Judges 3:19-22: Ehud, Part 2

Verse 19:[1] But he himself turned again (Josh. 4:20) from the quarries (or, graven images[2]) that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him.

[And having returned from Gilgal, where the idols were,מִן־הַפְּסִילִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶת־הַגִּלְגָּ֔ל[3]] From the stone-quarries that are near Gilgal, or, in Gilgal (Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine, English, Drusius, Vatablus, Kimchi in Drusius). Perhaps he understands those stones that Joshua set up in Gilgal, Joshua 4:20. But it is not said that those stones were hewn, neither was there any reason why they might carve them. And it is more probable that unpolished stones, of which sort had been removed from Jordan, were set up, because that was more serviceable for the renewal of the memory of the crossing of Jordan (Piscator). From the hewers that were with Gilgal (Montanus). With is often put in the place of in the presence of; There is abundance of joy with thy face, Psalm 16:11, that is, before thy face[4] (Drusius). Others: from the images, or sculptures (the place of sculptures [Munster]) before, or in, Gilgal (Septuagint, Jonathan, Tigurinus, Castlio, Dutch, Piscator). Now, idols were able to have been set up there, either, in contempt of the Hebrews, because the Ark has remained there, and circumcision was celebrated (Martyr); therefore, they wished to profane this place: or, so that there they might invoke their gods to subjugate the land to them; for at Gilgal they were at its entry point (Lapide). Now, he is turned back, as if he had forgotten something, or something unexpected had happened in the way (Menochius).

He turned again, as if he had forgot and neglected some important business. From the quarries; either, first, Whence they hewed stones. Or, secondly, The twelve stones which Joshua set up there; by the sight whereof he was animated to his work. Or, thirdly, The idols, as the word also signifies, which that heathen king might place there, either in spite and contempt to the Israelites, who had that place in great veneration; or that he might ascribe his conquest of the land to his idols, as the Israelites did to the true God, by setting up this monument in the entrance or beginning of it.

[He commanded silence] He said, הָס, Be silent (Montanus, Vatablus, Septuagint, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator), while those that attend me depart (Junius, Piscator, Vatablus). He was unwilling that the secrets be shared with others standing by. He is speaking to Ehud, not to his courtiers (Bonfrerius). Come up (Jonathan). He says to those that were belonging to him, Go out (Arabic, similarly the Syriac).

Keep silence till my servants be gone; whom he would not have acquainted with a business which he supposed to be of great and close importance.


Verse 20:[5] And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour (Heb. a parlour of cooling;[6] see Amos 3:15), which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat.

[In a summer upper chamber (thus the Septuagint, Junius and Tremellius, Jonathan, Drusius), בַּעֲלִיַּ֙ת הַמְּקֵרָ֤ה] In an upper chamber of cooling (Junius, Piscator, Munster, Montanus, Drusius), מְקֵרָה/cooling, from קָרַר, to be cold (Munster, Drusius). Just like מְגִלָּה/scroll, from גָּלַל, to roll; and מְחִתָּה/ruin, from חָתַת, to be shattered (Drusius). Others: in an upper roomed furnished with a ceiling, from קוֹרָה/rafter (certain interpreters in Munster). In an upper chamber that had been prepared for him[7] (Syriac, Arabic).

A summer parlour: They had divers houses and chambers, some for winter, others for summer. See Jeremiah 36:22; Amos 3:15. Which he had for himself alone; into which he used to retire himself from company; which is mentioned as the reason why his servants waited so long ere they went in to him, Judges 3:25.

[I have a word of God for thee[8]] He says this, so that so might compel the man to be moved, stricken either with religion or fear, or roused with admiration and joy. Now, with deliberation he makes use, not of that name of God that was peculiarly sacred to the Israelites [that is, Jehovah], but that which all nations were venerating, namely, Elohim (Montanus’ Commentary). Which is a general name, and also attributed to idols. So that he might deceive the King, he spoke in this way (Martyr). Eglon was able to persuade himself that Ehud had received an oracle from his frenzied gods (Bonfrerius). Question: Whether Ehud lied here? Response: Not at all; but by a word he understands a deed, in the Hebrew manner of speech: which is to say, I have something to say to thee, that is, to do, namely, that I might kill thee; for God suggests and commands this to me (Lapide on verse 19 out of Augustine). Moreover, although he does not depart from the signification of the words, nevertheless he lies, since he said so that he might deceive him (Martyr in this place and on verse 19). It is not the case that the things anxiously done and said by the Saints in Scripture might be excused from officious and venial lying (Bonfrerius on verse 19), because both Philosophers and Theologians have thought this to be allowed to them in such a case and necessity (Lapide on verse 19).

I have a message, to be delivered not in words, but by actions; Hebrew, a word, or thing, or business.[9] So that there is no need to charge Ehud with a lie, as some do. From God: this he saith to amuse him, by raising his expectation and wonder, to divert him from any apprehension of his danger, and to oblige him to rise out of his seat, which he knew he would do from the common practice of the heathens in their intercourses with God. And he designedly useth the name Elohim, which was common to the true God and false ones, and not Jehovah, which was peculiar to the true God, because Eglon not knowing whether the message came not from his own false god, he would more certainly rise, and thereby give Ehud more advantage for his blow; whereas he would possibly show his contempt of the God of Israel by sitting still to hear his message.

[He arose from the throne] Having a regard, either for the Prophet (Grotius), or the word of God. See Numbers 23:18; 2 Kings 23:3 (Piscator out of Junius, Malvenda).

He arose out of his seat, in token of humble subjection and reverence to God; see Numbers 23:18; 2 Kings 23:3; which condemns those Christians that behave themselves irreverently in the presence and service of the true God.


Verse 21:[10] And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly…


Verse 22:[11] 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 his belly; and the dirt came out (or, it came out at the fundament[12]).

[That the handle followed the sword (similarly Pagnine, Tigurinus, Vatablus), וַיָּבֹ֙א גַֽם־הַנִּצָּ֜ב אַחַ֣ר הַלַּ֗הַב] And the handle (haft [Munster]) also went in after the blade (Montanus, Munster, Tigurinus), after the point (Junius and Tremellius), after the flame (Septuagint). לַהַב signifies this, and thence whatever gleams/shines and strikes the eyes after the manner of a flame, of which sort is the well polished blade of a sword (Bonfrerius, similarly Munster). לַהַב is the blade of a sword. The point is called the flame, either, because of its fiery brightness, or, because it narrows like a flame and ends in a point (Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:8:135). Now, he novelly calls the handle נִצָּב.[13] The Hebrews call it יַד הַחֶרֶב, the hand of the sword, that is, the haft (Drusius).

[And it was drawn tight by the fat, וַיִּסְגֹּ֤ר הַחֵ֙לֶב֙ בְּעַ֣ד הַלַּ֔הַב] And the fat enclosed the blade (Munster) (the point [Junius and Tremellius]), or, closed around the blade (Dutch), or, upon the blade (English), closed itself because of the blade (Montanus). Others: and it, understanding, the wound, or the mouth of the wound, closed with the sword driven in, that is, it drew tight (Vatablus). So that the fat might stop up the wound (Syriac).

[He did not draw out, כִּ֣י לֹ֥א שָׁלַ֛ף] Because he did not extract, or had not extracted (Montanus and a great many interpreters): and he did not extract (Tigurinus), unsheathe (Vatablus), was not able to extract (Pagnine, similarly Munster, Dutch, English). It was not necessary, or worth the labor, to draw into this matter delay with danger (Bonfrerius).

[The excrement rushed out, וַיֵּצֵ֖א הַֽפַּרְשְׁדֹֽנָה׃] This word occurs only once in the Sacred Books (Montanus’ Commentary). The translate it, an effusion of excrement went forth (Montanus). And his food of expulsion went out (Jonathan), in which by food he undoubtedly takes that excrement and refuse of the food (Bonfrerius). And his filth went out (Munster, Tigurinus, Pagnine, Castalio, Dutch, Martyr), which is wont to happen to those that perish by a violent death (Martyr, similarly Lapide, Bonfrerius). This word is a compound of פֶּרֶשׁ/ excrement, and שדה, or שדא, which in Chaldean is to send out (Bonfrerius out of Pagnine, Munster). And it went out, that is, it immediately began to go out, understanding, through the wound (Vatablus). With blood excrement also went out through that wound (certain interpreters in Munster). But it does not appear that this signifies excrement simply (because פֶּרֶשׁ signifies this, without the added דֺנָה-), but the very intestines; and thence it happened that, deprived of all sense, he perished quickly (Tirinus). [Junius and Tremellius thus translate this place, so that the fat enclosed the very blade (for he did not extract his sword from his belly), and it went out at his anus.] Others: and it, namely, the point of the sword, went out from his fundament (Dutch, English). In vain would this example of Ehud be alleged on behalf of tyrannicide, since it is evident that he was not a private individual, but established as a Prince by God, and commanded to kill this public enemy (Tirinus).

The dirt came out: that is, His excrements came forth, not at the wound, which closed up, but at the fundament, as is usual when persons die either a natural or violent death.

[1] Hebrew: וְה֣וּא שָׁ֗ב מִן־הַפְּסִילִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶת־הַגִּלְגָּ֔ל וַיֹּ֕אמֶר דְּבַר־סֵ֥תֶר לִ֛י אֵלֶ֖יךָ הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר הָ֔ס וַיֵּֽצְאוּ֙ מֵֽעָלָ֔יו כָּל־הָעֹמְדִ֖ים עָלָֽיו׃

[2] Hebrew: הַפְּסִילִים.

[3] פָּסַל signifies to hew.

[4] Hebrew: שֹׂ֣בַע שְׂ֭מָחוֹת אֶת־פָּנֶ֑יךָ.

[5] Hebrew: וְאֵה֣וּד׀ בָּ֣א אֵלָ֗יו וְהֽוּא־יֹ֠שֵׁב בַּעֲלִיַּ֙ת הַמְּקֵרָ֤ה אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ֙ לְבַדּ֔וֹ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵה֔וּד דְּבַר־אֱלֹהִ֥ים לִ֖י אֵלֶ֑יךָ וַיָּ֖קָם מֵעַ֥ל הַכִּסֵּֽא׃

[6] Hebrew: בַּעֲלִיַּ֙ת הַמְּקֵרָ֤ה.

[7] קָרָה can signify to meet, encounter, or befall.

[8] Hebrew: דְּבַר־אֱלֹהִ֥ים לִ֖י אֵלֶ֑יךָ.

[9] Hebrew: דְּבַר.

[10] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח אֵהוּד֙ אֶת־יַ֣ד שְׂמֹאל֔וֹ וַיִּקַּח֙ אֶת־הַחֶ֔רֶב מֵעַ֖ל יֶ֣רֶךְ יְמִינ֑וֹ וַיִּתְקָעֶ֖הָ בְּבִטְנֽוֹ׃

[11] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֙א גַֽם־הַנִּצָּ֜ב אַחַ֣ר הַלַּ֗הַב וַיִּסְגֹּ֤ר הַחֵ֙לֶב֙ בְּעַ֣ד הַלַּ֔הַב כִּ֣י לֹ֥א שָׁלַ֛ף הַחֶ֖רֶב מִבִּטְנ֑וֹ וַיֵּצֵ֖א הַֽפַּרְשְׁדֹֽנָה׃

[12] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵ֖א הַֽפַּרְשְׁדֹֽנָה׃.

[13] Perhaps related to נָצַב, to stand firm, or even to be in charge.

Judges 3:12-18: Ehud, Part 1

[circa 1354 BC] Verse 12:[1] (Judg. 2:19) And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened (1 Sam. 12:9) Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.

[Evil in the sight of the Lord] A thing ungrateful to God, who sees all things (Vatablus).

[Who strengthened Eglon against them] That is, by adding courage and strength, by furnishing occasions (Martyr, Lapide, Bonfrerius), by removing impediments, and by weakening the strength of the Hebrews (Lapide).

Strengthened Eglon, by giving him courage, and power, and success against them.


Verse 13:[2] And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and (Judg. 5:14) Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed (Judg. 1:16) the city of palm trees.

[He gathered unto him[3]] Who? Either, God (Cajetan in Bonfrerius, Martyr); or, King Eglon gathered to himself (thus Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Martyr, Septuagint). Both are true, for, with God helping, Eglon joined to himself (Menochius). The Hebrew words are able to be rendered in either way (Bonfrerius).

[Ammon and Amalek] It was an easy thing to join these to himself as allies in war. 1. He was in the middle between them. 2. The Ammonites were almost always confederate with the Moabites.[4] 3. He added the Amalekites, etc.; they had an old hatred against the Israelites[5] (Bonfrerius).

[He possessed the city of palm trees] That is, Jericho (Jonathan, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Lapide, Bonfrerius), as it is evident out of Judges 1:16, and out of Deuteronomy 34:3 (Junius) and 2 Chronicles 28:15. Not that the city of Jericho was standing at that time, but that they were fortifying that territory and the neighboring places around with garrisons (Bonfrerius). The city of Jericho was inhabited by the Israelites before this time, and yet the curse of Joshua had not touched them.[6] Evidently that had regard to the family and kin of Rahab, lest they should restore it as a Canaanite city: And Hiel, who, undertaking this in the time of Ahab, was punished, was of her stock (Lightfoot). Now, the reasons why he was possessing those places rather than others were various (Bonfrerius). For this was a most fertile and wealthy region, and was near Jordan, so that from Moab, situated on the other side of Jordan, it was an easy passage to Jericho; and so that, with the fords of Jordan occupied, he might separate the Trans-Jordanian Israelites from the Cis-Jordanian Israelites, lest they should be able to help each other (Lapide, Bonfrerius).

[He possessed] Hebrew: they possessed.[7] He possessed, not by himself, but by his men, who he sent to occupy those places (Bonfrerius). Others understand a certain city in the territory of Jericho possessed by him (Vatablus).

The city of palm trees: that is, Jericho, as may be gathered from Deuteronomy 34:3; Judges 1:16; 2 Chronicles 28:15. Not the city, which was demolished, but the territory belonging to it. Here he fixed his camp, partly for the admirable fertility of that soil; and partly because of its nearness to the passage over Jordan, which was most commodious, both for the conjunction of his own forces, which lay on both sides of Jordan; and to prevent the conjunction of the Israelites in Canaan with their brethren beyond Jordan; and to secure his retreat into his own country, which therefore the Israelites prevented, Judges 3:28.


Verse 14:[8] So the children of Israel (Deut. 28:49) served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.


[circa 1336 BC] Verse 15:[9] But when the children of Israel (Judg. 3:9; Ps. 78:34) cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite (or, the son of Gemini[10]), a man lefthanded (Heb. shut of his right hand;[11] Judg. 20:16): and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.

[Son of Gemini] That is, of the tribe of Benjamin (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Menochius, Tirinus). For Shimei was also a son Gimini of the tribe of Benjamin, 2 Samuel 16:5;[12] 19:18; 1 Kings 2:8[13] (Lapide). בֶּן־הַיְמִינִי, Ben-jemini, which is often rendered son of Jemini, is able to be a patronymic name, and to signify the same thing as a Benjamite. Where the oppression of the tyrant was greater, thence the Savior comes forth (Bonfrerius).

