士師記 2

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1 耶和華的使者從吉甲上到波金,對以色列人:我使你們從埃及,領你們到我向你們列祖起誓應許之地。我又:我永不廢棄與你們所立的約。

2 你們也不可與這地的居民立約,要拆毀他們的祭壇。你們竟沒有從我的話!為何這樣行呢?

3 因此我又:我必不將他們從你們面前趕出;他們必作你們肋下的荊棘。他們的必作你們的網羅。

4 耶和華的使者向以色列眾人的時候,百姓就放聲而哭。

5 於是給那地方起名波金(就是哭的意思)。眾人在那裡向耶和華獻祭。

6 從前約書亞打發以色列百姓去的時候,他們各歸自己的地業,佔據地土。

7 約書亞在世和約書亞死後,那些見耶和華以色列人所行事的長老還在的時候,百姓都事奉耶和華

8 耶和華的僕人、嫩的兒子約書亞,正一歲就死了

9 以色列人將他葬在他地業的境內,就是在以法蓮地的亭拿希烈,在迦實邊。

10 世代的人也都歸了自己的列祖。來有別的世代興起,不知道耶和華,也不知道耶和華以色列人所行的事。

11 以色列人耶和華眼中看為惡的事,去事奉諸巴力,

12 離棄了領他們出埃及地的耶和華─他們列祖的,去叩拜別,就是四圍列國的,惹耶和華發怒;

13 並離棄耶和華,去事奉巴力和亞斯他錄。

14 耶和華的怒氣向以色列人發作,就把他們交在搶奪他們的人中,又將他們付與四圍仇敵的中,甚至他們在仇敵面前再不能站立得住。

15 他們無論往何處去,耶和華都以災禍攻擊他們,正如耶和華的話,又如耶和華向他們所起的誓;他們便極其困苦。

16 耶和華興起士師,士師就拯他們脫離搶奪他們人的

17 他們卻不從士師,竟隨從叩拜別,行了邪淫,速速地偏離他們列祖所行的道,不如他們列祖順從耶和華的命令

18 耶和華為他們興起士師,就與那士師同在。士師在世的一切日子,耶和華他們脫離仇敵的。他們因受欺壓擾害,就哀聲歎氣,所以耶和華後悔了。

19 及至士師,他們就去行惡,比他們列祖更甚,去事奉叩拜別,總不斷絕頑梗的惡行。

20 於是耶和華的怒氣向以色列人發作。他:因這民違背我吩咐他們列祖所守的約,不從我的話,

21 所以約書亞的時候所剩下的各族,我必不再從他們面前趕出,

22 為要藉此試驗以色列人,看他們肯照他們列祖謹守遵行我的道不肯。

23 這樣耶和華留下各族,不將他們速速趕出,也沒有交付約書亞的

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 2      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 2: Israel’s disobedience and Joshua’s death.

This chapter opens with a reprimand from the Angel of the Lord. The Israelites had been commanded not to make any treaties with the people of Canaan, and to tear down their altars. The Angel warned that Israel had broken their covenant to the Lord, so the Lord would not drive out the other inhabitants of the land; they would be thorns in Israel’s side, and their gods would be a snare. Israel wept, and sacrificed to the Lord.

After the Israelites had gone to their assigned territories, it mentions Joshua’s death and burial (yet Joshua had died at the end of the book of Joshua!). All Israel had followed the Lord during Joshua’s time, and understood what the Lord had done for Israel. But the older generation died away, and a new generation arose who did not know the Lord, nor what He had done for Israel.

The chapter then spells out the terrible plight in which the people of Israel had entangled themselves. They had begun to worship Baal and Ashtaroth, the gods of the Canaanites, and they turned away from the Lord who had done so much for them. So, the Lord allowed their enemies to attack them, and Israel could not stand against them. This theme of straying from the Lord, and in turn being punished, will return through the next few chapters.

In the midst of this, the text says that the Lord raised up judges who delivered Israel. However, when each judge died, the people reverted to worshipping other gods. This seems to anticipate the events ahead in Judges.

*****

This chapter really marks the first of many transgressions committed by the Israelites in the book of Judges. The first three verses of this chapter feature the Angel of the Lord, who appears many times throughout the Word, and for many reasons: sometimes to bless, but in this case, to admonish the children of Israel for their disobedience. The Angel of the Lord stands firm and resolute, and represents truths from the Lord revealed in our hearts and minds (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 96[6]).

The spiritual meaning of ‘weeping’ can mean various things, depending on the context. Here, the people wept because of the Angel’s warning, in momentary recognition of their wrongdoing. This is not real repentance (a ‘change of heart’), but fear along with a sense of our own self-love, which may lead us into more disobedience (see Swedenborg’s work, Heaven and Hell 153).

The death of the older generation and rise of a new one represents a change of state in us. The older generation - Joshua and the elders - served as a connection between the people and the Lord, since they had seen the Lord’s blessings on Israel in their own time. However, when we lose that connection, both our love of obedience and understanding of why we must obey the Lord fall away.

Our changes of state usually happen quickly; we suddenly get angry, feel fear, become selfish. When we turn to the Lord for help during these times, we quickly enter a state of humility in which the Lord can reach us (see Swedenborg’s Doctrine of Life 21).

After Joshua’s death, the children of Israel began to worship other gods, and the Lord punished them. In our lives, this would be like turning back on our devotion to the Lord to instead focus on worldly things, and do just as we please. There is no punishment from the Lord, only the consequences of our actions. We become weak, easy prey for doubts and anxieties, completely at the mercy of the hells (see Arcana Caelestia 7373).

Although the Lord raised judges to lead the people, the Israelites would would return to their old ways once the judge had passed away. This gives us a valuable spiritual truth that even in our sorry state of self-interest, we are still, at times, able to see the mess we are in. We may feel alarmed for a while, but this subsides and we grow complacent once again. The Lord raises up judges so that we can hold ourselves accountable.

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