[Judges - General]

Israel's history from the time of the division of Canaan until the anointing of Saul to be their king, a period of 450 years, is called the period of the Judges—Joshua being the first judge and Samuel the last. These judges were evidently not elected to their position but raised to it providentially. But as these judges had no power or authority and collected no revenues it follows that any power or influence they possessed was a personal one and to give it weight or force implied a proper acknowledgment of them as divinely appointed or raised up. This arrangement led the people continually to look to God for their helpers and leaders.
If the book of Judges were to be read as a fully complete history of Israel for those four and a half centuries it would be a discouraging picture. But the record passes by the happy period of Israel's prosperity and specially points out their deflections from obedience to God, their punishments for such transgressions and the deliverances from their troubles through the judges, or deliverers, whom God raised up for them. That this was in many respects a favorable time for the Israelites was implied in the Lord's promise, "I will restore thy judges as at the first."—Isaiah 1:26 R3102:2, R5645:2
The statement by the Apostle of the length of this period of the Judges (Acts 13:20) we accept as a specially designed solution of the problem of the portion of the chronology most difficult to figure from the Old Testament record. B49
A judge, in ancient times, was one who executed justice and relieved the oppressed. Note, for instance, how when under oppression by their enemies because of transgression against the Lord, Israel was time and again released and blessed by the raising up of judges. A142 It should be noted that the object of raising up judges was a gracious and beneficent one: it was to deliver and bless the people, not to condemn and punish them. In this view of the office of a judge, how precious is the promise that our blessed Lord Jesus cometh to judge the world in righteousness. R1869:3

[Judg. 1:5]

The Canaanites —Lowlanders. R2848:4
The Perizzites —Highlanders. R2848:4

[Judg. 1:16]

The Kenite —From Midian, east of Sinai. R3061:5
Dwelt among the people —In fulfilment of Moses' promise in Num. 10:29-32. R3061:5 So friends of truth should be encouraged to serve the Lord and be assured of a share in the reward. R4038:5

[Judg. 2:1]

Never break my covenant —The centuries since have shown the persistency of God's mercy. R5598:6

[Judg. 2:2]

No league —The Lord's people should make no truce with their fleshly weaknesses. R5598:2 Truces with the flesh mean that love for the Lord has gradually cooled. R5646:1
The Inhabitants —Corresponds to the perverted appetites of the flesh, earthly hopes and ambitions, oppositions to the Lord and righteousness. R5598:2
Altars —Passion, avarice. R5598:2

[Judg. 2:4]

And wept —The New Creature cries to the Lord for deliverance. R5598:2

[Judg. 2:7]

Served the LORD —Things went well with the Israelites because their leaders realized the importance of being on the Lord's side. R5598:4
The days of —Covering a break between the division of the land and the first recorded period of eight years. (Jud. 3:8) HG45:4
The elders —The elders who had witnessed God's miraculous interposition were the judges of Israel. R5645:2, R3102:2, R4192:3 So spiritual Israelites of every congregation are to select fit men for services needed. R5645:5

[Judg. 2:8]

Joshua —The first judge. R3102:2; PD38/48

[Judg. 2:11]

Children of Israel —Many of them, not all. R5646:2, R3102:6

[Judg. 2:12]

Other gods —Represented by idols. R5598:4 Christians have made idols, not of stone, wood or bronze; but more hideous misrepresentations of the divine character—our printed creeds. R5598:5
Gods of the people —Typifying forms of godliness taking the place of true heart-worship, reverence. R5598:5
Bowed themselves —The idols would appear to be an excellent way of keeping religion before the mind, but it was not God's way. R5598:4 False religions appealed to the baser passions, combining a form of godliness with gratification of the flesh, dancings, etc. R5598:5

[Judg. 2:13]

Baal —Signifying overseer, caretaker. R5627:2

[Judg. 2:14]

Anger of the LORD —Not that the period of the judges was basically idolatrous, the record passes by the happy periods of Israel's prosperity. So, reading today's newspapers would give only a bleak picture of our day. R5645:6 The Lord's displeasure does not delay until one goes fully into idolatry, but reproves early to correct. R5646:2
He delivered them —Chastisements are evidences of special care, protection and relationship. R5646:2

[Judg. 2:15]

Hand of the LORD —His divine power. SM623:1
EvilRa, signifying calamity, not sin. R1350:2

