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that was played by the judges in Israel Moore), The Bible for Home and School - men like Franklin, Hamilton, Hancock, (by Curtis), Handbooks for Bible Classes Washington, Samuel Adams, Sumner. (by Douglas), The Expositor's Bible (by Ask another to come prepared to speak of Watson), Ellicott, Parker, Kent (Beemergencies in our own history which ginnings of Hebrew History), Edersheim, have been brought about by the taking Geikie, etc. Gideon and the Judges, by away of national leaders as Joshua was Lang. Dummelow's One-Volume Comtaken away, — Lincoln, Garfield, Mc- meniary. Kinley. Ask another to bring in a list of a dozen outstanding patriots of the
THE ROUND TABLE. present day — our real leaders; while still another will be ready to tell how
FOR RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION. we may make these leaders most effective.
The origin and purpose of the book of Judges.
The character and work of the judges. THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING. What great leaders do for a nation.
The causes of national degeneration. Time. — Joshua died about 1450 B.C. The temptations to idolatry.
National punishment for national sin. (Beecher). The period of the judges extends from that year to the crowning of Saul,, 1102 B.C., three and a half
THE PLAN OF THE LESSON. centuries.
Place. - The judges sprang from SUBJECT : A Wise Summary of Invarious parts of the country, — Judah
structive History. (Othniel), Benjamin (Ehud), Ephraim (Deborah and Abdon), Naphtali (Barak), I. A Task HALF DONE, Judges 1: 1– Manasseh (Gideon), Gilead (Jephthah and Jair), Issachar (Tola), Zebulun
The book of Judges. (Ibzan and Elon), and Dan (Samson); II. JOSHUA DEAD, THE, PEOPLE FORfrom north and south, from west and
GET, vs, 6-10. from east of the Jordan.
The value of religious education.
III. God's ANGER AND THE PEOPLE'S THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.
DISTRESS, Vs. 11-15.
Sin and punishment. Commentaries on the book of Judges IV. God's LEADERS BRING PEACE AND in The Cambridge Bible (by Lias), The
SAFETY, vs. 16–23. New Century Bible (by Thatcher), The
What is true patriotism? International Critical Commentary (by EASTER LESSON : THE SECOND JOSHUA.
I. A TASK HALF DONE, Judges 1:1-2 : 5. The Book of JUDGES
was designed to furnish a history of Israel during the period intervening between the death of Joshua and the birth of Samuel, or from the close of the conquest of Canaan to the beginnings of the Hebrew monarchy. But this was not its only purpose. The main portion of the book (2:6–16:31) was clearly designed to teach a great religious lesson, wit, that departure from the service of Jehovah, especially in the worship of other gods, brought oppression and disaster upon the people of Israel, from which relief might be obtained by crying to Jehovah, who stood ready to raise up a deliverer, under whom rest from foreign oppression might be enjoyed.”. Prof. Edward Lewis Curtis.
The Talmud says that the traditional author was Samuel, but modern scholars say that Samuel could not have written the book. “ The main portion of the book is based upon oral or written traditions of a local and perhaps a tribal character. Of this central part the Song of Deborah (chap. 5) is the most ancient, and bears every mark of being a contemporary record. The narratives of Judges are set in a framework of chronology, and of ethical comment and teaching, which are probably independent of one another.” — International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
“We must not expect in the book of Judges a complete or successive history of Israel during these three and a half centuries. Sacred history is primarily that of the kingdom of God, and only secondarily that of individuals or periods. This is the reason why we have no record at all of five of the judges (Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon). For this cause also some events are specially selected in the sacred narrative which to the superficial reader may seem trivial. For the same reason also we must not look for strict chronological arrangement in the narratives. In 6. And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.
7. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.
point of fact, the judges ruled only over one or several of the tribes, to whom they brought special deliverance. Accordingly, the history of some of the judges overlaps each other, their reign having been contemporaneous in different parts of the land.” — Edersheim.
The story of the book of Judges opens with a depressing situation. With the deaths of Joshua and the high priest Eleazar, and then with the death of his son Phinehas the third high priest, " the age of stern fidelity to the national covenant with Jehovah seems to have come to a close. Weary with years of struggle, satisfied with what they had acquired, tempted to seek friendship with the Canaanites by the similarity of language, the opportunities of profit, the seductions of neighborhood, by their own want of military science and by the weakness of tribal division, their warlike feelings gave way to a desire for ease and quiet. The rush of invasion had spent its force, and now the rods which could not even be bent when united were easily broken in detail when apart.” Cunningham Geikie.