A Benjamite; Hebrew, the son of Gemini, who was of the tribe of Benjamin, 2 Samuel 16:11; 19:17; 1 Kings 2:8. This tribe was next to him and doubtless most afflicted by him; and hence God raiseth a deliverer.

[Who was making use of both hands as a right hand] But no one makes use of the right hand as a right hand, since it is the right hand itself; nor the lest hand as a right hand, for it is the left (Montanus’ Commentary).

[אִ֥ישׁ אִטֵּ֖ר יַד־יְמִינ֑וֹ] A man stopped up, or, shut up, or closed (contracted [Munster], seized [Pagnine], impeded [Jonathan], impotent [Syriac], withered [Arabic]) in his right hand (Montanus, Tigurinus, Piscator, Osiander, Junius and Tremellius). Thus a great many of the Hebrews; likewise Cajetan, Forster,[14] Mercerus, Buxtorf,[15] Schindler,[16] and a great many others (Malvenda). Lefthanded, or a lefthanded man, who was making use only of his left hand, and whose right hand was contracted, and he was not able to make use of it (Vatablus, similarly Castalio, Piscator, Drusius, Montanus’ Commentary). Which Scripture here commemorates, whereby it might commend that deed and work of God as all the more extraordinary (Munster). God is wont generally to use the infirm and inept to accomplish illustrious deeds (Martyr). The verb אָטַר/atar is found only once in Scripture, Psalm 69:15 (Malvenda), where they translate it, let not the pit shut, etc.[17] (Bonfrerius). But אִטֵּר/itter occurs only twice, here, and in Judges 20:16[18] (Malvenda). [This translation is not satisfying to others, namely, to the patrons of the Vulgate version.] One Jerome is worth more to me than all the Rabbis (Bonfrerius). But the Septuagint also has ἀμφοτεροδέξιον/ambidextrous. This is of great advantage and glory to a soldier, Homer’s Iliad 2 concerning Asteropaios.[19] Hipponactes in Galen,[20] I am ambidextrous, and in striking I do not miss (Lapide). Moreover, those Benjamites in Judges 20 are commended because they are אִטֵּרִים/itterim. But what is the commendation to be lefthanded, since the use of the righthand is better? And who would believe that so many warriors of one city would be lefthanded? but all were able to be ambidexterous, since by use and frequence exercise this is able to be acquired (Bonfrerius). With respect to the verb אָטַר, 1. It is able to be translated otherwise in Psalm 69:15, let it not encircle/crown over me (Jerome), for the mouth of a round pit, while it is covered with a circular lid, is crowned, as it were, by it; so that אָטַר is related to עָטַר, to crown, to encircle. Let not the pit open its mouth upon me, in the Chaldean and Marinus,[21] that is, that it might devour me. Thus in this place, according to them, he is said to be open in his right hand, who on either side has a right hand open and unencumbered to fight (Lapide). 2. But let us grant that אָטַר signifies this (Bonfrerius): Then the ambidexterous man is said to be closed, that is, shut up, restricted, enclosed in his right hand, because he, making use of either hand as a right hand, is surrounded and protected on both sides completely by a right hand as a defender (Lapide): or because, although he is able to make use of the right hand, nevertheless, when he pleases and wishes to make use of the left, he closes and restrains the right (Bonfrerius). I rather believe that he was lefthanded, from verse 21. That sort of man is wont to be strenuous, active, and daring (Malvenda).

Lefthanded; which is here noted, partly as a mark of his courage, and strength, and activity; see Judges 20:16; and principally as a considerable circumstance in the following story, whereby he might more advantageously and unsuspectedly give the deadly blow.


Verse 16:[22] But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.

[A two edged sword, וְלָ֛הּ שְׁנֵ֥י פֵי֖וֹת] And to it two mouths[23] (Montanus, similarly the Septuagint), that is, it had two edges (Lapide, Junius, Piscator, Vatablus); it was cutting from either direction (Vatablus).

[Of the length of the palm[24]] Or, of a span (Septuagint), of the length that can be held in the hand (Syriac). Now, understand palm here, not the lesser, or of four fingers, but the greater, or a spithama, which is of twelve fingers, or half a cubit (Bonfrerius out of Lapide). Moreover, the lesser cubit is equal to the spithama (Lapide).

[גֹּ֣מֶד אָרְכָּ֑הּ] A cubit the length of it (Montanus, Jonathan, similarly Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Arabic, Drusius, Hebrews in Munster). גֺּמֶד is found only once in Scripture, and that is here; and and all interpret it as cubit, from the other word גַּמָּדִים/Gammadim, Ezekiel 27:11, which they render Pygmies, that is, of a cubit in height (Malvenda). [Concerning which see the things to be noted on that place, σὺν θεῷ, Lord willing.] He chose one of a cubit in length, so that it might be more easily hidden (Martyr).

A cubit length; long enough for his design, and not too long for carriage and concealment.

[On his right thigh] Either, 1. after the manner of Easterners; Lipsius on Tacitus.[25] The Barbarians were bearing their swords on the right side: the Gauls in Diodorus’ Historical Library[26] 5; the Germans in Strabo;[27] the Parthians in Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica[28] 6, distinguished for his gauntlets, distinguished for the scimitar on his right side. So also the Romans, as some maintain from Polybius;[29] but they err. The contrary is evident from Josephus’ Jewish War 3:3, and Cæsar’s Commentary 5 “concerning a Repulse” (Lipsius in Gataker[30]). Or, 2. so that the thing might be less liable to suspicion; for strikes that proceed from the left hand are wont hardly to be feared and to be guarded against (Bonfrerius). Or, 3. so that with the left hand, in which alone he was strong, he might be able to draw it conveniently (Martyr).

Upon his right thigh; which was most convenient, both for the use of his left hand, and for the avoiding of suspicion.


Verse 17:[31] And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.

The present was to be paid to him as a part of his tribute.

[Exceedingly thick, בָּרִ֖יא מְאֹֽד׃] Very fat (Jonathan, Pagnine, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus), or, thick (Munster). They that live in pleasures, and eat and drink in great abundance, are wont to be such (Martyr).

A very fat man, and therefore more unwieldy and unable to ward off Ehud’s blow.


Verse 18:[32] And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present.

[He followed his companions] Hebrew: and he sent away the people,[33] so that he might be the less encumbered for the deed, and lest he should bring danger to others, should he fail to succeed (Menochius, similarly Bonfrerius). It was easier to snatch one from danger than many, and a crowd is often wont to be an impediment in conducting a matter, especially when it is secret (Bonfrerius). Conspiracies communicated to many rarely succeed (Martyr).

He sent away the people that bare the present: He accompanied them part of the way, and then dismissed them, and returned to Eglon alone, that so he might have more easy access to him, and privacy with him; and that he might the better make his escape.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּסִ֙פוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת הָרַ֖ע בְּעֵינֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וַיְחַזֵּ֙ק יְהוָ֜ה אֶת־עֶגְל֤וֹן מֶֽלֶךְ־מוֹאָב֙ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עַ֛ל כִּֽי־עָשׂ֥וּ אֶת־הָרַ֖ע בְּעֵינֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיֶּאֱסֹ֣ף אֵלָ֔יו אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י עַמּ֖וֹן וַעֲמָלֵ֑ק וַיֵּ֗לֶךְ וַיַּךְ֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּֽירְשׁ֖וּ אֶת־עִ֥יר הַתְּמָרִֽים׃

[3] Hebrew: וַיֶּאֱסֹ֣ף אֵלָ֔יו.

[4] See Genesis 19:37, 38.

[5] See Exodus 17:8-16.

[6] See Joshua 6:26.

[7] Hebrew: וַיִּירְשׁוּ.

[8] Hebrew: וַיַּעַבְד֤וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶת־עֶגְל֣וֹן מֶֽלֶךְ־מוֹאָ֔ב שְׁמוֹנֶ֥ה עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה שָׁנָֽה׃

[9] Hebrew: וַיִּזְעֲק֣וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ אֶל־יְהוָה֒ וַיָּקֶם֩ יְהוָ֙ה לָהֶ֜ם מוֹשִׁ֗יעַ אֶת־אֵה֤וּד בֶּן־גֵּרָא֙ בֶּן־הַיְמִינִ֔י אִ֥ישׁ אִטֵּ֖ר יַד־יְמִינ֑וֹ וַיִּשְׁלְח֙וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל בְּיָדוֹ֙ מִנְחָ֔ה לְעֶגְל֖וֹן מֶ֥לֶךְ מוֹאָֽב׃

[10] Hebrew: בֶּן־הַיְמִינִי.

[11] Hebrew: אִטֵּ֖ר יַד־יְמִינ֑וֹ.

[12] 2 Samuel 16:5, 11:  “And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera:  he came forth, and cursed still as he came….  And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life:  how much more now may this Benjamite (בֶּן־הַיְמִינִי, or, son of Gemini) do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him.”

[13] 1 Kings 2:8:  “And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite (בֶן־הַיְמִינִי, or, son of Gemini) of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim:  but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.”

[14] Johann Forster (1495-1556) was a German Hebraist, author of Dictionarium Hebraicum.

[15] John Buxtorf (1599-1664) labored as Professor of Oriental languages at Calvinistic Basel.  His scholarship in Hebrew and Rabbinic learning was such that he was known as “Master of the Rabbis.”  He produced an important Lexicon Hebraicum et Chaldaicum.

[16] Valentine Schindler (died 1604) was a Lutheran Hebraist.  He was Professor of Oriental Languages at Wittenberg and at Helmstadt, and he published Lexicon Pentaglotton: Hebraicum, Chaldicum, Syriacum, Talmudico-Rabbinicum, et Arabicum.

[17] Psalm 69:15:  “Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut (תֶּאְטַר) her mouth upon me.”

[18] Judges 20:16:  “Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded (אִטֵּ֖ר יַד־יְמִינ֑וֹ); every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.”

[19] Asteropaios was an ambidexterous leader of the Pæonians, allied to the Trojans, in the Trojan War.  He engaged in one-on-one combat with Achilles; although Asteropaios was defeated by Achilles and killed, he was the only Trojan to have the distinction of drawing Achilles’ blood.

[20] Claudius Galenus of Pergamum (129-200 AD) was an innovative Greek physician.

[21] Marcus Marinus was a sixteenth century Hebrew scholar and papal inquisitor/ censor.  He deleted from the Basel Talmud five chapters, which reflected negatively upon Christianity.

[22] Hebrew: וַיַּעַשׂ֩ ל֙וֹ אֵה֜וּד חֶ֗רֶב וְלָ֛הּ שְׁנֵ֥י פֵי֖וֹת גֹּ֣מֶד אָרְכָּ֑הּ וַיַּחְגֹּ֤ר אוֹתָהּ֙ מִתַּ֣חַת לְמַדָּ֔יו עַ֖ל יֶ֥רֶךְ יְמִינֽוֹ׃

[23] A woodenly literalistic rendering.

[24] Thus the Vulgate.

[25] Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) was a Flemish philologist and historian.  He produced an edition of Tacitus.

[26] Diodorus Siculus (c. 90-c. 30 BC), a Greek historian, wrote the massive Bibliotheca Historica in forty books.  Unhappily, only fifteen books have survived.

[27] Geography 4:4.

[28] Gaius Valerius Flaccus was a first century Roman poet.  Only his Argonautica, a poetic account of Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece, survives.

[29] Polybius (c. 203-120 BC) was a Greek historian, remembered for his The Rise of the Roman Empire, or The Histories.

[30] Thomas Gataker (1574-1654) was an English churchman, theologian, and critic, of great reputation in his own day.  On account of his great learning, he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.  His abilities as a critic are on display in his commentaries on Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentation, found in the English Annotations.

[31] Hebrew: וַיַּקְרֵב֙ אֶת־הַמִּנְחָ֔ה לְעֶגְל֖וֹן מֶ֣לֶךְ מוֹאָ֑ב וְעֶגְל֕וֹן אִ֥ישׁ בָּרִ֖יא מְאֹֽד׃

[32] Hebrew: וַֽיְהִי֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר כִּלָּ֔ה לְהַקְרִ֖יב אֶת־הַמִּנְחָ֑ה וַיְשַׁלַּח֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם נֹשְׂאֵ֖י הַמִּנְחָֽה׃

[33] Hebrew: וַיְשַׁלַּח֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם.

Judges 3:1-11

The nations left to prove Israel mentioned, 1-4. The Israelites marrying their daughters, and serving their gods, they are delivered up to the king of Mesopotamia; are rescued by Othniel, 5-11. Continuing to do evil, they are again punished and oppressed by the king of the Moabites; are rescued by Ehud: ten thousand Moabites are slain, 12-30. They are afterwards delivered from the Philistines by Shamgar, 31.


Verse 1:[1] Now these are (Judg. 2:21, 22) the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan…

[So that He might instruct] So that He might teach them, 1. to handle arms, 2. to serve God (Lapide). The same reason for the remaining nations is assigned in view of the sin of the Israelites, Judges 2:22 (Bonfrerius).

[That had not known the wars of the Canaanites] That is, That had taken no part in those wars (Bonfrerius): that had not known in what manner those battles against the Canaanites had been conducted (Vatablus): that had not been tested (Menochius). They retained the history in part, but were not attending to the singular judgments of God in those things (Junius).

As many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan: that is, Such who had no experience of those wars, nor of God’s extraordinary power and providence manifested in them.


Verse 2:[2] Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof…

[So that they might learn, etc.,רַ֗ק לְמַ֙עַן֙ דַּ֚עַת—לְלַמְּדָ֖ם מִלְחָמָ֑ה] [They render it variously.] Only that (or, that at least [Munster]) the generation of the children of Israel might know, and that He might teach them war (Pagnine, similarly Tigurinus, Munster). Only that they might know, to teach them war (English, similarly Jonathan, Junius and Tremellius). Only that they might know those (that is, the wars of Canaan), that He (that is, the Lord) might teach them war (Dutch). Only that they might become acquainted with…the wars, as He was teaching them war (Pisctor). Only, understand, Jehovah left those nations, that He might teach, etc., that is, so that they might learn in what manner wars were to be conducted (Vatablus); so that in this way they might be exercised in the military art (Menochius); so that the arts of war might be taught, which were previously unknown to them. For their fathers had routed the enemy, not by arms, and bows, etc., but only by the help, counsel, and command of God. But thereafter they set for themselves the business of learning military discipline, and from what preceptors it is immediately declared. And I think that this verse is to be read κατὰ σαρκασμὸν, in a manner in keeping with sarcasm (Montanus’ Commentary). So that they might become acquainted with how evil war is, as He was leaving them without His help (Piscator). So that they might learn what it is to do battle with the Canaanites, that is, how noxious wars are (Rabbis in Lapide). While they were undertaking the wars by their own military prowess, they were learning what it is to do battle, of which they were previously ignorant, since God did battle for them (Kimchi, Rabbi Salomon and Rabbi Levi[3] in Martyr). Thus Adam by eating learned good and evil (Lapide). Now ye shall feel what it is to fight with those that are stronger (Martyr). God willed that they learn by their disadvantage, how perilously they that have God as an enemy wage war, since the wars of their fathers were waged by Divine, not human, power (Munster).

