士师记 3

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1 耶和华留下这几族,为要试验那不曾知道迦南争战之事的以色列人

2 好叫以色列的知道又学习未曾晓得的战事。

3 所留下的就是非利士的个首领和一切迦南人、西顿人,并利巴嫩的希未人,从巴力黑们直到哈马口。

4 留下这几族,为要试验以色列人知道他们肯耶和华摩西吩咐他们列祖的诫命不肯。

5 以色列人在迦南人、赫人、亚摩利人、比利洗人、希未人、耶布斯人中间,

6 娶他们的女儿为妻,将自己的女儿他们的儿子,并事奉他们的

7 以色列人耶和华眼中看为恶的事,忘记耶和华─他们的,去事奉诸巴力和亚舍拉,

8 所以耶和华的怒气向以色列人发作,就把他们交在米所波大米古珊利萨田的中。以色列人服事古珊利萨田年。

9 以色列人呼求耶和华的时候,耶和华就为他们兴起一位拯他们,就是迦勒兄弟基纳斯的儿子俄陀聂。

10 耶和华的灵降在他身上,他就作了以色列的士师,出去争战。耶和华将米所波大米古珊利萨田交在他中,他便胜了古珊利萨田。

11 於是国中太平四十年。基纳斯的儿子俄陀聂死了

12 以色列人又行耶和华眼中看为恶的事,耶和华就使摩押伊矶伦强盛,攻击以色列人

13 伊矶伦招聚亚扪人和亚玛力人,去攻打以色列人,占据棕树城。

14 於是以色列人服事摩押伊矶伦十年。

15 以色列人呼求耶和华的时候,耶和华就为他们兴起一位拯者,就是便雅悯基拉的儿子以笏;他是左便利的。以色列人托他送礼物摩押伊矶伦。

16 以笏打了一把两刃的一肘,带在右衣服里面。

17 他将礼物献给摩押伊矶伦(原来伊矶伦极其肥胖);

18 以笏献完礼物,便将抬礼物的人打发走了,

19 自己却从靠近吉甲凿石之地回来啊,我有一件机密事奏告你。:?避罢!於是左右侍立的人都退去了。

20 以笏到王面前;王独自一人在凉楼上。以笏:我奉的命报告你一件事。王就从座位上站起来

21 以笏便伸左,从右上拔出来,刺入王的肚腹,

22 把都刺进去了。被肥肉夹住,他没有从王的肚腹拔出,且穿通了身。

23 以笏就出到游廊,将楼尽都锁。

24 以笏出之後,王的仆人到了,见楼关锁,就:他必是在楼上大解。

25 他们等烦了,见仍不开楼,就拿钥匙开了,不料,他们的人已,倒在地上。

26 他们耽延的时候,以笏就逃跑了,经过凿石之地,逃到西伊拉;

27 到了,就在以法莲地吹角。以色列人随着他地,他在前头引路,

28 对他们:你们随我来,因为耶和华已经把你们的仇敌摩押人交在你们中。於是他们跟着他去,把守约但河的渡口,不容摩押过去。

29 那时击杀了摩押人约有一万,都是强壮的勇士,没有一逃脱。

30 这样,摩押就被以色列人制伏了。国中太平八十年。

31 以笏之,有亚拿的儿子珊迦,他用赶牛的棍子打死非利士人。他也以色列人

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 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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