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Bible Commentaries

The Pulpit Commentaries

Judges 1

Verses 1-6

EXPOSITION

Judges 1:1

After the death of Joshua. The events narrated in Joshua 1:1-18. and Joshua 2:1-9 all occurred before the death of Joshua, as appears by Judges 2:8, Judges 2:9, and by a comparison of Joshua 14:6-15 and Joshua 15:13-20. The words, and it came to pass after the death of Joshua, must therefore be understood (if the text is incorrupt) as the heading of the whole book, just as the Book of Joshua has for its heading, "Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass." Asked the Lord. The same phrase as Judges 18:5; Judges 20:18, where it is rendered asked counsel of. So also Numbers 27:21, where a special direction is given to Joshua to make such inquiries as that mentioned in this verse before Eleazar the priest, through the judgment of Urim and Thummim (cf. 1 Samuel 23:10, 1 Samuel 23:12). A still more common rendering of the Hebrew phrase in the A.V. is "to inquire of God" (see, e.g. Judges 20:27, Judges 20:28; 1Sa 22:13, 1 Samuel 22:15; 1 Samuel 23:2, 1Sa 23:4; 1 Samuel 28:6, and many other places). Such inquiries were made

(1) by Urim and Thummin,

(2) by the word of the Lord through a prophet (1 Samuel 9:9), or

(3) simply by prayer, (Genesis 25:22), and improperly of false gods (2 Kings 1:2, 2 Kings 1:16), of teraphim, and semi-idolatrous priests (Judges 18:5, Judges 18:14).

Judges 1:5

Bezek. The site of it is unknown; it is thought to be a different place from the Bezek of 1 Samuel 11:8. Adoni-bezek means the lord of Bezek. He was the conqueror of seventy petty kings.

Judges 1:6

Cut off his thumbs, etc. These cruel mutilations, like the still more cruel one of putting out the eyes (Judges 16:21; Numbers 16:14; 1 Samuel 11:2; 2 Kings 25:7), were intended to cripple the warrior in his speed, and to incapacitate hint from the use of the bow, or sword, or spear, while yet sparing his life, either in mercy, or for the purpose of retaining his services for the conqueror.

HOMILETICS

Judges 1:1-7

Inquiry of God.

Three lessons stand out from the above section which we shall do well to consider in the order in which they present themselves.

I. The first is, THAT BEFORE TAKING IN HAND ANY IMPORTANT BUSINESS WE OUGHT TO SEEK GOD'S DIRECTION. Distrust of our own wisdom, misgivings as to our motives, and the feeling that the issues of all events are in the hands of God's unerring providence, should always prompt us to look to God for guidance. Even when we do so no little care is needed to be sure that our interpretations of God's will arc not biassed by our inclinations. We read in Jeremiah 42:1-22. that the captains of the forces of the remnant of the Jews went to Jeremiah after the deportation of their countrymen to Babylon, and said to him, "Pray for us unto the Lord thy God, that he may show us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do," and even bound themselves by a solemn oath to obey the voice of the Lord, and do whatsoever he should command them by the mouth of Jeremiah. But when, after ten days, God s answer came, bidding them abide in the land of Judah, and condemning in distinct terms the course on which their hearts were set, viz; to go down to Egypt, they boldly accused Jeremiah of falsehood, and went down to Egypt in spite of his prophetic message. And so it too often is. Men ask God's direction, hoping that the answer will be in accordance with their own inclinations, and do their best to twist it into such accordance. But if this is impossible they act in bold defiance of it. In seeking God's guidance, therefore, especial care should be taken so to mortify our self-will that we may be ready to act upon the answer of God, however contrary it may be to the dictates of our own hearts. This may be applied to cases where pecuniary loss, or sacrifice of worldly advantages or pleasures, or self-humiliation and self-denial, or mortification 'of enmities, resentment, jealousy, pride, vanity, love of praise, and so on, are involved in an entire obedience to the dictates of the word and Spirit of God given in answer to prayer. As regards the ways in which a Christian now can "ask the Lord" concerning' the course he ought to pursue on any particular occasion, we may say, following the analogy of the inquiries to which our text refers, that—

1. He may inquire or ask counsel of Holy Scripture. He may seek light and truth from that word which is the expression of the mind and will of God. There is no state of darkness, or perplexity as to the true path of duty, to which Holy Scripture, wisely and prayerfully interrogated, will not bring satisfactory light; no question of morality or conduct on which it will not shed the ray of truth. The old superstition of the sortes Virgilianae applied to the Bible, so that the page opened at random should supply the answer required, had this much of truth in it, that the Bible has an answer for every question of an inquiring soul. But this answer must be sought in intelligent, prayerful study, and not as a matter of blind chance or in the presumptuous expectation of a miraculous answer. The answer may be obtained either from the example of some eminent saint under similar circumstances as of Abraham giving up his right in order to avoid strife with Lot (Genesis 13:8, Genesis 13:9), Elisha refusing Naaman's gifts, Job blessing God in the extremity of his affliction and the numerous examples in Luke 6:3; Hebrews 11:1-40.; James 5:17, etc.; or by impregnating the mind with the teaching of the word of God, such as Deuteronomy 6:5, or the Sermon on the Mount, or the precepts in Romans 12:1-21; Romans 13:1-14; Galatians 5:22, Galatians 5:23; Ephesians 4:22, sqq; and 1 Peter throughout. And either way the answer will be sure if it is sought faithfully.

2. A Christian may inquire of the Lord by seeking the counsel of a wise and honest friend, who will give him impartial advice. The prophets were distinguished for their faithful boldness in speaking unwelcome truths as much as for their inspired knowledge. Nathan speaking to David, Isaiah counselling Hezekiah, Daniel reproving Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar, Jeremiah advising Zedekiah, are instances of such faithfulness. Let the Christian then who is in doubt or perplexity as to the course which he ought to take seek the counsel of a wise and faithful friend, whose mind will not be biassed by passion or prejudice, and let him act according to it.

3. God's guidance may be sought by simple prayer. Just as Hezekiah in his great perplexity and distress spread Sennacherib s letter before the Lord, and betook himself to earnest prayer, so may a Christian man spread out before God all the particular circumstances of his case, and all the doubts and difficulties by which he is harassed, and in simple-minded earnestness ask God to direct and guide him aright. And the answer will doubtless come, either by the Holy Spirit suggesting to his mind the considerations which ought chiefly to influence him, or strengthening feeble convictions, and confirming uncertain opinions and hesitating reasonings, or clearing away the clouds which obscured his path, or in some providential interference barring, as it were, the wrong course, and throwing open the gates of the right one for him to pass through. The opportune arrival of Rebekah at the well while Abraham's servant was in the very act of prayer (Genesis 24:15); the arrival of the messengers of Cornelius while Peter was in doubt what the vision which he had seen might mean (Acts 10:17); the dream which Gideon heard the Midianite tell to his fellow, just when he was hesitating whether he ought to attack the Midianite host, are examples, to which many more might be added, how providential circumstances come in to give to the servant of God the guidance which he asks. It is obvious to add that these three modes of inquiry may be combined.

II. The second lesson is THE ADVANTAGE IN ALL IMPORTANT UNDERTAKINGS OF COOPERATION AND THE MUTUAL ASSISTANCE OF FRIENDS. The answer from God to the inquiry, Who shall go up first? had come. "Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand." Yet none the less did Judah say to Simeon his brother, "Come up with me,… and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot." It is not enough then even to have the help of God: the laws under which humanity is placed by God require that man have also the help of man. "As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man's countenance his friend." Our Lord sent out the seventy "two and two before his face." "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them," was the saying of the Holy Ghost. The strength of two is greater than the strength of one. The wisdom of two is better than the wisdom of one. In co-operation one can supply what the other lacks. One has courage, another has prudence. One has knowledge, another knows how to use it. One has wealth, the other has the wit to use wealth. One has wisdom, but is "slow of speech;" the other "can speak well," but is foolish in counsel (Exodus 32:1-35.). No man has all the qualities which go to make up perfect action, and therefore no man should think to do without the help of his fellow-man. It is a presumptuous state of mind which makes a man seem sufficient to himself, and an uncharitable state of mind which prompts him to withhold help from his fellow. A beautiful lesson may be learnt from the co-operation of the blind with the deaf and dumb in institutions where they are trained together. What the blind learn by the ear they communicate to the eye of the deaf, and what the deaf learn by the eye they communicate to the ear of the blind. And so it should be in everything. A man should seek help from his neighbour, and should be equally ready to give help to him in return. "Come up with me into my lot,… and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot," should be the law of human fellowship running through all the transactions of human life. But yet not so as to weaken individual responsibility, or to destroy just independence of character; but so as to give to each the full help towards the performance of duty which God has provided for him, and to nourish man's care for his neighbour by listening to his neighbour's calls for help.

