« PreviousContinue »
eighteen years : Jabin oppressed them but eight years, v. 8.
Eglon eighteen ; as their sins increased, so did their punishment, 15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the
LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera a Benjamite, (that tribe being immediately oppressed, and Jericho lying in it,) a man left handed : and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab; perhaps
the usual tribute, with some additional present, to conciliatc hia 16 favour, and gain admittance. But Ehud made him a dagger
which had two edges, like a bayonet, of a cubit length, about half a yard, and he did gird it under his raiment upon his
right thigh, that he might not be suspected, and the more easily 17 draw it out. And he brought the present unto Eglon king of
Moab.: and Eglon was a very fat man, and therefore less able 18 to resist, or to defend himself. And when he had made an end
to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the
present ; he went part of the way with his company, who were 19 not informed of his design. but he himself turned again
from the quarries, or graven images, that [were) by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand, something of consequence that I must. deliver in private unto thee, o king : who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him ; ho
would not suffer him to proceed till the servants were withdrawn. 20 And Ehud came unto him, and he was sitting in a summer
parlour, which he had for himself alone, a cool chamber, where he used to retire in the heat of the day for private business, or to sleeh, as is usual in hot countries. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee ; nar from Jehovah, our God, which was a common name for the heathen deities, as some apa
prehend, And he arose out of. (his] seat, to show his regard 21 to the message. And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took
the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly :* 22 And the haft also went in after the blade, and the fat closed
upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of 23 his belly; and the dirt came out.t Then Ehud went forth · through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon
him, and locked them, he walked through the antichamber, where the guard used to stand, or the people to receive audience, without any marks of fear, and they suspected nothing. When he was gone out, his servants came ; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour (were] locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber, he is lain down to slees, at which time especially they covered their feet. 25 And they tarried till they were ashamed, could not tell what
* It was surprising the guards should allow an enemy to be alone with the king > but supposing that he was unarmed and lame, they apprehended no danger.
+ He died instantly, before he had time to cry out. Ehud might have an extraor. dinary impulse upon his mind to do this, and might be assured it was lawful and the will of God, and would succeed; but there are no such impulses now, and it is folly and mace neis to pretend to theme
to say or think ; fearing either to disturb him, or to be thought to neglect him ; and they knocked, and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened
[them :) and, behold, their lord (was] fallen down dead on the 26 earth. And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed be
yond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath, a plain in 27 Ephraim, beyond the borders of Benjamin. And it came to
pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the moun tain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with
him from the mount, and he before them ; he led Israel on to 28 the attack, while the Moabites were in confusion. And he said
unto them, Follow after me : for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, to
prevent any escaping, and suffered not a man to pass over, 29 to bring or carry intelligence. And they slew of Moab at that
time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour ;
and there escaped not a man ; all these were posted about Jer30 icho, and were the chief of his forces, lusty, valiant men. So
Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years, that is, to the end of the
eightieth year after Othniel's death, as v. 11. 31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew
of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad : and he also delivered Israel.*
. TTT E see in this chapter the benefit of afflictions, and the
vy wisdom and goodness of God, in suffering enemies and'evils to surround us, in order to promote and strengthen our virtue. God proved Israel by their enemies; he brought them to repentance by sufferings ; and then delivered them. Thus God deals with us; he sends tribulations to awaken us, to prevent our growing secure and careless, (a temper destructive of every thing great and good,) and to excite our repentance and earnest cries to the Lord. Let us improve our afflictions to this purpose, else God will punish us worse. The Israelites' first slavery was eight years, and then eighteen. So God will deal with us. If lighter afflictions do not mend us, he will send heavier, yet all with a merciful design.
• This inight probably be in Ehud's time; the Phițistines might make an excursion Into that part of the country where Shaingar lived; perhaps a spirit of courage and strength came upon him, as upon Othniel or Samson, and seizing his ox goad, which in those coun tries were near eight feet long, with a spike at one end to goad the ox, and a paddle or spado at the other to clear the plough ; and, falling on them, he slew six hundred men ; perhaps his servants assisted him; and others might join him, though th they had. Thus God can save by few as well as by many.
Was the only instrument
2. Those whom God raises up for important service, he will qualify for and succeed in it. The Spirit came upon Othniel and Ehud, and gave them success, however unlikely the means were. It is the same to God to work by one instrument as another ; thus, the weak things of God confound the mighty ; and in all these instances he secures the praise to bimself. . . . .
3. The reverence with which Eglon rose to receive a message from a god, shames the irreverence of many christians. Though he was a king, in private, and unwieldy ; though he was a proud, tyrannical oppressor ; yet he rose to receive a message from a God whom he knew not. It becomes us to receive messages from the true God, whom we profess to know and fear, with the greatest reverence of mind. The messages delivered to us from him are all kind and gracious, not intended to destroy, but to save us; and therefore carelessness and disregard are highly unbecoming and provoking to him. ! Hope ? " .." 4. God never wants instruments when he has work to do for his church and people. Shamgar was an honest farmer, at the plough, and had no thought of being employed to be the deliverer of Israel, till God called him then, with his ox goad he slew six hundred Philistines. The servants of God have no reason to fear in the darkest scenes, and amidst the greatest distresses, for their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is his name : he will some way or other plead his own cause, and defeat and destroy all his enemies ; happy, therefore, are the people whose God is the Lord. .
