Page images

A. M. 2561. A. C. 1443; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3849. A. C. 1564. JUD. i. TO THE END OF RUTH. But though the eastern coast was at rest, yet the west | mitted Jabin, who, at that time, assumed the title of king part of the kingdom was sadly molested by the incur- of Canaan, and < had fixed his imperial seat at Hazor, sions of the Philistines, who dwelt upon the same shore to oppress them with great severity for forty years. of the Mediterranean sea. Upon this occasion, a Sham- | This prince had made Sisera, d an experienced soldier gar, the son of Anath, asserted the cause of Israel; and no doubt, general of his forces, wherein, besides great having received extraordinary vigour from above, with store of other military munition, there were 900 armed 110 better weapon than an ox-goad, slew, at divers chariots, which terrified the Israelites to such a degree, times, six hundred of these invaders, and preserved the that e several tribes,'despairing of relief, sat still under peace of the country for eight years.

their oppression, and some of them were going to transIn the north part of the country, however, the idola- port themselves into other coumtries. For their enemies try, which Micah began, propagated apace ; so that God were so very cruel to them, that they durst not travel the being highly incensed at the people's impieties, per- common roads, nor dwell in villages, for fear of being

murdered or plundered; and having no arms left to the eastern part of it only, which had shaken off the yoke of defend themselves, they were forced to retire to fortified Moab, while, in the mean time, the Philistines invaded the places, and there live together, in the utmost consterwestern parts, even as Jabin afflicted the northern, as we may nation. see in the following chapter.- Poole's Annotations, and Patrick's

In the midst of this distress, f Deborah, the prophetess, Commentury.

a of what tribe this valiant person was, we are nowhere informed; but it is not unlikely, that he was one of those tribes which bordered upon the Philistines, Judah, Dan, or Ephraim,

"Judges v. 15, 16.

2 Judges viii. 17. because what he did was against them. It is disputed by some, c It is very certain that Joshua burnt the city Hazor, and whether he is to be reckoned among the number of the judges; slew the king thereof, whose name in like manner was Jabin, but for this, I think, there is no foundation, The short account which might possibly be the common name to all the kings of which the Scripture gives of him, is this:- And after him,' the country, as those of Egypt were called Pharaoh. But it that is, after Ehud, was Shamgar, the son of Anath, which seems not improbable, that this Hazor might be retaken, and slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox-goad, and rebuilt by its ancient inhabitants, and this king might be a also delivered Israel.' (Judges iii. 31.) After Ehud was Sham- descendant of the other. Some, indeed, interpret the words gar, that is, he succeeded him in the office of a judge, for this is thus: That this Jabin was king of that part of Canaan which lay the natural sense of the words; and he also delivered Israel,' in the country where Hazor formerly stood, and whose seat then which is the very phrase whereby the judges are described. It was at Harosheth of the Gentiles; for they understand this place is not said, indeed, from what oppressions he delivered them; to be mentioned in the text, as the dwelling-place, not of Sisera, but he is a deliverer who preserves a nation from being oppressed, but of Jabin himself, whose general Sisera was. But there is no as well as he who rescues them from an oppression when they reason for this inversion of the order of the words, since the groan under it. This, in all probability, was Shamgar's case, Canaanites might, between the time of Joshua and Deborah, who, when the Philistines invaded his country, gave them a re- find frequent opportunities, considering the corruption and idlepulse, with the loss of 600 of their men, which was enough to ness of the Israelites, to re-establish their ancient kingdom in discourage them from all future attempts. And indeed, the these parts, to rebuild their former capital, and to set up one of great slaughter which he made among them, with a weapon, in the old royal line to be their king; who, according to the common all appearance, so incompetent for the work, argues him to have usages of those ages, retained one and the same name with his been a judge, and possessed of a divine power, as much as Sam- predecessors.-Wells' Geography of the Old Testament, vol. 2.

who slew 1000 of his enemies with the jaw-bone of c. 6. an ass.' (Patrick's and Le Clerc's Commentaries.)-Dr Hales d This Sisera, as Josephus informs us, was a very great supposes Shamgar's administration in the west to be included in favourite of the king, for the services he had done in reducing Ehud's administration of 80 years in the east; and as Shamgar's the Israelites, whom he worsted upon several encounters, time administration might have been of some continuance, so this ser- after time, and would never give over the pursuit, till he brought vitude of the Philistines, which is not noticed elsewhere, might them at last to be absolute slaves, and tributaries to his master. have been of the same duration, as may be incidentally collected --Antiquities, b. 5. c. 6. from Deborah's thanksgivings.--Ed.

