Δικαστές 2

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1 Και ανεβη αγγελος Κυριου απο Γαλγαλων εις Βοκιμ και ειπε, Σας ανεβιβασα εξ Αιγυπτου και σας εφερα εις την γην την οποιαν ωμοσα προς τους πατερας σας· και ειπα, Δεν θελω αθετησει την προς εσας διαθηκην μου εις τον αιωνα·

2 και σεις δεν θελετε καμει συνθηκην προς τους κατοικους του τοπου τουτου· τα θυσιαστηρια αυτων θελετε καταστρεψει. Δεν υπηκουσατε ομως εις την φωνην μου· δια τι επραξατε τουτο;

3 Δια τουτο και εγω ειπα, Δεν θελω εκδιωξει αυτους απ' εμπροσθεν σας· αλλα θελουσιν εισθαι εναντιοι σας, και οι θεοι αυτων θελουσιν εισθαι παγις εις εσας.

4 Και καθως ελαλησεν ο αγγελος του Κυριου τους λογους τουτους προς παντας τους υιους Ισραηλ, ο λαος υψωσε την φωνην αυτου και εκλαυσε.

5 Και εκαλεσαν το ονομα του τοπου εκεινου Βοκιμ· και εθυσιασαν εκει εις τον Κυριον.

6 Και οτε απελυσε τον λαον ο Ιησους, οι υιοι Ισραηλ υπηγον εκαστος εις την κληρονομιαν αυτου, δια να κατακληρονομησωσι την γην.

7 Και ελατρευσαν ο λαος τον Κυριον πασας τας ημερας του Ιησου και πασας τας ημερας των πρεσβυτερων, οιτινες επεζησαν μετα τον Ιησουν και ειδον παντα τα εργα τα μεγαλα του Κυριου, οσα εκαμεν υπερ του Ισραηλ.

8 Και ετελευτησεν Ιησους, ο υιος του Ναυη, ο δουλος του Κυριου, ηλικιας εκατον δεκα ετων.

9 Και εθαψαν αυτον εις το οριον της κληρονομιας αυτου εν Θαμναθ-αρες, εν τω ορει Εφραιμ, κατα το βορειον μερος του ορους Γαας.

10 Και πασα ετι η γενεα εκεινη προσετεθησαν εις τους πατερας αυτων· και εσηκωθη αλλη γενεα μετ' αυτους, ητις δεν εγνωρισε τον Κυριον ουδε τα εργα, τα οποια εκαμεν υπερ του Ισραηλ.

11 Και επραξαν οι υιοι Ισραηλ πονηρα ενωπιον του Κυριου και ελατρευσαν τους Βααλειμ·

12 και εγκατελιπον Κυριον τον Θεον των πατερων αυτων, τον εξαγαγοντα αυτους εκ γης Αιγυπτου, και υπηγον κατοπιν αλλων θεων, εκ των θεων των λαων των περιξ αυτων, και προσεκυνησαν αυτους και παρωργισαν τον Κυριον.

13 Και εγκατελιπον τον Κυριον και ελατρευσαν τον Βααλ και τας Ασταρωθ.

14 Και εξηφθη ο θυμος του Κυριου κατα του Ισραηλ, και παρεδωκεν αυτους εις την χειρα των λεηλατιστων, και ελεηλατησαν αυτους· και επωλησεν αυτους εις την χειρα των εχθρων αυτων κυκλω, ωστε δεν ηδυνηθησαν πλεον να σταθωσι κατα προσωπον των εχθρων αυτων.

15 Πανταχου οπου εξηρχοντο, η χειρ του Κυριου ητο εναντιον αυτων προς κακον, καθως ελαλησεν ο Κυριος και καθως ωμοσεν ο Κυριος προς αυτους· και ηλθον εις μεγαλην αμηχανιαν.

16 Τοτε ανεστησεν ο Κυριος κριτας, οιτινες εσωσαν αυτους εκ της χειρος των λεηλατουντων αυτους.

17 Πλην ουδε εις τους κριτας αυτων υπηκουσαν, αλλ' επορνευσαν κατοπιν αλλων θεων και προσεκυνησαν αυτους· εξεκλιναν ταχεως απο της οδου, εις την οποιαν περιεπατησαν οι πατερες αυτων υπακουοντες εις τας εντολας του Κυριου· δεν εκαμον ουτω.

18 Και οτε ανεστησεν ο Κυριος εις αυτους κριτας, τοτε ο Κυριος ητο μετα του κριτου και εσωζεν αυτους εκ της χειρος των εχθρων αυτων καθ' ολας τας ημερας του κριτου· διοτι εσπλαγχνισθη ο Κυριος εις τους στεναγμους αυτων τους εξ αιτιας των καταθλιβοντων αυτους και καταπιεζοντων αυτους.

19 Οτε δε απεθνησκεν ο κριτης, επεστρεφον και διεφθειροντο χειροτερα παρα τους πατερας αυτων, υπαγοντες κατοπιν αλλων θεων, δια να λατρευωσιν αυτους και να προσκυνωσιν αυτους· δεν επαυον απο των πραξεων αυτων ουδε απο της οδου αυτων της διεστραμμενης.

20 Και εξηφθη ο θυμος του Κυριου κατα του Ισραηλ, και ειπεν, Επειδη ο λαος ουτος παρεβη την διαθηκην μου, την οποιαν προσεταξα εις τους πατερας αυτων, και δεν υπηκουσεν εις την φωνην μου·

21 και εγω δεν θελω εκδιωξει πλεον απ' εμπροσθεν αυτων ουδεν εκ των εθνων, τα οποια αφηκεν ο Ιησους οτε ετελευτησε,

22 δια να δοκιμασω τον Ισραηλ δια μεσου αυτων, εαν φυλαττωσι την οδον του Κυριου, περιπατουντες εν αυτη, καθως εφυλαξαν αυτην οι πατερες αυτων, η ουχι.

23 Και αφηκε Κυριος τα εθνη ταυτα, χωρις να εκδιωξη ταχεως αυτα· ουδε παρεδωκεν αυτα εις την χειρα του Ιησου.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Δικαστές 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.

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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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