the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments Sutcliffe's Commentary
by Joseph Sutcliffe
THE BOOK OF JUDGES.
This Book contains the history of the commonwealth of Israel from the death of Joshua to the death of Eli, comprising a period of two hundred and ninety nine years, besides the time of oppression under heathen kings. It seems to have been compiled from the public records by Samuel, or by some persons about his time. It exhibits the Theocracy of the Jewish church and polity; which was a surrender of the patriarchal powers for the liberties of a thousand diminutive municipalities. The Sanhedrim, or council of Seventy Elders, seems to have sunk into oblivion on the division of the cities to the several tribes. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes. The supreme Judges were raised up by a divine vocation; and after delivering their country from oppression, they retired into private life, and continued to reside on that paternal lot, still retaining, however, the powers of war and peace, and of convoking the council of elders from every city. The events proved, that Israel was not worthy of so lenient a government: for when they departed from their covenant, and when the judge was despised by an apostate people, God permitted very weak kings among the heathen to subdue them. Consequently, the whole book demonstrates the special and frequent interference of heaven for the preservation of the people, and of the true religion. This form of government subsisted till within 1076 years of the birth of Christ, when Saul was anointed king, comprising in all 450 years, Acts 13:2, calculated it is thought from the death of Joshua. It is a well-written book; the narration of Samson’s history, of Micah’s idolatry, and of the Levite’s adventure, are perfect in their kind.