e This is the sense of those obscure passages in the song of 6 Judges iii. 31. ' And after him was Shamgar, the son of Deborah: For the divisions of Reuben there were great Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an thoughts of heart. Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to 0x-goad! Mr Maundrell, (Journey, at April 15,) has an obser- hear the bleatings of the flocks ? Gilead abode beyond Jordan, vation which at once explains this transaction, and removes and why did Dan remain in ships ? Asher continued on the every difficulty from the passage. He says,

“ The country

sea shore, and abode in his creeks,' &c. (Judges v. 15, &c.) people were now every where at plough in the fields, in order to f The words prophet and prophetess, are of very ambiguous

It was observable, that in ploughing they used signification in both Testaments : sometimes they denote persons goads of an extraordinary size; upon measuring of several, I extraordinarily inspired by God, and endued with the power of found them about eight feet long, and at the bigger end, six working miracles, and foretelling things to come; and sometimes inches in circumference. They were armed at the lesser end they are used for persons endued with special, though not mirawith a sharp prickle for driving the oxen, and at the other end culous gifts or graces, for the better understanding and explaining with a small spade, or paddle of iron, strong and massy, for the word of God; and of this sort were the sons of the prophets, cleansing the plough from the clay that encumbers it in working. or such as were brought up in the schools of the prophets. As, May we not from hence conjecture, that it was with such a goad therefore, we read nothing of any miraculous action that Deborah as one of these that Shamgar made that prodigious slaughter did, she perhaps was only a woman of eminent holiness, and related of him, Judges iii. 21. I am confident that whoever prudence, and knowledge of the holy Scripture, by which she should see one of these instruments, would judge it to be a was singularly qualified to judge the people, that is, to determine weapon not less fit, perhaps fitter, than a sword for such an causes and controversies among them, according to the word execution, Goads of this sort 1 saw always used hereabouts, of God. For though Jabin oppressed them sorely, yet it was and also in Syria; and the reason is, because the same single rather hy rigorous taxations, than infringing their laws, which person both drives the oxen, and also holds and manages the he still suffered to be administered by their own officers: and of plough; which makes it necessary to use such a goad as is above this he might take the less notice, because the supreme judicature described, to avoid the incumbrance of two instruments.” was exercised by a woman, from whose power and authority he

From Homer, (Iliad vi. line 130, &c.) it should seem that the thought there was no reason to apprehend any danger; though 0x-goads used in his time and country were of a similar kind; this certainly gave her an opportunity of endearing herself to the since he there describes the votaries of Bacchus as pursued and people, and made her, by this means, the fitter an instrument slain by Lycurgus with an ox-goad.-Ed.

to rescue them from oppression - Poole's Annotations.

son was,

Sow cotton,


ranean sea.

A. M. 2561. A. C. 1443; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3985. A. C. 1426. JUD. i. TO THE END OF RUTH. a woman of great eminence, and who, for some time at the foot of the mountain, in hopes of cutting off' Barak's had administered justice to the neighbouring tribes, sent retreat. Upon this Deborah advised Barak not to stay to Barak, the son of Abinoam, a message from God, till Sisera came up to hiin, but early next morning, to that he should get together 10,000 men of the tribes of march directly down, and fall upon him, with all the Zebulun and Naphtali, and march them to a Mount assurance imaginable of success. The Hebrew general Tabor, whither Sisera, with all his nunerous army, followed her directions, and coming down upon the coming to give him battle, should infallibly be routed. enemy before they were aware, he charged them with Barak readily agreed to the motion, upon condition that such fury, a whilst God, at the same time, by a driving the prophetess would go with him: and so having mus- storm of rain and hail in their faces, struck with such tered up all his complement of forces, they both went terror, that they were not able to stand before the together, and posted themselves upon Mount Tabor. Israelites, but were soon broken, and put to flight. The Sisera had soon intelligence of this, and, getting a pursuit, however, continued all day; and as the night powerful army together, he made hasty marches from approached, the stars shone with an uncommon bright• Harosheth ; passed the c river Kishon; and encamped ness, to give light to the pursuers; and the river Kishon,

