB #889

âch (ח ָא) [pronounced awhk]

brother, kinsman or close relative

masculine singular construct

Strong's #251 BDB #26

Keleb (ב∵ל∵) [pronounced KEH-lebv]

dog; transliterated Caleb

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3612 BDB #477

qâţôn (ןטָק or ןֹט ָק) [pronounced kaw-TOHN]

small, insignificant; a word particularly used for youth, younger

masculine singular adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #6995 & #6996 BDB #882


Translation: Othniel ben Kenaz, [younger] brother of Caleb, delivered them. You will recall that Caleb had been given an area of Judah which required some additional conquering. The city of Kiriath-sepher was captured by Othniel, who won the hand of Caleb’s daughter as a part of his victory. However, we will get to know very little about Othniel. Edersheim suggests that his name means lion of God or my lion of God.


There is a question here whether it is Othniel or Kenaz who is the brother of Caleb. Furthermore, brother is not an exact term in the Hebrew; it can mean kinsman or close relative. We discussed Othniel’s relationship to Caleb in Joshua 15:16 and in Judges 1:13, concluding that determining the exact relationship is quite difficult. One possibility is that Othniel is Caleb’s much younger brother, born to Caleb’s father. This causes us problems, as they are named Othniel ben Kenaz and Caleb ben Jephunneh, the Kennizite. Usually, if they are brothers, then they have the same father and they are so named. The easiest explanation is, Kenaz is Caleb’s brother, and Othniel is his son, making Othniel Caleb’s nephew. In either case, we are not too far removed from the time of Caleb, Joshua’s contemporary. This suggests that we are in the generation which was first born in the Land of Promise, and the next couple of generations born after them. This is based upon Othniel being a much younger brother to Caleb, or, more likely Caleb’s nephew. Also, he became Caleb’s son-in-law as well, through marriage to Caleb’s daughter (whom I assume is born late in Caleb’s life—see Joshua 15:16–17 Judges 1:12).


Now, despite there being some confusion as to their exact relationship, I think Othniel is mentioned here in relation tro Caleb so that we know that we are very close to the generation who took the Land of Promise. This is not something which took place 100 or 200 years later, when Israel eventually forgot the God Who bought them; this is probably the first generation of those born in the Land of Promise. Time-wise this makes sense; and context gives this sense as well.


Since Othniel had already distinguished himself back in Joshua 15:16–17, he would be one of the older, but well-respected men; someone with a good reputation. If you go back and examine the history closely, you will see that Moses was older than most of the generation that he led to the Land of Promise (gen X died out in the desert). Joshua also appears to be older than most of the men whom he led in the desert (his generation, gen X), had died out before the Jews marched up the roads in what would become eastern Israel, in order to enter Israel from the east. I would reasonably surmise that Othniel is a throwback himself; a retired general who comes out of retirement to lead Israel during this crisis. He has the right stuff; he has the true leadership capabilities; he knows Jehovah, God of Israel.

 

Clarke on Othniel: This noble Hebrew was of the tribe of Judah, and nephew and son-in-law to Caleb, whose praise stands without abatement in the sacred records. Othniel was already well-known for his valor in taking Kirjath-sepher, which appears to have been a very hazardous exploit. By his natural valor, experience in war, and the peculiar influence of the Divine Spirit, he was well qualified to inspire his countrymen with courage, and to lead them successfully against their oppressors. Footnote

 

Matthew Henry waxes poetically about Othniel: Othniel is Israel’s deliverer, the one who married Caleb's daughter, one of the old stock that had seen the works of the Lord, and had himself, no question, kept his integrity, and secretly lamented the apostasy of his people, but waited for a divine call to appear publicly for the redress of their grievances. He was now, we may suppose, far advanced in years, when God raised him up to this honour, but the decays of age were no hindrance to his usefulness when God had work for him to do. Footnote


This cycle of Israel turning from God, being oppressed, crying out to God (Judges 3:15 4:3 6:7 10:10), and then being delivered by God is repeated throughout the book of the Judges, as was pointed out in the introduction to this book. However, this is an essential part of the history of Israel (see, for example, 1Sam. 12:10 Psalm 106:34–43). Just as God sent a deliverer to rescue Israel, God would also send a deliverer to save all of mankind.


And so was upon him a Spirit of Yehowah; and so he judged Israel and so he went out to war and so gave Yehowah into his hand Cushan-rishathaim, a king of Aram. And so prevailed his hand over Cushan-rishathaim.

Judges

3:10

The Spirit of Yehowah was upon him and he judged Israel. He went out to war and Yehowah gave Cushan-rishathaim, the king of Aram, into his hand, and his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

The Spirit of Jehovah was upon him and he judged Israel. When he went to war against Cushan-rishathaim, the king of Aram, Jehovah gave Cushan-rishathaim into his hand and he prevailed over him.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so was upon him a Spirit of Yehowah; and so he judged Israel and so he went out to war and so gave Yehowah into his hand Cushan-rishathaim, a king of Aram. And so prevailed his hand over Cushan-rishathaim.

