士師記 1

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1 猶大和西緬俘擄比色王約書亞以色列人求問耶和華說:“誰要為我們首先去攻打迦南人,與他們作戰呢?”

2 耶和華回答:“猶大要先上去,看哪,我已經把那地交在他中。”

3 猶大對自己的兄弟西緬:“請你與我一同上我抽籤所得的地業去,我們好與迦南人交戰;以後我也與你一同到你抽籤所得的地業去。”於是西緬與他一同去了。

4 猶大上去了;耶和華就把迦南和比利洗交在他們中;他們在比色擊殺了一萬

5 他們在那裡遇見了比色王,就與他交戰,擊殺了迦南人和比利洗人。

6 比色王逃跑;他們追趕他,把他捉住,砍去了他的大拇指。

7 比色:“從前有七十個的大拇指都被我砍去,在我的桌子拾取食物;現在照著我所行的,報應我了。”於是他們把他耶路撒冷,後他就在那裡。

8 猶大支派的勝利猶大人攻打耶路撒冷,把城佔領,用刀擊殺了城中的居民,又放燒城。

9 來,猶大去,與地、地和高原的迦人交戰。

10 猶大人又去攻擊在希伯崙的迦南人,殺了示篩、亞希幔和撻買;希伯崙從前名叫基列.亞巴。

11 俄陀聶攻取底璧(書15:13~19)他們從那裡又去攻擊底璧的居民;底璧從前名叫基列.西弗。

12 迦勒:“誰能攻打基列.西弗,把城攻取,我就把我的女兒押撒他作妻子。”

13 迦勒的弟弟基納斯的兒子俄陀聶攻取了那城,迦勒就把自己的女兒押撒他作妻子

14 押撒出嫁的時候,她勸俄陀聶向她父親求一塊田;押撒一下,迦勒就對她:“你要甚麼?”

15 她回答:“請你我一份禮物;你既然把我安置在地,求你也把泉賜我。”迦勒就把上泉和下泉都了她。

16 猶大和便雅憫支派的戰況摩西岳父的子孫基尼人,和猶大人一同離開棕樹城,上到亞拉得以猶大曠野去,在那裡的人民中。

17 猶大與他的兄弟西緬同去,擊殺了在洗法的迦南人,把那城完全毀滅。那城的名字何珥瑪。

18 猶大又攻取了迦薩和迦薩的四境,亞實基倫和亞實基倫的四境,以革倫和以革倫的四境。

19 耶和華猶大同在,猶大就佔領了地;但不能趕走平原的居民,因為他們有車。

20 猶大照著摩西的吩咐,把希伯崙了迦勒;迦勒就從那裡趕走亞衲子孫的族。

21 便雅憫人沒有趕走耶路撒冷的耶布斯人,所以耶布斯人與便雅憫人一同耶路撒冷,直到今日。

22 約瑟家的勝利約瑟家也上去攻打伯特利耶和華與他們同在。

23 約瑟家派人去窺探伯特利。那城從前的名字叫路斯。

24 窺探的見一個從城裡出來,就對他:“請你把進城的指示我們我們必恩待你。”

25 把進城的指示了他們,他們就用刀擊殺了那城的居民,卻把那和他的全家都放走。

26 到赫之地去了,築了一座城,給它起名路斯;直到今日那城還這名。

27 以色列人沒有趕出的居民瑪拿西沒有趕走伯.善和屬於伯.善的鄉村的居民,他納和屬於他納的鄉村的居民,多珥和屬於多珥的鄉村的居民,以伯蓮和屬於以伯蓮的鄉村的居民,米吉多和屬於米吉多的鄉村的居民;迦南人決意在那地。

28 以色列強盛了,就迫使迦南人作苦工,但沒有把他們完全趕走。

29 以法蓮也沒有把在基色的迦南人趕走,於是迦南人還在基色,在以法蓮中間。

30 西布倫沒有把基倫的居民和拿哈拉的居民趕走;於是迦南人還在西布倫中間,成了作苦工的人。

31 亞設沒有把亞柯的居民和西頓的居民趕走,也沒有把亞黑拉、亞革悉、黑巴、亞弗革和利合的居民趕走。

32 於是亞設人在當地的居民迦南人中間,因為他們沒有把他們趕走。

33 拿弗他利沒有把伯.示麥的居民和伯.亞納的居民趕走;於是他們就在當地的居民迦南人中間;伯.示麥和伯.亞納的居民成了給他們作苦工的人。

34 亞摩利人強迫但人退回地上,不容他們到平原來。

35 亞摩利人決意在希烈、亞雅倫和沙賓;但約瑟的勢力強大以後,他們就成了作苦工的人。

36 亞摩利人的境界,是從亞克拉濱山坡,從西拉直上。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 1      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 1: The continuing conquest of Canaan.

The book of Judges follows on almost seamlessly from Joshua. It is called ‘Judges’ because a number of regional leaders arose and made judgments for the people, often actively defending Israel from outside oppression. A pattern emerges in Judges: Israel disobeys the Lord – an enemy oppresses Israel – the Lord raises a leader – the leader is victorious against the enemy – there is peace for a time – Israel disobeys the Lord again.

There were twelve judges in all, about whom we either hear very much or next to nothing. The number twelve (as with the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve disciples, and other examples in the Word), stands for all the various aspects of spirituality that we need to understand, develop, and put to use. A clue is often found in the meaning of their names, because biblical names are nearly always linked to spiritual qualities, such as ‘courage’, or ‘one who walks with God’ (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 10216).

The theme of this first chapter is the further conquest of the land. The Israelites asked the Lord, “Who shall go up and fight for us?” And the Lord said that the tribe of Judah would go, because the Lord had delivered the land into their hand. Judah then called on the tribe of Simeon to join them, and they won many battles against the Canaanites still in the land.

One Canaanite king, Adoni-bezek, fled and was captured by the Israelites, who then cut off his thumbs and big toes. Adoni-bezek said that God had dealt justice by punishing him, as he had previously cut off seventy kings’ thumbs and big toes, and they had to gather scraps of food under his table.

Then Caleb, a leader of Israel during the journey through the wilderness, said that the man who took Kirjath-sepher (Caleb’s inheritance city) from the Canaanites would marry his daughter, Achsah. Caleb’s nephew, Othniel, took the city and Achsah was given to him. Achsah asked her father for the blessing of springs of water, and Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

Next, spies were sent to Bethel. They met a man there, and said that if he directed them the entrance to the city, they would show him mercy. He helped them, and they took the city but showed mercy on the man and all his family. After all of this, the man built a new city called Luz in the land of the Hittites.

The chapter ends by listing the twelve tribes, as well as the Canaanite peoples who remained unsubdued in each of their territories.

*****

The overarching spiritual theme of Judges is the process of our regeneration. As the opening of Judges reminds us, there were still parts of the land and various tribes that Israel needed to conquer. In fact, the Israelites never finished driving enemies out of their land. In the same way, we need to control our inherited human nature, but it is never completely wiped out (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Love and Wisdom 238).

During regeneration, we will discover deeper and subtler self-centered states in ourselves, which need to be mitigated. Each judge raised by the Lord stands for our determination to deal with these states, using the Word as a guide. This brings us a period of peace, followed by the start of another personal discovery.

When the Israelites chose which tribes would fight for them, it was no coincidence that they selected Judah and Simeon. Judah (who was a prominent tribe of Israel) and Simeon (who usually acts with another tribe) stand for the highest things in our spiritual life: our love for the Lord, and our obedience to the Lord’s Word. Choosing Judah and Simeon as our strength will always bring victory in our regeneration (see Arcana Caelestia 3654 and Apocalypse Explained 443).

The spiritual meaning in the story of Adoni-bezek is about taking away the power of our self-love, as cutting off thumbs and big toes makes hands and feet virtually useless. When we work on our lower nature, we are to minimize its control over us. It is the same with any influences from hell; their power must end. Adoni-bezek’s comment about doing the same to seventy kings vividly describes how self-love can only lead to our downfall (Arcana Caelestia 10062[4]).

The delightful story of Caleb, Achsah and Othniel illustrates that after battle, there is rest and reward. In the same way, we strengthen the ‘marriage’ of good and truth in us after overcoming spiritual struggles (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Love and Wisdom 409). The springs of water given to Achsah stand for the truths which flow into our mind, both about the ‘upper’ things of the Lord and heaven, and those ‘lower’ ones about spiritual life and responsibility.

The episode about the man from Bethel means that when we open up our life to the Lord to allow Him to guide us, we become blessed (Arcana Caelestia 3928). Then our life can be re-built in very practical and good ways, represented by the Hittites.

The final mention of the Canaanites still in the land points to the continuing presence of our unregenerate qualities. Although we may progress through the work of regeneration, we are still human, and we will always have flaws left to improve on.

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