being swelled with the hasty rain, drowned the pursued,

and carried the dead bodies away towards the Meditera Tabor is a very remarkable mountain in Galilee, not far from Kadesh, in the tribe of Zebulun, and in the confines of Issachar and Naphtali. It has its name from its eminence, because Sisera, in the mean time, seeing his whole army it rises up in the midst of a wide champaign country, called the broken and dispersed, quitted his chariots, and was mak. valley of Jezreel,' or ' the great plain' (Esdraelon), two leagues ing his escape on foot, when Jael, the wife f of Heber south-east of Nazareth. Josephus tells us, that the height of this mountain is thirty stadia, and that on the top of it, there is a beautiful plain of twenty stadia in circumference.-[According Tabor, must run by Mount Carmel, which stands on the seato the statements of Burckhardt and Buckingham, it appears shore: and as Carmel stands west of Mount Tabor, the course of to be 1400 or 1500 feet high, and is represented as entirely cal- this river, which extends from the one to the other, must be so careous. Dr Richardson describes it as a dark-looking, insulated, likewise.—Wells' Geography of the Old Testament, vol. 2. c. 6. conical mountain, rising like a tower to a considerable height [After a course of thirty miles it falls into the Mediterranean above those around it.--Ed.]

at a place called Caiphe, a gulf formed by Mount Carmel and By all which it appears how commodious a place this mountain the Point of Acre. Near the mouth of this river, in the same was, to be the rendezvous of Barak’s forces, since it stood upon gulf, another smaller stream discharges itself, which was called the confines of so many different tribes, was not accessible by the by the ancients Belus, and was celebrated for its sands, which enemies' horses and chariots, and had, on the top of it, a spacious were used in making glass. It is at present called Nahr Haloro.) plain, where he might conveniently marshal and discipline his -Ed. army. What modern travellers tell us of this mountain is much d Josephus relates the matter of God's interposition in this to the same purpose :-“ After a very laborious ascent,” says Mr action in the following words:—" The armies were no sooner Maundrell, “ we reached the highest part of the mountain, which engaged, but there arose a violent wind, with a most impetuous has a plain area at top, fertile and delicious, and of an oval figure, tempest of hail and rain along with it. The storm, driving just about one furlong in breadth, and two in length. This area is in the face of the Canaanites, made not only their bows and enclosed with trees on all parts, except towards the south, and slings useless, but their weapons likewise designed for close fight; from hence you have a prospect, which (if nothing else) well for they could not so much as open their eyes against the weather; rewards the labour of ascending it; for it is impossible for the eyes and their fingers were so benumbed with cold, too, that they of man to be hold any greater gratification of this nature. The could not handle their arms. In the conclusion, it came to pass, top of this mountain was anciently environed with walls and that the Canaanites' army was broken, dispersed, and cut to trenches, and other fortifications, of which some remains are still pieces; so that betwixt those that fell by the sword, and those visible; and, for many ages, it has been believed that here it was that were trampled to death under the horses' feet, those that that our blessed Saviour was transfigured, in the presence of his were torn to pieces by the chariots, and those that fled away, three apostles, Peter, James, and John, though some late writers and fell into the hands of the Israelites in their flight, this prohave made a doubt of it.- Calmet's Commentary, Poole's Anno- digious army, which, according to our author, consisted of thirty tations, and Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem. thousand foot, ten thousand horse, and three thousand armed

b a place situate upon the lake Semechon, in the Upper Gali- chariots, was, in effect, totally destroyed."- Antiquities, b. 5. c. 6. lee, and is in Scripture called “Harosheth of the Gentiles,' e Mr Maundrell tells us, that in the condition wherein he saw because the people of several nations fled thither to be under this river, its waters were low and inconsiderable ; but in passing Jabin's protection, when they heard that he had possessed him- along the side of the plain, he discerned the tracts of many self of that country, and kept the Israelites out of it.- Wells' torrents falling down into it from the mountains, which must Geography of the Old Testament, vol. 2.