Septuagint                              And the Spirit of the LORD came [Hebrew reads was] upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Spirit of the LORD took control of Othniel, and he led Israel in a war against Cushan Rishathaim. The LORD gave Othniel victory,...

The Message                         The Spirit of GOD came on him and he rallied Israel. He went out to war and GOD gave him Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim. Othniel made short work of him.

TEV                                        The spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he became Israel’s leader. Othniel went to war, and the Lord gave him the victory over the eking of Mesopotamia.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         When the LORD'S Spirit came over him, he became the judge of Israel. He went out to war. The LORD handed King Cushan Rishathaim of Aram Naharaim over to him, and Othniel overpowered him.

HCSB                                     The Spirit of the LORD was on him, and he judged Israel. Othniel went out to battle, and the LORD handed over Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram to him, so that Othniel overpowered him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

LTHB                                     And the Spirit of Jehovah was put on him, and he judged Israel. And he went out to war, and Jehovah gave Chushan-rishathaim the king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand had power over Chushan-rishathaim.

Young’s Updated LT             And the Spirit of Jehovah is upon him, and he judges Israel, and goes out to battle, and Jehovah gives unto his hand Chushan-Rishathaim king of Aram, and strong is his hand against Chushan-Rishathaim.


What is the gist of this verse? The Spirit of Jehovah is upon Othniel, and he has a position of authority in Israel and he goes out to battle against Cushan-rishathaim, and God gives this king (and apparently his army) into the hand of Othniel (i.e., Othniel defeats the army of this much-feared king).


Judges 3:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

It is typical in the Hebrew for each sentence—in fact, each thought—to begin with a wâw consecutive in the Hebrew. However, it is not necessary in an English translation to include a connective at every such juncture, as our language does not necessarily require that for successive thoughts or actions.

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

rûwach (ַחר) [pronounced ROO-ahkh]

wind, breath, spirit, apparition

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #7307 BDB #924

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: The Spirit of Yehowah was upon him... Notice that the Holy Spirit was upon Othniel during the time that he judged, as well as the time that he went into battle. We will see this same phrase again and again in this book spoken those who deliver Israel (Judges 6:34 11:29 13:25 14:6, 19).


One of the primary differences between the dispensation of Israel and the dispensation of the church is that everyone in the Church Age is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and therefore has the option of being filled or not by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12:12–17 Gal. 5:16 Eph. 5:18). This means we all play a major part in the plan of God (1Cor. 12:13–17); in the Old Testament, there were just a select few people who were filled with the Spirit, or, anointed by the Holy Spirit; and therefore, only a few select people guided the destiny of Israel (Num. 11:25–29 24:2 27:18 Judges 6:34 11:29 1Sam. 11:6 16:13 2Chron. 15:1). Now some commentaries go crazy at the mention of the Holy Spirit and indicate that He was given for extraordinary projects and those with the Holy Spirit did incredible things. This is perhaps a bit too enthusiastic. Given what is recounted about Othniel and Ehud in this chapter, their deeds, albeit heroic, were not extraordinary in any sort of supernatural sense. I am not downgrading their part in God’s plan, but some people are mistaken to think that the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit automatically implies that they will perform supernatural acts. It is the Spirit of God which, in both the Old and New Testaments, allows us to be a part of God’s plan and to participate in God’s plan. Apart from the Holy Spirit, our actions are meaningless with regards to eternity. There is nothing in this context which indicates that anything spectacular happened, from our standards. It is possible that it did, but the historian did not record it.

 

Gill tells us that the Spirit of Jehovah was upon him, and He moved him to engage in this work of delivering Israel, inspired him with courage, and filled him with every needful gift, qualifying him for it; the Targum interprets it the spirit of prophecy; it seems father to be the spirit of counsel and courage, of strength and fortitude of body and mind. Footnote Gill recognizes that Othniel will need more than the ability to oversee Israel during a military engagement.


We actually do not see what Israel does by way of the putting away of idols. We may reasonably assume that they did so, both before and after this engagement; and because we are told that Israel cries out to God. We are not given any idea as to how much of the Mosaic Law of reinstated.


Judges 3:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâphaţ (טַפָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

to judge, to condemn, to punish; to defend [especially the poor and oppressed], to defend [one’s cause] and deliver him from his enemies; to rule, to govern

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

 

Translation: ...and he judged Israel. The office that Othniel possessed is simply described by the Qal imperfect of shâphaţ (ט ַפ ָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT], which means to judge, to condemn, to punish; to defend [especially the poor and oppressed], to defend [one’s cause] and deliver him from his enemies; to rule, to govern. Zodhiates offers the possibility that this means to vindicate, which, although a quite interesting interpretation, does not fit with its first few usages (Ex. 18:16, 22, 26 Num. 35:24). In fact, this is an interpretation which I would love to run with at this juncture, but one which does not really fit. Since the entirety of this verse appears to deal with Othniel defeating Cushan in battle, this word is not used here in any sort of judicial capacity, but more in a leadership-ruler capacity. Othniel is functioning as the defender of Israel; as the ruler of Israel.

