士師記 10

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1 亞比米勒以,有以薩迦朵多的孫子、普瓦的兒子陀拉興起,拯以色列人。他以法蓮地的沙密。

2 陀拉作以色列的士師二十三年,就死了,葬在沙密。

3 在他以有基列人睚珥興起,作以色列的士師二十年。

4 他有三十兒子三十駒。他們有三十座城邑,作哈倭特睚珥,直到如今,都是在基列地。

5 睚珥死了,就葬在加們。

6 以色列人又行耶和華眼中看為惡的事,去事奉諸巴力和亞斯他錄,並亞蘭的、西頓的摩押、亞捫人的非利士人,離棄耶和華,不事奉他。

7 耶和華的怒氣向以色列人發作,就把他們交在非利士人和亞捫人的中。

8 從那年起,他們擾害欺壓約但河那邊、住亞摩利人之基列地的以色列人,共有十年。

9 亞捫人又渡過約但河去攻打猶大和便雅憫,並以法蓮族。以色列人就甚覺窘迫。

10 以色列人哀求耶和華:我們得罪了你;因為離棄了我們,去事奉諸巴力。

11 耶和華以色列人:我豈沒有過你們脫離埃及人、亞摩利人、亞捫人,和非利士人麼?

12 西頓人、亞瑪力人、馬雲人也都欺壓你們;你們哀求我,我也拯你們脫離他們的

13 你們竟離棄我,事奉別!所以我不再你們了。

14 你們去哀求所選擇的;你們遭遇急難的時候,讓他你們罷!

15 以色列人耶和華我們犯罪了,任憑你隨意待我們罷!只求你今日拯救我們

16 以色列人就除掉他們中間的外邦,事奉耶和華耶和華以色列人受的苦難,就心中擔憂。

17 當時亞捫人聚集,安營在基列。以色列人聚集,安營在米斯巴。

18 基列的民眾首領彼此商議:誰能先去攻打亞捫,誰必作基列一切居民的領袖。


Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 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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