[Judg. 2:16]

Raised up —Divinely appointed. R5645:2 To deliver and bless the people, not to condemn and punish them. R1869:3 Picturing God's dealing with spiritual Israel during this Gospel age, raising up special counselors, deliverers, ministers. R5645:3, R3102:2
Judges —Deliverers. R5598:6 Israel's government was a republic under divine autocracy and law supervision. R4192:3 Not a republic in the present day understanding of that term. R3216:3 Covering a period of 450 years. (Acts 13:20) B49 Israel's spiritual interests were more advanced under judges than kings. Centralization does not always mean greater blessings, but less individuality and personal progress. R4201:4 God's representatives. R4192:6 Pre-figured resurrected Ancient Worthies. R4201:4 "I will restore thy judges as at the first." (Isa. 1:26) R5645:6 Typical of the world's eventual rule—heavenly wisdom directing incorruptible earthly judges communicating and enforcing divine law. R5646:5 The office in which Jesus comes to judge the world in righteousness. R1869:3
Which delivered them —Spiritual leaders of divine appointment will always be marked by spiritual victories. R5645:3

[Judg. 2:17]

Their judges —This verse and its connections seem to indicate that verses 1-19 cover a long period of time of Israel's experiences, under many judges. R5598:5

[Judg. 3:8]

Eight years —One of many captivities, showing that the "seven times" of Lev. 26 could not be literal. B89 The chronological periods mentioned in Judges cover a total of 450 years; but the judges did not cover all the space of time, they were merely scattered over most of it. HG45:3

[Judg. 3:9]

Cried —A cry of loyalty. R5646:3 Such a cry by a spiritual Israelite implies that the sin was contrary to the transgressor's will. R5646:3
The LORD raised up —All who cry to the Lord in sincerity and faith shall be heard and delivered. R5646:3
A deliverer —A judge in ancient times was one who executed justice and relieved the oppressed. The coming Judge of earth will be its deliverer. A142

[Judg. 3:14]

Eighteen years —See comments on Judges 3:8 from B89.

[Judg. 4:3]

Twenty years —See comments on Judges 3:8 from B89.

[Judg. 4:4]

A prophetess —Perhaps a public teacher, or perhaps one through whom the Lord sent special messages. Probably the latter. R5605:1 Female as well as male servants of God must be faithful in using all their talents. R1549:4 Supporting female activity in the pursuits of life for which nature and education have fitted her. R1549:3 She judged - Admonished, guided, assisted. R5605:1

[Judg. 4:6]

Mount Tabor —The Mount of Transfiguration, thus associating the vision of the Kingdom with the Armageddon field of disaster. R5604:3

[Judg. 4:11]

Heber the Kenite —See comments on Judges 1:16.
Hobab —Hobab was Moses' brother-in-law. (Num. 10:29) R3061:5, R4038:3

[Judg. 4:13]

900 chariots —Showing the strength of Sisera's army. R5604:3

[Judg. 4:15]

Discomfited Sisera —This is the first of the great battles in the Valley of Megiddo. R5604:2

[Judg. 4:21]

A nail of the tent —Tent-pin. R5605:4
Smote the nail —Not a breach of hospitality. The custom of the Arabs in Palestine is that any man intruding into a woman's tent was considered worthy of death. R5605:4

[Judg. 5:4]

The field of Edom —Type of Christendom. D15
The earth —Type of the existing order of things. A318; B162
Dropped water —The cloudburst of truth and the rising waters of knowledge are bringing to pass human catastrophe which the Lord will overrule for the blessing of the world. R5604:5

[Judg. 5:19]

Megiddo —Type of the time of trouble at the end of this Christian era. Q769:2; R5604:2

[Judg. 5:20]

Stars —Figurative: this interference of God on behalf of his people Israel pictured the great Armageddon battle near at hand. R5604:5

[Judg. 5:23]

Against the mighty —Typifying errorists, those who fail to lift up heart, pen and voice on the Lord's side and will not be overcomers who get the victory. R1257:4

[Judg. 6:11]

Gideon —The record implies that he was fine of form and feature, indicating natural nobility. R4082:3
Threshed wheat —Gideon was threshing out a few sheaves of wheat in a concealed place lest the Midianites rob them. R5605:3

[Judg. 6:13]