needs make it swell exceedingly upon sudden rains.—Journey c This river rises up out of Mount Tabor, and passing along from Aleppo to Jerusalem. the valley of Jezreel, now the plain of Esdraelon, empties itself f He was of the posterity of Hobab, the son of Jethro, fatherinto the Mediterranean Sea. Some geographers will needs have in-law of Moses, and is here called a Kenite, because originally it, that this river runs two ways, partly westward into the Medi- he descended from those people who dwelt westward of the Dead terranean, and partly eastward, into the Sea of Galilee; but this Sea, and extended themselves pretty far into Arabia Petræa. is a thing incredible, and what is known of no other river in the The word Ken, from whence they took their name, signifies a world; and therefore, if there be any thing in it, the matter must nest, a hole, or a cave; and to this the prophet might allude, be this,—that, from Mount Tabor, as it happens from many other when he addresses himself to them in these words: · Strong is hills, there flow waters out of its two sides, some shaping their thy dwelling place, and thou puttest thy nest on a rock: never. course westward, to the Mediterranean, and others eastward, theless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Ashur shall carry into the Sea of Galilee: so that there are two spring heads, and thee away captive, Num. xxiv. 21. These Kenites, indeed, two distinct rivers, though both arising from the same mountain, were some of the people whose lands God had promised to and perhaps both called by the same name. But whatever becomes the descendants of Abraham; nevertheless, in consideration of the river that runs eastward, it is plain, from another passage, of Jethro, all that submitted to the Israelites were permitted that the Kishon which is mentioned in Scripture, ran westward to live in their own country. In Num. X. 29, we find that into the Mediterranean sea; for when Elijah had convinced the Hobab was invited by Moses to accompany him into the land people assembled together at Mount Carmel, that Baal was not of Canaan, and, in all probability, he accepted the invitathe true God, he enjoined them to seize all his priests, and to tion. At their first coming, they settled themselves in bring them down to the brook Kishon, there to be slain (1 Kings the territories of Jericho: but having contracted a particular xviji.) So that the brook Kishon, which rises out of Mount friendship with the tribe of Judah, they removed with them into


[merged small][ocr errors]

A. M. 2561. A. C. 1443; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3985. A. C. 1426. JUD. I, TO THE END OF RUTH. the Kenite, seeing him coming, went to meet him, and erance it wrought, by recounting the many calamities invited him into her tent; a which he readily accepted, which the Israelites before laboured under ; acknowas apprehending no danger from her whose husband was ledges its proceeding from the same divine Being, who his master's ally. The fatigue of the day had made him descended in great majesty to give the law on Mount very thirsty, and therefore he entreated Jael to give him Sinai ; calls upon all those who partook in the benefits a little water ; but when, instead of water, she had given of it, to join in the praises of its great Author ; commends him as much milk as he desired ; and he had strictly those tribes that came readily to the war, and upbraids charged her to deny him, in case that any body should in- all those who declined their country's service. quire for bim, he laid himself down to rest. No sooner During this forty years' peace, the, people again was he well asleep, but Jael, taking an hammer and a rebelled against God, and God took the punishment of long tent-nail, set it to his temple, and, struck with them into his own hands, by sending upon them a griev. such a force, that it quite pierced through his head, and vous famine, wherein several were forced to remove pinned him to the ground; and when Barak, in pursuit into strange countries; and, among the rest, i one of him, came that way, she called him in, and showed Elimelech, a man of Bethlehem, with his wife Naomi, him the place and posture in which his enemy lay. and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, went into the land

This victory, wbich was followed with new successes of Moab to live. Elimelech died there, and his relic every day, put an end to the oppression of the north married her sons to two women of the country, whose for forty years.

It proved the utter ruin of this king- names were Orpah and Ruth. About two years after dom of the Canaanites in Hazor: and, upon many this, Naomi's two sons died, and she, resolving to return accounts, was attended with so many signal events, that to her own country, desired her daughters-in-law to the prophetess Deborah composed a triumphant song in remain in Moab. Orpah, with tears, took leave of her commemoration of it, & wherein she magnifies the deliv- mother ; but Ruth could, by no means, be persuaded to

part with her; and therefore she accompanied her to the country that fell to their lot, (Judges i. 16.) Every family Bethlehem, where, by 5 her mother's art and contrivance, of them did not so: for this Heber we find, for some reasons that she so managed the matter, that she married Boaz, by are not mentioned, had settled his habitation in the tribe of Naph- whom she had Obed, who was the father of Jesse, and tali, (Judges i. 11.). The Kepites indeed, although they were the grandfather of David, and from whom, according to proselytes, and worshipped the true God according to the Mosaic law, yet being strangers by birth, and so not pretending to any the flesh, the Saviour of the world was lineally deright or title to the land of Canaan, held it best policy, in these scended. troublesome times, to observe a neutrality, and maintain peace, as well as they could, both with the Israelites and Canaanites; and upon this foot it was, that there was a peace between king range of sacred poetry, and neither Homer nor Virgil have come Jabin and the house of Heber, and that Sisera, in his distress,

near it.-Ep. fled to Heber's tent for protection, and put confidence in the e Judges v. 30. • Have they not divided the prey: to Sisera feigned civilities of his wife.-Howell's History of the Bible. a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of

