士师记 2

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1 耶和华的使者在波金显现

2 你们不可与这地的居民立约,要拆毁他们的祭坛。’你们竟没有从我的话;你们作的是什么呢?

3 因此我又:‘我必不把他们从你们面前赶走,他们要作你们的敌人,他们的要作你们的网罗。’”

4 耶和华的使者对以色列众人这些的时候,众人就放声大哭。

5 于是给那地方起名波金;他们在那里向耶和华献祭。

6 约书亚逝世约书亚遣散了众以色列人就各归自己承受的地业,要占有那地。

7 约书亚在世的时候,以及他去世以后,那些见过耶和华以色列人所行的事的众长老还在的日子,众人都事奉耶和华

8 耶和华的仆人,嫩的儿子约书亚,在一岁的时候就死了

9 以色列人把他埋葬在他地业的境内,就是以法莲地,在迦实面的亭拿.希烈。

10 那一的人都归到他们的列祖那里以,有另一的人兴起来了;他们不认识耶和华,也不知道耶和华以色列人所行的事。

11 以色列人违背神的恶果以色列人行了耶和华看为恶的事,去事奉众巴力;

12 他们离弃了领他们出埃及耶和华、他们列祖的,去跟从别的,就是他们周围各族的,敬拜他们,惹耶和华发怒。

13 他们离弃了耶和华,去事奉巴力和亚斯他录。

14 耶和华的怒气向以色列人发作,就把他们交在抢掠的人中,他们就抢掠他们;他又把他们完全交在他们四围的仇敌中,以致他们在仇敌面前再不能站立得住。

15 他们无论去哪里,耶和华的总是加害他们,好像耶和华说过的,又像耶和华对他们起誓过的;他们就非常困苦。

16 耶和华兴起了士师,士师就拯他们脱离抢掠他们的人的

17 但他们连士师也不从,竟与别的行了奸淫,敬拜他们;他们迅速偏离了他们列祖所行、耶和华命令道路,他们没有照样行。

18 耶和华为他们兴起士师的时候,耶和华就与那士师同在;那士师在世的日子,耶和华总是拯他们脱离仇敌的;因为他们在压迫和苦害他们的人底下发出哀声,耶和华就怜悯他们。

19 可是士师死了,他们就而行恶,比他们的列祖更厉害,去随从别的,事奉和敬拜他们,总不放弃他们的恶行和顽梗的行径。

20 于是耶和华的怒气向以色列人发作,:“因为这国的人违背我吩咐他们列祖的约,不从我的话,

21 因此,约书亚后仍剩下来的列国,我也不再从他们面前赶走,

22 为要借着他们试验以色列人,看他们肯不肯谨守遵行耶和华的道路,像他们的列祖一样谨守。”

23 这样,耶和华留下这些国的民,不迅速把他们赶走,也不把他们交在约书亚里。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 2      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 2: Israel’s disobedience and Joshua’s death.

This chapter opens with a reprimand from the Angel of the Lord. The Israelites had been commanded not to make any treaties with the people of Canaan, and to tear down their altars. The Angel warned that Israel had broken their covenant to the Lord, so the Lord would not drive out the other inhabitants of the land; they would be thorns in Israel’s side, and their gods would be a snare. Israel wept, and sacrificed to the Lord.

After the Israelites had gone to their assigned territories, it mentions Joshua’s death and burial (yet Joshua had died at the end of the book of Joshua!). All Israel had followed the Lord during Joshua’s time, and understood what the Lord had done for Israel. But the older generation died away, and a new generation arose who did not know the Lord, nor what He had done for Israel.

The chapter then spells out the terrible plight in which the people of Israel had entangled themselves. They had begun to worship Baal and Ashtaroth, the gods of the Canaanites, and they turned away from the Lord who had done so much for them. So, the Lord allowed their enemies to attack them, and Israel could not stand against them. This theme of straying from the Lord, and in turn being punished, will return through the next few chapters.

In the midst of this, the text says that the Lord raised up judges who delivered Israel. However, when each judge died, the people reverted to worshipping other gods. This seems to anticipate the events ahead in Judges.

*****

This chapter really marks the first of many transgressions committed by the Israelites in the book of Judges. The first three verses of this chapter feature the Angel of the Lord, who appears many times throughout the Word, and for many reasons: sometimes to bless, but in this case, to admonish the children of Israel for their disobedience. The Angel of the Lord stands firm and resolute, and represents truths from the Lord revealed in our hearts and minds (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 96[6]).

The spiritual meaning of ‘weeping’ can mean various things, depending on the context. Here, the people wept because of the Angel’s warning, in momentary recognition of their wrongdoing. This is not real repentance (a ‘change of heart’), but fear along with a sense of our own self-love, which may lead us into more disobedience (see Swedenborg’s work, Heaven and Hell 153).

The death of the older generation and rise of a new one represents a change of state in us. The older generation - Joshua and the elders - served as a connection between the people and the Lord, since they had seen the Lord’s blessings on Israel in their own time. However, when we lose that connection, both our love of obedience and understanding of why we must obey the Lord fall away.

Our changes of state usually happen quickly; we suddenly get angry, feel fear, become selfish. When we turn to the Lord for help during these times, we quickly enter a state of humility in which the Lord can reach us (see Swedenborg’s Doctrine of Life 21).

After Joshua’s death, the children of Israel began to worship other gods, and the Lord punished them. In our lives, this would be like turning back on our devotion to the Lord to instead focus on worldly things, and do just as we please. There is no punishment from the Lord, only the consequences of our actions. We become weak, easy prey for doubts and anxieties, completely at the mercy of the hells (see Arcana Caelestia 7373).

Although the Lord raised judges to lead the people, the Israelites would would return to their old ways once the judge had passed away. This gives us a valuable spiritual truth that even in our sorry state of self-interest, we are still, at times, able to see the mess we are in. We may feel alarmed for a while, but this subsides and we grow complacent once again. The Lord raises up judges so that we can hold ourselves accountable.

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