Might know, to teach them war; that by the neighbourhood of such warlike potent enemies, they might be purged from sloth and security, and obliged to inure themselves to martial exercises, and to stand continually upon their guard, and consequently to keep close to that God whose assistance they had so great and constant need of.

[רַ֥ק אֲשֶׁר־לְפָנִ֖ים לֹ֥א יְדָעֽוּם׃] Only those that previously had not known them (Pagnine, Montanus, Piscator, similarly Drusius); at least those that previously knew nothing of them (Dutch, English, similarly Junius and Tremellius); since their ancestors (those that were before them [Munster]) had not known (Arabic, similarly Munster, Syriac). Truly those that, understanding, had been, previously, had not learned them, that is, had not known that art of war, because [thus it is to be read, not whereby, which begets an unsuitable sense] the Lord was fighting for them (Vatablus).


Verse 3:[4] Namely, (Josh. 13:3) five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.

[Five satraps[5]] See Joshua 13:3 (Grotius). Five satrapies (Septuagint), prefectures (Castalio), over which Satraps were put in charge (Martyr).

Five lords of the Philistines; whereof three had been in some sort subdued, Judges 1:18, but afterwards rescued themselves, and recovered their former strength. See on Judges 1:18.

[And every Canaanite] That is, scattered and remaining here and there (Bonfrerius). Joshua had destroyed a great many of the Canaanites (Lapide). These Canaanites, as they designate a particular/specific people, appear to have been more numerous than the others, and more widely dispersed, so that hence the remaining Canaanites might be named after these (Bonfrerius). The Canaanites here are the Phœnicians, who are often called Canaanites, as I said, in Joshua,[6] and Proverbs 31:24,[7] whence the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:22 is called a Syrophenician by Mark.[8] For the Phœnicians were never conquered by the Hebrews; whence by way of explanation he subjoins, and the Sidonian. For Sidon was the capital of Phœnicia, so called after Sidon, son of Canaan, Genesis 10:15 (Lapide).

The Canaanites; properly so called, who were very numerous, and dispersed through several parts of the land whence they gave denomination to all the rest of the people. The Sidonians; the people living near Sidon, and subject to its jurisdiction.

[The Hivite…in Libanus[9]] The seat of the Hivites was in that place, as I said on Joshua 11:3 (Bonfrerius).

[From mount Baal-hermon] This region is described in a similar manner in Joshua 13:5 (Bonfrerius).

Mount Baal-hermon was the eastern part of Mount Lebanon: see Deuteronomy 3:8, 9.


Verse 4:[10] (Judg. 2:22) 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.

[So that in them He might try Israel] So that, if the Israelites would not imitate their manners, the uprightness of the Israelites might appear; but if they should imitate them, their wickedness (Grotius).

To know, that is, that they and others might know by experience.


Verse 5:[11] (Ps. 106:35) And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites…


Verse 6:[12] And (Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3) they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

And served their gods: Were drawn to idolatry by the persuasions and examples of their yoke-fellows, through the just judgment of God, punishing their sinful marriages by giving them up to idolatry.


[circa 1406 BC] Verse 7:[13] (Judg. 2:11) And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, (Judg. 2:13) and served Baalim and (Ex. 34:13; Deut. 16:21; Judg. 6:25) the groves.

[Serving the Baalim and Ashtaroth (thus Jonathan, Syriac, Castalio), הָאֲשֵׁרוֹת] It is the proper name Ashtaroth (Munster, Tigurinus). Others translate it, the Groves (Pagnine, Osiander, Piscator, Septuagint, Montanus). It signifies the trees that are worshipped, or are planted unto the honor of an idol (Menochius). The Groves, that is, the idols of the groves, by Metonymy (Lapide, Piscator, Vatablus). The Pagans were wont to worship their gods in forests; Jove in oak forests (whence the oak of Dodona[14]); Apollo among the laurel trees (thence the temple of Apollo in Daphne[15]) (Martyr). Hence God commanded that the groves be destroyed[16] (Bonfrerius).

The groves; that is, In the groves, in which the heathens usually worshipped their Baalims or idols. Or, the groves are here put metonymically for the idols of the groves, which are distinguished here from their Baalim, which seem to have been worshipped in other places, as the prophets of Baal are distinguished from the prophets of the groves, 1 Kings 18:19.


[circa 1402 BC] Verse 8:[17] Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he (Judg. 2:14) sold them into the hand of (Hab. 3:7) Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia (Heb. Aram-naharaim[18]): and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.

[King of Mesopotamia] The same is called the king of Syria in verse 10,[19] that is, Aram-Naharaim, that is, Syria of the two rivers,[20] or Mesopotamia[21] (Bonfrerius).

[And they served him] They were compelled to buy peace with oppressive tribute; yet not so that they might receive protection from that King. A similar thing soon in verses 12-14. And so it was an easy thing for them, with their courage recovered, to cast off such a burden, as the following things show (Grotius). It is likely that he first made an assault upon the Trans-jordanian Israelites, as closer to his own territory, and finally he penetrated beyond Jordan. The first oppressor was a Mesopotamian, which recalls Laban’s injustices toward Jacob into mind[22] (Lightfoot).

Served Chushan-rishathaim: that is, Were made subject and tributary to him.


[circa 1394 BC] Verse 9:[23] And when the children of Israel (Judg. 3:15; 4:3; 6:7; 10:10; 1 Sam. 12:10; Neh. 9:27; Ps. 22:5; 106:44; 107:13, 19) cried unto the LORD, the LORD (Judg. 2:16) raised up a deliverer (Heb. saviour[24]) to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even (Judg. 1:13) Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

Cried unto the Lord, that is, prayed fervently for deliverance.

[Caleb’s younger brother] Concerning which see on Judges 1:13 (Bonfrerius).

Caleb’s younger brother; of which see on Judges 1:13.


Verse 10:[25] And (see Num. 27:18; Judg. 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6, 19; 1 Sam. 11:6; 2 Chron. 15:1) the Spirit of the LORD came (Heb. was[26]) upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia (Heb. Aram[27]) into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim.

[And the Spirit of the Lord was on him] That is, he began to be urged by the Lord’s spirit of valor (Vatablus, Munster). Strength, prudence, etc., were instilled in him by the Lord. That a manifest revelation was made to him by God, that he should undertake this war, Josephus[28] and the Chaldean maintain: but I rather think that it was an internal inspiration (Bonfrerius).

The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, with extraordinary influences, endowing him with singular wisdom, and courage, and resolution; and stirring him up to this great undertaking. Compare Judges 6:34; 11:29. He judged Israel, that is, pleaded and avenged the cause of Israel against their oppressors; as that phrase is oft used, as Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 10:18; 43:1.


Verse 11:[29] And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

[And the land rested forty years] Question: How are these years to be reckoned? It is to be said by way of prefact that from the exodus out of Egypt to the beginning of the building of the Temple only four hundred and eighty years are numbered, which is affirmed by 1 Kings 6:1 (Bonfrerius, Tostatus, Ussher[30]). Those that affirm this with Scripture are compelled to assert that within the times of quiet mentioned here, and in verse 30, and in Judges 5:31, and in Judges 8:28, are included the years of war and servitude. Thus nearly all whom I have read (Bonfererius, thus Lightfoot). Objection: But how is the land able to be said to rest in the midst of such grievous calamities? Response: 1. It is no new thing, that to some whole number is ascribed what only agrees with part (especially if it is the greater part). Thus the sons of Jacob are said to have been born in Mesopotamia, Genesis 35:26, although Benjamin was born in Canaan.[31] Thus seventy came out of the loins of Jacob, Exodus 1:5, in which number Jacob himself is included. Thus there are seventy souls, Genesis 46:27, and seventy-five, Acts 7:14, which are said to have entered into Egypt with Jacob: yet in which number is comprehended Joseph with his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Thus, in Judges 8:30, Gideon had seventy sons, and, in Judges 9:5, these seventy are said to have been killed; yet from this number Jotham is to be removed. Thus, in Exodus 12:40, the dwelling of Israel in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years: but it is certain that they were in Egypt only for two hundred and ten or two hundred and fifteen years. [Concerning which see wht things we have noted on Exodus 12.] Therefore, it is not strange, if Scripture in this place should include within the forty years, thirty-two of which were characterized by quiet, which partly preceded the servitude, under the Elders [who are said to have survived Joshua, Judges 2] and the time of idolatry, and partly followed, with the King of Mesopotamia decisively defeated, the eight year of servitude in the midst; neither is it strange, if within the eighty year mentioned in verse 30, sixty-two of which were characterized by quiet, the eighteen years of servitude are inserted (Bonfrerius). In the same sense it is said in Numbers 14:33, your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and there bear your iniquities; not indeed in such a way that they might fulfill these forty years from the time when He spoke these things, but from the time of the exodus from Egypt. Thus in this passage the years of oppression are included in the forty years of quiet. It is indeed true that Paul reckons the years of the Judges in such a way that he distinguishes the years of oppression from the rest, Acts 13:20, where he speaks of the Judges through four hundred and fifty years unto Samuel; but he expresses himself with the particle ὡς/as/about, or a loose manner of reckoning, but not strictly and properly (Lightfoot). 2. That quiet, of which mention is made here, is not necessarily to be reckoned a quiet from servitude and battles, but it is able to signify a cessation from acting, that is, from new scandals, and the perpetration of idolatry, which would furnish for God occasion for a new calamity. The שָׁקַט often signifies whatever cessation and quiet from acting, as it is manifestly taken in Ruth 3:18;[32] Isaiah 18:4;[33] 62:1;[34] Jeremiah 47:6;[35] 48:11;[36] Ezekiel 16:42[37] (Bonfrerius). [But the Most Illustrious Ussher evades this inconvenience differently.] Willingly (says he) do we acknowledge that the times of war and servitude are to be distinguished from the time of quiet, but, with the notation of the years applied to the quiet of the land, we think that the beginning of that quiet, but not the duration either of that quiet or of the prefecture of the Judges, is designated. And so that וַתִּשְׁקֹט, and it rested, I translate, it began to rest; just as וַיּוֹלֶד, and he begat, in Genesis 5:32 and 11:26, is to be translated, he began to beget; and וַיִּבֶן, and he built, in 1 Kings 6:1,[38] is, he began to build: but when so many time in Scripture some King is said to be of so many or so many years בְמָלְכוֹ, in his reign, no one is able to doubt that that signifies when he began to reign.[39] And while in the notation of times this is the explanation of the numbers, that sometimes he indicates when some matter happened, sometimes how long it lasted; which two things the Greeks and the Latins often distinguish by varying the cases (which the Hebrews lack): in the years of oppression I accept the latter explanation, in the years of quiet the former; so that under Othniel, for example, the land rested, not for forty years, but in forty years, that is, in the fortieth year from some preceding epoch. Now, this epoch was that most celebrated rest established by Joshua, with the Canaanites subdued, etc., and mentioned in Joshua 11:23 and 14:15. Therefore, with the Mesopotamians conquered (in forty years after the beginning of that former quiet), quiet began to be restored, after the victory of Othniel unto his death (Ussher’s Sacred Chronology 197). The first forty years following the death of Joshua are ascribed here to the principate of Othniel: not because Othniel was the sole Ruler or Monarch in the land, for the Sanhedrin ruled in their places, and inferior Magistrates in theirs; but because Othniel was a powerful and successfor General in war (Lightfoot).

The land had rest; either, first, It rested about forty years, or the greatest part of forty years; it being most frequent in Scripture to use numbers in such a latitude. Thus the Israelites are said to bear their iniquities forty years in the wilderness, Numbers 14:34, when there wanted near two years of that number; and to dwell in Egypt four hundred and thirty years, when there wanted many years of that number.[40] Thus Joseph’s kindred, sent for and called by him into Egypt, are numbered seventy-five souls, Acts 7:14, although they were but seventy, as is affirmed, Genesis 46:27; Exodus 1:5. So here the land is said to rest forty years, although they were in servitude eight of those years, Judges 3:8. And in like manner the land is said to have rest eighty years, though eighteen of them they served the king of Moab, Judges 3:14. And so in some other instances. Nor is it strange and unusual, either in Scripture or in other authors, for things to be denominated from the greater part, as here it was; especially when they did enjoy some degrees of rest and peace, even in their times of slavery, which here they did. Or, secondly, It rested, that is, began to rest, or recovered its interrupted rest, in the fortieth year, either after Joshua’s death, or after the first and famous rest procured for them by Joshua, as is noted, Hebrews 4:9, when he destroyed and subdued the Canaanites, and gave them quiet possession of the land; and the land had rest from war, as is said, Joshua 11:23; 14:15. So there is this difference between the years of servitude and oppression, and those of rest, that in the former he tells us how long it lasted; in the latter, when it began; by which, compared with the other years, it was easy also to know how long the rest lasted. To strengthen this interpretation, two things must be noted. 1. That resting is here put for beginning to rest, as to beget is put for beginning to beget, Genesis 5:32; 11:26; and to reign, for to begin to reign, 2 Samuel 2:10; and to build, 1 Kings 6:15, 36, for to begin to build, 2 Chronicles 3:1. 2. That forty years is put for the fortieth year; the cardinal number for the ordinal, which is common both in the Holy Scripture, as Genesis 1:5; 2:11; Exodus 12:2; Haggai 1:1; Mark 16:2, and in other authors.

[1] Hebrew: וְאֵ֤לֶּה הַגּוֹיִם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הִנִּ֣יחַ יְהוָ֔ה לְנַסּ֥וֹת בָּ֖ם אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֵ֚ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־יָדְע֔וּ אֵ֖ת כָּל־מִלְחֲמ֥וֹת כְּנָֽעַן׃

[2] Hebrew: רַ֗ק לְמַ֙עַן֙ דַּ֚עַת דֹּר֣וֹת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לְלַמְּדָ֖ם מִלְחָמָ֑ה רַ֥ק אֲשֶׁר־לְפָנִ֖ים לֹ֥א יְדָעֽוּם׃

[3] Although little is known about the life of Levi ben Gershon, also known as Gersonides and Ralbag (1288-1344), his interests included, not only Biblical and Talmudic interpretation, but also philosophy, science, and mathematics.  His commentary on Judges is extant.

[4] Hebrew: חֲמֵ֣שֶׁת׀ סַרְנֵ֣י פְלִשְׁתִּ֗ים וְכָל־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִי֙ וְהַצִּ֣ידֹנִ֔י וְהַ֣חִוִּ֔י יֹשֵׁ֖ב הַ֣ר הַלְּבָנ֑וֹן מֵהַר֙ בַּ֣עַל חֶרְמ֔וֹן עַ֖ד לְב֥וֹא חֲמָֽת׃

[5] That is, provincial governors.

[6] See, for example, Joshua 5:1.

[7] Proverbs 31:24:  “She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant (לַכְּנַעֲנִי, to the Canaanite).”  The Phœnicians were famous the world over for trade.

[8] Mark 7:26.

[9] The Libanus and Antilibanus are parallel mountain ranges, running north-south through Syria.

[10] Hebrew: וַֽיִּהְי֕וּ לְנַסּ֥וֹת בָּ֖ם אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל לָדַ֗עַת הֲיִשְׁמְעוּ֙ אֶת־מִצְוֹ֣ת יְהוָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה אֶת־אֲבוֹתָ֖ם בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה׃

[11] Hebrew: וּבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל יָשְׁב֖וּ בְּקֶ֣רֶב הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֑י הַחִתִּ֤י וְהָֽאֱמֹרִי֙ וְהַפְּרִזִּ֔י וְהַחִוִּ֖י וְהַיְבוּסִֽי׃

[12] Hebrew: וַיִּקְח֙וּ אֶת־בְּנוֹתֵיהֶ֤ם לָהֶם֙ לְנָשִׁ֔ים וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֵיהֶ֖ם נָתְנ֣וּ לִבְנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵיהֶֽם׃

[13] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲשׂ֙וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל אֶת־הָרַע֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה וַֽיִּשְׁכְּח֖וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיהֶ֑ם וַיַּעַבְד֥וּ אֶת־הַבְּעָלִ֖ים וְאֶת־הָאֲשֵׁרֽוֹת׃

[14] The oak of Dodona was a sacred site dedicated to Zeus.  The priests of that place, even before the establishment of a sanctuary, would interpret the voice of the deity in the rustling of the branches and leaves.  It is said that a black dove landed upon the tree and spoke to the locals in human speech, declaring that an oracle should be established in that place.

[15] According to myth, Apollo became enamored with Daphne, a beautiful water-nymph.  She appealed to her father, the river-god Ladon, and to Gaia for help, and they transformed her into a laurel tree.  The laurel has ever been sacred in the worship of Apollo.  It is said that the first temple of Apollo in Delphi was made of Daphne/ laurel.

[16] Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5; 12:3.

[17] Hebrew: וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֤ף יְהוָה֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַֽיִּמְכְּרֵ֗ם בְּיַד֙ כּוּשַׁ֣ן רִשְׁעָתַ֔יִם מֶ֖לֶךְ אֲרַ֣ם נַהֲרָ֑יִם וַיַּעַבְד֧וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶת־כּוּשַׁ֥ן רִשְׁעָתַ֖יִם שְׁמֹנֶ֥ה שָׁנִֽים׃

[18] Hebrew: אֲרַ֣ם נַהֲרָ֑יִם.

[19] Judges 3:10b:  “…and the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia (מֶ֣לֶךְ אֲרָ֑ם, King of Aram; regem Syriæ, in the Vulgate) into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim.”

[20] נָהָר signifies river; נַהֲרָיִם has the dual termination.

[21] Mesopotamia is a compound of μέσος/mesos/between and ποταμὸς/potamos/river.

[22] See Genesis 29-31.

[23] Hebrew: וַיִּזְעֲק֤וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶל־יְהוָ֔ה וַיָּ֙קֶם יְהוָ֥ה מוֹשִׁ֛יעַ לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וַיּֽוֹשִׁיעֵ֑ם אֵ֚ת עָתְנִיאֵ֣ל בֶּן־קְנַ֔ז אֲחִ֥י כָלֵ֖ב הַקָּטֹ֥ן מִמֶּֽנּוּ׃

[24] Hebrew: מוֹשִׁיעַ.

[25] Hebrew: וַתְּהִ֙י עָלָ֥יו רֽוּחַ־יְהוָה֮ וַיִּשְׁפֹּ֣ט אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ וַיֵּצֵא֙ לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וַיִּתֵּ֤ן יְהוָה֙ בְּיָד֔וֹ אֶת־כּוּשַׁ֥ן רִשְׁעָתַ֖יִם מֶ֣לֶךְ אֲרָ֑ם וַתָּ֣עָז יָד֔וֹ עַ֖ל כּוּשַׁ֥ן רִשְׁעָתָֽיִם׃

[26] Hebrew: וַתְּהִי.

[27] Hebrew: אֲרָם.

[28] Antiquities 5:3.

[29] Hebrew: וַתִּשְׁקֹ֥ט הָאָ֖רֶץ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּ֖מָת עָתְנִיאֵ֥ל בֶּן־קְנַֽז׃

[30] James Ussher (1580-1655) was an Irish churchman and scholar of the first rank, who eventually rose to the office of Archbishop of Ireland.  He is most remembered for his Annals of the World.

[31] Genesis 35:16-19.

[32] Ruth 3:18:  “Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall:  for the man will not be in rest (לֹ֤א יִשְׁקֹט֙), until he have finished the thing this day.”

[33] Isaiah 18:4:  “For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest (אֶשְׁקוֹטָה), and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

[34] Isaiah 62:1:  “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest (לֹ֣א אֶשְׁק֑וֹט), until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”

[35] Jeremiah 47:6:  “O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet (תִשְׁקֹטִי)? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still.”

[36] Jeremiah 48:11:  “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled (וְשֹׁקֵט) on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity:  therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.”

[37] Ezekiel 16:42:  “So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet (וְשָׁקַטְתִּי), and will be no more angry.”

[38] 1 Kings 6:1:  “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he built (וַיִּבֶן) the house of the Lord.”

[39] For example, 2 Kings 8:17:  “Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign (בְמָלְכוֹ); and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.”

[40] See Exodus 12:40, 41; Galatians 3:17.

Judges 2

An angel reproveth Israel at Bochim; they bewail their sins, 1-5. The wickedness of the new generation after Joshua; their frequent idolatry, 6-13; for which they are often punished of God by the enemy; and being delivered by the judges grow worse, 14-19; wherefore God will leave the Canaanite to prove and vex them, 20-23.


Verse 1:[1] And an angel (or, messenger[2]) of the LORD came up from Gilgal (Judg. 2:5) to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and (Gen. 17:7) I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

[And the Angel of the Lord ascended from Gilgal] Question 1: Who then was this Angel? Response: He was an Angel properly so called (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Lyra, Estius, Tirinus). Neither is there to be an appeal to metaphors without necessity (Bonfrerius). It was the same that appeared to Joshua, Joshua 5 (Bonfrerius, Menochius, Tirinus). A man would definitely not say, I led you out of Egypt, etc. The Prophets are wont to say this beforehand, thus saith the Lord (Bonfrerius). This was the Angel of the Covenant, as He is called in Malachi 3:1, namely, the Son of God (certain interpreters in Malvenda, Lightfoot). Other prefer him to be a man (thus Vatablus, Drusius, Junius, Piscator, Montanus’ Commentary, Martyr). He was an Angel, but not from above, but rather from below. The Prophets were of this sort, etc. (Drusius). A Legate, or Prophet, sent by the Lord (Vatablus). Such are called Angels, Haggai 1:13;[3] Malachi 2:7[4] (Drusius, Grotius). Heavenly Angels are not said to ascend (as here), but to descend (Drusius, Montanus’ Commentary): and they descend from heaven, not from Gilgal, or any other earthly location (Drusius). But the Angel is said to ascend from Gilgal, because in Gilgal he first appeared, and thence transported himself unto this place (Lapide). When he began to appear, he seemed to approach unto them from the region of Gilgal where they were. Now, fittingly he came from that place, where he stayed for a long time for the protection of the camp, and was supposed to have stayed even now (Bonfrerius). Especially when that circumstance is able to excite again the memory of the former benefits received there[5] (Bonfrerius, Menochius, Tirinus), and of the covenant renewed by circumcision[6] (Theodoret in Menochius); and to rebuke the present idleness of the Israelites, who after so many commandments and promises had acted as those released to leisure (Bonfrerius). Moreover, it is evident that he was a man, because it is not read that he disappeared, as it is related concerning other Angels (Junius, Piscator). I believe that he is some Man of God, Prophet (Malvenda, thus Drusius). There is no necessary reason to indicate his name, since the matter itself demands credit, not from the name and credit of the speaker, but from the authority of the office and mandate (which at that time was sufficiently evident) (Montanus’ Commentary). The Hebrews maintain that this was Phinehas;[7] concerning which they are to be derided (Bonfrerius). Either he was Prophet extraordinarily, or Phinehas (Junius, Piscator). But Phinehas had fixed his dwelling in Gibeah,[8] not in Gilgal (Montanus’ Commentary). Perhaps this man of God dwelt in Gilgal (Malvenda). From Gilgal he went up, namely, after the people had transported the Ark from there to Shiloh (Junius). Question 2: When did he appear? Response: While Joshua was yet living (Tostatus, Torniellus[9] and Salianus[10] in Bonfrerius). For in verse 6 the dismissing of the assembly and the death of Joshua are reviewed. Concerning which see on verse 6 (Bonfrerius). He had gone up when Joshua, being near death, had summoned the people to himself, Joshua 24 (Junius). This does not satisfy: Then Joshua would have rebuked the people, and not have said that they had adhered to God unto that day, Joshua 23:8; neither would the people have declared, we will serve the Lord, etc., Joshua 24:24. In addition, it is evident that God had not willedthat all the Canaanites be driven out so quickly, or with Joshua living, Exodus 23:29, 30; Deuteronomy 7:22. Moreover, when Joshua says, Joshua 23, that God is not going destroy the Canaanites, if they enter into friendships and covenants with them, he clearly supposes that they had not yet entered into this fault; but here the Angel indicates that the fault was allowed. Then, I ask of them, whether the other Tribes, Ephraim, Manasseh, etc., which are noted as not destroying the Canaanites, ought to fulfill that before the Tribe of Judah renewed the war, or after. If before, how is it that all the Tribes consult God concerning that matter, and receive a response from God, that the beginning of the war ought to be undertaken by the tribe of God? But if after, that entire seeking after the oracle, and the beginning of the war by Judah, was after the death of Joshua, as it is evident from Judges 1:1, etc. (Bonfrerius). Therefore, others think that this Angel appeared after the death of Joshua (Bonfrerius out of Procopius, Serarius, Cajetan).

An angel of the Lord: either, first, A created angel. Or, secondly, A prophet or man of God, for such are sometimes called angels, which signifies only messengers of God; and then the following words are spoken by him in the name of God, as may easily be understood. Or, thirdly, Christ, the Angel of the covenant, who is oft called the Angel of the Lord, as we have formerly seen, to whom the conduct of Israel out of Egypt, and through the wilderness, and into Canaan, here spoken of, is frequently ascribed, as Exodus 14:19; 23:20; 33:14; Joshua 5:13, 14; Judges 6:12; 13:3; who alone of all the angels could speak the following words in his own name and person; whereas created angels and prophets do universally usher in their Divine messages with, Thus saith the Lord, or some equivalent expression. And this angel having assumed the outward shape of a man, it is not strange that he imitates the local motion of a man, and comes as it were from Gilgal to the place where now they were; by which motion he signified that he was the person that brought them to Gilgal, the first place where they rested in Canaan, and there renewed covenant with them, and protected them there so long, and from thence went out with them to battle, and gave them success.

[To the place of weepers (thus Munster), אֶל־הַבֹּכִים] To the weepers (Bonfrerius, Malvenda); to Bochim (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius). The place is thus named by way of anticipation, the reason of which is indicated in verse 5 (Piscator out of Junius). Question: Where then is this place? Responses: In Shiloh (certain interpreters in Bonfrerius), or near it (Junius). For, 1. we read that they sacrificed there; which was not lawful, except at the Tabernacle. But it was indeed lawful to sacrifice elsewhere, when it was evident that God willed it; as in Judges 6:19; 13:19; 2 Samuel 24; 1 Kings 18; 1 Chronicles 21 (Bonfrerius). 2. It is scarcely able to be pretended that all the children of Israel (unto whom he here speaks) were gathered into one place, except at Shiloh, for the sake of the solemn feasts. But God was able, after the people had gathered in Shiloh for the appointed feast, to appoint this assembly through a Prophet. Question: Why did he come up to this place? Response: Perhaps because it was near Jerusalem (as we shall see), where the Temple was to be erected, and the people were often to be gathered; for whom therefore the name and sight of the place might recall to memory both the blessings of God and their own ingratitude, etc. Moreover, both Josephus in his Antiquities 7:4 and the Septuagint call this place Κλαυθμῶνα, Place of Weeping, both here, and in 2 Samuel 5:23;[11] and they locate it near Jerusalem, and think that it was a forest, or valley, or rather both (Bonfrerius).

Bochim; a place so called here by anticipation, for the reason expressed here, verse 5. And it seems to be no other than Shiloh, where it seems probable that the people were met together upon some solemn festival. And this was the proper and usual place of sacrificing, verse 5.

[And he says] Understanding, in the person of the Lord; which is to say, the Lord God says this (Vatablus). This Angel speaks in the person of God, just as a legate in the person of the one sending, I brought you out, etc. (Lapide). Others gather thence that He was God, because He subjoined, I brought you out, etc. (Malvenda). Perhaps this was that Angel of great counsel, who formerly appeared to the Fathers,[12] and led Israel out of Egypt.[13] But if it was a Prophet, thus saith the Lord ought to be understood (Drusius).

[I brought you out, etc., אַעֲלֶ֙ה אֶתְכֶ֜ם] I caused you to come up[14] (Septuagint, Jonathan, Montanus, Munster, similarly Syriac, Arabic, Tigurinus, Pagnine). Verbatim: I shall cause to go up; the verb of the future/imperfect tense is in the place of the past/perfect (Vatablus, Glassius); as it is evident from the other verbs, וָאָבִיא, and I brought in, with the ו-conversive. Thus the future is in the place of the past elsewhere: Exodus 15:5, the depths יְכַסְיֻמוּ, will cover, them, that is, they covered; Numbers 23:13, the utmost part of them תִרְאֶה, thou shalt see, and the whole thou shalt not see, in the place of, thou hast seen, thou hast not seen, as it is evident from a comparison with Numbers 22:41. Thus in Judges 5:8, יִבְחַר, he will choose, in the place of, he chose, or had chosen, new gods; for it explains the reasons for the afflictions (Glassius’ “Grammar” 385). [Junius and Tremellius thus render it, and he had said, I will have brought it to pass that ye might come up out of Egypt, and will have brought you into this land, which I had promised by oath to your ancestors, and will have said, I shall not ever make my covenant with you void.] A weighty rebuke κατ᾽ ἀγῶνα, with respect to argumentative force (Junius). God framed the present rebuke by a comparing and contrasting of the matters themselves, and of the actions both parties, commemorating His own mercy, truth, and constancy, and complaining of their folly and obstinacy (Montanus’ Commentary). Either the future/imperfect is in the place of the past/ perfect to indicate the continuous benignity of God. Or the tense has respect to the beginning of the covenant and the oath with the fathers; which is to say, This is the summary and formula of the covenant formerly struck with you fathers, I shall bring you out of Egypt, and I will bring you in, etc. (Malvenda). Now, the beginning is taken from the very sorrow of the Israelites, in which they appear to complain of God (as it was customary) as the author of their calamities. This messenger denies this, and establishes that God was always the author of good things to them, but that they were the authors of their own miseries. I promised, that I would not make void: Therefore, this calamity has not proceeded from my forgetfulness, or from some causeless change of circumstances. I did not voluntarily inflict these evils, but was provoked by your demerit (Montanus’ Commentary). Now, in this chapter there is a very plain abstract of the following history; which in the very circumstances shows the usefulness of Royal power for the people, and thus restrains defections (Grotius).

And I said, that is, I promised, upon condition of your keeping covenant with me.


Verse 2:[15] And (Deut. 7:2) ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; (Deut. 12:3) ye shall throw down their altars: (Judg. 2:20; Ps. 106:34) but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?

[That ye strike not a covenant] Question: Were these covenants of the Israelites with the Canaanites valid? Response: I confess that this matter is confused to a remarkable degree; and there is reason for doubt, because with respect to substance it was unlawful, and prohibited by God. Many also think that the covenant with the Gibeonites was unlawful, although they had received the truth Religion:[16] how much more this covenant with idolaters (Bonfrerius)? Likewise, I think that these covenants were unlawful to the Hebrews, but not necessarily void (Lapide, Bonfrerius). They were bound to keep them, especially if they were confirmed with an oath, because the law of nature and of nations requires this; otherwise all commerce would be destroyed, if they violate their agreements; and the Canaanites would be greatly scandalized, if the Hebrews had perjured themselves, and blasphemed God, as it were. Nevertheless, after it was plainly evident to them that God prohibited these covenants, they were not able to be scandalized, if the Hebrews, yielding obedience to God, rescinded them. The marriages of the Hebrews with the Canaanites were true marriages. And, although marriages of this sort are dissolved in Ezra 9 and 10, this is done, not because the marriages were nothing, but because under the old Law repudiation for just causes was permitted. Now, difference of worship, and the danger corruption, were just causes (Bonfrerius out of Lapide). Moreover, if these covenants were void, and the Angel had urged them to rescind the covenants, and the Israelites, being truly penitent, had been obliged to destroy the Canaanites; Solomon would not have tolerated them, as he did in 1 Kings 9:20, 21. Therefore, these covenants were indeed unlawful, but the performance of them was lawful. And indeed it is manifestly evident that these things are able to be distinguished: for, if a contract is unlawful, it is not necessarily void, unless the contract itself either is render void by a superior, or terminates upon unlawful material: neither of which here obtained. For God did not make these contracts void, nor did He prohibit them to be kept. The matter stands otherwise when the matter is evil, or plainly prohibited (Bonfrerius). [Peter Martyr thinks otherwise:] He asks why would they retain a covenant unlawfully made, when, if their repentance be true, they ought to have emended their sin. I do not have anything else that I might answer to these, except that it was not done because strength was wanting to them, and in punishment God had taken away from them strength and boldness. And, although they repented, yet He did not restore to them their former strength (Martyr).

[Why have ye done these things? מַה־זֹּ֥את עֲשִׂיתֶֽם׃] What? For what reason? (Vatablus). What is this? which is to say, How grievous is the sin? (Piscator). What is this that ye have done? (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Montanus’ Commentary). He asks as if of an unknown matter, so that He might show that He was a complete stranger to that counsel: which is to say, Ye have made covenants with them, with my admonitions slighted: I have declared them enemies, and I have delivered them to be destroyed; ye have made and chosen them as friends; therefore keep ye your friends (Montanus’ Commentary).

Why have ye done this?: that is, Disobeyed these express commands of mine?


Verse 3:[17] Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be (Josh. 23:13) as thorns in your sides, and (Judg. 3:6) their gods shall be a (Ex. 23:33; 34:12; Deut. 7:16; Ps. 106:36) snare unto you.

[For which reason I was unwilling to destroy; that is, I do not wish to destroy, or, I have decreed not to destroy (Bonfrerius): וְגַ֣ם אָמַ֔רְתִּי לֹֽא־אֲגָרֵ֥שׁ] For this reason also I say, I will not drive out, etc. (Junius). I also said, I will not cast out, etc. (Tigurinus, Munster). I said, that is, within myself, that is, I have decreed (Piscator). That is, For this reason I was able rightfully to say, or, For this reason I will not drive out (Vatablus).

I also said with myself; I have now taken up this peremptory resolution.

[So that ye might have them as enemies] Hebrew: and they shall be to you לְצִדִּים.[18] Which they render variously: in your sides (Pagnine, Montanus, Dutch); to your sides (Junius and Tremellius, Piscator), that is, to prick your sides, after the likeness of thorns (Piscator). It is a defective expression (Drusius); understanding from Joshua 23:13, for thorn-bushes in your sides, that is, after the likeness of thorns, by which your sides shall be pricked (Vatablus). As thorns in your sides (English). They shall be to you on the side, that is, around you; they shall be ever troublesome to you (Malvenda). Others: they shall be to you for snares (certain interpreters in Malvenda), or hunting-spears, by which ye may be taken (certain interpreters in Drusius, Hebrews in Munster); from צוּד, to hunt, and to fish. Now, fishing is generally done with a curved barb (Munster), so that צִדִּים/sides might be in the place of צִידִים/pricks, as elsewhere צִצִּים/blossoms is in the place of צִיצִים/blossoms[19] (Drusius). They shall be to you for oppressors (Jonathan in Drusius), for afflictions (Septuagint, Kimchi[20] in Drusius). They appear to have read לְצָרִים, for afflictions, that is, with a ר/r instead of a ד/d. The root is צוּר, to oppress (Drusius). They shall be unto vanity (Syriac), for error (Arabic).

Thorns in your sides: see on Numbers 33:55; Joshua 23:13.

[And that their gods might be to you for ruin] The ut in the former member is to be taken causally (for God willed that they have enemies by whom they might be exercised), but in the latter member only consecutively[21] (Lapide, Bonfrerius, similarly Estius). For God was not intending this fall into idolatry, but only to permit it, to punish their former sins (Lapide, Bonfrerius). God threatens that in His own manner He is going to punish sins with sins, as in Romans 1:24 (Martyr).


Verse 4:[22] And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.

[Unto all the children of Israel] That is, unto the whole assembly (Lapide). All, namely, that were obliged and wont to be present at similar gatherings (Bonfrerius).

[They lifted up their voice] Confessing their sins, and imploring the mercy of God (Martyr).

Wept: Some of them from a true sense of their sins; but most of them from a just apprehension of their danger and approaching misery from the Canaanites’ growing power, and God’s forsaking of them; as the following history makes most probable.


Verse 5:[23] And they called the name of that place Bochim (that is, weepers[24]): and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.

[The place of weepers] For the same reason it also is called the valley of tears, Psalm 84:6[25] (in which passage there is an allusion to this) (Bonfrerius).

[Sacrifices] Either, 1. sacrifices for sin (Serarius). This does not satisfy: For those are used nowhere except the Tabernacle; neither are they able to be used, on account of the ceremonies requisite in them: For they were able to be eaten by the priests alone, and only in the holy place.[26] Or, 2. burnt-offerings. For, even if they are primarily intended to show honor to God, nevertheless in Scripture we find them used to propitiate God[27] (Bonfrerius).

They sacrificed, etc.: For the expiation of their sins, by which they had provoked God to this resolution; and for the regaining of God’s favour.


[circa 1444 BC] Verse 6:[28] And when (Josh. 22:6; 24:28) Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.

[Therefore, Joshua dismissed the people] Hence some conclude that the preceding things were said while Joshua was alive; how would he otherwise say this, and what would be the connection otherwise? Response 1: The connection that they allege is not able to stand. It is proven. It is treated here of Joshua’s dismissal of individuals unto their lots and possessions, as it is evident from this verse, which sufficiently indicates that they had not yet taken possession of them. But this appearance of the Angel was not able to be before their taking possession of them; for how are they to be blamed that they had left Canaanites in their lots, if they were not yet occupying their lots? Moreover, while this is true, they wickedly reject this appearance into the latter years of Joshua. Response 2: The connection with what precedes according to our opinion is manifest: The Angel had said that it was going to happen that the god of the Canaanites would be their ruin: now the Scripture declare how it was actually accomplished. Wherefore he repeats the matter from above, and declares when, and how long, and with what helps, they continued in their duty; namely, as long as Joshua lived (who dismissed them unto their lots), and the Elders, etc. (Bonfrerius). This narration is inserted for this reason, that there might be a relation of how long the Israelites retained the true worship of God (Martyr). These things are said by way of recapitulation (Vatablus). There is in this place a Hysteron-proteron.[29] He repeats certain things out of the book of Joshua, so that he might smoothly pass from thenceto the institution and origin of the Judges that succeeded him (Lapide). This verse indicates the cause of those things that were narrated, and that will be narrated hereafter: They departed unto their possession, that they might obtain it. The sense: It was the pursuit and intention to enjoy the things furnished, and to decline the labor and tedium of war. Out of this pursuit of private advantage were following the covenants with the Canaanites, their neglect of public affairs, and their contempt of Religion, etc. But Joshua had dismissed the people, so that they might settle their wives and children in homes, and, after the example of the Trans-jordanians, who were ready for war, with troops mustered, they might with consummate zeal press to overthrow and destroy the enemy. But their whole concern was to possess the land, etc. (Montanus’ Commentary). But they urge those words, therefore, he dismissed. Response: They translate that וַיְשַׁלַּח, he had dismissed (Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, Montanus’ Commentary). Rather, for he had dismissed. For a declaration of the preceding history follows, or an exposition of the reason why God deserted the Israelites (Piscator).

When Joshua had let the people go; when he had distributed their inheritances, and dismissed them severally to take possession of them. This was done before this time, whilst Joshua lived; but is now repeated in order to the discovery of the time, and cause, or occasion of the people’s defection from God, and of God’s desertion of them.


Verse 7:[30] (Josh. 24:31) And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua (Heb. prolonged days after Joshua[31]), who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.


[circa 1426 BC] Verse 8:[32] And (Josh. 24:29) Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.


Verse 9:[33] (Josh. 24:30) And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres (Josh. 19:50; 24:30; Timnath-serah[34]), in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

[Timnath-serah[35]] From the dryness of this place it was thus called[36] (certain interpreters in Drusius). So indeed it is called in Joshua 24:30, with the latter letters transposed (Vatablus, Drusius). But here in Hebrew it is called Timnath-heres, from the image of the sun imposed upon the sepulcher of Joshua[37] (Hebrews in Munster).

Timnath-heres, called Timnath-serah, Joshua 19:50; 24:30.


Verse 10:[38] And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which (Ex. 5:2; 1 Sam. 2:12; 1 Chron. 28:9; Jer. 9:3; 22:16; Gal. 4:8; 2 Thess. 1:8; Tit. 1:16) knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

[They had not known the Lord] That is, they did not worship Him. From that which precedes, that which follows is to be understood. He that does not know God does not worship Him, Seneca’s[39] Epistles 96. The knowledge of God is not mere knowledge (Drusius).

Which knew not the Lord; which had no experimental nor serious and affectionate knowledge of God, nor of his works.


Verse 11:[40] And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim…

In the sight of the Lord; which notes the heinousness and the impudence of their sins above other people’s sins; because God’s presence was with them, and his eye upon them, in a peculiar manner, and he did narrowly observe all their actions, which also they were not ignorant of, and therefore were guilty of more contempt of God than other people.

[And they served Baalim] That is, Idols, or the gods of the nations: for by Baalim he signifies all the male gods; just as by Ashtaroth all the female goddesses (Lapide, Bonfrerius). בַּעֲלִים/Baalim with the plural termination[41] often has a singular sense, like אֲדֹנִים/Adonim,[42] אֱלֹהִים/Elohim, etc. (Drusius). They make use of the plural either for the sake of honor, after the manner of the Hebrews (Tirinus); or, on account of the diverse likenesses of Baal (Bonfrerius out of Augustine); or they even include other inferior gods (Bonfrerius). Baalim, that is, tutelary gods (Junius).

Baalim, that is, false gods. He useth the plural number, because the gods of the Canaanites and adjoining nations, which Israel worshipped, were divers, and most of them called by the name of Baal.


Verse 12:[43] And they (Deut. 31:16) forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed (Deut. 6:14) other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and (Ex. 20:5) bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.


Verse 13:[44] And they forsook the LORD, (Judg. 3:7; 10:6; Ps. 106:36) and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

[Baal] Thus they call their god antonomastically,[45] that is, the lord absolutely; the rest they addressed with an addition, like Beel-zebub,[46] that is, the god of the flies[47] (Lapide, Bonfrerius). בַּעַל/Baal, by others Beel, Bel, Belus, or Saturn, who is recorded as the first to have reigned among the Assyrians, that is, Nimrod.[48] Among the Tyrians and Phœnicians he is none other than Jupiter (Bonfrerius). Fully written it is בַּעַל שָׁמֵין, Baal-shamen, the Lord of heaven, the Sun, the highest of the gods to those nations, whence he is called Jupiter by the Assyrians. See Macrobius’ Saturnalia[49] 1:23 (Grotius).

[Ashtaroth, וְלָעַשְׁתָּרוֹת] It is plural,[50] from the singular עַשְׁתֹּרֶת/Ashtoreth; just as the Greek and the Latins say Astartes, from Astarte. This is indeed an appellation common to the gods (that is, the female gods, as has been said); nevertheless, a single goddess is thus called (Bonfrerius). It is derived from the verb עָשַׁר, to be enriched, and properly to be blessed. Those women that foolish antiquity referred to the number of the gods, it called blessed. And, although it is ascribed to one in particular, yet it is not the proper of name of any, but has obtained the force of an epithet (Montanus’ Commenatary). Question: Who then was this goddess? Responses: Either, 1. Juno (Augustine in Bonfrerius); or, 2. Venus. Thus a great many suppose (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Malvenda). It is a cognomen, πολύμαστος, that is, the many-breasted one, or, rather, μεγαλόμαστος, that is, the large-breasted one, which was a symbol of fertility, which sort is in female sheep. Thence, therefore, this goddess from sheep was framed by the Tyrians and Sidonians, so that from her they might obtain the fertility of sheep (Lapide, Bonfrerius). The appellation came to this goddess from sheep; perhaps from the multitude of sacrificial victims (Drusius): or, that is, from the form of a sheep (Junius, Piscator, Munster). עַשְׁתָּרוֹת/Ashtaroth signifies the female of sheep (Munster). Others think that Juno is so called, because she was adored under the appearance of a sheep: for Jupiter Ammon[51] was also worshipped under the appearance of a ram (Malvenda). Perhaps it is derived from עש/constellation, and תור/taurus/bull in Chaldean and Syriac; which is to say, Hyades, or the constellation of Taurus. Hyades is in the head of Taurus.[52] Hence they were relating that Astarte, the daughter of Heaven and sister and wife of Saturn, placed the royal insignia, the head of Taurus, on her own head (Malvenda). I would prefer the goddess to be this Land; and to have it name from אֲשֵׁרִים and אֲשֵׁרוֹת, which signifies groves, as in Exodus 34:13;[53] Deuteronomy 7:5;[54] 12:3;[55] Judges 3:7,[56] in which אֲשֵׁרוֹת/Asheroth is conjoined with Baalim. Whence it is proven that עַשְׁתָּרוֹת/Ashtaroth is a different pronunciation signifying the same thing; hence also in 1 Samuel 7:4.[57] The Greeks translate it ἄλση/groves. Now, in such groves the Earth was worshipped. Under the name of Cybele[58] this custom passed to other nations. Ovid’s[59] Metamorphoses 7: A temple to the mother of the gods, which, hidden in dense forest, illustrious Echion[60] had formerly made in fulfillment of his vow. Tacitus teaches us that the unspoiled forest of the Earth was thus consecrated by the Germans. Now, in some places the mere groves were dedicated to the Earth; in other places images were hidden, as under the appearance of a sheep among the Moabites, as the Rabbis relate (Grotius). The Gentiles were originally worshipping the Sun and the Moon: the Romans called them Jove and Juno; the Egyptians, Osiris and Isis; the Syrians, Baalim and Ashtaroth. A third was also added, the star of Venus, or Lucifer, which after the Moon shines more brightly than the other stars. Whence the anceints said that Venus is a lesser Moon, and that the Moon is truly a greater Venus. On account of which Astarte is Ἀστροάρχη/Astroarche, that is, the chief of the stars, to Herodianus.[61] And the city of Ashtaroth was called Karnaim,[62] on account of the two horns of Luna[63] (Lapide). That Astarte is Luna is maintained by Lucian[64] in Concerning the Syrian Goddess,[65] and Herodianus in Roman History 5 “Concerning Heliogabalus”:[66] but Philo of Byblos[67] and most others maintain that she is Venus (Bonfrerius, Malvenda).

Baal and Ashtaroth; that is, The sun and the moon, whom many heathens worshipped, though under divers names; and so they ran into that error which God had so expressly warned them against, Deuteronomy 4:19.


Verse 14:[68] (Judg. 3:8; Ps. 106:40-42) And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he (2 Kings 17:20) delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and (Judg. 3:8; 4:2; Ps. 44:12; Is. 50:1) he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they (Lev. 26:37; Josh. 7:12, 13) could not any longer stand before their enemies.

[And they sold, וַיִּמְכְּרֵם] And He sold them (Septuagint, Jonathan, Munster, Tigurinus, Montanus); He gave (Junius and Tremellius); He delivered (Syriac, Arabic), that is, He delivered them after the manner of a seller (Vatablus). To sell is everywhere taken for to deliver; as in Judges 3:8, He sold into the hands of Cushan, etc.; so in Judges 4:9, He shall sell Sisera, in the place of which, in verse 14, He gave Sisera. Contrariwise, Cicero, Avoid delivering, that is, selling, as learned men explain, thy books to anyone.[69] Delivery is wont to follow selling as an effect. There is no need to inquire concerning the price, since the Scripture signifies that selling is able to be done without price; as in Psalm 44:12; Isaiah 52:3, ye have sold yourselves for nought (Bonfrerius).

Sold them, that is, delivered them up, as the seller doth, his commodities unto the buyer. This the same phrase is used Judges 3:8; 4:9, compared with Judges 4:14; Psalm 44:12.


Verse 15:[70] Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and (Lev. 26; Deut. 28) as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.

[But whithersoever they had determined to proceed, בְּכֹ֣ל׀ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָצְא֗וּ] Whithersoever they went out (Syriac, Munster, Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus). In every place in which they went out (Jonathan). By going out here is understood whatever business, either private, or rather public (Bonfrerius).

Whithersoever they went out, that is, whatsoever expedition or business they undertook; which is usually signified by going out and coming in.

[Just as He said] He had said. There is an allusion to Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 (Bonfrerius).

[And they were exceedingly afflicted, וַיֵּ֥צֶר לָהֶ֖ם מְאֹֽד׃] [They vary. Some take it transitively, and refer it to God:] He vexed (constricted [Jonathan], afflicted [Munster, Tigurinus]) them greatly (Septuagint), grievously (Tigurinus, Munster). [Others render it intransitively:] And straightness was to them exceedingly (Montanus, similarly Pagnine).


Verse 16:[71] Nevertheless (Judg. 3:9, 10, 15; 1 Sam. 12:11; Acts 13:20) the LORD raised up judges, which delivered (Heb. saved[72]) them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.

[He raised up judges] Avengers extraordinarily. For it is evident from Judges 8:22, etc., that they were not ordinary Judges (Malvenda out of Junius).

The Lord raised them up, by inward inspiration and excitation of their minds and hearts, and by outward designation, testified by some heroical and extraordinary action. Judges; supreme magistrates, whose office it was, under God, and by his particular direction, to govern the commonwealth of Israel by God’s laws, and to protect and save them from their enemies; to preserve and purge religion; to maintain the liberties of the people against all oppressors. See Judges 3:9, 10, 15; 4:4; 6:25, 26; 8:23.


Verse 17:[73] And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they (Ex. 34:15, 16; Lev. 17:7) went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.

[They would not hearken to them] That is, consistently, in such a way that they might not revert to idolatry. Compare verses 18 and 19 (Bonfrerius).

Their judges admonished them of their sin and folly, and of the danger and misery which would certainly befall them.

[And, hearing the commandments of God, they did all things contrary[74]] That is, with the commandments having been heard, etc. (Bonfrerius). [But the rest refer it to the fathers, who are said to walk in the way of the Lord, etc.]

[לִשְׁמֹעַ] To hearken (or, by hearkening [Syriac, similarly Junius and Tremellius], or, so that they might obey [Munster, Tigurinus]) the precepts, etc. (Septuagint, Montanus).


Verse 18:[75] And when the LORD raised them up judges, then (Josh. 1:5) the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: (see Gen. 6:6; Deut. 32:36; Ps. 106:44, 45) for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.

It repented the Lord, that is, the Lord changed his course and dealings with them, as penitent men use to do; removed his judgments, and returned to them in mercy, Genesis 6:6.


Verse 19:[76] And it came to pass, (Judg. 3:12; 4:1; 8:33) when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves (or, were corrupt[77]) more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings (Heb. they let nothing fall of their doings[78]), nor from their stubborn way.

They returned to their former, and usual, and natural, though interrupted course.

[They were doing worse things than their fathers, וְהִשְׁחִ֣יתוּ מֵֽאֲבוֹתָ֔ם[79]] And they were corrupting themselves more than their fathers (Montanus, similarly Junius and Tremellius). And they were ruining, understanding, their way (Vatablus). They were spoiling the way of piety and morals more than their fathers (Montanus’ Commentary). Returning, and corrupting from the fathers (Jonathan). They were indulging their corruptions, in a way different from their fathers (Syriac). They were returning to corruption, after the manner of their fathers (Arabic).

More than their fathers, in Egypt or in the wilderness.

[They did not abandon their own inventions, לֹ֤א הִפִּ֙ילוּ֙ מִמַּ֣עַלְלֵיהֶ֔ם] They did not cause to fall from their actions[80] (Montanus); not ceasing (abandoning [Syriac], removing [Arabic]) from their evil deeds (Jonathan, similarly Piscator); they did not shake themselves loose from their pursuits (Munster). While they were worshipping idols, they were diminishing or omitting nothing from the pursuits of their fathers, but were rather committing worse things (Vatablus). They ceased not from their own doings (English). They did not cast away their own pursuits (Septuagint, similarly Junius, Piscator), that is, did not put them away with detestation (Junius and Piscator). They were not diminishing, understanding, anything, from their doings (Junius and Tremellius).

From their own doings, that is, from their evil practices, which he calls their own partly because they were agreeable to their own natures, which in all mankind are deeply and universally corrupted, Genesis 6:5; 8:21; and partly because they were familiar and customary to them. Compare Isaiah 58:13; 66:3; Ezekiel 36:32; Acts 14:16; Jude 16.

[And the hardest way, וּמִדַּרְכָּ֖ם הַקָּשָֽׁה׃] And from their hard way (Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Tigurinus, similarly the Septuagint), that is, corrupt and depraved (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic), persistent way (Junius and Tremellius), stubborn way (English, Castalio), a way hard, difficult, evil, and disobedient (Vatablus). He calls their perverse way hard, either, 1. because it proceeds from a hard heart (Bonfrerius); or, 2. because they were disobedient and stiff-necked (Lapide); or, 3. because, although the way of sin appears soft and pleasant, yet it makes God harsh and angry (Menochius); or, 4. because, as a hard strikes against the feet of those walking, so an impious way strikes against God, and also injures the man himself (Piscator).

Their stubborn way; Hebrew hard way; so he calls their way of wickedness, either because it proceeded from a hard heart, and was managed with a hard and stiff neck; or to signify, that although it seemed at first very soft, and easy, and pleasant, yet they would certainly, and did constantly, find that it was hard, and difficult, and troublesome to them, as a hard way is to the traveller.


Verse 20:[81] (Judg. 2:14) And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath (Josh. 23:16) transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice…


Verse 21:[82] (Josh. 23:13) I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died…

[I will not destroy] That is, quickly (Grotius). Hebrew: I will not continue to drive out[83] (Vatablus).

[Which Joshua let go and died[84] (thus Montanus)] Which dying Joshua let go, or, left (Munster, Tigurinus, Syriac, similarly Junius and Tremellius); which he left after his death (Arabic).


Verse 22:[85] (Judg. 3:1, 4) That through them I may (Deut. 8:2, 16; 13:3) prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.

[So that in them I might prove[86]] That is, that I might prove[87] (Bonfrerius). Not that he does not know what is going to happen, but that in this way He might act as if He did not know, and desired to make trial (Bonfrerius, Lapide).

That I may prove Israel; either, first, That I may try, and see whether Israel will be true and faithful to me, or whether they will suffer themselves to be corrupted by the evil counsels and examples of their bad neighbours, whom I will leave among them for their trial and exercise. Or, secondly, That by them I may afflict and punish Israel; for afflictions are commonly and justly called trials. But the former sense suits better with the following words.


Verse 23:[88] Therefore the LORD left (or, suffered[89]) those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

Hastily, or speedily; when the Israelites desired it and needed it.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּ֧עַל מַלְאַךְ־יְהוָ֛ה מִן־הַגִּלְגָּ֖ל אֶל־הַבֹּכִ֑ים פ וַיֹּאמֶר֩ אַעֲלֶ֙ה אֶתְכֶ֜ם מִמִּצְרַ֗יִם וָאָבִ֤יא אֶתְכֶם֙ אֶל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֤ר נִשְׁבַּ֙עְתִּי֙ לַאֲבֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וָאֹמַ֕ר לֹֽא־אָפֵ֧ר בְּרִיתִ֛י אִתְּכֶ֖ם לְעוֹלָֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: מַלְאַךְ.

[3] Haggai 1:13:  “Then spake Haggai the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message (מַלְאַ֧ךְ יְהוָ֛ה בְּמַלְאֲכ֥וּת יְהוָ֖ה ) unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord.”

[4] Malachi 2:7:  “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth:  for he is the messenger of the Lord of hostsכִּ֛י מַלְאַ֥ךְ יְהוָֽה־צְבָא֖וֹת) הֽוּא׃).”

[5] See Joshua 3; 4; 10.

[6] Joshua 5:1-12.

[7] See Exodus 6:25; Judges 20:28.

[8] See Judges 20.

[9] Augustine Torniellus (1543-1622) was a member of the Society of Barnabites, a Counter-Reformation order.  His work, Annales Sacri et Profani, cleared up many geographical and chronological difficulties and obscurities, especially in the Old Testament.

[10] Jacques Salian (1557-1640) was a French Jesuit and theologian.  He wrote Annales Ecclesiastici Veteris Testamenti.

[11] 2 Samuel 5:23:  “And when David enquired of the Lord, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees (מִמּ֥וּל בְּכָאִֽים׃; πλησίον τοῦ κλαυθμῶνος, near the place of weeping, in the Septuagint).” בָּכָה signifies to weep; בָּכָא, a balsam tree.

[12] See, for example, Genesis 16; 22; Exodus 3.

[13] Exodus 14:19; 23:20; 32:34; 33:2.

[14] The Hiphil conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense.

[15] Hebrew: וְאַתֶּ֗ם לֹֽא־תִכְרְת֤וּ בְרִית֙ לְיֽוֹשְׁבֵי֙ הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את מִזְבְּחוֹתֵיהֶ֖ם תִּתֹּצ֑וּן וְלֹֽא־שְׁמַעְתֶּ֥ם בְּקֹלִ֖י מַה־זֹּ֥את עֲשִׂיתֶֽם׃

[16] See Joshua 9.

[17] Hebrew: וְגַ֣ם אָמַ֔רְתִּי לֹֽא־אֲגָרֵ֥שׁ אוֹתָ֖ם מִפְּנֵיכֶ֑ם וְהָי֤וּ לָכֶם֙ לְצִדִּ֔ים וֵאלֹ֣הֵיהֶ֔ם יִהְי֥וּ לָכֶ֖ם לְמוֹקֵֽשׁ׃

[18] Hebrew: וְהָי֤וּ לָכֶם֙ לְצִדִּ֔ים.

[19] See 1 Kings 6:18:  “And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers (צִצִּים):  all was cedar; there was no stone seen.” צִיץ signifies to blossom.

[20] David Kimchi (c. 1160-1235) was a Spanish Rabbi.  He wrote commentaries on a large part of the Old Testament and a Hebrew grammar, as a result of which he has had an enduring impact upon the history of interpretation, Jewish and Christian.

[21] Judges 2:3 in the Vulgate:  “Wherefore I would not destroy them from before you; that ye may have enemies, and their gods may be your ruin (ut habeatis hostes, et dii eorum sint vobis in ruinam).”

[22] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֗י כְּדַבֵּ֞ר מַלְאַ֤ךְ יְהוָה֙ אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֶֽל־כָּל־בְּנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיִּשְׂא֥וּ הָעָ֛ם אֶת־קוֹלָ֖ם וַיִּבְכּֽוּ׃

[23] Hebrew: וַֽיִּקְרְא֛וּ שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא בֹּכִ֑ים וַיִּזְבְּחוּ־שָׁ֖ם לַֽיהוָֽה׃

[24] Hebrew: בֹּכִים.

[25] Psalm 84:6:  “Who passing through the valley of Baca (בְּעֵ֣מֶק הַ֭בָּכָא; in valle lacrimarum, in the valley of tears, in the Vulgate) make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.”  Here, בָּכָא/Baca/basalm-tree is being related to בָּכָה, to weep.

[26] Leviticus 6:25, 26; Numbers 18:9.

[27] See, for example, 1 Samuel 6:14; 2 Samuel 24:24, 25; Job 1:5.

[28] Hebrew: וַיְשַׁלַּ֥ח יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ אֶת־הָעָ֑ם וַיֵּלְכ֧וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אִ֥ישׁ לְנַחֲלָת֖וֹ לָרֶ֥שֶׁת אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

[29] Hysteron proteron is a rhetorical device which presents ideas in an order other than their logical or chronological.

[30] Hebrew: וַיַּעַבְד֤וּ הָעָם֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֣י יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ וְכֹ֣ל׀ יְמֵ֣י הַזְּקֵנִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֙ר הֶאֱרִ֤יכוּ יָמִים֙ אַחֲרֵ֣י יְהוֹשׁ֔וּעַ אֲשֶׁ֣ר רָא֗וּ אֵ֣ת כָּל־מַעֲשֵׂ֤ה יְהוָה֙ הַגָּד֔וֹל אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[31] Hebrew: הֶאֱרִ֤יכוּ יָמִים֙ אַחֲרֵ֣י יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ.

[32] Hebrew: וַיָּ֛מָת יְהוֹשֻׁ֥עַ בִּן־נ֖וּן עֶ֣בֶד יְהוָ֑ה בֶּן־מֵאָ֥ה וָעֶ֖שֶׂר שָׁנִֽים׃

[33] Hebrew: וַיִּקְבְּר֤וּ אוֹתוֹ֙ בִּגְב֣וּל נַחֲלָת֔וֹ בְּתִמְנַת־חֶ֖רֶס בְּהַ֣ר אֶפְרָ֑יִם מִצְּפ֖וֹן לְהַר־גָּֽעַשׁ׃

[34] Hebrew: תִּמְנַת־סֶרַח.

[35] Thus the Vulgate.

[36] סָרַח can signify to evaporate (thus a territory of dryness), or to enlarge (thus a territory of excess).

[37] See Joshua 10:12-14.

[38] Hebrew: וְגַם֙ כָּל־הַדּ֣וֹר הַה֔וּא נֶאֶסְפ֖וּ אֶל־אֲבוֹתָ֑יו וַיָּקָם֩ דּ֙וֹר אַחֵ֜ר אַחֲרֵיהֶ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹא־יָֽדְעוּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֔ה וְגַם֙ אֶת־הַֽמַּעֲשֶׂ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[39] Lucius Annæus Seneca (c. 4 BC-65 AD) was a Roman philosopher and dramatist.

[40] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲשׂ֧וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶת־הָרַ֖ע בְּעֵינֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ אֶת־הַבְּעָלִֽים׃

[41] Note the ִים- ending.

[42] For example, Psalm 16:2:  “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord (אֲדֹנָי):  my goodness extendeth not to thee…”

[43] Hebrew: וַיַּעַזְב֞וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה׀ אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבוֹתָ֗ם הַמּוֹצִ֣יא אוֹתָם֮ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַיִם֒ וַיֵּלְכ֞וּ אַחֲרֵ֣י׀ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֗ים מֵאֱלֹהֵ֤י הָֽעַמִּים֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ סְבִיב֣וֹתֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲו֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם וַיַּכְעִ֖סוּ אֶת־יְהוָֽה׃

[44] Hebrew: וַיַּעַזְב֖וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֑ה וַיַּעַבְד֥וּ לַבַּ֖עַל וְלָעַשְׁתָּרֽוֹת׃

[45] Antonomasia is the substitution of a title for a proper name.

[46] See Matthew 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18, 19.

[47] בַּעַל זְבוּב, that is, the lord of the flies.

[48] See Genesis 10:8-12.

[49] Macrobius (395-423) wrote Saturnalia, an account of a discussion held at the house of Vettius Agorius Prætextatus during the festival of Saturnalia about Roman festivals and worship, etc.; he also wrote a commentary on Cicero’s Dream of Scipio.  The principal value of his writing is in their preservation of the quotations of earlier writers, which quotations would be otherwise lost.

[50] Note the וֹת- ending.

[51] In North Africa, it is said that Jupiter was worshipped under the name Jupiter Hammon, perhaps a reference to Ham, son of Noah.

[52] Hyades is a cluster of five stars in the head of Taurus, the morning rising of which is associated with rainy weather.

[53] Exodus 34:13:  “But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves (אֲשֵׁרָיו)…”

[54] Deuteronomy 7:5:  “But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves (וַאֲשֵֽׁירֵהֶם֙ תְּגַדֵּע֔וּן), and burn their graven images with fire.”

[55] Deuteronomy 12:3:  “And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire (וַאֲשֵֽׁרֵיהֶם֙ תִּשְׂרְפ֣וּן בָּאֵ֔שׁ); and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.”

[56] Judges 3:7:  “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves (אֶת־הַבְּעָלִ֖ים וְאֶת־הָאֲשֵׁרֽוֹת׃).”

[57] 1 Samuel 7:4:  “Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth (אֶת־הַבְּעָלִ֖ים וְאֶת־הָעַשְׁתָּרֹ֑ת; τὰς Βααλὶμ καὶ τὰ ἄλση Ἀσταρὼθ, in the Septuagint), and served the Lord only.”

[58] Cybel was an ancient Anatolian mother goddess.  As her worship spread westward, she came to be associated with earth, harvest, and fertility.

[59] Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC-17 AD) was a Roman poet.

[60] Echion is one of the five surviving Spartæ, who are said to have sprung from the sown teeth of a dragon.  It is related that he built a temple to Cybele in Bœotia, and participated in the building of Thebes.

[61] Roman History 5:6:4.  Herodian of Syria (c. 170-240) wrote a history of the Roman Empire covering the years between 180 and 238.

[62] Genesis 14:5; Joshua 12:4.  Hebrew: קַרְנַיִם.

[63] קַרְנַיִם is composed of קֶרֶן/horn and the dual ending (ַיִם).

[64] Lucian of Samosata (c. 120-c. 180) was a trained rhetorician, particularly skilled in satire.

[65] De Dea Syria.

[66] Heliogabalus was Roman Emperor from 218 to 222.

[67] Eusebius’ Preparation of the Gospel 1:10.  Philo of Byblos (c. 64-141 AD) composed works of Greek grammar and lexicography.  Philo’s Phœnician History is frequently quoted by Eusebius.

[68] Hebrew: וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֤ף יְהוָה֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַֽיִּתְּנֵם֙ בְּיַד־שֹׁסִ֔ים וַיָּשֹׁ֖סּוּ אוֹתָ֑ם וַֽיִּמְכְּרֵ֞ם בְּיַ֤ד אֽוֹיְבֵיהֶם֙ מִסָּבִ֔יב וְלֹֽא־יָכְל֣וּ ע֔וֹד לַעֲמֹ֖ד לִפְנֵ֥י אוֹיְבֵיהֶֽם׃

[69] Letters to Atticus 1:11:3.

[70] Hebrew: בְּכֹ֣ל׀ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָצְא֗וּ יַד־יְהוָה֙ הָיְתָה־בָּ֣ם לְרָעָ֔ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁר֙ דִּבֶּ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה וְכַאֲשֶׁ֛ר נִשְׁבַּ֥ע יְהוָ֖ה לָהֶ֑ם וַיֵּ֥צֶר לָהֶ֖ם מְאֹֽד׃

[71] Hebrew: וַיָּ֥קֶם יְהוָ֖ה שֹֽׁפְטִ֑ים וַיּ֣וֹשִׁיע֔וּם מִיַּ֖ד שֹׁסֵיהֶֽם׃

[72] Hebrew: וַיּוֹשִׁיעוּם.

[73] Hebrew: וְגַ֤ם אֶל־שֹֽׁפְטֵיהֶם֙ לֹ֣א שָׁמֵ֔עוּ כִּ֣י זָנ֗וּ אַֽחֲרֵי֙ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲו֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם סָ֣רוּ מַהֵ֗ר מִן־הַדֶּ֜רֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֙ר הָלְכ֧וּ אֲבוֹתָ֛ם לִשְׁמֹ֥עַ מִצְוֹת־יְהוָ֖ה לֹא־עָ֥שׂוּ כֵֽן׃

[74] Thus the Vulgate.

[75] Hebrew: וְכִֽי־הֵקִ֙ים יְהוָ֥ה׀ לָהֶם֮ שֹֽׁפְטִים֒ וְהָיָ֤ה יְהוָה֙ עִם־הַשֹּׁפֵ֔ט וְהֽוֹשִׁיעָם֙ מִיַּ֣ד אֹֽיְבֵיהֶ֔ם כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֣י הַשּׁוֹפֵ֑ט כִּֽי־יִנָּחֵ֤ם יְהוָה֙ מִנַּֽאֲקָתָ֔ם מִפְּנֵ֥י לֹחֲצֵיהֶ֖ם וְדֹחֲקֵיהֶֽם׃

[76] Hebrew: וְהָיָ֣ה׀ בְּמ֣וֹת הַשּׁוֹפֵ֗ט יָשֻׁ֙בוּ֙ וְהִשְׁחִ֣יתוּ מֵֽאֲבוֹתָ֔ם לָלֶ֗כֶת אַֽחֲרֵי֙ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים לְעָבְדָ֖ם וּלְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֹ֣ת לָהֶ֑ם לֹ֤א הִפִּ֙ילוּ֙ מִמַּ֣עַלְלֵיהֶ֔ם וּמִדַּרְכָּ֖ם הַקָּשָֽׁה׃

[77] Hebrew: וְהִשְׁחִיתוּ.

[78] Hebrew: לֹ֤א הִפִּ֙ילוּ֙ מִמַּ֣עַלְלֵיהֶ֔ם.

[79] שָׁחַת, in the Hiphil conjugation, signifies to spoil, or to corrupt or act corruptly.

[80] A woodenly literalistic rendering.  The Hiphil conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense.

[81] Hebrew: וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֥ף יְהוָ֖ה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיֹּ֗אמֶר יַעַן֩ אֲשֶׁ֙ר עָבְר֜וּ הַגּ֣וֹי הַזֶּ֗ה אֶת־בְּרִיתִי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוִּ֣יתִי אֶת־אֲבוֹתָ֔ם וְלֹ֥א שָׁמְע֖וּ לְקוֹלִֽי׃

[82] Hebrew: גַּם־אֲנִי֙ לֹ֣א אוֹסִ֔יף לְהוֹרִ֥ישׁ אִ֖ישׁ מִפְּנֵיהֶ֑ם מִן־הַגּוֹיִ֛ם אֲשֶׁר־עָזַ֥ב יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ וַיָּמֹֽת׃

[83] Hebrew: גַּם־אֲנִי֙ לֹ֣א אוֹסִ֔יף לְהוֹרִ֥ישׁ.

[84] Hebrew: אֲשֶׁר־עָזַ֥ב יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ וַיָּמֹֽת׃.

[85] Hebrew: לְמַ֛עַן נַסּ֥וֹת בָּ֖ם אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל הֲשֹׁמְרִ֣ים הֵם֩ אֶת־דֶּ֙רֶךְ יְהוָ֜ה לָלֶ֣כֶת בָּ֗ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֛ר שָׁמְר֥וּ אֲבוֹתָ֖ם אִם־לֹֽא׃

[86] Latin: experiar, in the present tense.

[87] Latin: experirer, in the imperfect tense.

[88] Hebrew: וַיַּנַּ֤ח יְהוָה֙ אֶת־הַגּוֹיִ֣ם הָאֵ֔לֶּה לְבִלְתִּ֥י הוֹרִישָׁ֖ם מַהֵ֑ר וְלֹ֥א נְתָנָ֖ם בְּיַד־יְהוֹשֻֽׁעַ׃

[89] Hebrew: וַיַּנַּח.

Judges 1:33-36: Naphthali and Dan’s Unfaithfulness in the Conquest

Verse 33:[1] (Josh. 19:38) Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth-anath; but he (Judg. 1:32) dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath (Judg. 1:30) became tributaries unto them.

Beth-shemesh; a place differing from that Beth-shemesh, Joshua 15:10.


Verse 34:[2] And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley…

[The Amorite confined the children of Dan, etc.] This Tribe was considered the worst of all; but it is not recorded with any fault belonging to them. They are kept completely away from the plain, I believe, by the multitude of chariots, as in verse 19. Hence they Danites were compelled to seek other habitations; which expedition is narrated in Joshua 19 and Judges 18 (Bonfrerius).

To the valley: that is, Into the plain country; which was the occasion of that expedition for the getting of new quarters; of which we read Joshua 19; Judges 18.


Verse 35:[3] But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres (Josh. 19:42) in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed (Heb. was heavy[4]), so that they became tributaries.

[And he dwelt in mount Heres] The Septuagint has, in Heres, where were she-bears, etc. For, although there are more and larger bears in cold regions, nevertheless they are found also in warm regions; like in Judea, 1 Samuel 17:34; 2 Kings 2:24 (Lapide, Bonfrerius). The Scripture here indicates that the Danites were driven into the mountains in such a way that, nevertheless, the Amorites held three of their cities in the mountains, namely, Heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim (Bonfrerius). Moreover, the Septuagint renders וּבְשַׁעַלְבִים, and in Shaalbim, in which are foxes. In Hebrew foxes are called שׁוּעֲלִים (Bonfrerius). As in Arabic a fox is העלב, so in the dialect of the Philistines it was שַׁעֲלַב (Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:13:855).

[And the hand of the house of Joseph was heavy (thus Pagnine, Montanus, Septuagint), וַתִּכְבַּד] And it increased in power, etc. (Jonathan, Syriac, Munster, Tigurinus, similarly the Arabic). But when the hand of the house of Jospeh grew heavy, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). [Some connect it with what precedes in this manner:] And he willed, that is, but while he was trying with all his strength, to dwell in, etc., then the hand of the house of Joseph was heavy, that is, prevailed over those Amorites; that is to say, the children of Joseph overcame and overthrew them (Vatablus). These words are able to be explained, either actively, which is to say, the house of Joseph oppressed their enemies; or passively, which is to say, it was oppressed by them. Neither does it appear from the text which of these is understood (Lyra). The sense is, the Ephraimites were a help to the Danites against the Amorites (Tirinus, similarly Bonfrerius). God willed the nearness of the places to be protection of the Danites (Montanus’ Commentary). The Hebrew text does not clearly express this, but the Septuagint version expresses it, καὶ ἐβαρύνθη χεὶρ οἴκου Ιωσηφ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἀμοῤῥαῖον, and the hand of the house of Joseph was heavy upon the Amorite (Bonfrerius).

Of the house of Joseph, that is, of the Ephraimites, who helped their brethren the Danites against the Amorites, and that with good success.


Verse 36:[5] And the coast of the Amorites was (Num. 34:4; Josh. 15:3) from the going up to Akrabbim (or, Maaleh-akrabbim[6]), from the rock, and upward.

[The border of the Amorite was from the Ascent of the scorpion, etc.[7]] That all these places were near to the Josephites, we learned from the division of lots (Montanus’ Commentary). Others otherwise: that is to say, It is not surprising that the Amorites were subdued with such difficulty; for they were dispersed far and wide throughout Canaan, especially toward the Southern parts, such that the borders of all Canaan and the borders of their habitation were the same (Bonfrerius). This he says, that the Borders of the Amorites began in the Southern part of the Holy Land; that is, their dominion was greatly extended, namely, even unto, etc., and it was stretch out Northward unto Dan (Vatablus). The Ascent of the scorpion was a place in the Southern part of Canaan (Vatablus, Bonfrerius), as it is evident from Numbers 34:4; Joshua 15:3 (Bonfrerius).

Akrabbim was in the southern part of Canaan, Joshua 15:2, 3, from whence it went up towards the north. This is added to show the great power and large extent of this people.

[Petra, and higher places; that is, they appeared as their border (Bonfrerius); מֵהַסֶּ֖לַע וָמָֽעְלָה׃] From that rock and upward (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus). Moreover, Petra was a city in the extreme borders of the land toward the South, as Josephus testifies in his Antiquities 3:2. And upward, that is, beyond the city of Petra toward the peaks of those Southern mountains they extended their habitation. And of this Amorite dwelling in the mountains understand Deuteronomy 1:44 (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: נַפְתָּלִ֗י לֹֽא־הוֹרִ֞ישׁ אֶת־יֹשְׁבֵ֤י בֵֽית־שֶׁ֙מֶשׁ֙ וְאֶת־יֹשְׁבֵ֣י בֵית־עֲנָ֔ת וַיֵּ֕שֶׁב בְּקֶ֥רֶב הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י יֹשְׁבֵ֣י הָאָ֑רֶץ וְיֹשְׁבֵ֤י בֵֽית־שֶׁ֙מֶשׁ֙ וּבֵ֣ית עֲנָ֔ת הָי֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם לָמַֽס׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּלְחֲצ֧וּ הָאֱמֹרִ֛י אֶת־בְּנֵי־דָ֖ן הָהָ֑רָה כִּי־לֹ֥א נְתָנ֖וֹ לָרֶ֥דֶת לָעֵֽמֶק׃

[3] Hebrew: וַיּ֤וֹאֶל הָֽאֱמֹרִי֙ לָשֶׁ֣בֶת בְּהַר־חֶ֔רֶס בְּאַיָּל֖וֹן וּבְשַֽׁעַלְבִ֑ים וַתִּכְבַּד֙ יַ֣ד בֵּית־יוֹסֵ֔ף וַיִּהְי֖וּ לָמַֽס׃

[4] Hebrew: וַתִּכְבַּד.

[5] Hebrew: וּגְבוּל֙ הָאֱמֹרִ֔י מִֽמַּעֲלֵ֖ה עַקְרַבִּ֑ים מֵהַסֶּ֖לַע וָמָֽעְלָה׃

[6] Hebrew: מִֽמַּעֲלֵ֖ה עַקְרַבִּ֑ים.

[7] עַקְרַבִּים/Akrabbim signifies scorpions.

Judges 1:30-32: Zebulun and Asher’s Unfaithfulness in the Conquest

Verse 30:[1] Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the (Josh. 19:15) inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.


Verse 31:[2] (Josh. 19:24-30) Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob…


Verse 32:[3] But the Asherites (Ps. 106:34, 35) dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out.

[He did not destroy him] It is not added here, as in the case of the other tribes, and he was made a tributary to him: For we do not read that the Sidonians, Tyrians, and their territories were ever subdued, or made subject to tribute (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: זְבוּלֻ֗ן לֹ֤א הוֹרִישׁ֙ אֶת־יוֹשְׁבֵ֣י קִטְר֔וֹן וְאֶת־יוֹשְׁבֵ֖י נַהֲלֹ֑ל וַיֵּ֤שֶׁב הַֽכְּנַעֲנִי֙ בְּקִרְבּ֔וֹ וַיִּֽהְי֖וּ לָמַֽס׃

[2] Hebrew: אָשֵׁ֗ר לֹ֤א הוֹרִישׁ֙ אֶת־יֹשְׁבֵ֣י עַכּ֔וֹ וְאֶת־יוֹשְׁבֵ֖י צִיד֑וֹן וְאֶת־אַחְלָ֤ב וְאֶת־אַכְזִיב֙ וְאֶת־חֶלְבָּ֔ה וְאֶת־אֲפִ֖יק וְאֶת־רְחֹֽב׃

[3] Hebrew: וַיֵּ֙שֶׁב֙ הָאָ֣שֵׁרִ֔י בְּקֶ֥רֶב הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י יֹשְׁבֵ֣י הָאָ֑רֶץ כִּ֖י לֹ֥א הוֹרִישֽׁוֹ׃

Judges 1:27-29: Mannasseh and Ephraim’s Unfaithfulness in the Conquest

Verse 27:[1] (Josh. 17:11-13) Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.

[He did not destroy Beth-shean] Understand, the inhabitants of Beth-shean (Vatablus).

Manasseh, that is, that half of this tribe which dwelt in Canaan. Beth-shean; a place near Jordan, Joshua 17:11. Taanach; of which see Joshua 12:21; 17:11. Dor; a great city with large territories. See Joshua 11:2; 12:23; 17:11. Megiddo; a royal city. See Joshua 12:21; 17:11.

[And the Canaanite began to dwell with them (thus the Septuagint, Pagnine), וַיּ֙וֹאֶל֙ הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֔י לָשֶׁ֖בֶת[2]] And he willed (presumed [Munster]; dared, as in Genesis 18:27;[3] chosen; attempted [Tigurinus Notes]) to dwell (Montanus): he was submitting so that he might dwell (Piscator, similarly Junius and Tremellius), that is, he was submitting to dwell in hard conditions in that land, rather than that he might depart (Junius). Others: although he had despaired of dwelling in that land (Tigurinus). And he left the Canaanite to dwell (Jonathan).


Verse 28:[4] And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out.

[He made them tributaries] Not having been turned from idolatry, and after the first denunciation was despised by them; neither of which was lawful (Grotius). Out of love for filthy lucre (Tirinus, Lyra). He made a covenant with them, with no other condition than that of tribute, with God’s worship and express commandment neglected, Exodus 23:32, 33; 34:12, 15 (Junius).


Verse 29:[5] (Josh. 16:10; 1 Kings 9:16) Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them.

[But he dwelt with him] There is no mention of tribute here; hence I suspect that they made with them a covenant of friendship and commerce, without tribute (Montanus’ Commentary). But it is not likely that those Ephraimites were more benevolent than the others: Therefore, I think that tribute was imposed, although it is not mentioned (Martyr).

The Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them: Which they possessed till Solomon’s time, 1 Kings 9:16.

[1] Hebrew: וְלֹא־הוֹרִ֣ישׁ מְנַשֶּׁ֗ה אֶת־בֵּית־שְׁאָ֣ן וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֶיהָ֮ וְאֶת־תַּעְנַ֣ךְ וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֶיהָ֒ וְאֶת־יֹשְׁבֵ֨ ד֜וֹר וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֶ֗יהָ וְאֶת־יוֹשְׁבֵ֤י יִבְלְעָם֙ וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֶ֔יהָ וְאֶת־יוֹשְׁבֵ֥י מְגִדּ֖וֹ וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֶ֑יהָ וַיּ֙וֹאֶל֙ הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֔י לָשֶׁ֖בֶת בָּאָ֥רֶץ הַזֹּֽאת׃

[2] יָאַל in the Hiphil signifies to show willingness.

[3] Genesis 18:27:  “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me (הוֹאַלְתִּי, I have dared) to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes…”

[4] Hebrew: וַֽיְהִי֙ כִּֽי־חָזַ֣ק יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י לָמַ֑ס וְהוֹרֵ֖ישׁ לֹ֥א הוֹרִישֽׁוֹ׃

[5] Hebrew: וְאֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ לֹ֣א הוֹרִ֔ישׁ אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י הַיּוֹשֵׁ֣ב בְּגָ֑זֶר וַיֵּ֧שֶׁב הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֛י בְּקִרְבּ֖וֹ בְּגָֽזֶר׃

Judges 1:22-26: There Once Was a Man from Luz…

Verse 22:[1] And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Beth-el: (Judg. 1:19) and the LORD was with them.

The house of Joseph, that is, the tribe of Ephraim, as appears from their opposition to the tribe of Manasseh, Judges 1:27.


Verse 23:[2] And the house of Joseph (Josh. 2:1; 7:2; Judg. 18:2) sent to descry Beth-el. (Now the name of the city before was [Gen. 28:19] Luz.)

[Whey they were besieging the city; that is, when they had secretly arrived, so that they might besiege (Bonfrerius): וַיָּתִ֥ירוּ בֵית־יוֹסֵ֖ף בְּבֵֽית־אֵ֑ל] And they, the house of Joseph, caused (or took care [Junius and Tremellius]) to be searched out in Bethel (Montanus) (unto/against Bethel [Junius and Tremellius, Munster, Tigurinus, Pagnine). They appointed spies against Bethel (Tigurinus Notes[3]). And they kept watch near Beth-el (Syriac).


Verse 24:[4] And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and (Josh. 2:12, 14) we will shew thee mercy.

[Show to us the entrance of the city (thus Montanus, Munster, similarly the Septuagint, Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine), מְב֣וֹא הָעִ֔יר] The approach of the city (Syriac, Arabic), or, to this city (Tigurinus), that is, In which part that city might be able more easily to be assaulted and approached (Vatablus): understand, on account of the walls being lower or broken (Lapide, Bonfrerius); or, on account of some part of the city being less fortified. Perhaps the Ephraimites came at the earliest dawn, when the gates did not stand open; or a forcible entry through the gates could cost them too dearly: therefore, they seek whether they might be able to enter into the city secretly in some way (Bonfrerius).

The entrance into the city; on which side it is weakest, that we may best invade and take it.

[We will do mercy with thee[5]] It is a Hebraism: we will compensate with this kindness (Vatablus). We will give thee thy life (Lapide). Objection: But God had commanded them to cut off all the Canaanites. Response: The Laws of God are not so rigid that they are not able to be bent somewhat by equity; as it is evident from the Gibeonites[6] (Martyr). They were able to enter into an agreement with them concerning life, 1. If they be converted to the worship of the true God. 2. If they were willing to withdraw their habitation outside of Canaan, as was here done (Bonfrerius). For this only had God prohibited, lest they should remain among them, and infect them with their vices. 3. On account of some kindness; hence Rahab was spared for relieving the spies[7] (Lapide).


Verse 25:[8] And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family.

[When he had shown them] Question: Whether he acted rightly? Response: It is not so, that we are solicitous concerning the deed of a Heathen man (Bonfrerius). Both the Israelites were able rightly to make use of the help of this man, and the man himself did not sin at all, if he believed the well-known decree of God concerning those peoples. See Joshua 2:1, etc.; Judges 4:17, etc. (Grotius). The will of God concerning the destruction of the Canaanites was sufficiently evident from the many wonders wrought; neither were the very Canaanites able to be ignorant of this. Now, in that case it was lawful for him and for Rahab to betray their native country (Bonfrerius).

[They sent away (thus the Septuagint, Syriac, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius), שִׁלֵּחוּ] They preserved (Jonathan); they spared (Arabic).

And all his family: Together with his estate, as the following verse manifests.


Verse 26:[9] And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day.

[And he departed unto the land of Hetthim (thus the Septuagint, Pagnine, Montanus)] That is, Cyprus[10] (Procopius[11] in Lapide). For Cyprus is called Chittim in Isaiah 23:1. But there it is כִּתִּים/Kittim; here it is חִתִּים/Hittim (Lapide, Bonfrerius). Into the land of the Hittites (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus). However, it does not appear that it was in Canaan. For, 1. it is pointed out with sufficient clarity that he went elsewhere, did not dwell with the Israelites. 2. We do not read of another city in Judea called Luz, except Beth-el (Bonfrerius). What this place might be is not known (Lapide). I think that a certain region near to Canaan is signified. What if this is the Λούσσα/Loussa in Arabia, in Josephus’ Antiquities 14:2 (Vatablus)?

The land of the Hittites; where the Hittites seated themselves after they were driven out of Canaan, which seems to be northward from Canaan, and near unto it. See 1 Kings 11:1; 2 Chronicles 1:17.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲל֧וּ בֵית־יוֹסֵ֛ף גַּם־הֵ֖ם בֵּֽית־אֵ֑ל וַֽיהוָ֖ה עִמָּֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיָּתִ֥ירוּ בֵית־יוֹסֵ֖ף בְּבֵֽית־אֵ֑ל וְשֵׁם־הָעִ֥יר לְפָנִ֖ים לֽוּז׃

[3] The marginal notes in the Tigurinus Version are properly attributed to Vatablus, having been preserved by his students from his oral lectures.

[4] Hebrew: וַיִּרְאוּ֙ הַשֹּׁ֣מְרִ֔ים אִ֖ישׁ יוֹצֵ֣א מִן־הָעִ֑יר וַיֹּ֣אמְרוּ ל֗וֹ הַרְאֵ֤נוּ נָא֙ אֶת־מְב֣וֹא הָעִ֔יר וְעָשִׂ֥ינוּ עִמְּךָ֖ חָֽסֶד׃

[5] Hebrew: וְעָשִׂ֥ינוּ עִמְּךָ֖ חָֽסֶד׃.

[6] See Joshua 9.

[7] See Joshua 2.

[8] Hebrew: וַיַּרְאֵם֙ אֶת־מְב֣וֹא הָעִ֔יר וַיַּכּ֥וּ אֶת־הָעִ֖יר לְפִי־חָ֑רֶב וְאֶת־הָאִ֥ישׁ וְאֶת־כָּל־מִשְׁפַּחְתּ֖וֹ שִׁלֵּֽחוּ׃

[9] Hebrew: וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ הָאִ֔ישׁ אֶ֖רֶץ הַחִתִּ֑ים וַיִּ֣בֶן עִ֗יר וַיִּקְרָ֤א שְׁמָהּ֙ ל֔וּז ה֣וּא שְׁמָ֔הּ עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

[10] Cyprus is a large island off the southern coast of Asia Minor.

[11] Procopius (c. 500-c. 560) was a Byzantine historian.

Judges 1:21: Benjamin’s Unfaithfulness in the Conquest

Verse 21:[1] (see Josh. 15:63; 18:28) And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.

[They did not destroy] It is the same thing as they were not able to destroy, Joshua 15:63, in which place see what things were said. Therefore, these were free from fault, since the will to exterminate them was not lacking to them, but the ability (Bonfrerius).

Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites, etc.: See on Joshua 15:63.

[1] Hebrew: וְאֶת־הַיְבוּסִי֙ יֹשֵׁ֣ב יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֔ם לֹ֥א הוֹרִ֖ישׁוּ בְּנֵ֣י בִנְיָמִ֑ן וַיֵּ֙שֶׁב הַיְבוּסִ֜י אֶת־בְּנֵ֤י בִנְיָמִן֙ בִּיר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

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