 

Matthew Henry suggests the following: Othniel’s first steps are: he first judges Israel, reproves them, calls them to account for their sins, and reforms them, and then he goes out to war. This was the right method. Let sin at home be conquered, that worst of enemies, and then enemies abroad will be the more easily dealt with. Thus let Christ be our Judge and Law–giver, and then he will save us, and on no other terms (Isa. 33:22). Footnote Although we do not really have any details in Scripture, Henry does make an excellent point here. This would also give us good reason why we even have this short phrase ...and Othniel judged Israel. We could have seen, ...and Othniel led Israel in battle or ...and Othniel fought against Cushan; but we have instead that he judged/defended/ruled/governed Israel. I think what Henry suggests here is very likely.


Judges 3:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

milechâmâh (הָמָח׃ל ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun; with the definite article

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536


Translation: He went out to war... What we often find when Israel goes out to war is that the focus is upon their lead general. In many cases, it sounds almost as if the general is the only person at war here, which is obviously not the case. From human viewpoint and from a literary standpoint, we could consider this a metonymy; Othniel is the subject, but he stands for the entire Israeli army. Metonymies are used all of the time. On occasion, a newscaster will speak of Israel’s position or Israel’s advancement against their enemy, Hezbollah (which is the current news story as I write this). The nation Israel has not taken a different position; the people of Israel have not advanced; the army of Israel has advanced against Hezbollah; the army of Israel has take a position against Hezbollah. Israel is a metonymy for the army of Israel. Here, Othniel is a metonymy for the army of Israel.


However, from divine viewpoint, all of this comes to pass because the Spirit of God is upon Othniel; the Spirit of God is empowering Othniel. Without Othniel, there is no army of Israel. One of the things which I have only heard taught from Bob Thieme Jr., is the concept of a spiritual Atlas; one man who, through his great spiritual strength, holds up his generation. We have seen that with Moses and with Joshua; and we will see this throughout the book of the Judges, where each judge functions like a spiritual Atlas, holding up and defending and protecting his generation of Israelites. If the history of Israel is to be believed, Footnote than almost throughout the history of Israel and even before Israel, we find again and again, a handful of men whose spiritual life is the key to the survival of those around them. Without Othniel, Israel remains under Cushan’s thumb; without the half-dozen or more judges who follow in this history, Israel remains under the power and control of some heathen nation.


There are some differences today—in our world, all believers are given the Holy Spirit. Every believer can access God the Holy Spirit through the simple process of naming one’s sins to God. However, what remains the same is the concept of the spiritual Atlas—one man upon whose shoulders many are carried. One of the greatest men of the 20th century, and upon whose shoulders I believe the United States rested, was Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871–1952), the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary. There are a lot of people who think what R. B. Thieme Jr. taught was almost revolutionary, but most of what he taught actually came from L. S. Chafer and Thieme’s training at Dallas Theological Seminary.


This doctrine was shortened down to a page to fit reasonably in exegetical studies.

The Abbreviated Doctrine of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

1.      The Holy Spirit is presented as an independent, sovereign entity in the Old Testament. Isa 40:13–14 Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows Him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made Him understand? Who taught Him the path of justice. Isa. 48:16 [The revealed God of the Old Testament is speaking]: “Draw near to Me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there." And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

2.      The Holy Spirit was involved in the restoration of the earth so that life could survive on it. It appears as if the Holy Spirit provided the energy to warm planet earth, which was encased in ice. Gen. 1:2 Psalm 104:30

3.      God the Holy Spirit gives all men life and sustains that life. Gen. Gen. 2:7 Job 27:3 33:4 Eccles. 12:7 ...and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Isa. 42:5

4.      The Holy Spirit interacted with mankind—even with corrupted mankind—presumably to give them the gospel. Gen. 6:3

5.      The Holy Spirit and the truth in the Old Testament:

         1)      The Holy Spirit makes spiritual information understandable to Old Testament saints. Job 32:8

         2)      The Holy Spirit empowered those who wrote the Old Testament. Psalm 23:1–3 Matt. 22:43 Mark 12:36 2Peter 1:21

         3)      God the Holy Spirit empowered those prophets in the Old Testament to speak the truth. Neh. 9:30 Ezek. 2:1–3 And He said to me, "Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you." And as He spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. And He said to me, "Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.” This is both prophetical, speaking of Jesus Christ; and for the time it was given, speaking of Ezekiel. See also Ezek. 3:12 Luke 1:67 2:25

