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Jud 3:1-4. NATIONS LEFT TO PROVE ISRAEL.
1. these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel--This was the special design of these nations being left, and it evinces the direct influence of the theocracy under which the Israelites were placed. These nations were left for a double purpose: in the first instance, to be instrumental, by their inroads, in promoting the moral and spiritual discipline of the Israelites; and also to subserve the design of making them acquainted with war, in order that the young, more especially, who were total strangers to it, might learn the use of weapons and the art of wielding them.
Jud 3:5-7. BY COMMUNION WITH THESE THE ISRAELITES COMMIT IDOLATRY.
5-7. the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites--The two peoples by degrees came to be on habits of intercourse. Reciprocal alliances were formed by marriage till the Israelites, relaxing the austerity of their principles, showed a growing conformity to the manners and worship of their idolatrous neighbors.
Jud 3:8-11. OTHNIEL DELIVERS ISRAEL.
8-11. sold them--that is, "delivered them"
9. when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord--In their distress
they had recourse to earnest prayer, accompanied by humble and penitent
confession of their errors.
10. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he judged Israel, and went
out to war--Impelled by a supernatural influence, he undertook the
difficult task of government at this national crisis--addressing
himself to promote a general reformation of manners, the abolition of
idolatry, and the revival of pure religion. After these preliminary
measures, he collected a body of choice warriors to expel the foreign
11. Othniel . . . died--How powerful the influence of one good man is, in church or state, is best found in his loss [BISHOP HALL].
Jud 3:12-30. EHUD SLAYS EGLON.
12-14. the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the
Lord--The Israelites, deprived of the moral and political influences
of Othniel, were not long in following their native bias to idolatry.
15. Ehud the son of Gera--descended from Gera, one of Benjamin's sons
19. quarries--rather, "graven images"
Jer 8:19; 51:52);
statues of Moabite idols, the sight of which kindled the patriotic zeal
of Ehud to avenge this public insult to Israel on its author.
21-26. Ehud put forth his left hand--The whole circumstance of this daring act--the death of Eglon without a shriek, or noise--the locking of the doors--the carrying off the key--the calm, unhurried deportment of Ehud--show the strength of his confidence that he was doing God service.
27. he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim--summoned to arms the people of that mountainous region, which, adjoining the territory of Benjamin, had probably suffered most from the grievous oppression of the Moabites.
28. they went down after him, and took the fords--(See on Jos 2:7). With the view of preventing all escape to the Moabite coast, and by the slaughter of ten thousand men [Jud 3:29], Ehud rescued his country from a state of ignominious vassalage.
31. after him was Shamgar--No notice is given of the tribe or family
of this judge; and from the Philistines being the enemy that roused him
into public service, the suffering seems to have been local--confined
to some of the western tribes.