士師記 3

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1 耶和華留下這幾族,為要試驗那不曾知道迦南爭戰之事的以色列人

2 好叫以色列的知道又學習未曾曉得的戰事。

3 所留下的就是非利士的個首領和一切迦南人、西頓人,並利巴嫩的希未人,從巴力黑們直到哈馬口。

4 留下這幾族,為要試驗以色列人知道他們肯耶和華摩西吩咐他們列祖的誡命不肯。

5 以色列人在迦南人、赫人、亞摩利人、比利洗人、希未人、耶布斯人中間,

6 娶他們的女兒為妻,將自己的女兒他們的兒子,並事奉他們的

7 以色列人耶和華眼中看為惡的事,忘記耶和華─他們的,去事奉諸巴力和亞舍拉,

8 所以耶和華的怒氣向以色列人發作,就把他們交在米所波大米古珊利薩田的中。以色列人服事古珊利薩田年。

9 以色列人呼求耶和華的時候,耶和華就為他們興起一位拯他們,就是迦勒兄弟基納斯的兒子俄陀聶。

10 耶和華的靈降在他身上,他就作了以色列的士師,出去爭戰。耶和華將米所波大米古珊利薩田交在他中,他便勝了古珊利薩田。

11 於是國中太平四十年。基納斯的兒子俄陀聶死了

12 以色列人又行耶和華眼中看為惡的事,耶和華就使摩押伊磯倫強盛,攻擊以色列人

13 伊磯倫招聚亞捫人和亞瑪力人,去攻打以色列人,佔據棕樹城。

14 於是以色列人服事摩押伊磯倫十年。

15 以色列人呼求耶和華的時候,耶和華就為他們興起一位拯者,就是便雅憫基拉的兒子以笏;他是左便利的。以色列人託他送禮物摩押伊磯倫。

16 以笏打了一把兩刃的一肘,帶在右衣服裡面。

17 他將禮物獻給摩押伊磯倫(原來伊磯倫極其肥胖);

18 以笏獻完禮物,便將抬禮物的人打發走了,

19 自己卻從靠近吉甲鑿石之地回來啊,我有一件機密事奏告你。:迴避罷!於是左右侍立的人都退去了。

20 以笏到王面前;王獨自一人在涼樓上。以笏:我奉的命報告你一件事。王就從座位上站起來

21 以笏便伸左,從右上拔出來,刺入王的肚腹,

22 把都刺進去了。被肥肉夾住,他沒有從王的肚腹拔出,且穿通了身。

23 以笏就出到遊廊,將樓盡都鎖。

24 以笏出之後,王的僕人到了,見樓關鎖,就:他必是在樓上大解。

25 他們等煩了,見仍不開樓,就拿鑰匙開了,不料,他們的人已,倒在地上。

26 他們耽延的時候,以笏就逃跑了,經過鑿石之地,逃到西伊拉;

27 到了,就在以法蓮地吹角。以色列人隨著他地,他在前頭引路,

28 對他們:你們隨我來,因為耶和華已經把你們的仇敵摩押人交在你們中。於是他們跟著他去,把守約但河的渡口,不容摩押過去。

29 那時擊殺了摩押人約有一萬,都是強壯的勇士,沒有一逃脫。

30 這樣,摩押就被以色列人制伏了。國中太平八十年。

31 以笏之,有亞拿的兒子珊迦,他用趕牛的棍子打死非利士人。他也以色列人

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 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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