a Judges iv. 17–20. Pococke, giving an account of the man- divers colours of needlework on both sides.' This allusion in the ner in which he was treated in an Arab tent, in his journey to triumphant song of Deborah is to the richest part of the spoil, which Jerusalem, says, his conductor led him two or three miles to his was highly esteemed by the people. Pliny mentions a great vatent, and that there he sat with his wife and others, round a fire. riety of them, both in his own and in ancient times; for he takes “The Arabs are not so scrupulous as the Turks about their wo- notice, that Homer speaks of painted garments, which shone in men, and ihough they have their harem, or women's part of the flowers and trees in beautiful colours. The Phrygians afterwards tent, yet such as they are acquainted with come into it. I was wrought these with needles, and Attalus invented the interweavkept in the harem for greater security; the wife being always ing of gold into them. But, for these garments, Babylon was with me, no stranger ever daring to come into the women's above all places famous ; from whence they had the name of Babyapartment, unless introduced." (Vol. 2. p. 5.) Nothing can be lonjsh garments, and were much valued, (Josh. vii.) It appears a better comment on this passage than this story,

from Homer, (II. vi. line 289, &c.) that the women of Sidon 6 Judges iv. 19. • And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave were famous for such kind of variegated works before the Trojan him drink.' Jael certainly showed her regard to Israel by de- We find that Helen and Andromache were employed on stroying Sisera, but it is as certain that she did not do it in the such at their looms.-.Ed. most honourable manner; there was treachery in it; perhaps in f The book of Ruth, which takes its title from the person whose the estimation of those people, the greatest treachery. Among story is there principally recorded, is properly an appendix to the the later Arabs, giving a person a drink has been thought to be book of Judges, and an introduction to that of Samuel; and is the strongest assurance of their receiving him under their pro- therefore not only placed between them, but supposed to be wrote tection. When Guy de Lusignan, king of Jerusalem, was taken by one and the same hand. Its subject is very different from prisoner, and was conducted before Saladin, he demanded drink, the rest, and is therefore made a distinct treatise. It is indeed and they gave him fresh water, which he drank in Saladin's pre- of so private a nature, that at the time of its being wrote, the sence: but when one of his lords would have done the same, generality of the people might have thought it not worth recordSaladin would not sufler it, because he did not intend to spare ing; but we Christians may plainly see the wisdom of God in his life; on the contrary, advancing to him, after some expostu- having it done. It had been foretold to the Jews, that the Messiah lation, he cut off his head. — D'Herbelot, p. 371; Harier, vol. should be of the tribe of Judah, and it was afterwards revealed far2. p. 469, p. 175.

ther, that he should be of the family of David: and therefore it was c Josephus farther acquaints us, that immediately after this necessary, for the full understanding of these prophecies, that the victory, Barak marched with his army towards Hazor, where he history of the family of David, in that tribe, should be written encountered Jabin by the way, and slew him; and having killed before these prophecies were revealed, that so there might not be the king, laid the city level with the ground, and afterwards go- the least suspicion of any fraud or design. And thus this book, verned Israel for a matter of forty years.--Antiquities, b.5.c. 6. these prophecies, and the accomplishment of them, serve to illus

d Dr Hales, in his Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii, second trate and explain each other.- Bedford's Scrip. Chron., b. 5. c. 5. edition, has given a new and beautiful translation of this song, g The whole management of this affair is recorded in the book more literal and elegant than the common English version. The of Ruth, to which we refer our reader, having less reason to be translations of Boothroyd and Kennicolt are also excellent, prolix in a matter that concerns a private family only, and what although the arrangement of the latter is too artificial; there is had not been related in such a particular manner, but for the nothing more elegant and sublime than this song in the whole reasons that we have already assigned.