6.      The Holy Spirit and prophecy in the Old Testament:

         1)      The people of Israel were to look to fulfilled prophecy in order to realize that this is the Spirit of God telling them of these things. Isa. 34:16

         2)      Isaiah prophesied the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to the Messiah. Isa. 11:2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. See also Isa. 42:1 Isa. 61:1–2

         3)      Isaiah, Ezekiel and Joel prophesied that the Spirit would be poured out upon mankind during the Millennium. Isa. 32:15 Ezek. 36:26–28 37:14 39:29 Joel 2:28–29

7.      The Holy Spirit and empowerment in the Old Testament:

         1)      The key to empowerment, even in the Old Testament, was the Holy Spirit. Zech. 4:6

         2)      Some of the artisans involved in the building of the Tabernacle of God were empowered by God the Holy Spirit. Ex. 31:3 35:31

         3)      God allowed Moses to delegate his authority, and God would give these men the Holy Spirit. Num. 11:16–17, 24–25

         4)      God gave the Holy Spirit to some early prophets when Moses and the people of God were in the desert. Num. 11:26–29

         5)      Specific people in the Old Testament had been given the Holy Spirit in order to empower them. Num. 27:18 Judges 3:10 6:34 11:29 14:6, 19 15:14 1Sam. 10:6, 10 11:6 16:13 2Chron. 20:14 24:20 Daniel 4:18 Micah 3:8

         6)      One could ask for empowerment by the Holy Spirit. 2Kings 2:9 Luke 11:13

         7)      Jesus Christ, in His humanity, in the Age of the Hypostatic Union (which was, in many respects, a continuation of the Age of Israel) was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Isa. 61:1 Luke 4:1 4:14, 18

8.      The Holy Spirit and Israel:

         1)      God’s Spirit remained with Israel from the exodus. Haggai 2:5

         2)      God promises an eternal relationship with the Jews; a relationship which is based upon truth. Isa. 59:20–21 "And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression," declares the LORD. "And as for Me, this is My covenant with them," says the LORD: "My Spirit that is upon you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring," says the LORD, "from this time forth and forevermore."

         3)      The Holy Spirit was given to Israel as a nation. Isa. 63:11–13a Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and His people. Where is He Who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is He Who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, Who led them through the depths?

         4)      Israel continued to be in opposition to the Holy Spirit. For this reason, God subjected them to the 5th stage of national discipline (the fifth cycle of discipline). Zech. 7:12–14

9.      The Holy Spirit could be taken from a person previously endowed with the Holy Spirit. 1Sam. 16:14 Psalm 51:11

The entire Doctrine of the Ministry of God the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament (HTML) (PDF)


Chapter Outline

Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Judges 3:10d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand means with him; through him, by me, by means of him; at his hand [i.e., before him, in his sight].

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Kûwshan Rishe׳âthayim (ם.י-תָע ש .ר ן-ש) [pronounced koo-SHAHN-rish-ģaw-THAH-yim]

twice-wicked Cushan; and is transliterated Cushan-rishathaim

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #3573 BDB #469

This proper noun is apparently a combination of Strong’s #3572 and the dual of #7564. The latter word means malevolence, corrupt nature, reprehensiveness, wickedness. The former is simply the proper noun Cushan.


Translation: ...and Yehowah gave Cushan-rishathaim into his hand,... As we know, Othniel was strengthened by God the Holy Spirit; his history indicates that he was a great man of faith. He trusted God and was willing to put his life on the line based upon his faith. God vindicated his faith and God gave Cushan, the king of Mesopotamia, into his hand. If ever there was a David versus Goliath story, this is it. Israel is barely a country; the territory of Mesopotamia is huge. We do not know any of the actual details of the battle or battles. We don’t know if a force came in as usual to collect payment, and Israel met them with an army and defeated them; and if later Cushan brought in his personal army and Israel defeated them. This seems likely; but we really don’t know. We may reasonably suppose that Cushan was a part of the battle; but there are no real specifics given. Another possibility is that Cushan brought a small force into Israel to collect payment, expecting no problems as usual, and they suddenly find themselves faced with a strong army from Israel, which summarily defeats them. It is possible that, when no army returns to Mesopotamia, and that their king is (apparently) dead, that the inner conflicts of Mesopotamia override any interest in returning to Israel. Again, there are no details, so we can, at best, speculate as to what happened.


It is possible that what took place verged on being supernatural (as we will see with Deborah and Barak in Judges 4–5). Now, you may think that, if something spectacular took place, that the historian would make note of it (as Moses did time and time again). However, everyone has a different personality; and you may think that since you would be unable to stop talking about a semi-miraculous event, that everyone is like you. However, that is not necessarily the case. When a very unusual event occurs, not every person is going to call all their friends and neighbors and tell them all about it. We are told everything which is important here: Jehovah gave Cushan into Othniel’s hand. That is what is key here. We do not know how; we do not know how many died; we do not know how many battles were fought; we do not know if some supernatural or spectacular event was involved; we simply know that God gave Cushan into Othniel’s hand.