This befallen us —It was not that God was unfaithful to his covenant, but that the Israelites had been unfaithful. R5605:6, R4082:2 How few spiritual Israelites realize that spiritual difficulties are traceable to the Lord's providences. R4082:2

[Judg. 6:14]

Have not I sent thee? —The angel was not there to discuss theology, but to inspire Gideon. R5605:3

[Judg. 6:15]

I am the least —Here Gideon's humility shines out. R5605:5

[Judg. 6:16]

I will be with thee —This protection was dependent upon Israel's maintenance of heart-loyalty and faithfulness to God. R5605:5

[Judg. 6:21]

Rose up fire —Demonstrating that the visitor was an angel of the Lord. R5605:6 Angels have powers above the human. R265:2

[Judg. 6:22]

He was an angel —For he had appeared to him in human form. A183; B127

[Judg. 6:24]

Jehovah-shalom —The Peace of Jehovah. E43

[Judg. 6:25]

The same night —At night, because his family and the villagers would have stoutly resisted it if they had known. R5606:2
Grove —Large posts, significant of honor, erected near the idol. R5605:6

[Judg. 6:34]

Came upon Gideon —Type of the Lord Jesus. R4082:5
Blew a trumpet —Representing the proclamation of the truth, the call to faith in the Lord, resulting in justification and acceptance. R4083:5,2

[Judg. 6:37]

Then shall I know —Gideon required fresh evidence from the Lord that he was doing the divine will. R5606:4

[Judg. 6:39]

Let me prove —The first test was not enough. He would reverse the test. R5606:5

[Judg. 6:40]

And God did so —We are not to think that because the Lord thus granted proofs to Gideon it would be proper for us today to make similar tests. We walk by faith, not by sights and signs. R5606:5

[Judg. 7:1]

Gideon —Type of the Lord Jesus. R4082:5, R3686:6
Well of Harod —Harod spring, a little lake which drains off eastward to the Jordan. R5606:3 Harod signifies "Coward." It is assumed that the name was given because of the fear manifested by the 22,000 who went home. R5606:3

[Judg. 7:3]

Whosoever is fearful —A test of faith. R1876:1 Picturing justified believers who, shunning the hardships, decline to consecrate fully. R1876:4,R5607:4, R4083:2 All the justified ones must first sit down and count the cost. R4083:2

[Judg. 7:4]

Yet too many —Illustrating that God is not dependent upon numbers or ecclesiastical organization. R458:5
Unto the water —Typifying the truth. R4083:3, R5606:6
Shall go with thee —The honor due to the human instruments used was not in their strength and skill in battle, but in their faith in God. R1876:1 So shall it be when the Lord shall again fight for Israel; it will not be by their own power. R1747:1

[Judg. 7:5]

Lappeth of the water —Signifying alertness and obedience. R5606:6

[Judg. 7:6]

Putting their hand —Symbol of energy (zeal). R4083:3, R1876:1
To their mouth —Thus maintaining their own erectness of manhood, showing energy and discretion in drinking and lifting up their heads in acknowledgment of the heavenly origin of the truth. R4083:4
300 men —Representing those who are alert in the Master's service, the wiser of the two classes who appreciate the truth. R5606:6, R4082:5
Upon their knees —Typifying those who bow down in the mire of human servility, drinking the water of truth more for their own satisfaction. R4083:4, R5606:6

[Judg. 7:7]

Gideon —Representing Christ. R5607:1, R2550:4
300 men —Christ, like Gideon, is called of God to lead a "Little Flock" forth to the conquest of the hosts of sin. Di; OV268:2; R1876:4, R4083:2
Other people go —A portion of the Lord's consecrated who, being less alert, are less used. R5607:4, R5606:6 Picturing those who are weary in well-doing, whose zeal abates, love grows cold and faith declines and who fail to push on to the end. R1876:4

[Judg. 7:16]

A trumpet —Ram's horn trumpet. R5607:1

[Judg. 7:20]

Blew the trumpets —Representing the proclamation of the truth. R4083:5; PD38/48 Jubilee trumpets. R2555:5
Brake the pitchers —Representing our earthen vessels. R4083:5
The lamps —The broken vessels of Gideon's band represent how the Lord's people present their bodies living sacrifices, letting the light shine out and fighting a good fight against the hosts of sin. R5607:5, R4083:5, R2550:5; PD38/48 The Lord's spirit is represented by the light of the lamp shining from the broken vessel. R5607:5
Sword of the LORD —Of Jehovah, our Captain. R4083:5 The sword represented God's Word. PD38/48
And of Gideon —Of Christ. R4083:5