III. The third lesson may be briefly stated. DIFFERENT PARTS ARE ASSIGNED TO DIFFERENT PERSONS: MORE SHOWY ONES TO SOME, MORE HUMBLE ONES TO OTHERS, But the humbler part may he as really useful and as acceptable to God as the more showy one. To some the lot is assigned of merely helping others to rise to their destined eminence, and then being forgotten. And yet they really have a share in all that is well done by those whom they helped to raise, and who could not have risen without their help. Thus Simeon helped Judah to take possession of his lot, and Judah ever after took the foremost place among the tribes of Israel; but Simeon almost disappears from view. In like manner Andrew first brought his brother Simon to Jesus; but it is Simon Peter to whom were given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and who occupies the first place among the twelve. Barnabas took Saul and brought him to the apostles, and again went to seek him at Tarsus, and brought him to Antioch; but the place filled by St. Paul in the Church of God as far transcends that of Barnabas as the place of Judah among the tribes transcends that of Simeon. This should give encouragement to those whose work is humble and out of sight. Let the servant of God do "what he can." Let him not envy the talents, the brilliant gifts, the powers, the fame, the glory of others. But let him be content if by the grace of God he can in any way help forward the work of God's Church on earth, although his name he not mentioned till he receives his reward before the judgment-seat of Christ.

HOMILIES BY A.F. MUIR

Judges 1:1, Judges 1:2

Transfer of authority.

Periods when supreme power passes from rulers to their descendants are always of critical importance. It is then that the greatest constitutional modifications take place. Partly from the differences of disposition and view, partly from the force of new circumstances, partly from the failure or creation of peculiar official sanctions and dignities, the legislative or executive function seldom remains wholly unchanged in passing from one holder to another. In this case, as the dignity and authority of Moses did not entirely pass to Joshua, so the office the latter filled must have greatly altered with its occupancy by the numerous body, "the sons of Israel," or elders and tribesmen. More frequent deliberation, the consultation of competing interests, etc; had to precede any national action against the common enemy. The great Lawgiver had passed away, the Soldier-Dictator had also been gathered to his fathers, and now it devolved upon a simply appointed but sacredly authoritative constitutional assembly to carry into effect the purposes of their predecessors. Compare with this the rise of parliamentary influence in Europe, and especially in England.

I. THE MODIFICATION OF GOVERNMENT. Sometimes this is sudden, sometimes gradual. Here it does not affect the essential principle of the theocracy. There is something very pathetic in the spectacle of an orphaned nation appealing to the "God of their fathers." It was not an extraordinary outburst of reverence and religious humility, but the beginning of a habitual and necessary practice. The voice of Jehovah through his authorised representatives was the supreme law for Israel.

1. It behoves all nations and individuals to ask God for wisdom and direction, especially at such times of transition. The altered conditions of life; the transfer of legislative authority; the attainment of mature years; a youth's leaving ,home; the death of parents, guardians, rulers, etc; are reasons for a closer walk with God, and a more attentive heed to his word.

2. Responsibility is inevitably transferred with authority. A sacred war is the legacy of the fathers of Israel to the children. If they are disposed to lag in its carrying forward, untoward events prick them on, and discomfort and disorder increase the necessity for action. "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." The peasant envies the king, the child the parent, only to be in turn regarded with a greater envy by those they assume to be fortunate and happy. Authority tempers and chastens power. The assumption of the latter without regard to its obligations is a profane and wicked thing, and must in the end defeat itself. Responsibility is the moral and religious side of authority; duty of right. In no case has a ruler or government lightly to regard inherited responsibilities. Freedom is not the result of violent changes, but "broadens slowly down from precedent to precedent." That one has had no part or choice in the making of an agreement or the inauguration of a policy is no reason by itself for repudiation. What is wrong must be put right, and false steps retraced; but the practicable policy of the present is generally a modification of the former and traditional one, rather than entire departure from it. The oneness of responsibility in past and present, ought to be carefully observed, and acknowledged even where changes are introduced. None of us makes his own circumstances. Most of them are inherited. Our duties are often born before ourselves, awaiting us in the appointed time.

3. The advantages and disadvantages of a plurality of rulers are here illustrated.

(1) Where there are several or many in power there is a representation of popular views and interests,

(2) the advantage of collective and deliberative wisdom, and

(3) mutual stimulus and emulation.

On the other hand,

(1) they are liable to jealousies and envies,

(2) it is difficult to preserve a good understanding,

(3) they are more subject to popular panics, and

(4) are unlikely to take a bold initiative.

II. UNCHANGEABLENESS OF THE SUPREME AUTHORITY. Under all circumstances the ideal government for Israel must ever be the theocracy. Moses, Joshua, the elders, the judges, the kings—these are but the human representatives of the absolute and Divine; they are but the stewards of a heavenly mystery, holding authority from the Supreme, and liable at his bidding to restore it again. Paul (Romans 13:1-5) summarises the general aspects of this principle:—"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of. God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For he is the minister of God to thee for good Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."

1. This must be recognised by human delegates. The elders immediately and publicly "asked Jehovah." The force of the original expression is that no time was lost. Only as he led them could they be preserved from error.

2. To make men subject to the Supreme must ever be the goal of their efforts. Their whole policy will be, therefore, in a wide sense evan- gelical, viz; to bring men to God, to deepen their reverence for truth, righteousness, purity, and to encourage a personal attachment to Christ as the embodiment of these.—M.

Judges 1:1

Spiritual initiatives.

The one stern fact facing every Israelite is God's command to uproot the Canaanite. There must be at least one land wholly consecrated to Jehovah and freed from idolatry. The warfare is an inheritance, even as the land is. There is a common obligation to fulfil this task; but it is not to be done severally, at haphazard. United action being difficult on account of the loss of the great captain, representative action is the next best. Now upon one tribe, and now upon another, will the honour devolve of carrying the war into the ranks of the enemy. It is a kind of conscription of the tribes, the honour of the burden being borne in turn by one for all. In this case no lot is cast. Jehovah is the disposer of the forces of his kingdom.

I. THE LEADERSHIP IS MADE KNOWN THROUGH PRAYER AND INQUIRY. As yet no tribe had premier rank amongst its fellows. God must decide who shall go up first. He is the fountain of honour, and he must be approached by the wonted avenues. Accordingly, the priest or the prophet is called upon to exercise his functions. There is something very beautiful and pathetic in this united asking of Jehovah by the tribes. Where God is acknowledged as the Supreme Arbiter, harmony is certain to prevail. It is well for Christians to submit all their anxieties to their Divine Father. So we find the early disciples praying after their Master's ascension. And the Church at Antioch observed a like rule ere it sent its missionaries forth to the region beyond. Spiritual work must ever be prefaced by prayer; and although God may not declare the leaders of it by a special utterance, tokens will be given which will enable them to be discovered.

II. IT IS RENDERED OBLIGATORY BY A "CALL." We are not informed as to the precise manner in which the will of God was made known. Probably the Urim and Thummim were consulted. Joshua is never mentioned as doing this; like Moses, he receives the word of God directly. The leaders of Israel receive the word of God from the priest, and the response is not oracular, but clear and definite. A twofold advantage pertained to this decision. It obtained for the chosen one the recognition of his brethren, and confirmed his own faith. An articulate supernatural "call" is not always required for undertaking God's work, but we have a right to demand of those who assume the lead in spiritual things that they shall have clear and unmistakable proof of a vocation. And it stands to reason that one who feels a "necessity laid upon him" to do certain spiritual work shall be more likely to succeed in it.

III. THE DIVINE CHOICE IS JUSTIFIED BY THE CHARACTER AND PAST CAREER OF ITS SUBJECT, This is not to say that these furnish a reason for it. With regard to all Divine work it may well be asked, "Who is sufficient for these things?" But frequently human insight and experience justify Divine measures, so far as they go. It was Judah who delivered Joseph from the pit. He confessed his sins (Genesis 38:26). Jacob intrusted Benjamin to his care, and blessed him in the words—"Thy brethren praise thee; the sceptre shall not depart from Judah." His tribe became the most numerous and warlike (Numbers 2:1-34.); and of the commissioners appointed to allot the land, the representative of Judah is first mentioned (Numbers 34:19). But above all, it was Judah and Ephraim alone who furnished the spies that gave a faithful account of the land—Caleb and Joshua. The former still lived, chief of the tribe of Judah. Ephraim, the tribe of Joshua, being already settled, Judah's turn crones next. We see therefore that although human merit cannot be said to determine Divine appointments, the latter will often be found to run in the same line.—M.

Judges 1:3

Alliances in the holy war.

The lots of Judah and Simeon were closely united. The former's prerogative of leading off is therefore shared with the weaker tribe, which in all things is carefully considered by its "brother." It was impossible completely to separate the interests of these two; the understanding was honourable to both sides.

I. IN SPIRITUAL UNDERTAKINGS THE GREATER SHOULD EVER CONSIDER THE LESS. It is in this way that our Saviour's injunction, "Let him that would be chief among you be as him that serveth," is often best interpreted. The onus of brotherly consideration and charitable construction is with the stronger because of the advantage they already possess. It is also the more to be admired in them because of the rarity of its exercise. On this occasion Judah lost nothing, and Simeon secured a powerful ally, and an opportunity of distinction. Besides this, the kindliest sentiments were encouraged on either side.

II. BY COMMENCING IN THIS SPIRIT IT IS THE MORE LIKELY THAT MORAL ELEVATION, MAGNANIMITY, AND BROTHERLY AFFECTION WILL BE PRESERVED ALL THROUGH. The waiving of personal precedence is not only graceful, it has a tendency to perpetuate itself. Our future work takes its character from the first step.

III. IT IS AN EXAMPLE TO OUR BRETHREN, AND A WITNESS BEFORE THE WORLD TO THE UNITY OF GOD'S PEOPLE. Spiritual men above all others should not first ask, "What is our right?" but, "What is our obligation, and how can we best illustrate the spirit of the Master?" The tone was set to all the other tribes, and jealousy either at Judah or one another checked ere it appeared. True unity was the strength and safety of Israel. That the neighbouring nations were impressed with the spirit of brotherhood and unity in Israel there is abundant proof. They felt they were dealing not with a mere aggregate of numbers, but with a whole inspired by common sentiment and religious enthusiasm. It is this spirit which most perfectly realises the aim of Christ's kingdom, and his prayer "that they all may be one;" "that they may be made perfect in one."—M.

