士师记 1

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1 约书亚以色列人求问耶和华说:我们中间谁当首先上去攻击迦南人,与他们争战?

2 耶和华犹大当先上去,我已将那地交在他中。

3 犹大对他哥哥西缅:请你同我到拈阄所得之地去,好与迦南人争战;以後我也同你到你拈阄所得之地去。於是西缅与他同去。

4 犹大就上去;耶和华将迦南和比利洗交在他们中。他们在比色击杀了一万

5 又在那里遇见亚多尼比色,与他争战,杀败迦南人和比利洗人。

6 亚多尼比色逃跑;他们追赶,拿住他,砍断他的大姆指。

7 亚多尼比色:从前有七十个的大姆指都被我砍断,在我桌子拾取零碎食物。现在按着我所行的报应我了。於是他们将亚多尼比色耶路撒冷,他就在那里。

8 犹大人攻打耶路撒冷,将城攻取,用刀杀了城内的人,并且放烧城。

9 犹大去,与地、地,和高原的迦人争战。

10 犹大人去攻击希伯仑的迦南人,杀了示筛、亚希幔、挞买。希伯仑从前名叫基列亚巴。

11 他们从那里去攻击底壁的居民;底壁从前名叫基列西弗。

12 迦勒:谁能攻打基列西弗,将城夺取,我就把我女儿押撒他为妻。

13 迦勒兄弟基纳斯的儿子俄陀聂夺取了那城,迦勒就把女儿押撒他为妻。

14 押撒过门的时候,劝丈夫向他父亲求一块田。押撒一下,迦勒问他:你要甚麽?

15 :求你赐福我,你既将我安置在地,求你也泉。迦勒就把上泉下泉赐他。

16 摩西的内兄(或译:岳父)是基尼人,他的子孙与犹大人一同离了棕树城,往亚拉得以犹大旷野去,就在民中。

17 犹大和他哥哥西缅同去,击杀了洗法的迦南人,将城尽行毁灭,那城的名便何珥玛。

18 犹大又取了迦萨和迦萨的四境,亚实基伦和亚实基伦的四境,以革伦和以革伦的四境。

19 耶和华犹大同在,犹大就赶出地的居民,只是不能赶出平原的居民,因为他们有车。

20 以色列人照摩西的,将希伯仑了迦勒;迦勒就从那里赶出亚衲族的个族长。

21 便雅悯人没有赶出耶路撒冷的耶布斯人。耶布斯人仍在耶路撒冷与便雅悯人同,直到今日。

22 约瑟家也上去攻打伯特利耶和华与他们同在。

23 约瑟家打发人去窥探伯特利(那城起先名叫路斯)。

24 窥探的见一个从城里出来,就对他:求你将进城的指示我们我们必恩待你。

25 将进城的指示他们,他们就用刀击杀了城中的居民,但将那和他全家放去。

26 往赫之地去,筑了一座城,起名路斯。那城到如今还这名。

27 玛拿西没有赶出伯善和属伯善乡村的居民,他纳和属他纳乡村的居民,多珥和属多珥乡村的居民,以伯莲和属以伯莲乡村的居民,米吉多和属米吉多乡村的居民;迦南人却执意在那些地方。

28 以色列强盛了,就使迦南人作苦工,没有把他们全然赶出。

29 以法莲没有赶出基色的迦南人。於是迦南人仍在基色,在以法莲中间。

30 西布伦没有赶出基伦的居民和拿哈拉的居民。於是迦南人仍在西布伦中间,成了服苦的人。

31 亚设没有赶出亚柯和西顿的居民,亚黑拉和亚革悉的居民,黑巴、亚弗革与利合的居民

32 於是,亚设因为没有赶出那地的迦南人,就在他们中间。

33 拿弗他利没有赶出伯示麦和伯亚纳的居民,於是拿弗他利就在那地的迦南人中间;然而伯示麦和伯亚纳的居民成了服苦的人。

34 亚摩利人强逼但人住在地,不容他们到平原;

35 亚摩利人却执意在希烈和亚雅伦并沙宾。然而约瑟胜了他们,使他们成了服苦的人。

36 亚摩利人的境界,是从亚克拉滨坡,从西拉而上。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 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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