Judges 1

** The book of Judges is the history of Israel during the

government of the Judges, who were occasional deliverers, raised

up by God to rescue Israel from their oppressors, to reform the

state of religion, and to administer justice to the people. The

state of God's people does not appear in this book so

prosperous, nor their character so religious, as might have been

expected; but there were many believers among them, and the

tabernacle service was attended to. The history exemplifies the

frequent warnings and predictions of Moses, and should have

close attention. The whole is full of important instruction.

* Proceedings of the tribes of Judah and Simeon. (1-8) Hebron

and other cities taken. (9-20) The proceedings of other tribes.

(21-36)

1-8 The Israelites were convinced that the war against the

Canaanites was to be continued; but they were in doubt as to the

manner in which it was to be carried on after the death of

Joshua. In these respects they inquired of the Lord. God

appoints service according to the strength he has given. From

those who are most able, most work is expected. Judah was first

in dignity, and must be first in duty. Judah's service will not

avail unless God give success; but God will not give the

success, unless Judah applies to the service. Judah was the most

considerable of all the tribes, and Simeon the least; yet Judah

begs Simeon's friendship, and prays for aid from him. It becomes

Israelites to help one another against Canaanites; and all

Christians, even those of different tribes, should strengthen

one another. Those who thus help one another in love, have

reason to hope that God will graciously help both. Adoni-bezek

was taken prisoner. This prince had been a severe tyrant. The

Israelites, doubtless under the Divine direction, made him

suffer what he had done to others; and his own conscience

confessed that he was justly treated as he had treated others.

Thus the righteous God sometimes, in his providence, makes the

punishment answer the sin.
9-20 The Canaanites had iron chariots; but Israel had God on

their side, whose chariots are thousands of angels, #Ps 68:17|.

Yet they suffered their fears to prevail against their faith.

About Caleb we read in #Jos 15:16-19|. The Kenites had settled

in the land. Israel let them fix where they pleased, being a

quiet, contented people. They that molested none, were molested

by none. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
21-36 The people of Israel were very careless of their duty and

interest. Owing to slothfulness and cowardice, they would not be

at the pains to complete their conquests. It was also owing to

their covetousness: they were willing to let the Canaanites live

among them, that they might make advantage of them. They had not

the dread and detestation of idolatry they ought to have had.

The same unbelief that kept their fathers forty years out of

Canaan, kept them now out of the full possession of it. Distrust

of the power and promise of God deprived them of advantages, and

brought them into troubles. Thus many a believer who begins well

is hindered. His graces languish, his lusts revive, Satan plies

him with suitable temptations, the world recovers its hold; he

brings guilt into his conscience, anguish into his heart,

discredit on his character, and reproach on the gospel. Though

he may have sharp rebukes, and be so recovered that he does not

perish, yet he will have deeply to lament his folly through his

remaining days; and upon his dying bed to mourn over the

opportunities of glorifying God and serving the church he has

lost. We can have no fellowship with the enemies of God within

us or around us, but to our hurt; therefore our only wisdom is

to maintain unceasing war against them.

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