Judges 1:7

Correspondence of crime and requital.

The crime of Adoni-bezek was against not any special national law, but humanity. It was one calculated to create and foster the most cruel disposition, the moral sense being rendered callous by habituation to a spectacle of abjectness and suffering dishonouring to our common nature. Frequent amongst the heathen nations of the East, it was all the more necessary that it should be punished in an emphatic and exemplary manner. "Thumbs were cut off to incapacitate the hand from using the bow; great toes to render the gait uncertain." The circumstance stands forth here as an ancient "instance" of an eternal law, which may be thus expressed:—

I. THERE IS A CLOSE CONNECTION BETWEEN EVERY SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT. This may be taken as a conviction more universal in its influence than religion itself. Yet it is not wholly reducible to experience. It is as truly rooted in faith as any other axiom of the spiritual life. In order to reinforce it we have

(1) what may be termed pictorial illustrations of it. The traditions and histories of the world are full of these. Neoptolemus murdered at the altar, and at the altar he was murdered ('Pausanias,' Judges 4:17, Judges 4:3); Phaleris roasted men in a brazen bull, and in like manner was he himself punished ('Cesta Romans,' 48.). Bajazet carried about by Tamerlane in an iron cage, as he intended to have done Tamerlane. Cardinal Beaton, upon whom Wishart's sufferings were avenged in a violent death, etc; etc. This affects the popular imagination more powerfully than any direct proof; and hence the crowd of real or fancied instances that have been recorded. It is in the light of this conception probably that Exodus 18:11 is to be interpreted.

(2) The principle reveals itself it, the history of nations and individuals. Ishmael is the grand type of this. The story of the mutineers of the Bounty is still fresh in memory. And how many family records would show the family likeness of sins and their Nemesis, and the natural connection and development of the one from the other! In Judas the betrayer it shines with tragic grandeur.

(3) The confessions of sinners themselves strengthen the belief.

II. THE JUSTICE OF GOD IS FAITHFUL AND EXACT. "When the Olympian," says Homer, "does not speedily punish, he still does it later" ('Iliad,' 4:160). "The Almighty may not punish this week or next, my Lord Cardinal," said Anne of Austria to Richelieu, "but at the last he punishes." In the incidents of human life we seem to see links of an almost invisible chain connecting sin with judgment, as cause with effect. And if in the few cases we know the punishment is so finely, even dramatically, adjusted, are we not justified in believing that beneath the surface there is even a finer and more inevitable equivalency observed? It is here too we have another evidence of the superior moral influence of the doctrine of providence as compared with fate. Both are inevitable, but the former rationally and rectorially so.

III. BUT BY AWAKING REFLECTION AND REPENTANCE OUR PUNISHMENT MAY BECOME OUR SALVATION. There is a gleam of something more than fatalism in Adoni-bezek's confession. It is just possible that it betrays an unfeigned repentance. The higher law of grace may step in to rescue us from the law of vengeance. Many a soul has drawn back before the hideous vision of "sin when it bringeth forth."—M.

HOMILIES BY W.F. ADENEY

Judges 1:1, Judges 1:2

The death of the great.

The circumstances which accompanied and followed the death of Joshua are suggestive of the common difficulties which arise on the death of great men, and the conduct of Israel is an example of the right spirit in which to face these difficulties.

I. THE MOST USEFUL MEN ARE OFTEN CALLED AWAY BEFORE THEIR WORK IS FINISHED. The measure of work which God requires of them may always be accomplished, for he sets no task for which he does not supply all needful talents and opportunities. But the work which a man aims at accomplishing, which he sees needing to be done, which men trust him to achieve for them, is commonly greater than his time and powers allow of perfect performance.

1. This fact should teach the most active workers

(1) diligence, since at the best they can never overtake their work, and

(2) humility, in the thought of the little that the ablest can accomplish compared with what he aims at.

2. This fact should lead all men

(1) not to lean too much on any one individual,

(2) to be ready to welcome new men,

(3) to train children to take the places of their parents.

II. THE DEATH OF GREAT MEN SHOULD INSPIRE US WITH A DESIRE TO CONTINUE THEIR UNFINISHED WORK.

1. It is foolish to be content with idle panegyrics, as though we could live for ever on the glory of the past. Life must not be spent in a dreamy contemplation of the sunset, however brilliant this may be. While we gaze the radiance fades; night will soon fall. We must be up and preparing for shelter under the darkness, and for work in a new day.

2. It is weak to sink into mere regrets and despondency. We do not honour the dead by wasting our lives in barren grief. When the great and good are gone the future may look blank and hopeless; but God is still with us, and he will still provide for us. Therefore we should do as Israel did. Not satisfied with the glory of Joshua's victories, nor stunned by the blow of his death, the people look forward, seek for guidance for the future, and endeavour to continue his unfinished work. The richest legacy we can receive from the great is the unfinished task which drops from their dying hands. The noblest monument we can erect to their memory will be the completion of that task; the most honourable epitaph we can write for them will be the story of the good works for which their lives and examples have inspired their successors.

III. As POSTS OF RESPONSIBILITY BECOME VACANT, IT IS WISE TO SEEK THE GUIDANCE OF GOD IN THE CHOICE OF NEW MEN TO OCCUPY THEM. After the death of Joshua Israel consulted "the Eternal." It is a blessing that the loss of our most trusted earthly friends should drive us to the refuge of the great heavenly Friend. In the present case new leaders do not now arise by selfish ambition, nor are they chosen by popular election. The selection of them is referred to God. Israel thus recognises its constitution as a theocracy. Every nation should consider itself under a supreme theocracy. Political leaders should be chosen by a Christian nation only after prayer for Divine guidance. Much more evident is it that the selection of men for service in spiritual things, as ministers, as missionaries, etc; should not be left to the mere inclination of the individual or the unaided human judgment of others, but determined after the most earnest prayer for Divine light (Acts 1:24). Note—such a method of election implies a willingness that the chosen leaders should be called to do God's will, not merely to humour the popular caprice.

IV. WHEN GREAT MEN ARE TAKEN AWAY IT IS OFTEN THE CASE THAT NO MEN OF EQUAL ABILITY ARE FOUND TO SUCCEED THEM. Joshua was not equal to Moses, but he was still well able to take the staff of leadership from his master's hand. But Joshua left no successor. Nothing but anarchy faced the nation "after the death of Joshua"—it seemed as though there could be no 'after." There are advantages in the absence, of great men. The multitude may become indolent, trusting too much to the work of the few. When these are removed men are thrown back on their own resources; thus the courage and energy of the whole people is put on trial. Yet on the whole we must feel that it is better to have the great among us. The death of Joshua is the signal for the decadence of the nation from its ancient heroic glory. Therefore let us pray that God will continue the race of good and great men: and seek to educate and discover such among the young. Let us be thankful that our Joshua—Christ—will never be taken from his people (Matthew 28:20).—A.

Judges 1:3

Mutual help.

I. IN THE ABSENCE OF UNITY OF AUTHORITY WE SHOULD SEEK FOR UNION OF SYMPATHY. After the death of Joshua the loss of leadership endangers the national unity of Israel. In the text we see how two tribes, no longer united by a common government, draw together for mutual help. The union of free attraction is nobler than that of external compulsion. The highest unity of Christendom is to be found not in the Roman Catholic organisation of a central authority and uniformity of creed and worship, but in the spiritual conception of common sympathies and common aims.

II. BROTHERLY KINDNESS IS A PECULIARLY CHRISTIAN GRACE, Love of the brethren is a proof of regeneration (1 John 3:14). The law of Christ as contrasted with the barren Levitical law of ordinances is characteristically summed up in the obligation to "bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2).

1. This implies active help. Simeon and Judah went to battle for an inheritance. Mere feelings of sympathy are wasted sentiments unless they lead to active and fruitful service.

2. This implies sacrifice. The Simeonites and men of Judah risked their lives for the benefit of one another. Cheap charity is worthless charity.. Our brotherly kindness is of little value till it costs us something—involves pare, loss, sacrifice. Christ is the great example of this. It is our mission to follow Christ here if we would be his true disciples (Philippians 2:4-8).

3. This implies mutual help. Judah helps Simeon; Simeon in turn helps Judah. Charity is often too one-sided. The poor and needy can often make more return than appears possible if invention is quickened by gratitude. A miserable penitent could wash the feet of Christ with her tears (Luke 7:38).

III. THE WORK OF LIFE IS BEST DONE BY UNION AND CO-OPERATION OF WORKERS. Judah and Simeon conquer their two possessions by union. Both might have failed had they acted singly. "Union is strength." The advantage of mutual help is seen in trade, in manufactures, in education, in the advance of civilisation generally. The spirit of Cain is fatal to all progress (Genesis 4:9). The same applies to Christian work. Therefore Christ founded the Church. Though Christianity is based on individualism, it works through social agencies. The society of Christians, the Christian family, find means of useful effort which private Christians could never attain, e.g. in the Sunday school, foreign and home missions, the work of Bible and tract societies. Simeon and Judah united to conquer their several lots successively. So it is sometimes wisest for us to unite and do together one work well at one time, rather than to spread our divided energies over a wide field of weak agencies. The river which runs out over a broad plain may be swallowed up in the sands of the desert, while that which flows in a narrow channel is strong and deep.—A.