[Judg. 7:21]

All the host ran —Picturing the time of trouble. R3686:6 Jehovah fought Israel's ancient battles without being seen, except with the eyes of understanding. R286:3
Cried, and fled —Imagined themselves being surrounded by a great host. R5607:2

[Judg. 7:22]

Against his fellow —They fought each other, mistaking each other for foes. R5607:2, R4083:4 The climax of the battle will be a temporary reign of anarchy. R5607:5 The hosts of sin, the powers of evil, will fall upon one another for their mutual destruction. R5607:5, R2550:5

[Judg. 7:23]

Men of Israel —Others than the Little Flock will be associated in the work of overthrow. R4083:6

[Judg. 8:4]

Came to Jordan —Typifying, as far as the Little Flock is concerned, consecration unto death. R3087:1 It will be through the intervention of the elect (on the other side of the veil) that the hosts of sin will be utterly discomfited. R2550:5

[Judg. 8:18]

Children of a king —As Gideon and his brethren looked like sons of a king, so Christ and his followers are all godlike in character. PD38/48; R5229:3, R4082:5 Frequently with such nobility goes pride, which renders the individual unsuited to the Lord's purposes—"not many wise, not many noble hath God chosen." (1 Cor. 1:26) R4082:4

[Judg. 8:26]

Purple raiment —Purple is the badge of royalty. RIOO:6*

[Judg. 11:17]

Of Edom —Type of Christendom. D15

[Judg. 11:30]

Jephthah vowed —Jephthah's daughter took the vow of perpetual virginity and figuratively became dead to the world. PD38/48, R2897:2

[Judg. 11:31]

Be the LORD'S —Offering his daughter in sacrifice. R2874:5 Full devotion to the Lord; a vow of chastity and sanctity. R2874:6 Be dedicated forever to his service. R2897:2*
Offer it up —Will offer to him. R2897:3* The vow contains two parts: that the person who would meet him would be Jehovah's; and that Jephthah himself would offer a burnt-offering to Jehovah.R2897:2*

[Judg. 11:40]

To lament —To talk with her (Margin). R2897:5*

[Judg. 13:1]

LORD delivered them —For lack of faith. With proper faith one might have chased a thousand and two chased ten thousand. R4088:5
Forty years —See comment on Judges 3:8 from B89.

[Judg. 13:3]

Appeared —In human form, a power which angel's possess. B127

[Judg. 13:4]

Drink not wine —Twice before Samson's birth an angel of the Lord impressed upon his mother the importance of abstemiousness. R5612:3

[Judg. 13:5]

Nazarite —It was included in the vow of a Nazarite that he would avoid spiritous liquor in every form, that his hair would not be cut and that he would avoid contamination with dead bodies—signifying full, complete consecration. R5612:3, R4088:1 There is no intimation that Samson ever violated this vow. R4088:1 Not a resident of Nazareth. Jesus was from Nazareth, but not under a Nazarite vow. R5612:3
Deliver Israel —According to divine promise, Samson was to be one of the Judges of Israel, one of the deliverers of Israel. R5612:6
Philistines —They were supposedly pirates, preying upon Israel. R5612:6

[Judg. 13:8]

Let the man —The angel who had appeared in human form. E94

[Judg. 13:13]

Angel of the LORD —Perhaps this was the last direct communication between the Lord and any of his people Israel. R5615:5

[Judg. 13:20]

Ascended in the flame —Similar in manner to our Lord's ascension. R2818:6

[Judg. 13:21]

Then Manoah knew —Previously thought to be a man, showing that angels can assume human bodies and appear as men. A183; R265:2, R18:3, R261:6, R578:6

[Judg. 13:22]

God —Hebrew, Elohim, a mighty one, referring to the angel. R1410:3

[Judg. 13:25]

Spirit of the LORD —Such a mechanical operation of the holy Spirit is wholly different from that which applies to the Christian, begotten of the Spirit. R5613:3

[Judg. 14:6]

Nothing in his hand —Because the Philistines forbade blacksmiths lest the Israelites arm themselves. (1 Sam. 13:19,20) R4088:3

[Judg. 14:8]

Honey in the carcase —Some Michigan lumbermen recently found the carcase of a large raccoon full of wild honey. R3329:5

[Judg. 15:5]

Burnt up —Not wantonly, but to impoverish Israel's captors and recover the land for the nation. R1381:4, R4088:4 Samson used every means at his command to break the forces of the oppressors and to deliver his people. R4088:4

[Judg. 15:12]

That we may deliver thee —Showing the abjectness of the Israelites' servility. R4088:4

[Judg. 15:15]

Slew a thousand —Consider the activities of the early Church and the victories they gained. R4088:6

[Judg. 15:19]

His spirit came —Ruach, vital or life-power returned. E314

[Judg. 16:4]

Delilah —The standards of the Ancient Worthies were different from those of the Gospel age. R4087:6

[Judg. 16:5]

Entice him —Consider how the Adversary seduced the Church. R4088:6

[Judg. 16:17]

If I be shaven —Samson's strength, considered in relationship to his Nazarite vow, should show the Lord's acceptance of the consecrated and his making them mighty to the overthrow of their enemies. R4088:3

[Judg. 16:18]

All his heart —We should be specially on guard against the blandishments of the world and the Adversary through the nominal church. R4088:5

[Judg. 16:19]

Made him sleep —Consider the stupor, drowsiness, ease and worldliness upon those who made a vow to faithfulness during a considerable time. R4088:6
Upon her knees —Similarly, those who are strong in the Lord are in danger of going to sleep in the lap of the modern Delilah, Churchianity. R4088:6
Shave off —A vow once taken must be observed faithfully if its blessings would be enjoyed. R5613:5
His strength went —The strength of the Gospel message was lost while in the drowsy condition in the "Dark Ages." R4088:6 A condition of his vow being broken. R4088:6, R5613:4

[Judg. 16:21]

Put out his eyes —Illustrating how the Church lost the eyes of her understanding in the Dark Ages. R4088:6
Bound him —Ever since the Reformation time the Church has been to a considerable extent a slave to Churchianity and the world. R4088:6
He did grind —Thus the Church has been grinding food of a certain kind for many while still a slave to the world and under its blinding influences. R4089:1

[Judg. 16:22]

Began to grow again —Representing the growing power of Present Truth. R4089:3

[Judg. 16:23]

Dagon their god —Representing the modern god of Evolution. R4089:3

[Judg. 16:25]

Their hearts were merry —The worldly-wise feast and rejoice, giving honor to the god of Evolution through their Higher Critics. R4089:3
Make us sport —Those who are faithful to the principles of the Lord's Word will yet be made sport of by the worldly-wise. R4089:4

[Judg. 16:26]

Samson —Still full of the spirit of his consecration. R4089:1

[Judg. 16:28]

Strengthen me —We have come to a time when the Lord's people are recovering a little of the strength of the early Church. R4089:3
That I may be at once avenged —One lesson we may learn from Samson is the importance of having an object in life. R5613:5

[Judg. 16:29]

Samson took hold —Even now Labor, like the blind giant Samson, is groping for the pillars whose fall will overthrow present conditions. PD89/103

[Judg. 16:30]

Let me die —His whole life was used in serving his people. R5613:2 Nephesh, soul, sentient being. E334
All his might —The Lord's true people are ready to put forth all their strength to move the pillars of error which uphold Churchianity. R4089:4
And the house fell —With the death of the last member of the Church, the Body of Christ, will surely come the downfall of Churchianity and the present system of world power. R4089:4
Were more than —He did more damage to the Philistines and more for the deliverance of his people in that one act than in all the other experiences of his life. R5613:4, R4089:2

[Judg. 16:31]

Buried him —According to the Law, Samson was rated as a very faithful servant of God. R5613:2, R4088:1
Judged —In the sense of avenging wrongs that Israel sustained upon the enemies who committed those wrongs. R4088:4 His chief work was to revive the spirit of the totally dejected people; encouraging their return to the Lord, with its resultant prosperity. R5613:1

[Judg. 19:10]

Jebus —Because it belonged to the Jebusites; earlier called Salem. (Gen. 14:18) R1296:3*

[Judg. 20:16]

At an hair breadth —Therefore David's marksmanship against Goliath was not unusual. R4216:4, R3230:5