Nations Left to Prove Israel.
1. these are the nations which the Lord left, to
prove Israel—This was the special design of these nations
being left, and it evinces the direct influence of the theocracy under
which the Israelites were placed. These nations were left for a double
purpose: in the first instance, to be instrumental, by their inroads,
in promoting the moral and spiritual discipline of the Israelites; and
also to subserve the design of making them acquainted with war, in
order that the young, more especially, who were total strangers to it,
might learn the use of weapons and the art of wielding them.
By Communion with These the Israelites Commit
5-7. the children of Israel dwelt among the
Canaanites—The two peoples 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
Othniel Delivers Israel.
8-11. sold them—that is, "delivered
into the hand of
Chushan-rishathaim—or, Chushan, "the wicked." This name had
been probably given him from his cruel and impious character.
served Chushan-rishathaim eight
years—by the payment of a stipulated tribute yearly, the
raising of which must have caused a great amount of labor and
9. when the children of Israel cried unto the
Lord—In their distress they had recourse to earnest prayer,
accompanied by humble and penitent confession of their errors.
Othniel—(See on Jos 15:16; Jud 1:13).
His military experience qualified him for the work, while the gallant
exploits he was known to have performed, gained him the full confidence
of his countrymen in his ability as a leader.
10. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he
judged Israel, and went out to war—Impelled by a supernatural
influence, he undertook the difficult task of government at this
national crisis—addressing himself to promote a general
reformation of manners, the abolition of idolatry, and the revival of
pure religion. After these preliminary measures, he collected a body of
choice warriors to expel the foreign oppressors.
the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of
Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against
Chushan-rishathaim—No details are given of this war, which,
considering the resources of so potent a monarch, must have been a
determined struggle. But the Israelitish arms were crowned through the
blessing of God with victory, and Canaan regained its freedom and
11. Othniel … died—How powerful
the influence of one good man is, in church or state, is best found in
his loss [Bishop Hall].
Jud 3:12-30. Ehud Slays
12-14. the children of Israel did evil again in
the sight of the Lord—The Israelites, deprived of the moral
and political influences of Othniel, were not long in following their
native bias to idolatry.
the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of
Moab—The reigning monarch's ambition was to recover that
extensive portion of his ancient territory possessed by the Israelites.
In conjunction with his neighbors, the Ammonites and the Amalekites,
sworn enemies of Israel, he first subjected the eastern tribes; then
crossing the Jordan, he made a sudden incursion on western Canaan, and
in virtue of his conquests, erected fortifications in the territory
adjoining Jericho [Josephus], to secure
the frontier, and fixed his residence there. This oppressor was
permitted, in the providence of God, to triumph for eighteen years.
15. Ehud the son of Gera—descended from
Gera, one of Benjamin's sons (Ge 46:21).
distinguished many in the Benjamite tribe (Jud 20:16). But the original word is rendered in
some versions "both-handed," a view countenanced by 1Ch 12:2.
by him the children of Israel sent a present
unto Eglon the king of Moab—the yearly tribute, which,
according to Eastern fashion, would be borne with ostentatious ceremony
and offered (Jud 3:18) by
16. Ehud made him a dagger … and he did gird
it … upon his right thigh—The sword was usually worn on
the left side; so that Ehud's was the more likely to escape
19. quarries—rather, "graven images"
(De 7:25; Jer 8:19; 51:52); statues of Moabite idols, the sight of
which kindled the patriotic zeal of Ehud to avenge this public insult
to Israel on its author.
I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who
said, Keep silence—"Privacy"—a signal for all to
20. a summer parlour—Hebrew,
"chamber of cooling"—one of those retired edifices which Oriental
grandees usually have in their gardens, and in which they repose during
the heat of the day.
21-26. Ehud put forth his left hand—The
whole circumstance of this daring act—the death of Eglon without
a shriek, or noise—the locking of the doors—the carrying
off the key—the calm, unhurried deportment of Ehud—show the
strength of his confidence that he was doing God service.
27. he blew a trumpet in the mountain of
Ephraim—summoned to arms the people of that mountainous
region, which, adjoining the territory of Benjamin, had probably
suffered most from the grievous oppression of the Moabites.
28. they went down after him, and took the
fords—(See on Jos 2:7). With the view
of preventing all escape to the Moabite coast, and by the slaughter of
ten thousand men [Jud 3:29],
Ehud rescued his country from a state of ignominious vassalage.
31. after him was Shamgar—No notice is
given of the tribe or family of this judge; and from the Philistines
being the enemy that roused him into public service, the suffering
seems to have been local—confined to some of the western
slew … six hundred men with an
oxgoad—This instrument is eight feet long and about six
inches in circumference. It is armed at the lesser end with a sharp
prong for driving the cattle, and on the other with a small iron paddle
for removing the clay which encumbers the plough in working. Such an
instrument, wielded by a strong arm, would do no mean execution. We may
suppose, however, for the notice is very fragmentary, that Shamgar was
only the leader of a band of peasants, who by means of such implements
of labor as they could lay hold of at the moment, achieved the heroic