士師記 9

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1 亞比米勒殺基甸的眾子耶路.巴力的兒子亞比米勒,到示劍去見他的眾母舅,對他們和他母親的全體族人

2 “請你們給示劍的:‘是耶路.巴力的眾子七十都統治你們呢?還是統治你們呢?’你們也要記得我是你們的。”

3 他的眾母舅就把這一切為他示劍的眾人聽;他們的都傾向亞比米勒,因為他們:“他本是我們的親族。”

4 他們就從巴力.比利土的廟裡,取了八百克亞比米勒,亞比米勒用這些子雇了一些無賴流氓,那些人就跟隨了他。

5 他回到俄弗拉他父親的家,把自己的兄弟,耶路.巴力的眾子七十,都石頭上;只下耶路.巴力的小兒子約坦,因為他藏了起

6 示劍的眾人和伯特米羅人都聚集起來,到示劍橡樹旁的望樓那裡,立亞比米勒為

7 約坦的寓言有人把這事告訴了約坦,約坦就去,站在基利心頂上,高聲向他們呼喊,:“示劍人哪,你們要我的話,也就你們的話。

8 有一次,眾要去立一個統治它們,就對橄欖:‘請你作統治我們吧。’

9 橄欖對它們:‘我怎可以放棄生產人用來榮耀和尊崇人的油,飄搖在眾之上呢?’

10 無花果樹:‘請你來作王統治我們吧。’

11 無花果樹對它們:‘我怎可以放棄結出我的甜美果子,飄搖在眾之上呢?’

12 對葡萄:‘請你來作王統治我們吧。’

13 葡萄對它們:‘我怎可以放棄生產那使和世人都喜樂的新酒,飄搖在眾之上呢?’

14 於是眾都對荊棘:‘請你來作王統治我們吧。’

15 荊棘對眾:‘如果你們真誠地立我作統治你們,就要,投靠在我的蔭下;否則,必從荊棘裡出,吞滅黎巴嫩的香柏。’

16 “現在你們立亞比米勒為王,你們若是誠實和正直,如果你們善待耶路.巴力和他的家,照著他所作的待他;

17 父親從前冒死為你們爭戰,把你們從米甸人中救了出來;

18 今日你們竟起來攻擊我的父家,在石頭了他七十個兒子,又立了他的婢女所生的兒子亞比米勒作示劍的王,因為他原是你們的親族。

19 今日你們若是按著誠實和正直待耶路.巴力和他的家,你們就可以因亞比米勒得喜樂,亞比米勒也可以因你們得喜樂。

20 若不是這樣,願從亞比米勒出來,吞滅示劍人和伯特米羅人;又願示劍人和伯特米羅人出來,吞滅亞比米勒。”

21 接著約坦就逃跑了;他逃到比珥去,在那裡,躲避他的兄弟亞比米勒。

22 示劍人背叛亞比米勒王亞比米勒治理以色列人年。

23 差派邪惡的靈來到亞比米勒與示劍人中間,示劍人就背棄了亞比米勒。

24 這是要報復對耶路.巴力七十個兒子的暴行,把流他們血的罪歸到他們的兄弟亞比米勒身上,就是那害他們的;也歸到示劍人身上,就是那些幫助亞比米勒去他自己的兄弟的。

25 示劍人在頂上設下埋伏,過他們那裡的,他們都劫掠;有人把這事告訴亞比米勒。

26 那時,以別的兒子迦勒與他的兄弟來了,到示劍去,示劍人竟信任他。

27 他們出到田間去,收取葡萄,榨酒,舉行慶祝會,進入他們的,並且咒詛亞比米勒。

28 以別的兒子迦勒:“亞比米勒是誰?示劍是誰?竟要我們服事他呢?他不是耶路.巴力的兒子嗎?他的副不是西布勒嗎?你們要服事示劍的始祖哈抹的後人啊;我們為甚麼要服事亞比米勒呢?

29 但願這些人民都歸在我,我好把亞比米勒除掉。”迦勒又對亞比米勒:“增添你的軍隊出來吧!”

30 那城的首長西布勒了以別的兒子迦勒的,他的怒氣就發作,

31 祕密差派使者去見亞比米勒,說:“以別的兒子迦勒和他的兄弟已經到了示劍,他們正在煽動那城的人反叛你。

32 現在,你和與你在一起的人,要在夜間起來,在野地埋伏。

33 到了早晨太陽出來的時候,你就要起來攻城;你要注意,迦勒和與他在一起的人出來對抗你的時候,你就把握機會對付他們。”

34 於是亞比米勒與他在一起的人,都在夜間起來,分作隊,埋伏著等候示劍人。

35 以別的兒子迦勒出去,站在城門口;亞比米勒和與他在一起的人,從埋伏的地方起來

36 迦勒見了那些人,就對西布勒:“你,有人從頂上來。”西布勒:“你的影子以為是人。”

37 迦勒又:“看哪,有人從,又有隊從米惡尼尼橡樹的徑而。”

38 西布勒對他:“你曾經說過:‘亞比米勒是誰,竟要我們服事他呢?’現在你這話的嘴在哪裡呢?這不是你輕視的人嗎?現在請你出去與他們交戰吧。”