Judges 3:10e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

Ărâm (םָרֲא) [pronounced uh-RAWM]

the highland; exalted; and is transliterated Aram; sometimes rendered Mesopotamia

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #758 BDB #74


Translation: ...the king of Aram,... Again, what is spectacular here is, Cushan is the king of Mesopotamia, which is a huge country; and Israel is just a postage stamp-sized country. In my generation, I have witnessed Israel face and beat down much larger and more powerful countries; God is still in His throne!


The nation Aram was named after a son of Shem from Gen. 10:22.


Judges 3:10f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âzaz (זַזָע) [pronounced ģaw-ZAHZ]

to strengthen, to make strong; to make secure; to become strong, to be made strong; to be strong, robust, powerful

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5810 BDB #738

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Kûwshan Rishe׳âthayim (ם.י-תָע ש .ר ן-ש) [pronounced koo-SHAHN-rish-ģaw-THAH-yim]

twice-wicked Cushan; and is transliterated Cushan-rishathaim

masculine singular, proper noun; pausal form

Strong’s #3573 BDB #469

This proper noun is apparently a combination of Strong’s #3572 and the dual of #7564. The latter word means malevolence, corrupt nature, reprehensiveness, wickedness. The former is simply the proper noun Cushan.


Translation: ...and his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. The last verb is the feminine singular, Qal imperfect of to be strong, to prevail. Othniel and his army prevailed over Cushan and his army. Again, we know nothing about the actual battle or battles which took place; we know nothing about whether there were extra-natural occurrences or whether the actual battle did not appear out of the ordinary. We have seen several wars between modern Israel and enemy combatants—combatants who had little fear of dying, and, most recently, no hesitation to take others with them. Yet, in the wars of the past 60 or so years, Israel has prevailed, and there has been no appearance of extraordinary circumstances (apart from this postage stamp of a country standing up to much larger nations).


Throughout the book of Judges, the people will be closely tied to a leader. With a great leader, they remained faithful under God and without a leader, they went to pieces. Again, this is the concept of the spiritual Atlas. This concept, by the way, is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who would bear the sins of the world on His shoulders for the whole world.


John MacDuff (someone I know nothing about) wrote either a poem or a song or an essay about this; and I will quote a couple of stanza’s below:

John MacDuff’s “The True Spiritual Atlas”

The wrath of God; the terrible manifestation

of His displeasure at iniquity; was upon Jesus.


He was the true spiritual Atlas, bearing on

His shoulders the sins of a guilty world!


Jesus' sufferings were not calamities; they

were punishment judicially inflicted. There was

an eternity of woe was condensed into them!

Christ was the Sin Bearer, bearing not merely

the punishment of sin, but sin itself.

The entire text can be found at http://www.gracegems.org/03/atlas.html ; I have not read it all, but the little I have read appears to be accurate.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

 

Clarke sums this up: We are not told or what nature this war was, but it was most decisive; and the consequence was an undisturbed peace of forty years, during the whole life of Othniel. By the Spirit of the Lord coming upon him, the Chaldee understands the spirit of prophecy; others understand the spirit of fortitude and extraordinary courage, as opposed to the spirit of fear or faintness of heart; but as Othniel was judge, and had many offices to fulfill besides that of a general, he had need of the Spirit of God, in the proper sense of the word, to enable him to guide and govern this most refractory and fickle people; and his receiving it for these purposes, shows that the political state of the Jews was still a theocracy. No man attempted to do any thing in that state without the immediate inspiration of God, the pretension to which was always justified by the event. Footnote Clarke appears to be one of the few who sees Othniel’s role in Israel’s history as being more than just a general.


And so undisturbed was the land forty years and so died Othniel ben Kenaz.

Judges

3:11

Then the land remained undisturbed for forty years until [lit., and] Othniel ben Kenaz died.

Then the land had peace for forty years until Othniel ben Kenaz died.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so undisturbed was the land forty years and so died Othniel ben Kenaz.

Septuagint                              And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...and Israel was at peace until Othniel died about forty years later.

The Message                         The land was quiet for forty years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So there was finally peace in the land for 40 years. Then Othniel, son of Kenaz, died.

HCSB                                     Then the land was peaceful 40 years, and Othniel son of Kenaz died.

JPS (Tanakh)                         ...and the land had peace for forty years.

When Othniel the Kenizzite died,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Young’s Updated LT             And the land rests forty years. And Othniel son of Kenaz died.


What is the gist of this verse? There was peace in the land of Israel for 40 years. At some unspecified point in time, Othniel died.


