士师记 10

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1 亚比米勒以,有以萨迦朵多的孙子、普瓦的儿子陀拉兴起,拯以色列人。他以法莲地的沙密。

2 陀拉作以色列的士师二十三年,就死了,葬在沙密。

3 在他以有基列人睚珥兴起,作以色列的士师二十年。

4 他有三十儿子三十驹。他们有三十座城邑,作哈倭特睚珥,直到如今,都是在基列地。

5 睚珥死了,就葬在加们。

6 以色列人又行耶和华眼中看为恶的事,去事奉诸巴力和亚斯他录,并亚兰的、西顿的摩押、亚扪人的非利士人,离弃耶和华,不事奉他。

7 耶和华的怒气向以色列人发作,就把他们交在非利士人和亚扪人的中。

8 从那年起,他们扰害欺压约但河那边、住亚摩利人之基列地的以色列人,共有十年。

9 亚扪人又渡过约但河去攻打犹大和便雅悯,并以法莲族。以色列人就甚觉窘迫。

10 以色列人哀求耶和华:我们得罪了你;因为离弃了我们,去事奉诸巴力。

11 耶和华以色列人:我岂没有过你们脱离埃及人、亚摩利人、亚扪人,和非利士人麽?

12 西顿人、亚玛力人、马云人也都欺压你们;你们哀求我,我也拯你们脱离他们的

13 你们竟离弃我,事奉别!所以我不再你们了。

14 你们去哀求所选择的;你们遭遇急难的时候,让他你们罢!

15 以色列人耶和华我们犯罪了,任凭你随意待我们罢!只求你今日拯救我们

16 以色列人就除掉他们中间的外邦,事奉耶和华耶和华以色列人受的苦难,就心中担忧。

17 当时亚扪人聚集,安营在基列。以色列人聚集,安营在米斯巴。

18 基列的民众首领彼此商议:谁能先去攻打亚扪,谁必作基列一切居民的领袖。


Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 10      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 10: Tola, Jair; Israel oppressed again.

This chapter opens by mentioning the judges Tola and Jair, who judged for twenty-three years and twenty-two years, respectively. The text gives us very little information about them, except that Jair had thirty sons, who rode on thirty donkeys and had thirty cities in the land of Gilead.

After Jair died, the people soon disobeyed the Lord, and worshipped the gods of Syria, Sidon, Moab, Philistia, and Ammon. This provoked the Lord’s anger, so He caused the Philistines and Ammonites to oppress Israel. The Ammonites first attacked the two-and-a-half tribes living on the eastern side of the Jordan, then crossed the river to attack Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim.

The people cried out to the Lord, saying that they had forsaken Him, but He told them to go to the other gods they had chosen. However, the people asked again for forgiveness, stopped worshipping foreign gods, and turned back to the Lord, so His anger toward them subsided.

*****

This chapter describes another episode in Israel’s cycle of disobedience and punishment, in which the people repeatedly turn away from the Lord when there is no leader. No matter how often we affirm our faith in the Lord, we, too, will default to our natural desires and false thinking. As we come to recognize and accept this fact of life, we can find comfort in the Lord. He understands this completely, and does not blame or punish us.

The first judge mentioned is Tola. His name means “a worm-like grub”, suggesting the idea of metamorphosis and regeneration (see Swedenborg’s work, True Christian Religion 106[2]). Tola’s father was Puah (meaning “shining”), his grandfather was Dodo (meaning “amorous, loving”), and their city was Shamir (which means “keeping the commandment”). These names bring to mind the spiritual qualities of truth, love and life in the Lord (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 977).

The next judge is Jair, whose name means ”he whom God enlightens”. The number thirty (used in reference to his thirty sons and their thirty towns) means fullness or readiness. This readiness refers to our spiritual ‘remains’, or states of innocence and charity that the Lord imparts to us during childhood. These remains are essential during regeneration (Arcana Caelestia 1050).

The Philistines, soon to be a major enemy of Israel, stand for the belief in “faith alone” salvation. This way of thinking instills the idea that we will be saved if we “believe in the Lord”, regardless of our actions. “Faith alone” doctrine is present in many religious practices (see Swedenborg’s work, Doctrine of Life 4).

The people of Ammon stand for profaning what is true, by turning the truths of the Word into false ideas. We profane the truth when we claim to know what the Word teaches, but live in a way that is contrary to the Lord’s commandments (Arcana Caelestia 6348[3]).

This chapter, like many others in the book of Judges, shows Israel’s decline into chaos and evil. The two judges, Tola and Jair, provide a picture of spiritual integrity, in contrast with Israel’s oppression by the very evils they have turned to. In our regeneration, with its highs and lows, we must avoid the temptation of shallow faith by acting according to our values.

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