士師記 2

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1 耶和華的使者在波金顯現耶和華的使者從吉甲上到波金:“我曾經把你們從埃及領上你們到我向你們列祖起誓應許的地方;我曾說過:‘我永不廢棄我與你們所立的約;

2 你們不可與這地的居民立約,要拆毀他們的祭壇。’你們竟沒有從我的話;你們作的是甚麼呢?

3 因此我又:‘我必不把他們從你們面前趕走,他們要作你們的敵人,他們的要作你們的網羅。’”

4 耶和華的使者對以色列眾人這些的時候,眾人就放聲大哭。

5 於是給那地方起名波金;他們在那裡向耶和華獻祭。

6 約書亞逝世約書亞遣散了眾以色列人就各歸自己承受的地業,要佔有那地。

7 約書亞在世的時候,以及他去世以後,那些見過耶和華以色列人所行的事的眾長老還在的日子,眾人都事奉耶和華

8 耶和華的僕人,嫩的兒子約書亞,在一歲的時候就死了

9 以色列人把他埋葬在他地業的境內,就是以法蓮地,在迦實面的亭拿.希烈。

10 那一的人都歸到他們的列祖那裡以,有另一的人興起來了;他們不認識耶和華,也不知道耶和華以色列人所行的事。

11 以色列人違背神的惡果以色列人行了耶和華看為惡的事,去事奉眾巴力;

12 他們離棄了領他們出埃及耶和華、他們列祖的,去跟從別的,就是他們周圍各族的,敬拜他們,惹耶和華發怒。

13 他們離棄了耶和華,去事奉巴力和亞斯他錄。

14 耶和華的怒氣向以色列人發作,就把他們交在搶掠的人中,他們就搶掠他們;他又把他們完全交在他們四圍的仇敵中,以致他們在仇敵面前再不能站立得住。

15 他們無論去哪裡,耶和華的總是加害他們,好像耶和華說過的,又像耶和華對他們起誓過的;他們就非常困苦。

16 耶和華興起了士師,士師就拯他們脫離搶掠他們的人的

17 但他們連士師也不從,竟與別的行了姦淫,敬拜他們;他們迅速偏離了他們列祖所行、耶和華命令道路,他們沒有照樣行。

18 耶和華為他們興起士師的時候,耶和華就與那士師同在;那士師在世的日子,耶和華總是拯他們脫離仇敵的;因為他們在壓迫和苦害他們的人底下發出哀聲,耶和華就憐憫他們。

19 可是士師死了,他們就而行惡,比他們的列祖更厲害,去隨從別的,事奉和敬拜他們,總不放棄他們的惡行和頑梗的行徑。

20 於是耶和華的怒氣向以色列人發作,:“因為這國的人違背我吩咐他們列祖的約,不從我的話,

21 因此,約書亞後仍剩下來的列國,我也不再從他們面前趕走,

22 為要藉著他們試驗以色列人,看他們肯不肯謹守遵行耶和華的道路,像他們的列祖一樣謹守。”

23 這樣,耶和華留下這些國的民,不迅速把他們趕走,也不把他們交在約書亞裡。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 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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