Judges 3:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâqaţ (טַקָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHT]

to be quiet, to be undisturbed, to be inactive; to rest

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #8252 BDB #1052

It means to rest, to lie down, to have quiet. It is used of one who is never troubled, harassed, or infested by others, Judges 3:11 5:31 8:28; and of one who has no fear or dread, Psalm lxxvi 9. The meaning is, that he would not only have lain down, but would have been perfectly tranquil. Footnote

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land, ground, soil

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75

arebâ׳îym (םי.עָר-א) [pronounced are-BAW-ĢEEM]

forty

undeclined plural noun

Strong’s #705 BDB #917

shânâh (הָנָש) [pronounced shaw-NAW]

year

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8141 BDB #1040


Translation: Then the land remained undisturbed for forty years... This simply means that there was no aggressive activity exhibited toward Israel by other nations. Israel enjoyed a time of peace. Had Israel followed the Law of Moses and continued to reject the gods of the people living among them, this peace would probably have continued for a much longer period of time.


Judges 3:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die; to perish, to be destroyed

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

׳Âthenîyêl (ל̤אי.נ תָע) [pronounced ģoth-nee-ALE]

possibly lion of God; God is might; and is transliterated Othniel

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #6274 BDB #801

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Qenaz (ז-נ ק) [pronounced keNAHZ],

possibly side, flank; is transliterated Kenaz

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #7073 BDB #889


Translation: ...until [lit., and] Othniel ben Kenaz died. With regards to Othniel we are given precious little information. He judged over the land for forty years, but we know nothing about this, other than it followed a high successful campaign against the king of Mesopotamia, who had enslaved the Israelites for eight years. We know that he attacked and subdued Kiriath-sepher and gained the hand of Achsah, the daughter of Caleb through this victory. However, we still know very little about Othniel personally and there seem to be a dearth of situations peculiar to him found in the Bible. This lack of detail could reasonably mean that the writer of this portion of Judges was looking back into time and Othniel had become a footnote by the time of writing. This verse marks the end of a cycle for Israel. Actually, to be more accurate, this is the end of a cycle for whichever portion of Israel is being dealt with here. Barnes suggests that this is primarily the tribe of Judah. As you may recall from the book of Joshua, this is where Othniel lived. Where he lives does not limit his rulership to only Judah; furthermore, Cushan, if attacking, would probably have subdued eastern Israel first, and then central Israel. So it is possible that Othniel’s rule was limited; but it appears more likely to be widespread.


Also, this is a round number, meaning closer to forty than to fifty or to thirty, as we find throughout this book. Barnes suggests that forty years is roughly equivalent to a generation. Footnote Wesley suggests that this could even include a period of time in which Israel was enslaved, and that could be called a reasonable peace, Footnote but that is incorrect. This period of peace could not have included the previous slavery alluded to in Judges 3:8, as Israel cried out to God—that certainly does not suggest peace. If there is some period of servitude which follows this, that Wesley supposes is peace, bear in mind that some military action would have to precede that. Therefore, we may reasonably assume that this peace here, while not necessarily lasting exactly 40 years, was without invasion and without enslavement. Now, whether or not Israel gradually fell into idolatry during the last few years is a completely other subject, and a very likely scenario.

 

McGee writes of Othniel: the biography of Othniel was that he was the son of Kenaz, who was Caleb’s brother. The Spirit of God came upon him and he delivered the children of Israel from oppression. He died. In a very few verses we have the left and death of this man. He had a lot going for him, but there was no glamour or anything spectacular connected with his life. Most biographies are much like this. I met a man on the streets of Los Angeles, California, years ago who had written several fine biographies of Christian leaders of the past. He was working on a book about a present-day Christian leader, and I asked him how the work was coming along. He told me that he was having difficulty keeping the front page from rubbing against the back page. Apart from the birth and death of the man, there was little to say about him. Engraved on the tombstone of a dentist were the words: “Dr. John Smith filling his last cavity.” That no only applies to dentists but to the rest of us as well. Footnote


Matthew Henry makes some good points here:

Matthew Henry’s 5 Points on Othniel and the Deliverance of Israel

1.     The deliverer: Othnield is the deliverer of Israel. Othniel, who married Caleb's daughter, was one of the old stock that had seen the works of the Lord; furthermore, had himself, no question, kept his integrity, and secretly lamented the apostasy of his people, but waited for a divine call to appear publicly for the redress of their grievances. He was now, we may suppose, far advanced in years, when God raised him up to this honour, but the decays of age were no hindrance to his usefulness when God had work for him to do.

2.     His commission: Othniel receives his commission, not of man, nor by man; but the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him (Judges 3:10)—the spirit of wisdom and courage to qualify him for the service, and a spirit of power to excite him to it, so as to give him and others full satisfaction that it was the will of God he should engage in it.