Judges 1:6, Judges 1:7

Retribution.

I. THERE IS A LAW OF RETRIBUTION.

1. The desire for retribution is instinctive. It is one of the elementary ideas of justice. To those who have no vision of a higher law, the execution of this is not a cruel crime of vengeance, but a righteous exercise of justice.

2. The fitness of retribution is not affected by the motive of those who accomplish it. It is possible that the Israelites were ignorant of the old crimes of Adoni-bezek, and may have been guilty of wanton cruelty in treating him as they did. If so, his wickedness was no excuse for their barbarity. But then their harsh intentions did not affect the justice of the king's sufferings. God often uses the crime of one man as a means of punishing the crime of another. He does not originate or sanction the retributive crime, but he overrules it, and so turns the wrath of man to the praise of his righteous government. Thus Nebuchadnezzar was no better than an ambitious tyrant in his conquest of Jerusalem; yet he was the unconscious agent of a Divine decree of justice.

3. Sin will surely bring retribution.

(1) No rank will secure us against this. The sufferer in this case was a king.

(2) No time will wear out guilt. It is likely that Adoni-bezek had committed his crimes in bygone years, as he referred to them in a way which suggests that the memory of them was suddenly aroused by his own experience.

4. Retribution often bears a resemblance to the crimes it follows. The lex talionis seems to be mysteriously embedded in the very constitution of nature. The intemperate slave of bodily pleasures brings on himself bodily disease; cruelty provokes cruelty; suspicion arouses distrust. As a man sows so will be reap (Galatians 6:7, Galatians 6:8).

5. One of the most fearful elements of future retribution will be found in an evil memory. Men bury their old sins out of sight. They will be exhumed in all their corruption. The justice of the retribution will then increase the sting of it (Luke 16:25).

II. THE HIGHER CHRISTIAN LAW OF LOVE. Christianity does not abolish the terrible natural laws of retributive justice, but it reveals higher principles which can counteract the disastrous effects of 'those stern laws, and a more excellent way than that of zealously advocating the execution of them.

1. The Christian is bound not to desire vengeance. He is called to forgive his enemies (Matthew 5:38, Matthew 5:39). If retribution must fall, let us leave it to the supreme Judge (Romans 12:19).

2. The highest purpose of punishment is seen to consist in the preservation and the restoration of righteousness—not in the mere balancing of sin with pain. Punishment is not an end in itself. The vengeance which seeks satisfaction to outraged honour in the humiliation of its victim is as unworthy of the character of God as it is foreign to the principles of Christian duty. Punishment is a means to an end, and that end is not mere revenge, but the deterring of others from evil, and, where possible, the restoration of the fallen (Hebrews 12:5, Hebrews 12:6, Hebrews 12:11).

3. In the gospel forgiveness is offered for all sin. The law is not evaded; it is honoured in the sacrifice of Christ. Now he has borne the sin of the world he can also release the world from its fatal effects. Therefore, though the thunder-cloud of retribution may seem as dark as ever, if we only look high enough we shall see the rainbow of God's mercy above it promising peace and forgiveness to all who repent and trust in his grace (Acts 13:38, Acts 13:39).—A.

Verses 8-20

EXPOSITION

Judges 1:8

Read Fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and smote it. It is the continuation of the narrative of the exploits of Judah and Simeon in conquering their respective lots.

Judges 1:9

The valley, i.e. the Shephelah, or lowlands, between the mountains and the coast of the Mediterranean, occupied by the Philistines.

Judges 1:10

Hebron See Numbers 13:22; Joshua 14:13-15; Joshua 15:13-19. Hebron was the burial-place of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 23:2, etc.; Genesis 25:9), of Isaac and Rebekah, and of Jacob and Leah (Genesis 35:27-29; Genesis 49:31; Genesis 50:13), and the mosque, within whose massive walls the tombs of Abraham and the other four above mentioned are still preserved with the utmost reverence, is the most remarkable object in the modem city, which is called El-Khalil (the friend), after Abraham, the friend of God. A very interesting account of the Prince of Wales's visit to the Mosque of Hebron in 1862 is given in Dean Stanley s 'Sermons in the East.' David reigned in Hebron seven years and six mouths before he transferred the seat of power to Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 2:1, etc.; 2 Samuel 5:1-5).

Judges 1:13

Caleb's younger brother. See note on Judges 3:9.

Judges 1:14

She moved him, etc. There is some obscurity in this verse, which seems to tell us that Achsah, on her wedding-day, when she was going to her husband s house, persuaded him to ask of her father the field, viz. that in which the springs of water were, and which were not included in her original dower; and then goes on to tell us that Achsah herself made the request. The Septuagint reads, "Othniel urged her to ask the field of her father," and the Vulgate has, "Her husband told her to ask her father," and then it follows naturally, "and she lighted from off her ass," etc. But the Hebrew reading may be right, and it may be that when her husband, brave in storming a city, but timid in asking a favour, hung back, she, with the tenacious will of a woman, sprang off the ass herself, and successfully preferred her request. Dean Stanley identifies (though not with absolute certainty) the "field thus obtained by Achsah with an unusually green valley amidst the dry, barren hills of the south country, lying south or west of Hebron, called Wady Nuukur, through which Caleb and Achsah must have ridden on their way from Hebron to Debir, or Kirjath-sepher. This valley breaks into a precipitous and still greener ravine, and both the upper and lower pastures are watered by a clear, bubbling rivulet, which rises in the upper meadow, and flows to the bottom of the ravine below. The name of a village, Dewir, seems to represent the ancient Debir.

Judges 1:16

The children of the Kenite, etc. It appears from this verse that the invitation given by Moses to his "father-in-law," or rather "brother-in-law," Hobab, to accompany him and the Israelites to the land of promise, though at first rejected (Numbers 10:29, Numbers 10:30), was eventually accepted. Hobab and his tribe, a branch of the Midianites, called Kenites, from an unknown ancestor, Kain, at first settled in the city of palm trees, i.e. Jericho (Deuteronomy 34:3); but it seems that when Judah started on his expedition with Simeon to conquer the south laud, the Kenites went with him. A subsequent migration of a portion of this nomadic tribe is mentioned (Judges 4:11). Dwelt among the people, i.e. the people of Judah. For Arad see Numbers 21:1.

Judges 1:17

Judah went with Simeon. In Judges 1:3 Simeon went with Judah, because the places which follow were all in Judah's lot; but now we read, Judah went with Simeon, because Zephath or Hormah was in Simeon's lot (Joshua 19:4). For Hormah, identified by Robinson (2.181) with Es-sufeh, see Numbers 21:3. The Hebrew verb for "they utterly destroyed" is the root of the name Hormah, i.e. utter destruction.

Judges 1:18

Gaza, etc. Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron, were all cities of the Philistines. But though Judah took these cities, it seems he was not able permanently to expel the inhabitants.

Judges 1:19

Chariots of iron. The chariots of the Canaanites were very formidable to the Israelites, who had no means of coping with them. Thus we are told of Jabin, king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazer, that he had 900 chariots of iron, and mightily oppressed the children of Israel. They were later an important part of King Solomon's army (1 Kings 10:26). See too Joshua 17:16.

Judges 1:20

They gave Hebron, etc. Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, the Kenezite, an Edomitish tribe, was one of the spies sent up to spy the land, and in doing so he came to Hebron, and there saw the giants, the sons of Anak (Numbers 13:22). When all the spies brought up an evil report of the land, and by doing so raised a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, Caleb the Kenezite, alone with Joshua, stood firm, and, as a reward of his faithfulness, received the promise that he and his seed should possess the land on which his feet had trodden. Accordingly Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the Kenezite (see Numbers 13:1-33; Numbers 14:1-45.; Deuteronomy 1:36; Joshua 14:6-15; Joshua 15:13, Joshua 15:14).

HOMILIES BY W.F. ADENEY

Judges 1:1, Judges 1:2

The death of the great.

The circumstances which accompanied and followed the death of Joshua are suggestive of the common difficulties which arise on the death of great men, and the conduct of Israel is an example of the right spirit in which to face these difficulties.

I. THE MOST USEFUL MEN ARE OFTEN CALLED AWAY BEFORE THEIR WORK IS FINISHED. The measure of work which God requires of them may always be accomplished, for he sets no task for which he does not supply all needful talents and opportunities. But the work which a man aims at accomplishing, which he sees needing to be done, which men trust him to achieve for them, is commonly greater than his time and powers allow of perfect performance.

1. This fact should teach the most active workers

(1) diligence, since at the best they can never overtake their work, and

(2) humility, in the thought of the little that the ablest can accomplish compared with what he aims at.

2. This fact should lead all men

(1) not to lean too much on any one individual,

(2) to be ready to welcome new men,

(3) to train children to take the places of their parents.

II. THE DEATH OF GREAT MEN SHOULD INSPIRE US WITH A DESIRE TO CONTINUE THEIR UNFINISHED WORK.

1. It is foolish to be content with idle panegyrics, as though we could live for ever on the glory of the past. Life must not be spent in a dreamy contemplation of the sunset, however brilliant this may be. While we gaze the radiance fades; night will soon fall. We must be up and preparing for shelter under the darkness, and for work in a new day.

2. It is weak to sink into mere regrets and despondency. We do not honour the dead by wasting our lives in barren grief. When the great and good are gone the future may look blank and hopeless; but God is still with us, and he will still provide for us. Therefore we should do as Israel did. Not satisfied with the glory of Joshua's victories, nor stunned by the blow of his death, the people look forward, seek for guidance for the future, and endeavour to continue his unfinished work. The richest legacy we can receive from the great is the unfinished task which drops from their dying hands. The noblest monument we can erect to their memory will be the completion of that task; the most honourable epitaph we can write for them will be the story of the good works for which their lives and examples have inspired their successors.

III. As POSTS OF RESPONSIBILITY BECOME VACANT, IT IS WISE TO SEEK THE GUIDANCE OF GOD IN THE CHOICE OF NEW MEN TO OCCUPY THEM. After the death of Joshua Israel consulted "the Eternal." It is a blessing that the loss of our most trusted earthly friends should drive us to the refuge of the great heavenly Friend. In the present case new leaders do not now arise by selfish ambition, nor are they chosen by popular election. The selection of them is referred to God. Israel thus recognises its constitution as a theocracy. Every nation should consider itself under a supreme theocracy. Political leaders should be chosen by a Christian nation only after prayer for Divine guidance. Much more evident is it that the selection of men for service in spiritual things, as ministers, as missionaries, etc; should not be left to the mere inclination of the individual or the unaided human judgment of others, but determined after the most earnest prayer for Divine light (Acts 1:24). Note—such a method of election implies a willingness that the chosen leaders should be called to do God's will, not merely to humour the popular caprice.

IV. WHEN GREAT MEN ARE TAKEN AWAY IT IS OFTEN THE CASE THAT NO MEN OF EQUAL ABILITY ARE FOUND TO SUCCEED THEM. Joshua was not equal to Moses, but he was still well able to take the staff of leadership from his master's hand. But Joshua left no successor. Nothing but anarchy faced the nation "after the death of Joshua"—it seemed as though there could be no 'after." There are advantages in the absence, of great men. The multitude may become indolent, trusting too much to the work of the few. When these are removed men are thrown back on their own resources; thus the courage and energy of the whole people is put on trial. Yet on the whole we must feel that it is better to have the great among us. The death of Joshua is the signal for the decadence of the nation from its ancient heroic glory. Therefore let us pray that God will continue the race of good and great men: and seek to educate and discover such among the young. Let us be thankful that our Joshua—Christ—will never be taken from his people (Matthew 28:20).—A.

Judges 1:3

Mutual help.

I. IN THE ABSENCE OF UNITY OF AUTHORITY WE SHOULD SEEK FOR UNION OF SYMPATHY. After the death of Joshua the loss of leadership endangers the national unity of Israel. In the text we see how two tribes, no longer united by a common government, draw together for mutual help. The union of free attraction is nobler than that of external compulsion. The highest unity of Christendom is to be found not in the Roman Catholic organisation of a central authority and uniformity of creed and worship, but in the spiritual conception of common sympathies and common aims.

II. BROTHERLY KINDNESS IS A PECULIARLY CHRISTIAN GRACE, Love of the brethren is a proof of regeneration (1 John 3:14). The law of Christ as contrasted with the barren Levitical law of ordinances is characteristically summed up in the obligation to "bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2).

1. This implies active help. Simeon and Judah went to battle for an inheritance. Mere feelings of sympathy are wasted sentiments unless they lead to active and fruitful service.

2. This implies sacrifice. The Simeonites and men of Judah risked their lives for the benefit of one another. Cheap charity is worthless charity.. Our brotherly kindness is of little value till it costs us something—involves pare, loss, sacrifice. Christ is the great example of this. It is our mission to follow Christ here if we would be his true disciples (Philippians 2:4-8).

3. This implies mutual help. Judah helps Simeon; Simeon in turn helps Judah. Charity is often too one-sided. The poor and needy can often make more return than appears possible if invention is quickened by gratitude. A miserable penitent could wash the feet of Christ with her tears (Luke 7:38).

III. THE WORK OF LIFE IS BEST DONE BY UNION AND CO-OPERATION OF WORKERS. Judah and Simeon conquer their two possessions by union. Both might have failed had they acted singly. "Union is strength." The advantage of mutual help is seen in trade, in manufactures, in education, in the advance of civilisation generally. The spirit of Cain is fatal to all progress (Genesis 4:9). The same applies to Christian work. Therefore Christ founded the Church. Though Christianity is based on individualism, it works through social agencies. The society of Christians, the Christian family, find means of useful effort which private Christians could never attain, e.g. in the Sunday school, foreign and home missions, the work of Bible and tract societies. Simeon and Judah united to conquer their several lots successively. So it is sometimes wisest for us to unite and do together one work well at one time, rather than to spread our divided energies over a wide field of weak agencies. The river which runs out over a broad plain may be swallowed up in the sands of the desert, while that which flows in a narrow channel is strong and deep.—A.

Judges 1:6, Judges 1:7

Retribution.

I. THERE IS A LAW OF RETRIBUTION.

1. The desire for retribution is instinctive. It is one of the elementary ideas of justice. To those who have no vision of a higher law, the execution of this is not a cruel crime of vengeance, but a righteous exercise of justice.

2. The fitness of retribution is not affected by the motive of those who accomplish it. It is possible that the Israelites were ignorant of the old crimes of Adoni-bezek, and may have been guilty of wanton cruelty in treating him as they did. If so, his wickedness was no excuse for their barbarity. But then their harsh intentions did not affect the justice of the king's sufferings. God often uses the crime of one man as a means of punishing the crime of another. He does not originate or sanction the retributive crime, but he overrules it, and so turns the wrath of man to the praise of his righteous government. Thus Nebuchadnezzar was no better than an ambitious tyrant in his conquest of Jerusalem; yet he was the unconscious agent of a Divine decree of justice.

3. Sin will surely bring retribution.

(1) No rank will secure us against this. The sufferer in this case was a king.

(2) No time will wear out guilt. It is likely that Adoni-bezek had committed his crimes in bygone years, as he referred to them in a way which suggests that the memory of them was suddenly aroused by his own experience.

4. Retribution often bears a resemblance to the crimes it follows. The lex talionis seems to be mysteriously embedded in the very constitution of nature. The intemperate slave of bodily pleasures brings on himself bodily disease; cruelty provokes cruelty; suspicion arouses distrust. As a man sows so will be reap (Galatians 6:7, Galatians 6:8).

5. One of the most fearful elements of future retribution will be found in an evil memory. Men bury their old sins out of sight. They will be exhumed in all their corruption. The justice of the retribution will then increase the sting of it (Luke 16:25).

II. THE HIGHER CHRISTIAN LAW OF LOVE. Christianity does not abolish the terrible natural laws of retributive justice, but it reveals higher principles which can counteract the disastrous effects of 'those stern laws, and a more excellent way than that of zealously advocating the execution of them.

1. The Christian is bound not to desire vengeance. He is called to forgive his enemies (Matthew 5:38, Matthew 5:39). If retribution must fall, let us leave it to the supreme Judge (Romans 12:19).

2. The highest purpose of punishment is seen to consist in the preservation and the restoration of righteousness—not in the mere balancing of sin with pain. Punishment is not an end in itself. The vengeance which seeks satisfaction to outraged honour in the humiliation of its victim is as unworthy of the character of God as it is foreign to the principles of Christian duty. Punishment is a means to an end, and that end is not mere revenge, but the deterring of others from evil, and, where possible, the restoration of the fallen (Hebrews 12:5, Hebrews 12:6, Hebrews 12:11).

3. In the gospel forgiveness is offered for all sin. The law is not evaded; it is honoured in the sacrifice of Christ. Now he has borne the sin of the world he can also release the world from its fatal effects. Therefore, though the thunder-cloud of retribution may seem as dark as ever, if we only look high enough we shall see the rainbow of God's mercy above it promising peace and forgiveness to all who repent and trust in his grace (Acts 13:38, Acts 13:39).—A.

Judges 1:8-20

EXPOSITION

Judges 1:8

Read Fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and smote it. It is the continuation of the narrative of the exploits of Judah and Simeon in conquering their respective lots.

Judges 1:9

The valley, i.e. the Shephelah, or lowlands, between the mountains and the coast of the Mediterranean, occupied by the Philistines.

Judges 1:10

Hebron See Numbers 13:22; Joshua 14:13-15; Joshua 15:13-19. Hebron was the burial-place of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 23:2, etc.; Genesis 25:9), of Isaac and Rebekah, and of Jacob and Leah (Genesis 35:27-29; Genesis 49:31; Genesis 50:13), and the mosque, within whose massive walls the tombs of Abraham and the other four above mentioned are still preserved with the utmost reverence, is the most remarkable object in the modem city, which is called El-Khalil (the friend), after Abraham, the friend of God. A very interesting account of the Prince of Wales's visit to the Mosque of Hebron in 1862 is given in Dean Stanley s 'Sermons in the East.' David reigned in Hebron seven years and six mouths before he transferred the seat of power to Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 2:1, etc.; 2 Samuel 5:1-5).

Judges 1:13

Caleb's younger brother. See note on Judges 3:9.

Judges 1:14

She moved him, etc. There is some obscurity in this verse, which seems to tell us that Achsah, on her wedding-day, when she was going to her husband s house, persuaded him to ask of her father the field, viz. that in which the springs of water were, and which were not included in her original dower; and then goes on to tell us that Achsah herself made the request. The Septuagint reads, "Othniel urged her to ask the field of her father," and the Vulgate has, "Her husband told her to ask her father," and then it follows naturally, "and she lighted from off her ass," etc. But the Hebrew reading may be right, and it may be that when her husband, brave in storming a city, but timid in asking a favour, hung back, she, with the tenacious will of a woman, sprang off the ass herself, and successfully preferred her request. Dean Stanley identifies (though not with absolute certainty) the "field thus obtained by Achsah with an unusually green valley amidst the dry, barren hills of the south country, lying south or west of Hebron, called Wady Nuukur, through which Caleb and Achsah must have ridden on their way from Hebron to Debir, or Kirjath-sepher. This valley breaks into a precipitous and still greener ravine, and both the upper and lower pastures are watered by a clear, bubbling rivulet, which rises in the upper meadow, and flows to the bottom of the ravine below. The name of a village, Dewir, seems to represent the ancient Debir.

Judges 1:16

The children of the Kenite, etc. It appears from this verse that the invitation given by Moses to his "father-in-law," or rather "brother-in-law," Hobab, to accompany him and the Israelites to the land of promise, though at first rejected (Numbers 10:29, Numbers 10:30), was eventually accepted. Hobab and his tribe, a branch of the Midianites, called Kenites, from an unknown ancestor, Kain, at first settled in the city of palm trees, i.e. Jericho (Deuteronomy 34:3); but it seems that when Judah started on his expedition with Simeon to conquer the south laud, the Kenites went with him. A subsequent migration of a portion of this nomadic tribe is mentioned (Judges 4:11). Dwelt among the people, i.e. the people of Judah. For Arad see Numbers 21:1.

Judges 1:17

Judah went with Simeon. In Judges 1:3 Simeon went with Judah, because the places which follow were all in Judah's lot; but now we read, Judah went with Simeon, because Zephath or Hormah was in Simeon's lot (Joshua 19:4). For Hormah, identified by Robinson (2.181) with Es-sufeh, see Numbers 21:3. The Hebrew verb for "they utterly destroyed" is the root of the name Hormah, i.e. utter destruction.

Judges 1:18

Gaza, etc. Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron, were all cities of the Philistines. But though Judah took these cities, it seems he was not able permanently to expel the inhabitants.

Judges 1:19

Chariots of iron. The chariots of the Canaanites were very formidable to the Israelites, who had no means of coping with them. Thus we are told of Jabin, king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazer, that he had 900 chariots of iron, and mightily oppressed the children of Israel. They were later an important part of King Solomon's army (1 Kings 10:26). See too Joshua 17:16.

Judges 1:20

They gave Hebron, etc. Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, the Kenezite, an Edomitish tribe, was one of the spies sent up to spy the land, and in doing so he came to Hebron, and there saw the giants, the sons of Anak (Numbers 13:22). When all the spies brought up an evil report of the land, and by doing so raised a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, Caleb the Kenezite, alone with Joshua, stood firm, and, as a reward of his faithfulness, received the promise that he and his seed should possess the land on which his feet had trodden. Accordingly Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the Kenezite (see Numbers 13:1-33; Numbers 14:1-45.; Deuteronomy 1:36; Joshua 14:6-15; Joshua 15:13, Joshua 15:14).

HOMILETICS

Judges 1:8-20

Faith.

The principal incident in this section is the conquest of Hebron by Caleb (see note, Judges 1:20), and in it we have a most striking illustration

(1) of the nature of faith,

(2) of the triumph of faith,

(3) of the faithfulness of God's promises, and

(4) of the extension of God's covenant to men of every nation and kindred.

I. THE NATURE OF FAITH. When the Israelites were in Kadesh Barnea, near the borders of Canaan, in the second year of the exodus, it was determined on their own suggestion, with the full approval of Moses, to send spies to search out the land, and to bring back word what road they ought to take, and into what cities they would come. Thus far there had been only a due exercise of human wisdom and caution. But when the spies returned after forty clays they brought back a mixed report. On the one hand they reported that it was indeed a goodly land. Its fertile soil, its genial climate, its beauty and its richness, were attested by its abundant produce. As they held up the heavy bunch of the grapes of Eshcol, a burden for two men to carry upon a staff, as they showed them the luscious figs and the juicy pomegranates, who could doubt that it was a land worth possessing? It was rich too in its pastures and in its cattle, and its wild-flowers were as good as the thyme of Hymettus for the bees that swarmed amongst them. It was a land flowing with milk and honey. But here their good report stopped. This good land was guarded, they said, by a mighty people. It was a gigantic race that possessed it, and they dwelt in fenced cities with Cyclopean walls rising up to heaven. How could the children of Israel hope to wrest their land from them? It would be a vain enterprise, and could only end in their own discomfiture and death. Those men of great stature would crush them like grasshoppers under their feet. At these unbelieving words the hearts of the whole congregation melted within them, and anger against Moses filled every breast. The suggestion ran from mouth to mouth to choose a captain and return to Egypt. The promises of God were all forgotten. The mighty wonders at the Red Sea, at Sinai, in the wilderness, were lost sight of, and their hearts sunk through unbelief. Then Caleb's faith shone out, and spoke out before the people. "Let us go up at once and possess the land, for we are well able to overcome it." "Fear not the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not." "If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it us." That was faith, laying hold of God's promises and God's almighty power, and making no account of apparent difficulties, or of human weakness. Just such was Abraham's faith, who "staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform" (Romans 4:20, Romans 4:21). Such has been the faith of saints at all times, piercing through the mists and clouds of the present, and seeing the bright sun of the future; despising the visible because, like Elisha in Dothan, it sees the invisible (2 Kings 6:13-17); calculating truly, because it takes into account the power and faithfulness of God which are left out of the calculations of the unbelieving.

II. THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH. And we see here the triumph of faith. The whole congregation of the unbelieving, of those who in their hearts turned back to Egypt, and dared not face the sons of Anak, had all perished in the wilderness. They died and were buried, and never saw the land of promise. But Caleb was alive, and in the full vigour of his strength he marched against the stronghold of the Anakim, and took it, and slew the sons of Anak in spite of their great stature, and took possession of their city in spite of its lofty walls, and it became his possession for ever. That was the triumph of faith, that faith which disappoints not, and maketh not ashamed.

III. THE FAITHFUL PROMISES. We have here too an eminent illustration of the faithfulness of God's promises. Caleb's triumphant possession of Hebron chimes in in exact harmony with all the records of God's performances as compared with his promises. "He hath holpen his servant Israel as he promised to our forefathers" (Luke 1:54). "He hath remembered his mercy and truth toward the house of Israel" (Psalms 98:3). "He hath visited and redeemed his people, as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets,… to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; to perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham" (Luke 1:68-73,. PP. B. Version). "He is 'faithful' that promised" (Hebrews 10:23). Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45). "There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass" (Joshua 21:45). A thorough appreciation of faithfulness to his Word as one of the prominent attributes of God is the inevitable result of a full knowledge of the Scriptures, as it is most conducive to the stability of the Christian character. "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven; thy faithfulness is unto all generations'' (Psalms 119:89, Psalms 119:90).

IV. A GLIMPSE OF THE MYSTERY. But we must also notice the illustration here given of God's purpose to extend his covenant to men of all nations. Caleb was not an Israelite by birth. He was a Kenezite, i.e. a descendant of Kenaz, whose name is a clear proof of Edomite origin (Genesis 36:15, Genesis 36:42). And accordingly we are told, "Unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah" (Joshua 15:13); and again, "Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel" (Joshua 14:14), language clearly pointing to Caleb's foreign origin. We have here then the breadth of God's grace and love breaking out in the narrowness of the Jewish dispensation; we have a glimpse of the mystery, which St. Paul spoke of so rapturously, that it was God's good pleasure in the dispensation of the fulness of times to gather together into one all things in Christ, and that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel (Ephesians 1:9, Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:6). Caleb, possessing his inheritance in the midst of Judah because he wholly followed the Lord the God of Israel, was the forerunner of that great multitude of all nations and kindreds and peoples and tongues who shall stand before the Lamb clothed in white robes and palms in their hands, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God.

HOMILIES BY A.F. MUIR

Judges 1:11-15

The public spirit of Caleb.

He offered his daughter to the soldier who should be successful in destroying the inhabitants of Debar. It was of supreme importance that this stronghold should be taken, if the rest of the district was to be peaceably held. But some reward was required in order to stimulate the heroism of his followers to face the hazard and danger of the enterprise. We have here then—

I. AN IDENTIFICATION OF HIMSELF WITH THE INTERESTS OF HIS TRIBE. Caleb was all Edomite, and might have enjoyed his own lot without such special effort or sacrifice. He is evidently deeply interested in the welfare and honour of his adopted tribe. This might be called a signal illustration of public spirit. And yet it is probable that Caleb himself was quite unconscious that there was anything singular in his action. As the greatest blessings to a nation arise from the public spirit of its citizens, so the greatest curses are frequently entailed by the want of it. As in warfare every soldier, however insignificant, is an influence that tells upon the success or failure of the campaign, so in a government, with representative institutions whose action hinds the nation and measures its progress, it is requisite that every citizen should actively interest himself in electing and supporting the legislative authority. The free play of an intelligent, generous, and enthusiastic public criticism will tend to the health of the whole body politic, and vice versa. Even more cogent is the need for public spirit in the church. Its honour and dishonour are ours, its success or failure. And it represents interests of the most tremendous importance. "England expects every man to do his duty" is a sentence of historic importance. Although not called upon to preach, or even to pray in public, the private member of the church ought to regard the affairs of Christ's kingdom with enthusiasm, and be prepared to make great sacrifices for its advancement:

II. HIS PROOF OF THIS IN BESTOWING ONE OF HIS MOST PRECIOUS POSSESSIONS. We do not know much about Achsah, but probably she was very beautiful. Her forethought and carefulness are described in the fourteenth and fifteenth verses. She was his only daughter, born to him in later life (1 Chronicles 2:49). That she was dear to her father we may take for granted. How much a daughter may be to a father history has frequently and strikingly shown. The grief of Jephthah for the consequences of his rash vow is recorded in this very book. Apart from the personal attractions of Achsah, the influence which might be obtained by intermarriage with the family of Caleb is not to be ignored.

III. IT WAS A SACRIFICE WHICH HAD IN IT THE SECURITY FOR ITS OWN REWARD. An offer like this was an appeal to the chivalry of the tribe. It suggested vividly that on account of which the bravery of the warrior is so necessary. The soldier who stormed such a fortress was sure to possess the noble and manly qualities and the religious zeal calculated to make a good husband. So in political and spiritual matters, generous offers and challenges appeal to what is noblest in the nature of men, and secure a loftier and more heroic response.—M.

Judges 1:14, Judges 1:15

Compensations.

Of the wisdom and carefulness of Achsah we have here abundant proof. They were nobly and honourably exercised. She is the daughter of a rich man, and becomes the bride of a brave soldier who had evidently little but his sword and his reputation to boast of. She is jealous lest he should be rewarded with a mere titular distinction. He has been nobly oblivious of material rewards, she shall be proportionably watchful over his interests. She therefore urges her husband as he passes in triumph to Hebron to ask for the field through which they march. The thoughts of the hero are not to be directed into any such sordid channel. But she, taking advantage of the occasion as she lights from off her ass, asks her father in symbolic language to compensate her for the poverty to which he had consigned her. "Thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water." To this reasonable request Caleb makes generous response. "She slides from her ass, suddenly, as if she fell, so that her father asks, 'What is the matter with thee?' Her answer has a double sense, 'Thou gavest me away into a dry land; give me also springs'" (Cassel).

I. A BLESSING WITH A DRAWBACK. Of the bravery of Othniel there could be no question; of his poverty there could be as little. It might be honourable for her to be his wife, but she would have to suffer many sacrifices in leaving the wealthy home of her father, and her husband would have an additional burden to sustain. Are not the dispensations of providence, even when we judge them on the whole to be best for us, frequently as mysteriously qualified and limited? No man would probably care to exchange his life for another's, but "there's a crook in every lot." Material blessings generally contain within them elements of discipline, and sometimes even of punishment. But they are alike the gift of a loving father, and are to be accepted in the spirit of trust and affection.

II. COMPENSATIONS. IS the gift of Achsah's father open to grave drawbacks? It is not therefore unalterable. Something may be done to lessen its inconveniences, if not entirely to remove them. Her father is reasonable, and she at once makes appeal to his sense of what is fit and proper. Her request is granted. So with ourselves. Our heavenly Father who apportioned our lot is surely as reasonable and affectionate as any earthly one. It is for us to exercise the same wisdom as Achsah, and request that God will give us such alleviations to our portion in life, or reveal to us those that already exist. Sometimes there are compensations latent in the very circumstances of which we complain: springs of water to moisten a sun-parched soil. In any case God is able to bestow upon us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.—M.

Judges 1:19

Divine help versus material obstacles.

The statement of this verse is perplexing; hardly softened if we render "there was no driving out," etc. On the one hand, apparently, infinite power is on the side of Judah; on the other, there are sharply-defined limits to his success, and singular reasons for his failure. (Describe inhabitants of mountain and valley.) One would suppose that if God had really been with Judah, the chariots of iron would be neither here nor there in the question. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" But the difficulty arises from looking at the problem wholly from the Divine side. The same difficulty faces us to-day. "But this temptation was so great!" "But was not the Lord with you?" Infinite power may be on our side, but we may be debarred by failure of faith from making full use of it.

I. UNREALISED SPIRITUAL POWER. Many of the brutes have power greater than man, but they cannot bring it to bear. Is man never similarly unfortunate? In what sense can the power of God in the saint be unrealised? It is not power wasted or lying idle, but simply like a cheque unused. Our spiritual nature is not developed enough.

II. INSUFFICIENT REASONS FOR FAILURE OR SUCCESS. These arise from the same cause as the preceding. The tool in hands of tyro and master. The true panoply of a Church is spiritual; and its material advantages may sometimes be as Goliath's armour to David; and so may the spiritual advantages, if we do not realise them, keep ourselves in continual communion with them: and test their virtue by continual exercises of faith.

III. WAYS IN WHICH MAN LIMITS GOD. By failure of faith. By neglect of the means of grace. By personal unholiness. "God's arm is not shortened," etc; "but ye are straitened in your own selves."—M.

Judges 1:19-21

A title to be made good.

Each of these—Judah, Caleb (of the same tribe), and Benjamin—had received their portion at the hands of the Lord; but they had to conquer it. Judah partially succeeded, Caleb wholly succeeded, and Benjamin had a grievous drawback to his success. This is suggestive of the blessedness to be attained by Christians.

I. THE PROMISE IS COMPLETE AND ABSOLUTE TO EVERY CHRISTIAN. "This is the victory that overcometh the world even your faith." The least Christian is assured of this splendid triumph.

II. ITS REALISATION WILL DEPEND UPON THE MEASURE OF HIS FAITH, etc. The estate with a mortgage. Judah had already "fought against Jerusalem" and subdued it, at least the southern portion abutting upon, or included in, their boundary. But they did not subdue the citadel, which was in Benjamin's lot. The latter, on the other hand, are too careless, unwarlike, or indisposed to make good their possession.—M.

HOMILIES BY W.F. ADENEY

Judges 1:19

The presence of Cod in the battle of life.

The most remarkable circumstance connected with the wars of ancient Israel is the religious faith which guided and inspired the people for battle. In this respect the conduct of those wars is typical of the Christian method of spiritual warfare.

I. GOD IS WITH HIS PEOPLE IN THE BATTLE OF LIFE. God is not only the Refuge in distress and the Father of peaceful mercies; he is the Source of strength and of courage, and the Inspirer of the masculine virtues of the Church militant—he is with us in battle. God does not grant his aid from a distance, through messengers, etc.; he is present in the active exercise of his power.

1. When God calls people to any task, he will follow and help them in it. God had chosen Judah for the work of conquering the Canaanites. He also followed Judah to battle. Divine election was followed by Divine power. God never expects us to undertake any work in which he will not aid us. If he calls us to any difficult task, he will go first, and prepare the way for us, and then will accompany us in it, as our Guide and Protector.

2. They who are fruited in, the service of God have peculiar reason for expecting the presence of God. Judah and Simeon were united, and God aided them in their common task. God does not desert the solitary: e.g. Hague (Genesis 16:13), Jacob (Genesis 28:16), Elijah (1 Kings 19:9). But we have a special right to expect his presence when we co-operate in brotherly sympathy. Christ is present where two or three are met together in his name. The Holy Ghost came on the day of Pentecost, when the whole Church was assembled together (Acts 2:1).

II. THE PRESENCE OF GOD IS THE CHIEF SOURCE OF SUCCESS IN THE BATTLE OF LIFE. God was with Judah, therefore he obtained possession of the mountains. If God is with his people in their time of toil and difficulty, his presence is a security of active aid. He is with us not merely to approve, but to help. The victory comes from him. It is not all who have faith and spiritual insight to discern this truth. God does not come with a visible host and with "chariots of iron;" but his presence and aid are felt in the providential control of events; in the inspiration of strength and courage; in the enlightenment of Divine wisdom. The best human securities for success will not justify us in neglecting the help of God. Simeon and Judah were united, and were the stronger for their union; yet it was not the human strength thus obtained, but God's presence, which brought victory. There is a danger lest we should trust too much to imposing human arrangements, large societies, elaborate organisations, etc. The most splendid Christian army will be miserably defeated if it ventures to enter the field without the leadership of the "Captain of salvation."

III. THE PRESENCE OF GOD WILL NOT ALONE SECURE PERFECT AND IMMEDIATE SUCCESS. Though God was with Judah, still Judah could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley.

1. Gears presence and aid do not dispense with human effort. It is Judah, not God, who fails. We may fail on our side of the work while God is not wanting on his.

2. God's presence does not make us entirely independent of earthly circumstances. God did not annihilate the chariots of iron. We must not expect God to work such violent miracles as shall liberate us from all the inconveniences of life.

3. Human weakness may still linger about us after we have been blessed with the aid of God's presence. The Israelites were too weak to overcome the inhabitants of the valley. Possibly they feared to face the chariots of iron. The measure of help we have from God is not limited in itself, but it is limited by our faith. If we had perfect faith we should have perfect success. But when we look away from God to the iron chariots of our foes, or, like Peter, from Christ to the threatening waves, we may fail from fear and human weakness, and God's almighty power will not then save us from defeat.—A.

Verses 21-36

EXPOSITION

Judges 1:21

This verse is identical with Joshua 15:63, except that there we read "the children of Judah" instead of "the children of Benjamin," as in this verse. The boundary line between Judah and Jerusalem passed through JEBUS or JEBUSI, as Jerusalem was anciently called (see Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:28; Judges 19:10, Judges 19:11; 1 Chronicles 11:4, 1 Chronicles 11:5). Jebus was not finally held by the Israelites till the time of David (see Judges 19:10, note.)

Judges 1:22

The house of Joseph, i.e. Ephraim, but probably ,,here spoken of as "the house of Joseph because in the original document, from which both this chapter and Joshua 15:63, and Joshua 15:16; Joshua 17:1-18. are taken, the mention of "the lot of the children of Joseph" occurs, embracing both Ephraim and Manasseh. See Joshua 16:1 and Joshua 15:23, with which the twenty-first and twenty-second verses of this chapter are manifestly identical.

Judges 1:23

Bethel, now Beitin. The name (house of God) had been given by Jacob (Genesis 28:19), but obviously would not be likely to be adopted by the Canaanitish inhabitants, by whom it was called Luz. As soon, however, as the Ephraimites conquered it, they reimposed the name, in memory of their father Jacob. The Saxon charters exhibit an analogous change in such transitions of name, as that from Bedericksworth to Bury St. Edmunds, which took place after the transfer of St. Edmund's body to the church there, the old name continuing for a time along with the new one, but at last disappearing.

Judges 1:24

We will show thee mercy. Compare the saving of Rahab alive, with all her house, at the taking of Jericho (Joshua 6:23). This history is not preserved in the parallel place in Joshua 16:1-10.

Judges 1:28

Put the Canaanites to tribute, or made them tributaries, as in Judges 1:30, Judges 1:33, i.e. imposed forced labour upon them, as the Gibeonites were made hewers of wood and drawers of water (Joshua 9:21, Joshua 9:27; see 1 Kings 9:21).

Judges 1:32

The Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites. In Judges 1:29 and Judges 1:30 it was said that the Canaanites dwelt among the Israelites; but here we read that the Asherites, and in Judges 1:33 that Naphtali, dwelt among the Canaanites, which seems to imply that the Canaanites were the more numerous people of the two, yet the Israelites were able to keep them in subjection.

Judges 1:36

The going up to Akrabbim. See Joshua 15:3, Maaleh-acrabbim. In Numbers 34:4 "the ascent of Akrabbim." The whole name, put into English, is "the ascent, or going up, of Scorpions," a mountain pass so called from the abundance of scorpions found in the whole region. The exact locality is uncertain, but it is thought to be the pass El-Safeh, immediately to the south of the Dead Sea. The neighbourhood to Mount Hor and Petra is indicated by its connection here with "the rock," in Hebrew has-selah, which is the distinctive name of the rocks or cliffs on which Petra is built, and the name of Petra (the rock) itself. Speaking roughly, a line drawn westward from El-Safeh to the Mediterranean Sea, near the "river of Egypt," formed the southern boundary, of Judah, and of the Amorites whom they displaced. The battle with the Amorites (Deuteronomy 1:44), in which the Israelites were discomfited and pursued, is thought to have been at El-Safeh.

HOMILETICS

Judges 1:21-36

Weak faith producing weak action.

This section, contrasted with the preceding, gives us an instructive picture of a weak faith—not of absolute unbelief forfeiting the whole promise of God, but of a weak faith—coming short of the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. Caleb's faith, we have seen, was strong, and so his success was full. The faith of the tribes here enumerated was weak, and so their success was only partial In the career of those who are of weak or little faith we may notice the following features which usually belong to them:—

I. THE WANT OF A HIGH AIM. These tribes did not rise to the full purpose of God to give them the land for their possession. They were content with a partial possession. So many Christians do not aim at perfect obedience to the law of God, or a perfect conformity to the mind of Christ, but are content with a conventional standard of Christian morality, very far below the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. They do not aim high enough in knowledge, or in character, or in works, or in godliness, or in the victory over sin, or in self-control, or in heavenly-mindedness.

II. THE OVER-ESTIMATE OF DIFFICULTIES. These tribes thought the iron chariots invincible, shrunk from encountering them in the valleys, and slunk away into the hills and fastnesses out of their way. So to those of little faith the difficulties in the way of a thoroughly godly life seem insuperable. The fashions and customs of the world, the adverse opinions of men, the possible losses in trade or worldly advantage, or in useful friendships, the sacrifice of inclinations or interests, cannot be got over. Their hearts quail before difficulties and obstacles, and they are ever of a fearful and doubtful mind.

III. THE DISPOSITION TO COMPROMISE. These tribes could not or would not drive the Canaanites out, but they would make them tributaries. That was something done, if not all that ought to be done. So the weak in faith compromise in respect to their Christian duties. They do not yield a bold, whole-hearted obedience at any cost, but they will go half-way, and stop. They will curb the flesh, but not crucify it; they will check, but not destroy, the body of sin; they will follow Christ's directions up to a certain point, and then, like the young ruler, go away sorrowful. And this want of thoroughness is as fatal to the peace and comfort of a Christian's walk with God as was the compromise of the Israelites to their enjoyment of the promised land. In their case the enemies whom they failed to destroy were constant thorns in their sides—rising against them whenever they were weak, always ready to join their enemies, taking advantage of every opportunity to harass and distress them. And so in the case of these Christians of little faith: the sins which they spare, the affections with which they compromise, the habits which they will not utterly break off, and the unfinished victories at which they stop short are continually marring their peace, and even threatening their hold on the kingdom of God. And the result is seen in the general condition of the Church of God: one of compromise instead of mastery, of hollow truce instead of decisive victory.

IV. AN UNDERRATING OF THE POWER AND GRACE OF GOD. This is the cause of all the evil, and is of the very essence of a weak faith. When God's power and goodness and grace are underrated, all goes wrong. Low aims, fear of difficulties, base compromises are sure to prevail. But with the due sense of all-sufficient grace all goes well. "My grace is sufficient for thee," saith the Lord to his believing servant. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" is the servant's answer. Let us make a due estimate of the glorious grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord; so shall we be "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

HOMILIES BY A.F. MUIR

Judges 1:22-26

An unwilling helper of the cause of God.

Into the motives that actuated him we need not pry. Chief of all was the great one of self-preservation. Was it honourable? Was it right for the soldiers of God to make use of such an instrument? There may have been other considerations that had weight with him. It might have been virtuous to resist the offer: was it necessarily vicious to yield to it?

I. THERE ARE MANY WHO HELP THE TRUTH FROM LOWER MOTIVES WHO MIGHT DO SO FROM HIGHER. Expediency; public benefits of religion; ties of relationship; reputation. How great the blessing to Christ's cause if the same things were done from higher motives!

II. THEY ARE BLESSED, BUT NOT AS THEY MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN. A better service would have secured a higher reward.

III. THEY CANNOT BE RELIED UPON, AND THEREFORE MAY NOT BECOME PART OF GOD'S PEOPLE. The conquering host could not trust the traitor whose help had won them the city. He must go forth with his reproach. Many churches contain the elements of weakness and ruin because they have failed to exercise a wise censorship over those admitted to their communion. The true Church is composed of those who serve God from the purest motives.—M.

Judges 1:28

Human wisdom versus Divine.

No option was left to the Israelites as to the mode in which they were to deal with the Canaanites. Even if they were unable to subdue the Canaanites because of their own weakness, it would not be without fault; for had they not to sustain and direct them? But the sin of Israel was the greater that, when they were able to obey God's direction, they set it aside in favour of a policy of their own. This was direct disobedience, however it might be disguised by the name of prudence or expediency. In the end they had to rue their own folly.

I. PEOPLE IN PROSPEROUS CIRCUMSTANCES ARE FREQUENTLY TEMPTED TO FOLLOW A WORLDLY INSTEAD OF A HEAVENLY LINE OF CONDUCT, AND TO QUALIFY THE DICTATES OF OBVIOUS DUTY BY CONSIDERATIONS THAT ARE PURELY SELFISH AND PRESUMPTUOUS IN THEIR NATURE.

II. WHEN MEN THUS SHIRK OBVIOUS DUTY, THEY DO IT FROM A TWOFOLD MISCONCEPTION

(1) of their own power and wisdom, and

(2) of the true character of that with which they tamper.

III. IN THE END THEIR FOLLY WILL MANIFEST ITSELF IN DISASTER AND RUIN.—M.

Judges 1:34, Judges 1:35

The failure of duty of one an occasion of inconvenience to another.

Joseph, strong enough to have destroyed the Amorites, made them tributaries. The same people a little further away were thereby enabled to afflict and annoy a companion tribe. "The Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain," etc. The cause of Dan ought to have been the cause of Joseph. The latter was therefore guilty of intense selfishness.

I. IT IS A SIN FOR CHRISTIANS TO REAP ADVANTAGE AT THE EXPENSE OF LOSS OR INCONVENIENCE TO THEIR BRETHREN.

II. GOD OFTEN MAKES THE UNWORTHINESS OR FAULT OF ONE OF HIS CHILDREN A DISCIPLINE TO ANOTHER.

III. BUT THIS DOES NOT FREE THE LATTER FROM THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DOING HIS BEST. Dan might be annoyed, and justly, at the indirect help given to his oppressors, but all the same he ought to have invoked the aid of Jehovah and gone forth to do battle against them. He might have delivered himself from the inconvenience to which he was subject. And so with all the indirectly produced ills of life; a heroic faith is certain to overcome them, or render them comparatively innoxious.—M.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Judges 1". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tpc/judges-1.html. 1897.