39 於是迦勒在示劍人面前出去,與亞比米勒爭戰。

40 亞比米勒追趕迦勒,迦勒在他面前逃跑,直到城門口,有很多受傷的人仆倒。

41 亞比米勒在亞魯瑪;西布勒把迦勒和他的兄弟趕走,不許他們示劍

42 亞比米勒的反擊次日,城中眾人出到田間去,有人把這事告訴亞比米勒。

43 亞比米勒就把他的人分作隊,埋伏在田間;他在那裡觀,見有人從城裡出來,就起來攻擊他們,把他們擊殺了。

44 亞比米勒與他在一起的一隊人忽然衝過去,站在城門口;其他兩隊人也衝出來攻打所有在田間的人,把他們擊殺了。

45 一天,亞比米勒整攻打那城,把城攻下了,了城中的眾人;把城拆毀,又撒上

46 示劍樓的眾人見了這事,就逃入伊勒.比利土廟的地穴裡。

47 有人告訴亞比米勒,說:“示劍樓所有的人都聚集在一起。”

48 亞比米勒和與他在一起的人都上了撒們;亞比米勒裡拿著斧子,砍下一根枝,拿起來放在自己的肩頭上,然後對與他在一起的人:“你們我作甚麼,你們也要趕照樣作。”

49 於是眾也各自砍下一根樹枝,跟隨著亞比米勒,把樹枝放在地穴上,放燒了地穴,以致示劍樓的死了女約有一

50 亞比米勒的結局後來亞比米勒到提備斯去,安營攻打提備斯,攻取了那城。

51 城中有一座堅固的城樓;那城所有的人,無論男女,都逃到那裡去,上門,上了樓頂。

52 亞比米勒到了城樓前,攻打城樓;他走城樓口,要用焚燒。

53 個婦人把塊上磨石拋在亞比米勒的上,打破了他的蓋骨。

54 他急忙呼喊替他拿兵器的少年人,對他:“拔出你的刀來,把我吧。免得人講論我:‘他被一個婦人所。’”於是那少年人把他刺透,他就死了

55 以色列人見亞比米勒死了,就各回自己的地方去了。

56 這樣,報應了亞比米勒向他父親所行的惡事,就是他了自己的兄弟七十個人。

57 也把示劍人的一切惡事,都報應在他們的上;耶路.巴力的兒子約坦的咒詛,也歸到他們身上。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 9      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 9: Abimelech’s conspiracy, the parable of the trees, Abimelech’s downfall.

This chapter follows the story of Gideon’s many sons; he had seventy sons by his many wives, and also one other son, Abimelech, by a concubine. After Gideon’s death, Abimelech went to the men of Shechem, where his mother’s family lived, and asked them if they would rather be ruled by seventy sons, or by him. The men of Shechem agreed it would be better to have one king, so they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the temple of Baal. Using the silver, Abimelech hired men to come with him, and they killed the seventy sons of Gideon except the youngest, Jotham, who hid. Then they anointed Abimelech king.

When Jotham heard the news, he stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and taunted the men of Shechem with a parable. In his parable, the trees were searching for a king to lead them; they ask the olive, then the fig, then the vine to rule over them. Each refuses, because they do not want to give up their special purpose. Finally, the bramble agrees to lead them, but gives them the choice of either sheltering in its non-existent shade or being consumed by its own fire.

Jotham explained the parable, warning that Abimelech and the men of Shechem would more than likely tear each other down in the end. Then he fled to Beer to escape his brother’s vengeance.

After Abimelech had ruled Israel for three years, the Lord sent an evil spirit to spark ill-will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. This evil spirit was meant to avenge the killing of Gideon’s seventy sons.

The rest of this chapter describes the city’s descent into chaos, illustrating the various manifestations of evil and falsity through many examples. Robbers were sent to ambush travellers in the mountains, the people of Shechem drunkenly cursed Abimelech in the temple of their god, and the tower of Shechem was burned, killing a thousand hiding in it. Finally, Abimelech lay siege to Thebez, and the people took shelter on the top of a tower there. When he tried to burn that tower, a woman hurled down a millstone to break Abimelech’s skull. In his final moments, Abimelech commanded his armourbearer to kill him with his sword, so that people would not say he was killed by a woman. All of these incidents depict the absolute corruption under Abimelech’s rule.

*****

The key to understanding this story is that Gideon’s son, Abimelech, is the son of a concubine, not a lawful wife. Spiritually speaking, a concubine stands for a love that has become distorted. A genuine love for someone is a love for sake of that other person, while a distorted love means loving someone for what we can get from them (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Love and Wisdom 271[2], on the love of dominating for the sake of self-love).

The references to Gideon’s seventy sons stand for the enormity of Abimelech’s wrongdoing. The number ‘seven’ stands for something fully worked through, and seventy even more so.

Jotham’s parable presents three levels of pure love: the love of the Lord (the olive with its fragrant oil), the love of truth (the vine with its rich wine), and the love of use (the fig with its abundant seeds). The bramble, with its painful grip, stands for a love of evil and falsity (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 273).

The evil spirit sent by the Lord seems to show that God was punishing his own people, but that is only how things appear (Arcana Caelestia 1838). When we look deeper, we will realize that we are punished by our own evil actions, for evil breeds more evil and there is no rest for the wicked (see Isaiah 48:22). In regeneration, the process of breaking down the power of evil and false states in ourselves is called “vastation”. Once we have done the grueling work to minimize these influences over us, we can fully appreciate the joys of spiritual life (Arcana Caelestia 2694[2]).

Spiritually, an ambush depicts the way hell attacks our minds: without warning. Drunkenness and cursing a former ally stands for the abandonment of all values and integrity. The tower represents the pride which rises up in self-love and love of dominance, and beyond that, Abimelech’s aversion to being killed by a woman stands for the rejection of all that is good and true. Her millstone grinds corn to make it edible, in the same way that we must process truths to put them to use (see Swedenborg’s work, Apocalypse Explained 1182).

This powerful chapter shows the descent of evil into greater evils, until they become so consuming they have no vestige of good left, and no recognition of truth remaining. The final two verses state: “Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Gideon.”

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