Judges 3

* The nations left to prove Israel. (1-7) Othniel delivers

Israel. (8-11) Ehud delivers Israel from Eglon. (12-30) Shamgar

delivers and judges Israel. (31)

1-7 As the Israelites were a type of the church on earth, they

were not to be idle and slothful. The Lord was pleased to try

them by the remains of the devoted nations they spared.

Temptations and trials detect the wickedness of the hearts of

sinners; and strengthen he graces of believers in their daily

conflict with Satan, sin, and this evil world. They must live in

this world, but they are not of it, and are forbidden to conform

to it. This marks the difference between the followers of Christ

and mere professors. The friendship of the world is more fatal

than its enmity; the latter can only kill the body, but the

former murders many precious souls.
8-11 The first judge was Othniel: even in Joshua's time Othniel

began to be famous. Soon after Israel's settlement in Canaan

their purity began to be corrupted, and their peace disturbed.

But affliction makes those cry to God who before would scarcely

speak to him. God returned in mercy to them for their

deliverance. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel. The

Spirit of wisdom and courage to qualify him for the service, and

the Spirit of power to excite him to it. He first judged Israel,

reproved and reformed them, and then went to war. Let sin at

home be conquered, that worst of enemies, then enemies abroad

will be more easily dealt with. Thus let Christ be our Judge and

Lawgiver, then he will save us.
12-30 When Israel sins again, God raises up a new oppressor.

The Israelites did ill, and the Moabites did worse; yet because

God punishes the sins of his own people in this world, Israel is

weakened, and Moab strengthened against them. If lesser troubles

do not do the work, God will send greater. When Israel prays

again, God raises up Ehud. As a judge, or minister of Divine

justice, Ehud put to death Eglon, the king of Moab, and thus

executed the judgments of God upon him as an enemy to God and

Israel. But the law of being subject to principalities and

powers in all things lawful, is the rule of our conduct. No such

commissions are now given; to pretend to them is to blaspheme

God. Notice Ehud's address to Eglon. What message from God but a

message of vengeance can a proud rebel expect? Such a message is

contained in the word of God; his ministers are boldly to

declare it, without fearing the frown, or respecting the persons

of sinners. But, blessed be God, they have to deliver a message

of mercy and of free salvation; the message of vengeance belongs

only to those who neglect the offers of grace. The consequence

of this victory was, that the land had rest eighty years. It was

a great while for the land to rest; yet what is that to the

saints' everlasting rest in the heavenly Canaan.
31 The side of the country which lay south-west, was infested

by the Philistines. God raised up Shamgar to deliver them;

having neither sword nor spear, he took an ox-goad, the

instrument next at hand. God can make those serviceable to his

glory and to his church's good, whose birth, education, and

employment, are mean and obscure. It is no matter what the

weapon is, if God directs and strengthens the arm. Often he

works by unlikely means, that the excellency of the power may

appear to be of God.

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