士师记 11

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1 耶弗他

2 基列的妻子也给他生了几个儿子。他妻子的儿子长大了,就把耶弗他赶出去,对他:“你不可以在我们的父家继承产业,因为你是另一个妇人儿子。”

3 耶弗他就从他的兄弟面前逃跑在陀伯地;有些无赖聚集到他那里,与他一起出入。

4 过了些日子,亚扪人与以色列人争战。

5 亚扪人与以色列人争战的时候,基列的众长老就去,把耶弗他从陀伯请回来。

6 他们对耶弗他:“请你来作我们的统帅,我们好攻打亚扪人。”

7 耶弗他对基列的长老:“从前你们不是恨我,赶逐我离开我的父家吗?现在你们遭遇患难的时候,为什么到我这里呢?”

8 基列的长老对耶弗他:“现在我们回到你这里来,是要你与我们一同回去,与亚扪人争战,你要作我们基列所有居民的首领。”

9 耶弗他对基列的长老:“如果你们带我回去,攻打亚扪人,耶和华把他们交在我面前,那么我就可以作你们的首领吗?”

10 基列的长老对耶弗他:“有耶和华我们中间作证,我们必定照着你的行。”

11 于是耶弗他与基列的长老一同回去了,众人就立耶弗他作他们的首领,作他们的统帅;耶弗他在米斯巴,在耶和华面前,把自己的一切了出来。

12 耶弗他先与亚扪人交涉耶弗他派遣使者去见亚扪人的:“我跟你有什么关系呢?你竟到我这里攻打我的土地呢?”

13 亚扪人的对耶弗他的使者:“因以色列人埃及上来的时候,夺了我的土地,从亚嫩河到雅博河,直到约旦河;现在你要把它和和平平地交还。”

14 耶弗他又再派使者去见亚扪人的

15 对他:“耶弗他这样:‘以色列人并没有夺取过摩押地和亚扪人的土地

16 以色列人埃及的时候,是走过旷野到红,到了加低斯;

17 就派遣使者去见以东,说:求你让我们经过你的领土。以东却不答应;又派遣使者去见摩押摩押也不肯;以色列人在加低斯。

18 以后,他们走过旷野,绕过以东地和摩押地,到了摩押地的东边,在亚嫩河那边安营;他们并没有进入摩押境内,因为亚嫩河是摩押边界

19 以色列人又派遣使者去见亚摩利人的西宏,就是希实本,对他:求你让我们经过你的领土,到我们自己的地方去。

20 西宏却不信任以色列人,不让他们经过他的境界;西宏聚集了他所有的人民,在雅杂安营,与以色列人争战。

21 耶和华以色列的,把西宏和他所有的人民都交在以色列人中,以色列人击杀了他们,夺取了在那地的亚摩利人的全地,

22 占领了亚摩利人四周的境界,从亚嫩河到雅博河,从旷野直到约旦河

23 现在耶和华以色列的,已经把亚摩利人从他的子民以色列人面前赶走了,你竟要占有这地吗?

24 你不是应占有你的基抹要你占有的地吗?我们不是应占有耶和华我们,从我们面前赶走的人的一切地吗?

25 现在难道你比摩押西拨的儿子巴勒还强吗?他曾经与以色列人争竞吗?或是与以色列人交战过吗?

26 以色列人在希实本和属希实本的村,亚罗珥和亚罗珥的村,以及亚嫩河沿岸的一切城市,已经有年了;在这时期内,你们为什么没有夺回这些地方呢?

