士師記 11

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1 耶弗他基列人耶弗他是個英勇的戰士;他是個妓女兒子;耶弗他是基列所生的。

2 基列的妻子也給他生了幾個兒子。他妻子的兒子長大了,就把耶弗他趕出去,對他:“你不可以在我們的父家繼承產業,因為你是另一個婦人的兒子。”

3 耶弗他就從他的兄弟面前逃跑在陀伯地;有些無賴聚集到他那裡,與他一起出入。

4 過了些日子,亞捫人與以色列人爭戰。

5 亞捫人與以色列人爭戰的時候,基列的眾長老就去,把耶弗他從陀伯請回來。

6 他們對耶弗他:“請你來作我們的統帥,我們好攻打亞捫人。”

7 耶弗他對基列的長老:“從前你們不是恨我,趕逐我離開我的父家嗎?現在你們遭遇患難的時候,為甚麼到我這裡呢?”

8 基列的長老對耶弗他:“現在我們回到你這裡來,是要你與我們一同回去,與亞捫人爭戰,你要作我們基列所有居民的首領。”

9 耶弗他對基列的長老:“如果你們帶我回去,攻打亞捫人,耶和華把他們交在我面前,那麼我就可以作你們的首領嗎?”

10 基列的長老對耶弗他:“有耶和華我們中間作證,我們必定照著你的行。”

11 於是耶弗他與基列的長老一同回去了,眾人就立耶弗他作他們的首領,作他們的統帥;耶弗他在米斯巴,在耶和華面前,把自己的一切了出來。

12 耶弗他先與亞捫人交涉耶弗他派遣使者去見亞捫人的:“我跟你有甚麼關係呢?你竟到我這裡攻打我的土地呢?”

13 亞捫人的對耶弗他的使者:“因以色列人埃及上來的時候,奪了我的土地,從亞嫩河到雅博河,直到約旦河;現在你要把它和和平平地交還。”

14 耶弗他又再派使者去見亞捫人的

15 對他:“耶弗他這樣:‘以色列人並沒有奪取過摩押地和亞捫人的土地

16 以色列人埃及的時候,是走過曠野到紅,到了加低斯;

17 就派遣使者去見以東,說:求你讓我們經過你的領土。以東卻不答應;又派遣使者去見摩押摩押也不肯;以色列人在加低斯。

18 以後,他們走過曠野,繞過以東地和摩押地,到了摩押地的東邊,在亞嫩河那邊安營;他們並沒有進入摩押境內,因為亞嫩河是摩押邊界

19 以色列人又派遣使者去見亞摩利人的西宏,就是希實本,對他:求你讓我們經過你的領土,到我們自己的地方去。

20 西宏卻不信任以色列人,不讓他們經過他的境界;西宏聚集了他所有的人民,在雅雜安營,與以色列人爭戰。

21 耶和華以色列的,把西宏和他所有的人民都交在以色列人中,以色列人擊殺了他們,奪取了在那地的亞摩利人的全地,

22 佔領了亞摩利人四周的境界,從亞嫩河到雅博河,從曠野直到約旦河

23 現在耶和華以色列的,已經把亞摩利人從他的子民以色列人面前趕走了,你竟要佔有這地嗎?

24 你不是應佔有你的基抹要你佔有的地嗎?我們不是應佔有耶和華我們,從我們面前趕走的人的一切地嗎?

25 現在難道你比摩押西撥的兒子巴勒還強嗎?他曾經與以色列人爭競嗎?或是與以色列人交戰過嗎?

26 以色列人在希實本和屬希實本的村,亞羅珥和亞羅珥的村,以及亞嫩河沿岸的一切城市,已經有年了;在這時期內,你們為甚麼沒有奪回這些地方呢?

27 我沒有得罪你,你竟惡待我,攻打我;願審判者耶和華今日在以色列人和亞捫人中間,判斷是非。’”

28 但亞捫人的從耶弗他差派人去對他所說的

29 耶弗他許願那時耶和華的靈臨到耶弗他身上,他就經過基列和瑪拿西,經過基列的米斯巴,又從基列的米斯巴去到亞捫人那裡。

30 耶弗他向耶和華許願,:“如果你真的把亞捫人交在我裡,

31 我從亞捫人那裡平平安安回來的時候,無論誰先從我的家出來迎接我,他就必歸耶和華,我也必把他當作燔祭。”

32 於是耶弗他去到亞捫人那裡攻打他們,耶和華把他們交在他裡。

33 於是他從亞羅珥開始擊殺他們,去到米匿,直到亞備勒.基拉明,共二十座城,是一場擊殺;這樣,亞捫人就在以色列人面前被制伏了。

34 耶弗他還願耶弗他回米斯巴去,到了自己的家,不料,他的女兒拿著、跳著舞,出迎接他;她是耶弗他的獨生女,除她以外,耶弗他沒有其他的兒女。

35 耶弗他見了她,就撕裂自己的衣服:“啊!我的女兒啊,你真使我憂愁,你叫我太作難了;因為我已經向耶和華開過許願,我不能收回。”

36 她對他:“我的父親啊,你既然向耶和華開過許了願,就照著你裡所的向我行吧!因為耶和華已經在你的仇敵亞捫人身上,為你報了仇。”

37 她又對自己的父親:“請你准我這件事吧:給我兩個時間,讓我和我的同伴去漫遊間,為我的童貞哀哭。”

38 耶弗他:“你去吧!”就讓她離去兩個;她就帶著她的同伴去了,在上為她的童貞哀哭。

39 兩個後,她回到她的父親那裡,她父親就照他所許的願向她行了。她沒有與男人同過房。以後,在以色列中有個慣例:

40 以色列的女子年年都去哀悼基列人耶弗他的女兒,每年日。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 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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