:: E. CHAP. IV. This chapter gives an account of the oppression of Israel by Jabin ; of their deliverance by Deborah and Barak ; and the death of Sisera, general of the host, I A ND the children of Israel again did evil in the sight 2 11 of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. And the LORD
sold them, delivered them for slaves, into the hand of Jabin, king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor, in the northern parts of Canaan, where the people gathered together and put them. selves under his government : the city had been destroyed, (see Joshua xi. 10, 11.) but it was now rebuilt and fortified. Jabin was a common name for their king, the captain of whose host
(was] Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles, a 3 place near to Hazor. And the children of Israel cried unto the
LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, armed with scythes ; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel, laying them under a large tribute to support his forces, VOL. II.
and showing great hatred to them because of their former victories.*
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth,t she judged Israel at that time ; being a woman of eminent holiness,
prudence, and acquaintance with the law, she determined causes 5 and controversies. And she dwelt under the palm tree of
Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim ;
she sat there to administer justice ; and the children of Israel 6 came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Ba
rak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, 80 called, to distinguishit from another city of that name ; Barak had probably distinguished himself by some exploit ; and she said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, [saying,] Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee
ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and' of the chil7 dren of Zebulun ? And I will draw unto thee to the river
Kishon, by my secret but powerful providence, Sisera the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude ; and I will deliver him into thine hand ; though thou hast but few, and he has many, yet I assure thee of success; and his
coming to Kishon, which river ran at the foot of Tabor, shall be 8 a sign to confirm thy faith. And yet it seemed to waver, for
Barak 'said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, (then] I will not go ; he was
unwilling to venture without her presence, counsel, and prayers. 9 And she said, I will surely go with thee : notwithstanding
the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh : with heroic courage she went with him to his city to raise forces, and, by her
presence, roused and animated his men. 10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, where
he proclaimed God's intention and his own commission ; and he went up to mount Tabor with ten thousand men at his feet; some from the other tribes joined him or followed him, but they were all foot soldiers, and a contemptible handful in comparison
with Jabin's chariots and army : and Deborah went up with 11 him. Now Heber the Kenite, (which was] of the children of
Hobáb the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which [is] by Kedesh. This is mentioned here to make way for the story at the close of the chapter. They had removed from the wilderness of Judah, (see ch. i. 16.) for what reason does - not appear, to the plain near Kedesh, where they dwelt in tente, 12 under the protection of that city. And they (not the Kenites,
* This was peculiarly grievous to Israel, because Harosheth was in the middle of the tribe of Naphtali; no wonder then they cried unto the Lord.
† Some think this was the name of her country, not of her husband, as no name of a Man in Hebrew ends in oth.
| Perhaps in some vision, or by an angel appearing to her ; see chap. v. 23.
but some other persons) showed Sisera that Barak the son of 13 Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. And Sisera gathered
together all his chariots, [even] nine hundred chariots of iron ;* and all the people that [were] with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon ; a vast multitude, with which they thought to surround, or shụt up and starur Barak and his men in the mountains : they never thought he would dare to come down and attack them in the plain. And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this [is] the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand : is not the LORD gone out before thee, as general, to fight for thee against thine enemies ? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and
ten thousand men after him, strong in faith, and trusting in 15 God; therefore the apostle celebrates him, Heb. xi. 32. And the
LORD discomfited Sisera, probably with thunder, lightning, hailstones, and the like, as appears from the next chapter, and all (his) chariots, and all [hishost with the edge of the sword before Barak ; they were broken and dispersed, trampled upon by their own horses, and cut to pieces by their own chariots ;
so that Sisera lighted down off (his] chariot, and fled away on 16 his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the
host unto Harosheth of the Gentiles, to the very gates of their own city ; and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword ; [and] there was not a man left in the field, to make resistance ; 80 .complete was the victory, that the Psalmist, when praying against the enemies of the church, refers to it, Psalm
lxxxiii. 9, 10. 17 Howbeit, Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the
wife of Heber the Kenite. Heber's was a considerable family, like Abraham's ; the women had tents for themselves ; and Sisera thought no search would be made for him there : for
[there was) peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the " house of Heber the Kenite, a cessation of hostility, because .. they were a peaceable people, and laid no claim to the land, being 18 only sojourners. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said · unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me ; fear not ; stand. ing at her tent door, she saw him flying and invited him in, and
at that time probably had no intention of doing him an injury. "And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she cov. 19 ered him with a mantle, a rug, or blanket, to conceal him. And
he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink'; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk with the cream on it, or butter, as appears, ch. v. 25. and gave him drink, and covered him ; which showed her respect, and in
• These chariots were armed with scythes at the axletrees, which would make a prodigious slaughter among the footmen. Such were used among the ancient Britons.