Daily reading

Today’s reading is: Jdg. 1:1-3:30


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Judges Chapter One

  1. Chapter one is a difficult chapter to use for placing the Book of Judges in context with the Book of Joshua.
    1. Jdg. 1:1&2 would appear to place the Book of Judges after Josh. 24:29,30.
    2. The death of Joshua is also recorded in Jdg. 2:6-10, and that passage appears to be the better introduction to the remainder of the Book of Judges.
  2. The material from Jdg. 1:3-2:5 forms a general prologue to the Book of Judges, paralleling Josh. 24:31-33 & various other episodes from Joshua, describing the transition from National Conquest to Tribal Conquests.
  3. Judah will be the leading Tribe in the era of Tribal Conquest following the death of Joshua (Jdg. 1:2,3).
    1. During the National Conquest, under Joshua, Judah played a leading role, under Caleb (Jdg. 1:4-15).
      1. They destroyed a 10,000 man army at Bezek (Jdg. 1:4-7).
      2. They sacked Jerusalem (Jdg. 1:8), but neither they, nor Benjamin (Jdg. 1:21) were subsequently successful in destroying the Jebusite people (Josh. 15:63).
      3. They campaigned in the hill country, the Negev, and the western lowland (Jdg. 1:9; Josh. 10:40).
      4. They conquered Kiriath-Arba (Hebron), and designated that land for Caleb (Jdg. 1:10; Josh. 10:36,37; 15:13,14).
      5. They conquered Kiriath-Sepher (Debir), and designated Caleb’s daughter Achsah for Othniel (Jdg. 1:11-15; Josh. 10:38,39; 15:15-19).
    2. The Kenites were evidently a branch (clan?) of mixed Canaanite (Gen. 15:19) & Jethro-related Midianite (Num. 10:29 cf. Jdg. 1:16; 4:11) origins who associated with Israel for blessing (1st Sam. 15:6; 30:29) rather than associating with Moabites for cursing (Num. 25; 31).
    3. During the Tribal Conquest, Judah leads by example and proposes joint combat operations with Simeon (Jdg. 1:17-20).
  4. The other tribes were not nearly as successful as Judah in their Tribal Conquest (Jdg. 1:21-36).
    1. Benjamin’s greatest failure was not taking Jerusalem (Jdg. 1:21).
    2. Joseph (Ephraim) took Bethel with a bargain (Jdg. 1:22-26). This appears to violate the command: Make no covenant and show them no favor (Dt. 7:2), yet the Lord was with them for this episode (v.22).
    3. Manasseh had a five-fold failure (Jdg. 1:27-28; Josh. 17:12,13). Tolerating the alien presence with a “silver lining” benefit of cheap labor becomes all too common.
    4. Ephraim didn’t drive out the Gezers (Jdg. 1:29).
    5. Zebulun didn’t drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or Nahalol (Jdg. 1:30).
    6. Asher had a spectacular seven-fold successless streak (Jdg. 1:31,32). Worse than Canaanites living among them, Asher lived among the Canaanites!
    7. Naphtali couldn’t beat two Beths (Jdg. 1:33).
    8. Dan not only failed, but was actively defeated (Jdg. 1:34-36 cf. Josh. 19:40-48).

Judges Chapter Two

  1. The consequence of Israel’s repeated failures in their individual Tribal Conquests was a personal Bible class taught by the Angel of the Lord, rebuking them for their lack of obedience (Jdg. 2:1-5).
  2. The hinge event marking Israel’s apostasy is the death of Joshua, and the elders of the Conquest (Jdg. 2:6-10).
    1. The Exodus Generation died in the wilderness, between 1445 & 1406BC.
    2. The Wilderness Generation was under 20 years of age, or not yet born at the first muster (Num. 1:2).  They were born after 1465BC, and their “elders” will be a maximum of 59 years old when they cross the Jordan.
    3. Those too young to fight in the conquest (1406-1399BC) can be thought of as the Post-Conquest Generation.  They were born after 1426BC. They become the first generation that forsakes the Lord (Jdg. 2:11-13), that requires the Lord’s testing of their conquest ignorance (cf. Jdg. 3:1-4).
  3. The pattern for the Book of Judges is then established (Jdg. 2:11-23).
    1. Apostasy is followed by oppression (Jdg. 2:11-15). The first of 121 references to Baal and Ashtaroth.
    2. Oppression is followed by the grace provision of a Judge/Deliverer (Jdg. 2:16,18).
    3. The death of the Judge would bring about another cycle of apostasy (Jdg. 2:17,19).
    4. The military work of the Judges is deliverance rather than conquest (Jdg. 2:20-23).

Judges Chapter Three

  1. The remnant of the unconquered Philistines and Canaanites will be used by the Lord for His testing of Israel’s faithfulness (Jdg. 3:1-4). Note how this generation has a harder test as a consequence of their parents’ generation’s shortcomings.
  2. Israel quickly failed their test, and allowed their mingling with the Canaanites to lead them into idolatry (Jdg. 3:5-7; Ex. 34:15,16; Deut. 7:3,4; Josh. 23:12; Ps. 106:34-43).
  3. Their first oppressor was Cushan-Rishathaim (Cushan of Double-wickedness), King of Aram between the rivers (upper Mesopotamia) (Jdg. 3:8).
    1. Eight years of oppression was enough for Israel to cry out to the Lord (Jdg. 3:8,9a). “Crying out” is at least a partial repentance. How faithful and obedient did the nation become? “The land had rest” until they “again did evil” (v.12).
    2. God lifted up the first of Israel’s Judges—Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother (Jdg. 3:9-11).  Othniel is one of the few Spirit-filled OT saints (Jdg. 3:10).
    3. The Judgeship of Othniel produced 40 years of rest during his lifetime (Jdg. 3:11).  Perhaps 1367-1327BC. (Chronology of the Judges taken from Rusten, E. Michael & Sharon O, The Complete Book of When and Where, Tyndale House Publishers, 2005).
  4. Israel’s second oppressor was Eglon, king of Moab (Jdg. 3:12).
    1. Eglon assembled a force of Moabite, Ammonite, and Amalekite troops.
    2. Eglon invaded Canaan at the same Jericho location where Joshua invaded Canaan.
    3. Jericho, while not rebuilt as a fortified city until the reign of Ahab (1st Kgs. 16:34), was an inhabited region allotted to Benjamin (Josh. 18:21; 2nd Sam. 10:5).
    4. This time, 18 years of oppression were needed before Israel cried out for deliverance (Jdg. 3:14).
    5. Judge #2 was a Benjamite—Ehud the son of Gera, a left-handed man.
      1. Ehud assassinated Eglon, and escaped to Ephraim (Jdg. 3:15-26).
      2. Ehud led a military force against the Moabite armies, and gave Israel an eighty year rest from oppression (Jdg. 3:27-30). Perhaps 1309-1229BC.
  5. Judge #3 was Shamgar the son of Anath, who delivered Israel from the Philistines (Jdg. 3:31).  Shamgar may not even have been Jewish (!) and apparently Judged as a contemporary of Ehud. Perhaps 1230BC.