3.     His method: Othniel’s first steps are: he first judges Israel, reproves them, calls them to account for their sins, and reforms them, and then he goes out to war. This was the right method. Let sin at home be conquered, that worst of enemies, and then enemies abroad will be the more easily dealt with. Thus let Christ be our Judge and Law–giver, and then he will save us, and on no other terms (Isa. 33:22).

4.      Othniel’s success: What good success he had. He prevailed to break the yoke of the oppression, and, as it should seem, to break the neck of the oppressor; for it is said, The Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim into his hand. Now was Judah, of which tribe Othniel was, as a lion's whelp gone up from the prey.

5.      The end result: The happy consequence of Othniel's good services. The land, though not getting ground, yet had rest, and some fruits of the reformation, forty years; and the benefit would have been perpetual if they had kept close to God and their duty.

I took many liberties with the text; this came from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible; from e-Sword, Judges 3:8–11.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


As Keil and Delitzsch rightfully point out, Othniel did not live exactly forty more years and die—coterminously with the peace and prosperity of Israel. Israel had forty years of rest and also Othniel died. It would not be unreasonable to suppose that those things did occur close in time to one another, but this is not something you could hang a time frame on. Furthermore, Othniel is probably an old man when all of this takes place.


Interestingly enough, Eusebius says that Othniel ruled Israel for 50 years. Footnote If this is the case, then it is more likely that he had this position of power while Cushan oppressed Israel.


Application: There are some people who wonder why their lives are so filled with pain and stress—for many of them, during the quiet portions of their lives, they do not pursue God. For the period of time when they could study God’s Word and pray for others and give and remain in fellowship—they don’t; they become way too busy with the things of this world. But then they act surprised when God puts some pressure on them. Your first priority every single day should be God’s Word—Bible doctrine. Then you fit everything else in. I can look back on my life and see a lot of wasted time and avenues which I pursued which lacked any real value—however, I do not regret one moment which I spend studying God’s Word while in fellowship. If you want to destroy the youth of your children, then neglect doctrine and do not teach them God’s Word. In this way, you will set your children up for war and, for many of them, an early death (those who survive will have unhappy marriages with adolescent children who rule over them).


Application: I personally know a Christian couple right now who just bought their new house, and they had to lie, cheat and steal to get it. They completely ignored a contract which they had signed. This is there time of peace; this is the time during which they could have been learning God’s Word; this could have been a time when they grew in grace and knowledge. I mentioned the Bible twice to the wife and she cut me off both times. Now, I have no idea what will happen, nor do I know for a fact that they are believers in Jesus Christ, although the wife says that they are. I do know that they have a Father in heaven, one who will discipline them (and possibly has been all along—Heb. 12:5–7).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


This gives us the pattern of this middle section of the book of the Judges Judges 3:7–16:31).

The Cycles of Israel’s Discipline and Deliverance

Action

Scripture 1st Incident

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

Israel falls into apostasy, in marrying with heathen men and women, and following after their gods (Judges 2:10–13 3:6).

Judges 3:7

3:12a

4:1

6:1a

10:6

13:1a

God’s anger becomes heated towards Israel and He sends an oppressor (or oppressors) into Israel, who takes tribute and causes great distress among the people (Judges 2:14–15, 20).

Judges 3:8

3:12b–14

4:2, 3b

6:1b–6

10:7–9

13:1b

Israel cries out to God (Judges 2:18).

Judges 3:9a

3:15a

4:3a

6:7

10:10

 

God hears Israel and sends them a savior (Judges 2:16).

Judges 3:9b

3:15b

4:4–9

6:8–24

11:1–6

13:2–25

The Spirit of the Lord comes upon God’s man to deliver Israel.

Judges 3:10a

 

 

6:34

11:29

13:25 14:6, 19

God delivers Israel, primarily through this savior who delivers Israel (Judges 2:16).

Judges 3:10b

3:15c–30a

4:10– 24 5:1–30

6:25–7:21

11:6–12:7

14–16

This savior often then rules over Israel, providing many years of peace to them.

Judges 3:11

3:30b

5:31b

7:22– 28

 

16:31

Israel falls back into apostasy (Judges 2:17, 19).

Judges 3:12a

4:1

6:1a

10:6

13:1

 

I skipped over the minor judges, e.g. Shamgar, Tola and Jair, where only a verse or so is given as history.

I should also point out that, although this is a general continuing pattern, each incident does not precisely fit that pattern. For instance, several of the judges are listed with only minimal history given (e.g., the years of oppression followed by the years of peace, with little else by way of information); and some do not fit the profile at all. Gideon, for instance, is offered the kingship over Israel; Gideon refuses, but one of his sons, Abimelech, seizes this power in a bloody coupe (he kills all of his brothers and half-brothers). Samson also barely fits the mold as well.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


Israel Falls into Discipline under Eglon, King of Moab


And so added sons of Israel to do the evil in a sight of Yehowah and strengthened Yehowah Eglon, a king of Moab over Israel because they had done the evil in a sight of Yehowah.