A. M. 2561. A. C. 1443; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M, 3985. A. C. 1426. JUD. í. TO THE END OF RUTH. After the death of Deborah and Barak, the Israelites, Gideon, the son of Joash, who dwelt at d Ophrah, and fell again into their old impiety, and were again given was then thrashing out his corn, in a private and unsusup into the hand of their enemies. The Midianites were pected place, the better to conceal it from the depredaa people situated on the east side of the river Jorelan, tion of the enemy. whom the children of Israel, in their passage to the land To him the angel signified the purport of his message, of Canaan,'had almost totally destroyed ; but it is not which was to acquaint him, that the Lord had made improbable, that some of that nation, saving themselves choice of him for the deliverance of his people. Gideon by flight into other countries, and after the Israelites at first excused himself upon account of the obscurity of were settled in Canaan returning thither again, might, his family and fortune ; and when the angel urged the in the space of 200 years, repossess the land where thing, he desired of him some token of the divine mission, they dwelt before, and still retain the name of Midian- and at the same time, requested him to accept of a small ites. These people, together with their neighbours, the entertainment from his hands. The angel seemed not Annalekites, a and some other eastern nations, for seven to refuse the invitation, whereupon Gideon hastened, and years, kept the Israelites in such subjection, that they having boiled a kid, and made some unleavened cakes, he were forced to betake themselves to the mountains, and spread a table, and set them before him ; but the angel to dwell in dens and caves, and fortified places, from ordered him to take them hence, and place them upon a whence, as the spring came on, they stole out to cultivate rock hard by, and so pour the broth upon them, which, and sow their land ; but all to no purpose : for towards though it might seem a little strange, Gideon did ; and, the time of harvest, these enemies made inroads into the as soon as the angel had touched them with the staff' that country, and having destroyed the increase of the was in his hand, immediately there issued fire out of the earth, and killed all the cattle which fell into their rock, which consumed them, whilst himself, at the sanie hands, they then returned home, and left the poor time, vanished out of sight. Israelites nothing to support themselves withal. Upon Convinced by this miracle, that it was a messenger this sore calamity, the people began to be sensible of from heaven who appeared to him, Gideon began to fear, their apostasy, and to humble themselves under the as the notion then was, that he should not long survive afflicting hand of God; whereupon God 5 sent them a it; but being assured by the angel, though then invisible, prophet who reproached them sharply with their base that no harm should befall him, he built a monument, ingratitude ; but at the saine time, e sent his angel to which he called Jehovah-shalom, that is, the Lord of

peace, in commemoration of this gracious interview; "Num. xxxi. 7, &c.

and being that night admonished in a dream to destroy a Though the Midianites were the principal people concerned the altar of Baal, and cut down the grove that surrounded in these invasions and inroads, yet, besides the Amalekites, they it; to build an altar to God upon the top of this wonderhad other confederate nations, who are called the children of the ful rock, and to offer a burnt-sacrifice to him with one east, (Judges vi, 3, 33,) by whom we may understand the Ammonites and Moabites, as lying east of the land of Israel, if not of his father's bullocks, he readily obeyed : and taking the Ishmaelites, and others that inhabited the parts of Arabia. ten of his father's servants with him, he demolished the The children or people of the east, in Gen. xxix. 1. denote the one, and erected the other by next morning ; choosing inhabitants of Mesopotamia ; but these seem to be too far distant the night to do it in, that he might meet with no obstructo have any part in these incursions; and therefore since we read, (Gen. xxv. 6.) that Abraham sent away the sons of his concubines, particularly the sons of Keturah, one whereof was Midian, upon this angel, not merely as an heavenly messenger sent from the father of the Midianites, eastward, into the east country, it God, but as the Son of God himself, appearing in the form of an may not improbably be inferred, that by the children of the angel.—Patrick's Commentary. east,' in this history of Gideon, are denoted the descendants of d Gideon was of the family of Abiezer, of the tribe of Mapasthe other sons of Keturah, and of the other brothers of Midian, seh; and so the Ophrah where he dwelt must be understood to be who had settled themselves in the eastern parts adjoining to Mis situated in the half tribe of Manasseh, on the west side of Jordan; dian.-Wells' Geography of the Old Testament.

and for this reason it is styled Ophrah of the Abiezrites,' 6 Who this prophet was, we have no manner of intimation (Judges viii. 32.) to distinguish it from another Ophrah that lay given us. The Jews generally fancy that he was Phinehas; | in the tribe of Benjamin.-Wells' Geography of the Old Testabut Phinehas must by this time have been above five hundred ment, vol. 3. c. 6. years old, which far exceeded the stated period of human life e Judges vi. 19. And Gideon went in, and made ready a then. St Austin is of opinion, that he was the same with the kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put angel which soon after appeared to Gideon; but it is far more in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out likely, that God still continued other prophets among the Israel- to him under the oak, and presented it. There is one passare ites, besides the high priest, to put them in mind of their duty, in Dr Shaw, that allords a perfect commentary on this text