THE VALUE OF THOROUGHNESS. The Israelites learned by the sad experience of these three and a half centuries — or should have learned the folly of leaving half-done tasks behind them. “ He doeth much that doeth a thing well,” wrote Thomas à Kempis. On the other hand, a thing done poorly is hardly done at all.
This is notably true of all matters connected with religion, because these are of final importance, and require wholeheartedness for their essential character.
“ Probably most of the difficulties of trying to live the Christian life,” said Henry Drummond,“ arise from attempting to half live it.”
Illustration. A great sculptor had finished the figure and face of a colossal statue and then spent day after day in delicate work on the arrangement of the hair. A
itic asked him, Why spend so much time on the hair No one will see it up there.” The answer came, “If we cannot see it from down here, God will see it from above." The Israelites thought that the final touches on the work of freeing
Canaan from the heathen were not necessary, but God looked down from above, and condemned their work as half done.
II. JOSHUA DEAD, THE PEOPLE FOR GET, vs. 6–10. 6. Now when Joshua had sent the people away. From the great national gathering at Shechem ; see Josh. 24 : 28–30, which is almost identical with this passage. That gathering had been rendered notable by Joshua's farewell address and by the people's solemn promise to serve Jehovah. The children of
Israel went every man
From an old print.
unto his inheritance.
The portion of the land that had been allotted to him. To possess the land. To enter upon the possession of it. They had already won much of it from the heathen, but were still in their armed camps.
7. And the people served Jehovah all the days of Joshua. The influence of a good, strong man, in a family, a church, a community, a nation, abides long after
8. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
9. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
10. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
his death. And all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua. The elders were the chiefs of the clans or families, called "elders” because they were usually old men.
Who had seen all the great work of Jehovah that he had wrought for Israel - the exodus from Egypt, preceded by the marvellous plagues ; the wonders of Sinai, the preservation in the wilderness, such events as the miraculous fall of Jericho. In the parallel passage in Joshua the word “great ” does not occur, because in Joshua's day the people had not sinned against God's goodness as they did under the judges, so that the writer of that book did not feel the contrast between the condu of the people and that of Jehovah. It is when men greatly sin that the wise man sees that God has greatly blessed.
8. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Jehovah. He could have won no higher title; it was the title borne by the second Joshua, our Lord Jesus himself. Died, being a hundred and ten years old. Servants of Jehovah are certain to live long — if not in years, then in usefulness and happiness.
9. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance ; that is, within the compass of the land allotted to him. In Timnath-heres. Perhaps modern Tibnah, about twelve and one half miles east-northeast of Lydda ; perhaps Kefr Harith, nine miles south of Shechem. In the hill-country of Ephraim. This region extended along the rocky backbone of Palestine from north of Jerusalem to the Plain of Esdraelon in Galilee ; later these highlands were called Samaria. On the north of the mountain of Gaash. A hill whose exact location is unknown.
10. There arose another generation . : that knew not Jehovah. Of course they knew him with their heads, but not with their hearts. Nor yet the work which he had wrought for Israel. They had not had personal experience of the marvels of exodus and conquest, but they might have cherished the grateful memory of them handed down from their fathers, and they might have had their own experiences of God's goodness and power, different from their fathers' experience, but quite as blessed and wonderful.
THE VALUE OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. “ The slackness' in exterminating the Canaanites was accompanied by a slackness in the godly training of their own children. Minds left empty of careful, loving training in the things of God became a prey to immorality and to false worship.” Principal George C. M. Douglas.
Illustration. A traveller in the Southern mountains found an old woman alone in a cabin. Her three boys had left her one by one to go to sea, and she did not know why. But the traveller saw over the rude fireplace an old picture of the ocean with a ship sailing over it, the only ornament in the room. The mother had herself sent the boys away with that picture. So it is with all children : they will follow the path in life which their elders, perhaps unconsciously, picture to them as desirable.
“ To teach a few Sunday school children week after week commonplace, simple truths persevering in spite of dullness and mean capacities — is a more glorious occupation than the highest meditations or creations of genius which edify or instruct only our own solitary soul.” — F. W. Robertson.
“If we work upon marble, it will perish ; if we work upon brass, time will efface it ; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust ; but if we work upon immortal souls, if we imbue them with immortal principles, with the just fear of God and love of fellow men, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten all eternity.”
“ Mothers and teachers of children, whether in public school or in Sunday school, fill places so great that there isn't an angel in heaven that wouldn't be glad to give a bushel of diamonds to come down here and take their place." Billy Sunday.