27 我没有得罪你,你竟恶待我,攻打我;愿审判者耶和华今日在以色列人和亚扪人中间,判断是非。’”

28 但亚扪人的从耶弗他差派人去对他所说的

29 耶弗他许愿那时耶和华的灵临到耶弗他身上,他就经过基列和玛拿西,经过基列的米斯巴,又从基列的米斯巴去到亚扪人那里。

30 耶弗他向耶和华许愿,:“如果你真的把亚扪人交在我里,

31 我从亚扪人那里平平安安回来的时候,无论谁先从我的家出来迎接我,他就必归耶和华,我也必把他当作燔祭。”

32 于是耶弗他去到亚扪人那里攻打他们,耶和华把他们交在他里。

33 于是他从亚罗珥开始击杀他们,去到米匿,直到亚备勒.基拉明,共二十座城,是一场击杀;这样,亚扪人就在以色列人面前被制伏了。

34 耶弗他还愿耶弗他回米斯巴去,到了自己的家,不料,他的女儿拿着、跳着舞,出迎接他;她是耶弗他的独生女,除她以外,耶弗他没有其他的儿女。

35 耶弗他见了她,就撕裂自己的衣服:“啊!我的女儿啊,你真使我忧愁,你叫我太作难了;因为我已经向耶和华开过许愿,我不能收回。”

36 她对他:“我的父亲啊,你既然向耶和华开过许了愿,就照着你里所的向我行吧!因为耶和华已经在你的仇敌亚扪人身上,为你报了仇。”

37 她又对自己的父亲:“请你准我这件事吧:给我两个时间,让我和我的同伴去漫游间,为我的童贞哀哭。”

38 耶弗他:“你去吧!”就让她离去两个;她就带着她的同伴去了,在上为她的童贞哀哭。

39 两个后,她回到她的父亲那里,她父亲就照他所许的愿向她行了。她没有与男人同过房。以后,在以色列中有个惯例:

40 以色列的女子年年都去哀悼基列人耶弗他的女儿,每年日。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 11      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 11: Jephthah’s victory.

This chapter and most of the next are about the judge Jephthah. He was Gilead’s son by a prostitute, so Gilead’s other sons despised him, and drove him out from his homeland. He fled to the land of Tob, where he lived amongst reckless men. When the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to the land of Tob to ask if Jephthah would lead their army. At first, Jephthah challenged them, and asked why they would come to him for help after expelling him from their county. However, the elders swore by the Lord that they would accept him as their leader, so he agreed to go with them.

Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of Ammon, to ask why his people were attacking Gilead. The king said that Israel had taken away their land, but Jephthah recounted to them the history of Israel’s time in the wilderness, specifically pointing out that they not made war with the nations of Canaan. The only exception was the Amorite king Sihon’s attack on Israel, in which the Israelites defended themselves and defeated the Amorites. So, Jephthah explained that Israel had not taken land from the Ammonites. But the people of Ammon did not listen, and prepared for war.

While preparing his army against the people of Ammon, Jephthah made a vow to the Lord: if He would grant Gilead victory, Jephthah would make a burnt offering of the first thing which came out from his house upon his return home. Battle ensued, and the army of Jephthah utterly defeated Ammon.

When Jephthah returned home, his daughter – his only child – came out of the house to greet him with music and dancing. He tore his clothes in despair, and told her about his vow to the Lord. His daughter told him to keep his word, and asked to be left alone for two months to lament her virginity. Then, when the time came, Jephthah carried out his vow to the Lord.

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Jephthah’s dealings with both the Ammonites and his own family show that serving the Lord leads us to seek peace, not conflict or war. His account of the Israelites’ struggles showed that his people had only defended themselves against other nations, but had not fanned the flames of war. We are to do the work of making peace in our lives, while upholding and defending what is true (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 1683).

The people of Ammon stand for knowing what is true, but then corrupting that truth to live a life based in falsities. For example, if we know the Lord regenerates us, and then tell ourselves that we no longer hold any responsibility for our eternal state, we have falsified the truth. This view completely distorts the truth: the Lord regenerates us as we work to live righteously (see Swedenborg’s work, Sacred Scripture 18[3]).

The spiritual meaning of a ‘daughter’ is an affection for spiritual truths and the life they offer. Affection is the offspring of feeling delight in truths; as we develop these affections, we learn to recognize that they come from the Lord, for he is the source of all good things (Arcana Caelestia 3336[2]).

Jephthah’s daughter was his deepest love, his greatest affection. She was a virgin, representing the spiritual qualities of purity and innocence. Her request for two months of solitude can be understood as our need to reflect during any giving to the Lord, to be sure that our intentions are pure, without any selfish expectations (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 121).

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