. 1 and to call them to repentance, when they forsook him: for, from is in his preface, (p. 12.) “ Besides a bowl of milk, and a basket the case of Deborah, who is said to have had the spirit of pro- of figs, raisins, or dates, which, upon our arrival, were presented phecy, it appears, that at least in extraordinary cases, God failed to us to stay our appetites, the master of the tent where we not to raise up such persons among them. It is remarked, lodged, fetched us from his flock, according to the number of our however, of this prophet, be he who he will, that he gave the Israel. company, a kid, or a goat, a lamh, or a sheep; half of which was ites no hopes of the divine assistance, but ovly upbraided them immediately seethed by his wife, and served up with cuscasose: with their sins. However, when he tells them, that their cala- the rest was cut into pieces and roasted; which we reserved for mities were occasioned by their idolatry, he plainly intimates, our breakfast or dinner next day. that if they would return to the true worship of God, he would May we not imagine that Gideon, presenting some slight again look graciously upon them and deliver them; and accord-refreshment to the supposed prophet, according to the present ingly we find, that the history of their deliverance immediately | Arab mode, desired him to stay till he could provide something follows.- Patrick's and Le Clerc's Commentarios.

more substantial for him; that he immediately killed a kid, • That he was not a mere created angel, is plain from the seethed part of it, cut into pieces and roasted another part of it, incommunicable name, Jehovah, which he assumes, and where and when it was ready, brought out the stewed meat in a pret hy he suffers himself so frequently to be called, (Judges, vi. 14, with unleavened cakes of bread which he had baked; the roasted 16, 23, 24, 25, 27.) And therefore the Jews, according to pieces in a basket for his carrying away with him for some alter their Targum, which styles him the Word of the Lord,' look repast in his journey.- Harmer, vol. 1. p. 330.-ED.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

A. M, 2561, A. C. 1443; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3985. A. C. 1426. JUD. i. TO THE END OF RUTH. tion. On the morrow, when the people understood that| ing a fleece of wool on the ground, e the dew might be Gideon was the person who had put this affront upon upon the fleece only, and the earth round about it be dry, Baal, they came and demanded him of his father, that which accordingly happened ; and then, inverting the they might put him to death; but, instead of complying former manner, he desired that the fleece might be dry, with their demand, his father's answer was, 'that a if while the ground all around it was wet; which accordBaal was a god, it was his business, and not theirs, to ingly came to pass likewise. Confirmed by these avenge his own quarrel ;' and from this answer, where- signs, that it was the will of God that he should enter with he appeased the tumult, Gideon ever after obtained upon action, Gideon marched directly to the camp of the name of Jerub-baal, that is, the opposer of Baal. the Midianites, who then lay in the plain of Jezreel ;

About this time the Midianites and their company, but before he came thither, God rightly foreseeing, that passing over the river Jordan, came and encamped in if this army conquered the Midianites, they would vainly

the valley of Jezreel; upon which Gideon, being impute it to their own courage or numbers, and not to moved by a divine impulse, summoned all those of his his assistance, ordered Gideon to make proclamation in own family to take up arins first, and then sent inessen- the camp, that whoever was diffident of the success of gers to several adjacent tribes, exhorting them to shake the undertaking, should have liberty to return home. B off the yoke of the Midianites, and to join with him; Whereupon 22,000 quitted the field, so that 10,000 only which accordingly they did, and came in such numbers, remained with him. It might be thought possible, howthat, in a short time, his army amounted to two and ever, for these 10,000 to defeat the army of the Midianthirty thousand men, though small in comparison of the ites ; and, therefore, God, resolving that the glory of eneiny's forces, which consisted of no less than a hun- the whole victory should be accounted his own, ordered dred and thirty-five thousand.

As soon as each tribe's complement of men was arrived, e He supposed that the dew which was distilled from heaven, Gideon, being willing to satisfy them that he did not act was a divine gift, as the Scripture after testifies, and therefore this on his own head, but was the person appointed by he desired that it might be directed by God, that though it beaven to be their leader and deliverer, desired of God might now water only his fleece. Some are apt to think, that he

commonly falls everywhere, by his extraordinary providence, it to give them some token of his commission; and the chose a fleece for this purpose, not only because it was ready at token which he made choice of was,-that upon his lay- hand, but the better to express how the land was shorn by the

Midianites, even as the sheep had been by him; that when he

begged the dew, as a sign of the divine favour, might fall upon a It is generally supposed that Gideon's father had been a the fleece, it was to represent the kindness of God to him; and worshipper if not a priest of Baal; and therefore it is not unlike when he begged it might fall upon the whole ground, to reprely, that he had by this time been convinced by his son, that God sent his favour to all the people. But there is farther reason had given him a commission to recover his people, and to begin why he might desire to have the miracle inverted : for, as it is with this reformation; and this made him appear so boldly in in the very nature of the wool to draw moisture to it, some might his son's cause, because he knew it was the cause of God. - be apt to think, that there was no great matter in this; and, Poole's Annotations, and Patrick's Commentary.

therefore, he requested of God a second miracle, which was Boothroyd renders this passage, (Judges vi. 31,) as follows: contrary to the former.—Patrick's Commentary. * And Joash said to all that stood against him, will ye contend f Judges vi. 38. • And it was so : for he rose up early on the for Baal? Should ye preserve him who hath contended with morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wrung the dew out bim, he will die ere morning. If he be a god he will con- of the fleece, a bowl full of water. It may seem a little improtend for himself, with him who hath broken down his altar.' bable to us, who inhabit these northern climates, where the dews Apd adds in a note; "I have adhered to the order of the text, and are inconsiderable, how Gideon's fleece, in one night, should the sense given, I am satisfied, is that intended. The common contract such a quantity, that when he came to wriog it, a bowl version is contradictory; it makes Joash propose, that he who full of water was produced. Irwin, in his voyage up the Red pleadeth for Baal, should be immediately put to death, and then Sea, when on the Arabian shores, says, "difficult as we find it assert that Baal would plead for himself.” “I have followed to keep ourselves cool in the daytime, it is no easy matter to Menochius, (see Poole) and consider the meaning to be, 'If defend our bodies from the damps of the night, when the wind Baal be really a god, ye need not avenge his quarrel, or desire is loaded with the heaviest dews that ever fell; we lie exposed the death of my sou: Baal will speedily avenge himself; and to the whole weight of the dews, and the cloaks in which we you will see the demolisher of his altar die a sudden death.'”. wrap ourselves, are as wet in the morning as if they had been En.

immersed in the sea.”—p. 87. c That is, the Amalekites and the children of the east.' (Jud. 9 The text reads, “Whosoever is afraid let him return, and vi. 3.) This included the posterity of Abraham's sons by Ketu- depart early from Mount Gilead. Gideon, however, was cerrah, of whom the Midianites were the principal nation, and tainly not at Mount Gilead at this time, but rather near Mount appear to have taken the lead in the enterprise here recorded. Gilboa. Gilead was on the other side of Jordan. Calmet thinks (Jud. xxv. 6.) It also included the Ishmaelites, (Jud. viii. 24.) there must either have been two Gileads, which does not from who had settled in the vicinity of the Midianites in the wilder- Scripture appear to be the case, or that the Hebrew text is here ness of Paran. (Gen. xxxvii. 28. xxi. 21.)—ED.

corrupted, and that for Gilead, we should read Gilboa. This d The city of Jezreel, which gave name to the valley, belonged reading, though adopted by Houbigant and Le Clerc, whom to the half tribe of Manasseh, on the west of Jordan, and lay in Boothroyd follows, is not countenanced by any MS., nor by any the confines of that half tribe and the tribe of Issachar, as appears of the versions. Dr Hales endeavours to reconcile the passage from Josh. xix. 18. In the history of the kings of Israel, this as it stands with the circumstances of the case, by the supposition city is frequently made mention of, where, hy reason of the that there were in Gideon's army many of the eastern Manaspleasantness of its situation, some of them had a royal palace, sites, who came from Mount Gilead, and that these probably though their capital was Samaria. The vale of Jezreel, which, were more afraid of their neighbours, the Midianites, than the as we said before, is now called the plain of Esdraelon, is, accord-western tribes were; and therefore proposes to read the text thus: ing to Mr Maundrell, of a vast extent, [It is estimated at thirty • Whosoever from Mount Gilead is fearful and afraid, let him miles in length and twenty in breadth.) very fertile, but uncui- return (home) and depart early. So there returned (home) 22,000 tivated, and only serving the Arabs for pasturage: but some have of the people.' Dr Adam Clarke thinks this perhaps, on the supposed, that the valley of Jezreel here mentioned, denotes whole, the best method of solving the difficulty--the intelligent some other lesser valley, lying between Mount Hermon and reader will form his own opinion.-See Clarke and Boothroyd Mount Gilboa. Wells' Geography of the Old Testament, vol. 2. on the passage, and Hales' inalysis, vol. 1. p. 424—425, and c. 6.

vol. 2. p. 281.- Ed.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »