士師記 3

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1 耶和華留下的民族這些國的人是耶和華留下的,為要藉著他們來試驗以色列人,就是所有沒有經驗過迦南任何戰爭的人;

2 好使以色列人的後,那些以前沒有經驗過這些戰爭的人,知道學習爭戰。

3 他留下的就是非利士人個首領,和所有迦南人、西頓人,以及黎巴嫩上的希未人,從巴力.黑門直到哈馬口。

4 他們留在那裡,為要藉著他們試驗以色列人,要知道他們是否耶和華摩西吩咐他們列祖的誡命

5 以色列人在迦南人、赫人、亞摩利人、比利洗人、希未人、耶布斯人中間;

6 他們娶他們的女兒妻子,也把自己的女兒他們的兒子,並且事奉他們的

7 俄陀聶以色列人行了耶和華看為惡的事,忘記了耶和華他們的,去事奉眾巴力和亞舍拉。

8 因此,耶和華的怒氣向以色列人發作,把他們完全交在兩河之間的亞蘭古珊.利薩田的中;以色列人服事了古珊.利薩田年。

9 以色列人耶和華哀求的時候,耶和華就為以色列人興起一位拯者拯他們,就是迦勒的弟弟基納斯的兒子俄陀聶。

10 耶和華的靈臨到他身上,他就治理以色列人;他出去作戰,耶和華把亞蘭古珊.利薩田交在他中,他的能力就勝過了古珊.利薩田。

11 於是國中太平了四十年。後來基納斯的兒子俄陀聶死了

12 以笏以色列人又行了耶和華看為惡的事,耶和華就使摩押伊磯倫強盛起來,欺壓以色列人,因為他們行了耶和華看為惡的事。

13 伊磯倫集合了亞捫人和亞瑪力人,前來擊敗了以色列人,佔領了棕樹城。

14 於是以色列人服事了摩押伊磯倫十年。

15 以色列人耶和華哀求的時候,耶和華就為他們興起一位拯者,就是便雅憫基拉的兒子以笏,是一個用左以色列人派他把貢物送給摩押伊磯倫。

16 以笏做了一把兩刃的半公尺,縛在右上,在衣服底

17 他把貢物呈獻給摩押伊磯倫;伊磯倫原是個非常肥胖

18 以笏獻完了貢物,就把抬貢物的眾人打發走了。

19 自己卻從靠近吉甲的眾雕像那裡回來:“啊,我有一件機密的事要對你。”:“暫不要。”侍立左右的人都離開他出去了。

20 以笏到王那裡;王獨自一人在涼樓上。以笏:“我有要告訴你。”王就從座位上站起來

21 以笏就伸出左,從右上拔出來,刺入王的腹中;

22 柄與身都刺進去了,肥肉把身夾住,因此他沒有把從王的肚腹裡拔出;接著他就從窗戶爬了出去。

23 以笏出到走廊,把涼樓上的起來,上了鎖。

24 以笏出以後,王的僕人到;他們見涼樓上的鎖著,就:“王一定是在涼樓上大解。”

25 他們等到發慌了,見他還不打開涼樓的,就拿鑰匙來開;不料,看見他們的人早已倒在地上死了

26 他們耽延的時候,以笏已經逃跑了;他經過眾雕像那裡,逃到西伊拉去。

27 他去到以後,就在以法蓮地吹角;以色列人與他一同從地上,他走在他們前頭,

28 對他們:“你們跟隨我,因為耶和華已經把你們的仇敵摩押人交在你們中。”他們就跟隨去,攻取約旦河的渡口,攔截摩押人,不讓一個過去。

29 那時他們擊殺了約有一萬摩押人,都是強壯的、勇猛的,沒有一逃脫。

30 這樣,從那起,摩押就在以色列人被制伏了,於是國中太平了八十年。

31 珊迦以笏之,有亞拿的兒子珊迦;他用趕牛棒擊殺了非利士人;他也拯以色列人

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 3      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 3: In which we hear about the nations who remain in the land; and about the judges Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar.

This chapter begins with a very important set of statements about the nations still undefeated in the land. First, it says that the Lord would test Israel by means of these nations; secondly, that this test would “teach [the new generations] war”; and finally, that this would reveal whether or not Israel would obey the Lord. The text goes on to say that Israel now took the daughters of other nations to be wives, and also gave their own daughters to the sons of other nations.

Being ‘tested’ by the Lord refers to the temptations and spiritual conflicts we must experience during regeneration. The Lord does not test in order to make us falter, or to see how much we can endure. Rather, the testing is to make us stronger and more steadfast in our intention to follow the Lord (see Swedenborg’s work, True Christian Religion 126).

The new generations who would not have known war stand for those future states, in which we might begin to let go, and forget what the Lord has done for us. While all external wars should cease, we will always need to quell the spiritual wars within us. The key to victory is in our willingness to obey the Lord’s commandments. This wish to obey the Lord must be imprinted in our hearts and minds (see Swedenborg’s work, Doctrine of Faith 50).

‘Taking the daughters of other nations as wives’ describes the ways in which the spiritual marriage of good and truth in us becomes perverted. When our evil desires harm truths, and false ideas harm genuine loves, our sense of what is right becomes so distorted that we have no principles left to follow.

Because Israel kept forgetting the Lord and worshipping other gods, the Lord raised judges to deliver Israel. This chapter tells the stories of three judges, and we will examine the spiritual meaning of each.

The first judge discussed in this chapter was Othniel (see Judges 1). Israel was taken by Chushan-Rishathaim, the king of Mesopotamia, for eight years. His name means ‘the blackness of injustice”. Othniel delivered Israel from captivity, and there was peace for forty years. Spiritually, this describes our power, given to us by the Lord, to break free from evil wishes and thoughts. The number ‘forty’ describes the temptations we must overcome in doing this (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 8098).

The next judge, Ehud, ruled at the time when Eglon, a Moabite king, took Israel captive for eighteen years. Ehud made a long, double-edged dagger and went to the king to pay tribute. When those with him were leaving, he stayed and said to King Eglon, “I have a gift for you from God”, and plunged the dagger into the king’s belly so that his fat covered the blade. Then he left, locking the doors behind him, and Eglon’s servants eventually found their king dead. Ehud then attacked, and freed Israel from the Moabites.

The meaning of this graphic event is to show the power of the truth when it is used to combat evil. Eglon was fat, representing the seemingly large and imposing nature of evils. The double-edged dagger stands for the power of the Word. It went straight into the king’s fat belly, which stands for the absolute power of the Word to tear down evils and falsities. This then allows us to reassert our leading intentions, and return to our service for the Lord (see Apocalypse Revealed 52).

The third and final judge mentioned in this chapter was Shamgar, who killed six hundred Philistines with an ox goad and delivered Israel. The Philistines – who later became a major enemy of Israel – stand for the belief that faith alone will save us, without any need for good actions in life. This can have an insidious influence on us and needs constant attention, represented by the number six hundred. The ox goad (prodder) indicates that we need to keep pushing ourselves to do good, just as an ox is prodded to work strenuously (Arcana Caelestia 1198).

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