Judges

3:12

So the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of Yehowah so that Yehowah strengthened Eglon, the king of Moab, over Israel because they had done evil in the sight of Yehowah.

However, the sons of Israel continued to do evil before Jehovah; therefore, Jehovah strengthened Eglon the king of Moab, over Israel as they committed evil in His sight.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so added sons of Israel to do the evil in a sight of Yehowah and strengthened Yehowah Eglon, a king of Moab over Israel because they had done the evil in a sight of Yehowah.

Septuagint                              And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.

 

Significant differences:           No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Once more the Israelites started disobeying the LORD. So he let them be defeated by King Eglon of Moab,...

The Message                         But the People of Israel went back to doing evil in GOD's sight. So GOD made Eglon king of Moab a power against Israel because they did evil in GOD's sight.

REB                                       Once again the Israelites did what was wrong in the eyes of the Lord, and because of this he roused King Egon of Moab against Israel.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Once again, the people of Israel did what the LORD considered evil. So the LORD made King Eglon of Moab stronger than Israel, because Israel did what the LORD considered evil.

HCSB                                     The Israelites again did what was evil in the LORD's sight. He gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel, because they had done what was evil in the LORD's sight.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

WEB                             The children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: and Yahweh strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh.

Young’s Updated LT             And the sons of Israel add to do the evil thing in the eyes of Jehovah; and Jehovah strengthens Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because that they have done the evil thing in the eyes of Jehovah.


What is the gist of this verse? Because Israel does evil in the sight of Jehovah God, He strengthens Eglon the King of Moab against Israel.


Judges 3:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâçaph (ף ַס ָי) [pronounced yaw-SAHPH]

to add, to augment, to increase, to multiply; to add to do = to do again; to continue to

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #3254 BDB #414

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

ra׳ (ע ַר) [pronounced rahģ]

evil, bad, wicked; evil in appearance, deformed; misery, distress, injury; that which is displeasing [disagreeable, unhappy, unfortunate, sad]

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7451 BDB #948

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳êynayim (ם̣יַני̤ע) [pronounced ģay-nah-YIM]

eyes, two eyes, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes; face, appearance, form; surface

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

Together, the bêyth preposition and ׳ayin literally mean in the eyes of; it can be understood to mean in the opinion of, in the thinking of, in the estimation of; as ____ sees things to be.

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: So the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of Yehowah... It is interesting that we are not given the nature of the evil which Israel does in the sight of Jehovah; however, we may reasonably assume that they again pursued the gods of the heathen around them. In fact, there may be no reason for this to be stated, as the expanded explanation is given back in Judges 3:7: And the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah: they forgot Jehovah their God and they served the Baals and the Ashteroth. Furthermore, we have a verb used here which indicates that this is a repeated action; they did this before, and now they are doing it again. Given the context, there is no other reasonable interpretation other than Israel went after other gods.


Judges 3:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore; because

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châzaq (ק ַז ָח) [pronounced khaw-ZAHK]

to bind someone with a girdle; to make strong, to strengthen; to fortify [a city]; to heal; to harden, to make obstinate

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #2388 BDB #304

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳Egelôwn (ןלג∵ע) [pronounced ehg-LOHN]

calf-like; little calf; transliterated Eglon

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #5700 BDB #722

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

Môwâb (בָאמ) [pronounced moh-AWBV]

of his father; transliterated Moab

masculine singular, proper noun

Strong’s #4124 BDB #555

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

judges032.gifCropped from http://www.anova.org/sev/atlas/htm/039.htm.

Translation: ...so that Yehowah strengthened Eglon, the king of Moab, over Israel... All we know about Eglon, the king of Moab, will be found in this passage. There is a city or territory named Eglon in Joshua 10, which does not appear to be related to this Eglon or to the country of Moab.


We do not know exactly the mechanics of God strengthening Eglon; perhaps God put it into the head of Eglon to invade Israel; perhaps God even gave them confidence, strength and abilities—enough to challenge Israel. Perhaps his army had hit its stride. In any case, God strengthened Egon, and enough so, that Eglon will invade Israel and prevail against Israel.


Lot’s two daughters, back in Gen. 19, seduced their own father with liquor, in order to have children. One child was Moab and the other was Ammon. Ammon settled the territory east of Gad (Gad has the Jordan River as their western border); and Moab is immediately south of Reuben (who is immediately south of Gad). The Dead Sea separates Moab from Judah. Quite obviously, a map makes all of this easier to see.


Although Moab could have come around south of the Dead Sea, and entered into Judah from the south, my guess is they moved through Reuben and Gad first, and then across the Jordan River into center Israel. The next verse will confirm that.


Judges 3:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity