« הקודםהמשך »
the house of Millo s the men of which, that is, the magistratea
and guards, retired to this hold. 50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, a city near Shechem, which
had probably revolted from him, and encamped against Thebez, 51 and took it ; But there was a strong tower within the city,
large enough to hold all the inhabitants, and thither fled all the in men and women, and all they of the city, servants and common : people, and shut [it] to them, and gat them up to the top of
the tower, to throw down stones, and prevent his coming near to 52 burn them as he did the Shechemites. And Abimelech came
unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire ; flushed with his
late victory, he was fool hardy enough to go to the very door, 53 with a firebrand in his hand. And a certain woman cast a
piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to break 54 his scull.* Then, finding himself mortally wounded, he called
hastily unto the young man his armour bearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me,
A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, 55 and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abime
loch was dead, they departed every man unto his place. 56 Thus God rendered a recompense for the wickedness of
Abimelech which he did unto his father, in slaying his seven
ty brethren ; it did not come by chance, the hand of God was in 57 it. And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render
upon their heads : and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
WI E see in the instance before us, the evils of civil war.
When the Shechemites broke through their constie tution, and would have a king, no wonder God sent a spirit of discord among them, and made king and people sharers in the calamity. How sad was it in Israel, when such woful scenes as these stained the land ; when every sword was against his fellow, and peace and quietness were banished ! See what havoc ambition and treachery make in a nation. Let us bless the guar. dian care of heaven that this is not our case ; that our king is not such an oppressor, as to make us wish to get rid of him ; and that the men who, like Gaal, insult his title, and abuse his ad. ministration, are disappointed in their attempts to introduce changes and confusion among us. May God continue peace in
• It was usual to have large stones in all the castles to annoy the enemy with.
+ He had slain his brethren on a stone, and now a stone slays him, and lays low that head which had usurped the crown. He thought it dishonourable to die by the hand of a woman, and was willing to save his credir; but in vain, for it was remembered by posterity, ne 2 Sam. X. 21,
all our borders ! May he make our king a nursing father to us! May God save the king, and bless the people! And let him have all the praise of our peace and liberty, and of every national blessing
2. We see that verily there is a God who judgeth in the earth, and who will make inquisition for blood. How awfully, and yet how justly, did he punish Abimelech for murdering his brethren ; and the men of Shechem for being accessory to it. They joined in this horrid design, and were destroyed one by another. God will return innocent blood on those that shed it ; and there are not more evident proofs of a Providence, than the discovery and punishment of inhuman murderers. God gives such persons blood to drink, for they are worthy. He delayed the punishment of Abimelech three years ; but it came terribly at last.
The triumphing of the wicked is short, and their time to fall quickly comes. Jotham's curse, which was not causeless, came upon the heads of those bloody and deceitful men. Abimelech died in a most shameful manner, with all the marks of a hard, impenitent heart ; and showed no concern about his soul ; so a fool dieth.
The whole story teaches us, that the Lord is known by the judgments which he executeth, and that the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.
We have here an account of Israel being peaceable and happy under
Tola and Jair, two of their judges ; bụt they revolt, and are pun. ished, they repent and find mercy. I A ND after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola
Il the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; 2 and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. And he judged
Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in
Shamir.* 3 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel . twenty and two years. He belonged to the half tribe of Ma
nasseh beyond Jordan, was the first judge there, and a person of 4 eminence. And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass
colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair, or, the villages of Jair, unto this day, which (are) in the land of Gilead. These cities they enlarged and fortified ; and gode from place to place as magistrates, to execute judgment.
• Those are the best times to live in, of which the historian has least to say. Nothing remarkable happened in Tola's time; all was quiet and peaceable. He preserved their liberty from being invaded, and the purity of their religion, which was their great defence, from being corrupted. Vol. II.
5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon, the place where he
dwelt. We read of another Jair, Numb. xxxii. 41. 6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the
LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him. Strange conduct ! It looked as if their trade had been to import gods from other countries ; they were resolved to go with the multi
tude ; they liked their worship ; their dancings and merriment, 7 and impure rites, suited their wicked taste. And the anger of
the LORD was hot againt Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of
Ammon ; he gave them up to the power of two of those nations 8 whose gods they served. And that year they vexed and op
pressed the children of Israel, crushed them as between two millstones, as the original is, ( the Philistines on the west, and the Amorites on the cast, eighteen years, all the children of
Israel that (were] on the other side Jordan in the land of the 9 Amorites, which [is] in Gilead. Moreover, the children of
Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; they began with those who lay next their own country, and by degrees
passed over Jordan ; so that Israel was sore distressed. 1o And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, not by way
of complaint, but with great earnestness and penitence, saying,
We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken '11 our God, and also served Baalim. And the LORD said unto
the children of Israel, (whether by an angel, or prophet, or the high priest is uncertain) [Did] not [I deliver you] from the
Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Am12 mon, and from the Philistines ? The Zidonians also, and the
Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you ;* and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand : deliverances not
mentioned before ; he had shown them more favours than were 13 recorded. Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods :
wherefore I will deliver you no more, in this remarkable man14 ner, except ye repent. Go and cry unto the gods which ye
have chosen ; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation ; see what they will do for all the sacrifices you have offered, and all the trouble and charge you are at about them ; they are the gods you hgve chosen, let them save you. A very
cutting but just reflection on their folly, and the impotency of 15 their gods. And the children of Israel said unto the LORD,
We have sinned : do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good
· The Maonites were Canaanites who inhabited the wilderness of Maon, 1 Sam. xxill 24. and 2 Chrex. xxvi. %
unto thee; chastise us with thine own hand as much as thou wilt, but deliver us not into the hands of these cruel men ; de
liver us, only, we pray thee, this day, and try us once more. 16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, which
showed true humiliation at this time ; it was an open proof of repentance, and attended with very happy effects, for we read no more of their idolatry for a long time after ; and they served the LORD; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel, he showed them great pity and tenderness, dealt with them in
such a way, as men do when they are so affected. 17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together,
and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh. This is introductory to the story in the next chapter ; the children of Ammon raised forces in Gilead, which they now called their own ;
and Israel encamped in Mizpeh, but afterward went to their own 18 land to raise more forces. And the people, (and) princes of
Gilead, that is, the princes and elders, held a consultation whe should be their general and judge, and said one to another, What man [is he] that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon ? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead ; but they found none to undertake it, till they sent to Jephthah, as we read in the next chapter.
M OD remembers all his kind interpositions for us, and the
U many deliverances he has afforded us. He reminded Israel of these ; for they were ready to forget them, though so remarkable. This should engage us to take notice of such things, namely, that God sets them down in his book of remembrance, charges them, as it were, to our account ; and if we forget them, great will be our shame and misery. May he not expostulate with us ; “ Did I not deliver thee from the Spaniards, and the French, and the rebels, again and again ?"? Let us keep in memory God's wonderful works, and give him the glory of all.
2. Here is a good model for penitente ; that is, persons affected with a sense of sin, and humbled under God's hand. It be. comes them to see the vanity of those things which they were so fond of, and which they trusted in, to the neglect of God; and their insufficiency to help in times of distress. Many make a god of their belly, many of their riches, many dove pleasure more than God. But can these deliver us in times of trouble? Can these soften our bed of sickness, or compose the tumult of our spirits ? Can these save us in a dying hour ? Let this then be our language, What have I to do any more with idols ? Let those who are under God's rebakes, not only acknowledge the insufficiency of creatures, but his justice and righteousness. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. God is not uprighteous when he taketh vengeance. When, as a nation, we expect calamities at home or abroad, and are praying
guilt, and prepare to meet God in the way of his judgmentsy saying, We have sinned, do thou unto us as seemeth good in thy might.
3. Let us with pleasure and astonishment contemplate this wonderful instance of divine compassion to a sinful and oppressed people, v. 16. He delighteth not in our afflictions ; judgment is his strange work ; he is glad to see the marks of repentance. He represents himself as deeply affected when his children rebel, and he sees it necessary to chasten them; as parents are, when their children are afflicted, or they are obliged to correct them. What encouragement is this to turn to him, to put away iniquity, to implore his mercy, and beseech him to remove every calamity we labour under. But let us remember, that all his declarations of mercy are made only to those who repent and put away sin, and return to his service. To those he will revoke his sentence, and show mercy. Come, then, let us return to the Lord, for he hath torn, and he will heal us, he hath smitten, and he will bind us..
In which we have Jephthah's vow ; an account of his successful
war with the Ammonites ; and the trouble he was brought into
on account of his vow. INTOW Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of
TV valour, a man of strength and courage, and he (was] 2 the son of an harlot : and Gilead begat Jephthah. And Gil
ead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not
inherit in our father's house ; for thou (art] the son of a 3 strange woman. Then Jephthah fied from his brethren, and
dwelt in the land of Tob, the northern part of the lot of Ma. nasseh : and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him ; men of narrow fortunes, who were glad to enlist under such a brave leader ; and they assisted him in his inroads upon the ummonites, and other neighbouring countries,
who were ravaging the Canaanites, and lived on the booty they 4 got. And it came to pass in process of time, that the chil.
dren of Ammon made war against Israel ; they had often made inroads upon them, but cams then with a much larger force to