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B. 106. 42.
2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, 8 And that year they vexed and toppressed the and died, and was buried in Shanır.
children of Israel eighteen years, all the children of 3 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and Israel that were on the other side Jordan, in the land judged Israel twenty and two years.
of the Amorites, which is in Gilead; 4 And he had thirty sons ihat rode aon thirty 9 (Moreover, the children of Ammon passed over ass-colts, and they had thirty cities, which bare Jordan, to fight also against Judah, and against called "Havoth-jair unto this day, which are in the Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim;) so land of Gilead.
that Israel was sore distressed 5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon. 10 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD,
6 And "the children of Israel did evil again in the saying, We have sinned against thee, both because sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashta- we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim. roth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of «Zidon, 11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and for- from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, sook the Lord, and served not him.
and from the Philistines ? 7. And the anger of the Lord was hot against 12 The Zidonians kalso, and the Amalekites,' and Israel, and he sold "them into the hands of the Phi- the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to listines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. me, and I delivered you out of their hand.
c. 5. 10. 12. 14. b Deut. 3. 14. • or, the rillages of Jair. Num. 32. 41. crushed. SI Sam. 28. 15. Ex. 14. 30. h Num. 21. 21-25. i c. 3, 12-15, < c. 2. 11--14. 3. 7. 4.1. 6.1. 13. 1. di Kings 11. 33. é i Sam. 12. 9, 10. 31. k c. 5. 19. I c. 6. 3. m matter for the historian to entertain his reader with; such were doubt, in crowds into the land of Israel, and if they could not the reigns of these two judges, Tola and Jair, who make but a live in their own country, would take root there, and so stransmall figure, and take up but a very little room in this history. gers would devour their strength.” If they did it in compliment But, no doubt, they were both raised up of God to serve their io the neighbouring nations, and to ingratiate themselves with country in the quality of judges, not pretending, as Abimelech them, justly were they disappointed; for those nations which by had done, to the grandeur of kings, nor, like him, taking the their wicked arts they sought to make their friends, by the righhonour they had to themselves, they were called of God to it. teous judgments of God became their enemies and oppressors.
1. Concerning Tola, it is said, that he arose after Abimelech In quo quis peccat, in eo punitur-Wherein a person offends, to defend Israel, v. 1. After Abimelech had debauched Israel therein he shall be punished. 2. They did not so much as admit by his wickedness, disquieted and disturbed them by his rest- the God of Israel to be one of those many deities they worless ambition, and, by the mischiefs he brought on them, ex- shipped, but quite cast him off; they forsook the Lord, and served posed them to enemies from abroad, God animated this good not him at all. Those that think to serve both God and mamman to appear for the reforming of abuses, the putting down of mon, will soon come entirely to forsake God, and to serve idolatry, the appeasing of tumults, and the healing of the mammon only. If God have not all the heart, he will soon have wounds given to the state by Abimelech's usurpation. Thus he none of it. saved them from themselves, and guarded them against their II. God renewed his judgments upon them, bringing them enemies. He was of the tribe of Issachar, a tribe disposed to under the power of oppressing enemies. Had they fallen into serve, for he bowed his shoulder to bear, (Gen. 49. 14, 15;) yet the hands of the Lord immediately, they might have found that one of that tribe is here raised up to rule : for those that hum- his mercies were greut; but God let them fall into the hands of ble themselves shall be exalted. He bore the name of him that man, whose tender mercies are cruel; he sold them into the hands was ancestor to the first family of that tribe; of the sons of Is- of the Philistines that lay south-west of Canaan, and of the Amsachar, Tola was the first, Gen. 46. 13. Num. 26. 23. It sig- monites that lay north-east, both at the same time; so that benifies a worm, yet being the name of his ancestor, he was not tween those two millstones they were miserably crushed, as the ashamed of it. Though he was of Issachar, yet, when he was original word is, (v. 8,) for oppressed. God had appointed that raised up to the government, he came and dwelt in mount Eph- if any of the cities of Israel should revolt to idolatry, the rest raim, which was more in the heart of the country, that the peo- should make war upon them, and cut them off, Dent. 13. 12, &c. ple might the more conveniently resort to him for judgment. They had been jealous enough in this matter, almost to an exHe judged Israel twenty-three years, (v.2 :) kept things in good treme, in the case of the altar set up by the two tribes and a order, but did not any thing very memorable.
half, (Josh. 22,) but now they were grown so very bad, that 2. Jair was a Gileadite, so was his next successor Jephthah, when one city was infected with idolatry, the next took the inboth of that half tribe of the tribe of Manasseh which lay on section, and, instead of punishing it, imitated and outdid it; the other side Jordan; though they seemed separated from their and therefore since they ihal should have been revengers to exbrethren, yet God took care, while the honour of the government ecute wrath on them that did this evil, were themselves guilty, or was shifted from tribe to tribe, and before it settled in Judah, bore the sword in vain, God brought the neighbouring nations that they who lay remote, should sometimes share in it, putting upon them to chastise them for their apostacy. more abundant honour on that part which lacked, Jair bore the The oppression of Israel by the Ammonites, the posterity of name of a very famous man of the same tribe, who in Moses's Lot, was, 1. Very long; it continued eighteen years. Some time was very active in reducing this country, Num. 32. 41. make those years to be part of the judgeship of Jair, who could Josh. 13. 30. That which is chiefly remarkable concerning not prevail to reform and deliver Israel as he would. Others this Jair, is, the increase and honour of his family, he had thirty make them to commence at the death of Jair, which seems the sons, v. 4. And, (1.) They had good preferments, for they rode more probable, because that part of Israel which was most inon thirty ass-colts; that is, they were judges itinerant, who, as fested by the Ammonites was Gilead, Jair's own country, deputies to their father, rode from place to place in their se- which we cannot suppose to have suffered so much while he veral circuits to administer justice. We find afterward that was living, but that part at least would be reformed and proSamuel made his sons judges, though he could not make them tected. 2. Very grievous ; they vexed them and oppressed good ones, 1 Sam. 8. 1-3. (2.) They had good possessions; them. It was a great vexation to be oppressed by such a deevery one a city, out of those that were called, from their an-spicable people as the children of Ammon were. They began cestor, of the same name with their father, Havoth-jair; the with those tribes that lay next them on the other side Jordan, here villages of Jair; yet they are called cities, either because those called the land of the Amorites, (v. 8,) because the Israelites young gentlemen to whom they were assigned enlarged and were so wretchedly degenerated, and had made themselves so fortified them, and so improved them into cities, or because they like the heathen, that they were become, in a manner, perfect were as well pleased with their lot in those country towns, as Amorites, Ez. 16. 3. Or, because by their sin they forfeited if they had been cities compact together, and fenced with gates their title to this land, so that it might justly be looked upon as and bars. Villages are cities to a contented mind.
the land of the Amorites again, from whom they took it. But by V. 6-9. While those two judges, Tola and Jair, presided degrees they pushed forward, came over Jordan, and invaded in the affairs of Israel, things went well, but afterward, Judah, and Benjamin, and Ephraim, (v. 9,) three of the most
I. Israel returned to their idolatry, that sin which did most famous tribes of Israel; yet thus insulied by them, when they easily beset them ;(v. 6,) They did evil again in the sight of the had forsaken God, and unable to make head against the invader. Lord, from whom they were unaccountably bent to backslide, as Now the threatening was fulfilled, that they should be slain bea foolish people and unwise. I. They worshipped many gods; fore their enemies, and should have no power to stand before them, not only their old demons Baalim and Ashtaroth, which the Lev. 26. 17, 37. Their ways and their doings procure this lo Canaanites had worshipped, but, as if they would proclaim themselves; they are sadly degenerated, and so they come to be their folly to all their neighbours, they served the gods of Syria, sorely distressed. Zidon, Moab, Ammon, and the Philistines. It looks as if the V. 10–18. Here is, chief trade of Israel were to import deities from all countries. I. An humble confession which Israel make to God in their It is hard to say, whether it was more impious or impolitic to distress, v. 10. Now they own themselves guilty, like a maledo this. By introducing these foreign deities, they rendered factor upon the rack, and promise reformation, like a child under themselves mean and despicable, for no nation that had any the rod. They did not only complain of the distress, but acsense of honour changed their gods. Much of the wealth of knowledged it was their own sin that had brought them into the Israel, we may suppose, was carried out, in offerings to the distress; therefore God was righteous, and they had no reason temples of the deities in the several countries whence they to repine. They confess their omissions, for in them their sin came, on which, as their mother churches, their temples in Is- began, “ We have forsaken our God;" and their commissions, rael were expected to own their dependence; the priests and “We have served Baalim, and herein have done foolishly, devotees of those sorry deities would follow their gods, no treacherously, and very wickedly.”
IV. His war
13 Yet ye have forsaken me," and served other to another, What man is he that will begin to fight gods : wherefore I will deliver you no more. against the children of Ammon? he shall be head
14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have over all the inhabitants of Gilead. chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
CHAPTER XI. 15 And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned : do thou Punto us whatsoever
This chapter gives us the history of Jephthah, another of Israel's judges, and
numbered among the worthies of the Old Testament, that by faith did great *seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray things, (Heb. 11. 32.) though he had oot such an extraordinary call as the rest
there mentioned had. Here is, I. The disndvantages of his rise and original, thee, this day.
v 1-3. II. The Gileadiles' choice of him to be commander-in-chief against 16 And they put away athe tstrange gods from
the Ammoniles, and the terms he made with them, v. 4-11. III. His creaty
with the king of Ammon about the rights of the two nations, that the matter among them, and served the LORD: and his soul might be determined, if possible, without bloodshed, v. 12--28. was igrieved rfor the misery of Israel.
with the Ammonites, which he enters upon with a solemn vow, (v. 29–31,) pro
secutes with bravery, (v. 32,) and ends with a glorious victory, v. 33. v. t'be 17 Then the children of Ammon were sgathered strails he was brought into at his return to his own house, by the vow he had
made, v. 34-40. together, and encamped in Gilead : and the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and en OW camped in Mizpeh."
of of * 18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one and Gilead begat Jephthah. n Jer. 2. 13. o Deut. 32. 37, 38.2 Kings 3. 13. Jer. 2. 28. p I Sam, 3. 18. 2 Sam. I shortened. Ps. 106. 44, 45. Is. 63. 9. Scried. Gen. 31. 49. c. 11. 11. 29. 15. 26. • is good in thing eyes. 92 Chr. 7. 14. 15.8. † gode of strangers. a Heb. 11. 32. called Jephiha. b c. 6. 12. 2 Kings 5. 1. 'a toman, an harlot.
II. An ling message which God thereupon sends to Is- pray thee, this day, from this enemy." They acknowledge rael; whether by an angel, (as ch. 2. 1,) or by a prophet, (as what they deserved, yet pray to God not to deal with them acch. 6. 8,) is not certain. It was kind that God took notice of cording to their deserts. 'Note, We must submit to God's justheir cry, and did not turn a deaf ear to it, and send them notice, with a hope in his mercy. answer at all; it was kind likewise that when they began to re IV. A blessed reformation set on foot hereupon. They pent, he sent them such a message as was proper to further and brought forth fruits meet for repentance ; (v. 16,) They put away promote their repentance, that they might be qualified and pre- the gods of strangers, (as the word is,) strange gods, and worpared for deliverance. Now in this message, 1. He upbraids shipped by those nations that were strangers to the commonthem with their great ingratitude, reminds them of the great wealth of Israel, and to the covenants of promise, and they things he had done for them, delivering them from such and such served the Lord. Need drove them to him. They knew it was enemies; the Egyptians first, out of whose land they were res to no purpose to go to the gods whom they had served, and cued : the Amorites whom they conquered, and into whose land therefore returned to the god whom they had slighted. This they entered; and since their settlement there, when the Am- is true repentance, not only for sin, but from sin. monites bad joined with the Moabites to oppress them, (ch. 3. V. God's gracious return in mercy to them, which is exe 13,) when the Philistines were vexatious in the days of Sham- pressed here very tenderly; (v. 16,)
. His soul was grieved for gar, and afterward other enemies had given them trouble ; upon the misery of Israel. Not that there is any grief in God, he has their petition, God had wrought many a great salvation for them, infinite joy and happiness in himself, which cannot be broken in v. 11, 12. Of their being oppressed by the Zidonians and the upon by either the sins or the miseries of his creatures ; not Maonites we read not elsewhere : God had in justice corrected that there is any change in God, he is in one mind, and who can them, and in mercy delivered them, and therefore might have turn him? But his goodness is bis glory ; by it he proclaims expected that either through fear or through love they would his name, and magnifies it above all his name ; and as he is have adhered to him and his service; well therefore might the pleased to put himself into the relation of a father to his people word cut them to the heart, (v. 13,) yet ye have forsaken me that are in covenant with him, so he is pleased to represent his that have brought you out of your troubles, and served other gods goodness to them, by the compassions of a Father toward his that brought you into your troubles. Thus did they forsake their children; for as he is the Father of lights, so he is the Father of own mercies for their own delusions. 2. He shows them how mercies; as the disobedience and misery of a child are a grief justly he might now abandon them to ruin, by abandoning them to a tender father, and make him feel very sensibly from his to the gods that they had served. To awaken them to a thorough natural affection, so the provocations of God's people are a repentance and reforination, he lets them see, (1.) Their folly grief to him, (Ps. 95. 10,) he is broken with their whorish heart, in serving Baalim; they had been at a vast expense to obtain (Ez. 6. 9;) their troubles also are a grief to him; 60 he is the favour of such gods as could not help them, then when they pleased to speak when he is pleased to appear for the deliverhad most need of their help. “Go, and cry unto the gods which ance of his people ; changing his way and method of proceed. ye have chosen, (v. 14,) try what they can do for you now; you ing, as tender parents, when they begin to relent toward their have worshipped them as gods, try if they have now either a children with whom they have been displeased. Such are the divine power, or a divine goodness, to be employed for you; you tender mercies of our God, and so far is he from having any paid your homage to them as your kings and lords, try if they pleasure in the death of sinners. will now protect you; you brought your sacrifices of praise to VI. Things are now working toward their deliverance from their altars as your benefactors, imagining that they gave you the Ammonites' oppression, v. 17, 18. God had said, “I will your corn, and wine, and oil; but a friend indeed will be a friend deliver you no more ;” but now they are not what they were, in need; what stead will their favour stand you in now?" they are other men, they are new men, and now he will deliver Note, It is necessary, in true repentance, that there be a full them. That threatening was denounced, to convince and humconviction of the utter insufficiency of all those things to help ble them; and now that it had taken its desired effect, it is reus and do us any kindness, which we have idolized and set upon voked in order to their deliverance. 1. The Ammonites are the throne in our hearts in competition with God. We must be hardened to their own ruin; they gathered together in one body, convinced that the pleasures of sense on which we have doted, that they might be destroyed at one blow, Rev. 16, 16. 2. The cannot be our satisfaction, nor the wealth of the world which Israelites are animated to their own rescue. They assemwe have coveted, be our portion; that we cannot be happy or bled likewise, v. 17. During their eighteen years' oppression, casy any where but in God. (2.) Their misery and danger in
as in their former servitudes, they were run down by their forsaking God. “See what a pass you have brought your enemies, because they would not incorporate ; each family, selves to; now you can expect no other than that I should say, city, or tribe, would stand by itsell, and act independently, and I will deliver you no more; and what will become of you then ?" so they all became an easy prey to the oppressors, for want of v. 13. This he tells them, not only as what he might do, but a due sense of a common interest to cement them; but whenever as what he would do, if they rested in a confession of what they they got together, they did well; so they did here. When had done amiss, and did not put away their idols, and amend God's Israel become as one man to advance a common good, for the future.
and oppose a common enemy, what difficulty can stand before III. . An humble submission which Israel hereupon made to them. The people and princes of Gilead, being met, consult God's justice, with an humble application to his mercy; (v. first about a general that should command in chief against the 15,) The children of Israel met together, it is probable, in a Ammonites. Hitherto most of the deliverers of Israel had an solemn assembly at the door of the tabernacle ; received the extraordinary call to the office, as Ehud, Barak, Gideon ; but impressions of the message God had sent them ; were not the next is to be called in a more common way, by a convendriven by it to despair, though it was very threatening; but tion of the states, who inquired out a fit man to command their resolve to lie at God's feet, and if they perish, they will perish army, found out one admirably well qualified for the purpose, there. They not only repeat their confession, We have sin- and God owned their choice by putting his Spirit upon him, ch. ned; but, 1. They surrender themselves to God's justice, 11. 29. So that this instance is of use for direction and enDo thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee. Hereby couragement in after ages, when extraordinary calls are no they own that they deserved the severest tokens of God's dis- longer to be expected. Let such be impartially chosen to pub pleasure, and were sure he could do them no wrong, whatever lic trust and power, whom God has qualified, and then God will he laid upon them; they humbled themselves under his mighty graciously own those who are thus chosen. and heavy hand, and accepted of the punishment of their iniquity,
NOTES TO CHAPTER XI. which Moses had made the condition of God's return in mercy to them, Lev. 26. 41. Note, True penitents dare and will re V.1–3. The princes and people of Gilead we left, in the fer themselves to God to correct them as he thinks fit, knowing close of the foregoing chapter, consulting about the choice of a that their sin is highly malignant in his deserts, and that God general, being come to this resolve, that whoever would underis not rigorous or extreme in his demands. 2. They suppli- take to lead their forces against the children of Ammon, should cate for God's mercy, and implore that; “ Deliver us only, we by common consoni bo head over all the inhabitants of Giload,
A Jer. 42. 5.
1 the hearer.
2 And Gilead's wife bear him sons : and his ? And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's and said unto him, Thou shalt not `inherit' in our house ? and why are ye come unto me now when father's house ; for thou art the son of a strange ye are in distress ? woman.
8 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, 3 Then Jephthah fled * from his brethren, and Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered mayest go with us, and fight against the children of vain "men to Jephthah, and went out with him. Ammon, and be our head cover all the inhabitants - 4 And it came to pass 'in process of time, that of Gilead. the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If
5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon ye bring me home again to fight against the children made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:
shall I be your head ? 6 And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be 10 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, our captain, that we may fight with the children of The LORD be *witness between us, if we do not só Ammon.
according to thy words. « Geu. 21. 10. Gal. 4. 30. from the face of. d c. 9. 4. 1 Sam. 22. 2. 1 after days. e Gen. 26. 27. s Luke 17.4. & c. 10, 18. The enterprise was difficult, and it was fit that so great an en come famous ; Out of the eater comes forth meat. The children couragement as this should be proposed to him that would un of Israel were assembled and encamped, ch. 10. 17. But an dertake it. Now all agreed that Jephthah, the Gileadite, was army without a general is like a body without a head, therea mighty man of valour, and very fit for that purpose ; none so fore, Come, say they, and be our captain, that we may fight. fit as he; but he lay under three disadvantages :
See the necessity of government; though they were hearty 1. He was the son of a harlot, (v. 1,) of a strange woman, enough in the cause, yet they owned they could not fight with(v.2,) one that was neither a wife nor a concubine ; some think out a captain to command them. So necessary is it to all sohis mother was a Gentile ; so Josephus, who calls him a strunger cieties, ihat there be a pars imperans, and a pars subdita, some by the mother's side. An Ishmaelite, say the Jews. If his mother to rule, and others to obey, and that a community should humbly was a harlot, that was not his fault, however it was his disgrace. beg the favour of being commanded, rather than that every man Men ought not to be reproached with any of the infelicities of should be his own master. Blessed be God for government, their parentage or extraction, so long as they are endeavour- for a good government! ing by their personal merits to roll away the reproach. The III. The objections Jephthah makes against accepting their son of a harlot, if born again, born from above, shall be accepted offer; (v. 7) Did not ye hate me, and expel me? It should of God, and be as welcome as any other to the glorious liber seem that his brethren were some of these elders; or these ties of his children. Jephthah could not read in the law the elders, by suffering his brethren to abuse him, and not righting brand there put on the Ammonites, the enemies he was to grap- him as they ought to have done, (for their business is to defend ple with, that they should not enter into the congregation of the the poor and fatherless, Ps. 82.3, 4,) had made themselves guilty Lord, but in the same paragraph he met with that which looked of his expulsion, and he might justly charge them with it. Maback upon himself, that a bastard should be in like manner ex- gistrates that have power to protect those that are injured, if cluded, Deut. 23. 2, 3. But if that law means, as most proba- they do not do them right, really do them wrong. “You hated bly it does, only those that are born of incest, not of fornica- me and expelled me, and therefore how can I believe that tion, he was not within the reach of it.
you are sincere in this proposal ? And how can you expect 2. He had been driven from his country by his brethren. Jihat I should do you any service ?" Not but that Jephthah His father's legitimate children, insisting upon ihe rigour of the was very willing to serve his country, but he thought fit to give law, thrust hin out from having any inheritance with them, with them a hint of their former unkindness to him, that they might out any consideration had of his extraordinary qualifications, repent of their sin in using him so ill, and might for the future which merited a dispensation, and would have made him a be the more sensible of their obligations. Thus Joseph hummighiy strength and ornament of their family, if they had over- bled his brethren before he made himself known to them. The looked his being illegitimate, and admitted him to a child's part, particular case between the Gileadites and Jephthah was a rev. 2. One would not have thought this abandoned youth was semblance of the general state of the case between Israel and intended to be Israel's deliverer and judge, but God often hum-God at this time : they had thrust God out by their idolatries, bles those whom he designs to exalt, and makes that stone the yet in their distress begged his help; he told them how justly head of the corner, which the builders refused; so Joseph, Moses, he might have rejected them, and yet graciously delivered them. and David, the three most eminent of the shepherds of Israel, So did Jephthah. Many slight God and good men, till they were all thrust out by men, before they were called of God 10
come to be in distress, and then they are desirous of God's their great offices.
and good men's prayers. 3. He had, in his exile, headed a rabble, v. 3. Being driven IV. Their urgency with him to accept the government they out by his brethren, his great soul would not suffer him either to offer him, v. 8. " Therefore because we formerly did thee dig or beg, but by his sword he must live ; and being soon that wrong, and to show thee that we repent of it, and would noted for his bravery, those that were reduced to such straits, gladly atone for it, we turn again to thee now, to put such an and animated by such a spirit, enlisted themselves under him honour upon thee as shall balance that indignity." Let this Vain men they are here called, that is, men that had run through instance be, 1. A caution to us not to despise or trample upon their estates and were to seek for a livelihood ; those went out any because they are mean, or to be injurious to any that we with him, not to rob or plunder, but to hunt wild beasts, and have advantage against, because, whatever we think of them perhaps to make incursions upon those countries which Israel now, the time may come when we may have need of them, and was entitled to, but were not as yet come to the possession of, would be glad to be beholden to them. It is our wisdom to or were some way or other injured by.
make no man our enemy, because we know not how soon our This is the man that must save Israel. That people had by distresses may be such, as that we may be highly concerned to their idolatry made themselves children of whoredoms, and make him our friend. 2. An encouragement to men worth aliens from God and his covenant, and therefore, though God that are slighted and ill treated; let them bear it with meekness upon their repentance will deliver them, yet, to mortify them and cheerfulness, and leave it to God to make their light shine and remind them of their sin, he chooses to do it by a bastard out of obscurity. Fuller's remark on this story in his Pisgahand an exile.
Sight, is this ; Virtue once in an age will work her own advanceV. 4-11. Here is,
ment, and when such as hate it chance to need it, they will be 1. The distress which the children of Israel were in upon forced to prefer it, and then the honour will appear the brighter, the Ammonites' invasion of their country, v. 4. Probably, this V. The bargain he makes with them. He had mentioned was the same invasion with that mentioned ch. 10. 17, when the injuries they had formerly done him, but perceiving their the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped repentance, his spirit was too great and generous to mention in or againsi Gilead. And those words, in process of time, them any more. God had forgiven Israel the affronts they had refer to what goes immediately before the expulsion of Jephthah: done him, (ch. 10. 16,) and therefore Jephthah will forgive. many days after he had been thus thrust out in disgrace, was he Only he thinks it prudent to make his bargain wisely for the fetched back again with honour.
future, since he deals with men that he had reason to distrust. II. The court which the elders made to Jephthah hereupon 1. He puts to them a fair question, v. 9. He speaks not with to come and help them. They did not write or send a mes too much confidence of his success, knowing how justly God senger to him, but went themselves to fetch him, resolving to might suffer the Ammonites to prevail for the further punishhave no denial, and the exigence of the case was such as ment of Israel ; but puts an if upon it. Nor does he speak with would admit no delay. Their errand to him was, (v. 6,) Come, any confidence at all in himself; if he do succeed, it is the Lord and be our captain. They knew none among themselves that that delivers them into his hand, intending thereby to remind his was able to undertake that great trust, but do in effect confess countrymen to look up to God, as Arbitrator of the controversy, themselves unfit for it; they know him to be a stout man, and and the Giver of victory, for so he did. “Now if, by the blessipurod to the sword, and therefore he must be the man. See ing of God, I come home a conqueror, tell me plainly, shall I be how God prepares men for the service he designs them for, and your head? If I deliver you, under God, shall I, under him, makes their troubles work for their advancement. If Jephthah reform you ?" The same question is put to those who desire had not been put to his shifts, by his brethren's unkindness, he salvation by Christ. “If he save you, will ye be willing that had not had such occasion as that gave him, to exercise and he shall rule you? For on no other terms will he save you; if improve his martial genius, and so to signalize himself and be- l ho make you happy, shall he make you holy? If he be your
m Gen. 32. 22.
11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, 14 And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the and the people made him head and captain over king of the children of Ammon, them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before 15 And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, the LORD in "Mizpeh.
Israel took not "away the land of Moab, nor the land 12 And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon: of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou 16 But when Israel came up from Egypt, and to do with me, that thou art come against me to walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, fight in my land ?
and came rto Kadesh; 13 And the king of the children of Ammon an 17 Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of swered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Edom, saying, Let me, I
pray thee, pass through Israel 'took away my land, when they came up out thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok,ui, and thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king unto Jordan: now, therefore, restore those lands of Moab; but he would not consent : and Israel again peaceably.
abode in Kadesh. ver. 8. k c, 20. 1. 1 Sam. 10. 17. / Num. 21. 24.
» Deut. 2.9, 19. o Num. 14. 25. Deut. 1. 40. Josh. 5.6. p Num. 20. 1, 14, &c. helper, shall he be your head ?". 2. They immediately give Israelites. A sense of justice should guide and govern us in all him a positive answer; (v. 10,) "We will do according to thy our undertakings. words; command us in war, and thou shalt command us in II. The king of the Ammonites now gives in his demand, peace." They do not take time to consider of it; the case was which he should have published before he had invaded Israel, ioo plain to need a debate, and the necessity too pressing to v. 13. His pretence is, “Israel look away my lands long since, admit a delay; they knew they had power to conclude a treaty now therefore restore these lands." We have reason to think for those whom they represented, and therefore bound it with the Ammonites, when they made this descent upon Israel, an oath, The Lord be witness between us. They appeal to meant no other than to spoil and plunder the country, and enGod's omniscience as the judge of their present sincerity, and rich themselves with the prey, as they had done formerly under to his justice as an avenger, if afterward they should prove Eglon, (ch. 3. 13,) when no such demand as this was made, false, The Lord be a hearer, so the word is. Whatever we though the matter was then fresh; but when Jephthah despeak, it concerns us to remember that God is a hearer, and to manded the cause of their quarrel, and they could not for shame speak accordingly. Thus was the original contract ratified be- own what was their true intent and meaning, some old forgotten tween Jephthah and the Gileadites, which all Israel, it should records were searched, or some ancient traditions inquired into, seem, agreed to afterward, for it is said, (ch. 12. 7,) he judged and from them this reason drawn to serve the present turn, for a Israel, He hereupon went with them (v. 11) to the place colourable pretence of equity in the invasion. Even those that where they were all assembled, (ch. 10. 17,) and there, by com do the greatest wrong, yet have such a conviction in their conmon consent, they made him head and captain, and so ratified sciences of justice, that they would seem to do right. Restore the bargain their representatives had made with him, that he those lands. Sce upon what uncertain terms we hold our worldly should be not only captain now, but head for life. Jephthah, to possessions; what we think we have the surest hold of, may be obtain this little honour, was willing to expose his life for them, challenged from us, and wrested out of our hands. Those that (ch. 12.3;) and shall we be discouraged in our Christian warfare are got to the heavenly Canaan, need not fear having their titles by any of the difficulties we may meet with in it, when Christ questioned. himself has pronised a crown of life to him that overcometh? III. Jephthah gives in a very full and satisfactory answer to
VI. Jephthah's pious acknowledgment of God in this great this demand, showing it to be altogether unjust and unreasonaffair, (v. 11,) He uttered all his words before the Lord in Miz-able, and that the Ammonites had no title io this country that peh. That is, upon his elevation, he immediately retired to his lay between the rivers Arion and Jabbok, now in the possesdevotions, and in prayer spread the whole matter before God, sion of the tribes of Reuben and Gad. As one very well versed both his choice to the office, and his execution of the office, as in the history of his country, he shows, one that had his eye ever toward the Lord, and would do nothing 1. That Israel never took any land away, either from the Mowithout him, that leaned not to his own understanding or cou abites or Ammonites; he puts them together, because they were rage, but depended on God and his favour. He utters before brethren, the children of Lot, near neighbours, and of united God all his thoughts and cares in this matter, for he gives us interests, having the same god, Chemosh, and perhaps someleave to be free with him. 1. "Lord, the people have made me times the some king. The lands in question Israel took away, their head; wilt thou confirm the choice, and own me as thy not from the Moabites or Ammonites, they had particular orders people's head under thee, and for thee?” God justly complains from God not to meddle with them, or any thing they had, of Israel, (Hos. 8. 4,). They have set up kings, but not by me; (Deut. 2. 9, 19,) and religiously observed their orders; but they "Lord,” said Jephthah, “I will be no head of their making, found them in the possession of Sihon king of the Amorites, without thee. I will not accept the government, unless thou and out of his hand they took them justly and honourably, as he give me. leave.". Had Abimelech done this, he might have will show afterward. If the Amorites, before Israel came into prospered. 2. " Lord, they have made me their captain, to go that country, had taken these lands from the Moabites or Ambefore them in this war with the Ammonites; shall I have thy monites, as it should seem they had, (Num. 21.26. Josh. 13.25,) presence? Wilt thou go before me? If not, carry me not up Israel was not concerned to inquire into that, or answer for it. hence. Lord, satisfy me in the justice of the cause. Assure if the Ammonites had lost these lands and their title to them, me of success in the enterprise." This is a rare example, to the children of Israel were under no obligation to recover the be imitated by all, particularly by great ones; in all our ways possession for them. Their business was to conquer for themlet us acknowledge God, seek his favour, ask counsel at his selves, not for other people. This is his first plea, "Not guilty mouth, and take him along with us ; so shall we make our way of the trespass." prosperous. Thus Jephthah opened the campaign with prayer. 2. That they were so far from invading the property of any That was likely to end gloriously, which began piously. other nations than of the devoted posterity of cursed Canaan, V. 12-28.
We have here the treaty between Jephthah, now (one of the branches of which the Amorites were, Gen. 10. judge of Israel, and the king of the Ammonites, who is not 16,) that they would not so much as force a passage through named ; that the controversy between the two nations might, the country, either of the Edomites, the seed of Esau, or of the possible, be accommodated without the effusion of blood. Moabites, the seed of Lot, but even after a very tedious march
1. Jephthah, as one having authority, sent to the king of Am- through the wilderness, with which they were sadly tired, mon, who in this war was the aggressor, to demand his reasons (v. 16,) when the king of Edom first, and afterward the king of for invading the land of Israel; (v. 12,) " Why art thou come to Moab, denied them the courtesy of a way through their counfight against me in my land? Had I come first into thy land to try, (v. 17,) rather than give them any offence or annoyance, disturb thee in thy possession, that had been reason enough for weary as they were, they put themselves to the further fatigue fighting against me, for how must force be repelled but by force? of compassing both the land of Edom and that of Moab, and But what hast thou to do to come thus in a hostile manner into came not within the border of either, u. 18. Note, 'Those that my land ?" So he calls it, in the name both of God and Israel. conduct themselves inoffensively, may take the comfort of it, Now this fair demand shows, 1. That Jephthah did not delight and plead it against those that charge them with injustice and in war, though he was a mighty man of valour, but was willing wrong doing. Our righteousness will answer for us in time to to prevent it by a peaceable accommodation.' If he could by come, (Gen. 30. 33,) and will put to silence the ignorance of reason persuade the invaders to retire, he would not compel foolish men, 1 Pet. 2. 15. them to do it by the sword. War should be the last remedy, 3. That in that war in which they took this land out of the not to be used lill all other methods of ending matters in vari- hands of Sihon king of the Amorités, he was the aggressor, ance have been tried in vain. Ratio ultima regum-The last and not they, vi 19, 20. They sent a humble petition to him, resource of kings. This rule should be observed in going to for leave to go through his land, willing to give him any security law. The sword of justice, as well as the sword of war, must for their good bebaviour in their march; " Let us pass (say they) not be appealed to till the contending parties havo first
endea- unto my place, that is, to the land of Canaan ; that is the only voured by gentler means to understand one another, and to ac- place we call ours, and to which we are pressing forward, not commodate matters in variance, 1 Cor.6. 1. 2. That Jephthah designing a settlement here." But Sihon not only denied them did delight in equity, and designed no other than to do justice. this courtesy, as Edom and Moab had done, (had he only done If the children of Ammon could convince him that Israel had so, who knows but Israel might have gone about some other done them wrong, he was ready to restore the rights of the Am- way?) but he mustered all his forces, and fought against Israel monites. If not, it was plain by their invasion that they did (v. 20 ;) not only shut them out of his own land, but would have Israel wrong, and he was ready to maintain the rights of the I cut them off from the face of the earth, (Num. 21. 23, 24 •)
18 Then they went along through the wilder- | 'thy god giveth thee to possess ? So whomsoever the ness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the LORD our God shall drive 'out from before us, them land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land will we possess. of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, 25 And now art thou any thing better than Babut came not within the border rof Moab: for Arnon lak "the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever was the border of Moab.
strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against 19 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king them, of the Ainorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel 26 While Israel dwelt in Heshbon sand her said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through towns, and in Aroer yand her towns, and in all the thy land into my place.
cities that be along by the coast of Arnon, three 20 But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through hundred years ? why therefore did ye not recover his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, them within that time? and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 27 Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but
21 And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon thou doest me wrong to war against me: the LORD and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they the Judge - be judge athis day between the children smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the of Israel and the children of Ammon. Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.
28 Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon 22 And they possessed all the coasts of the Amo-hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which rites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the he sent him. wilderness even unto Jordan.
29 Then the Spirit bof the LORD came upon 23 So now the LORD God of Israel hath dis- Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Mapossessed the Amorites from before his people passeh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?
from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the 24 Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh' children of Ammon.
Num. 21. 4, Ae. Num. 22. 36. Num. 21. 21, &c. Deut.2. 26, &c. Num. 21.29. 1 Kings 11. 7. Jer. 48. 7. u Mic. 1. 5. Deut. 18. 12. Pg. 79. 55. 10 Num. 22. 2, &c.
Num. 21. 25. y Deut. 2. 36. z Gen. 18. 25. Ps. 75. 7. Ec. 12. 14. c Gen. 16. 5. 31.53. I Sam. 24.12, 15. b c. 3. 10. Jephthak scena lo have been judge only of North-east Israel.
aimed at nothing less than their ruin, v. 20. Israel therefore, them, ch. 3. 12, 13. So that, supposing their title had not been in their war with
him, stood in their own just and necessary de- clear at the first, (which yet he had proved it was,) yet no confence, and therefore, having routed his army, might justly, in tinual claim being made by so many descents, the entry of the further revenge of the injury, seize his country as forfeited; so children of Ammon, without doubt, was barred for ever. A Israel came to the possession of this country, and doubted not title so long unquestioned, shall be presumed unquestionable. to make good their title to it; and it is very unreasonable for 6. By these arguments Jephthah justifies himself and his own the Ammonites to question their title, for the Amorites were cause ; (v. 27,) "I have not sinned against thee in taking or the inhabilants of that country, and it was purely their land and keeping what I have no right to, if I had, I would instantly their coasts that the Israelites then made themselves masters make restitution;" and condemns the Ammonites, “ Thou doest of; v. 21, 22.
me wrong to war against me, and must expect to speed accord4. He pleads a grant from the crown, and claims under that, ingly." It seems to me an evidence that the children of Israel, v. 23, 24. It was not Israel, they were fatigued with their long in the days of their prosperity and power, (for some such days march, and were not fit for action so soon; but it was the Lord they had in the times of the judges,) had conducted themselves God of Israel, who is King of nations, whose the earth is, and very inoffensively to all their neighbours, and had not been the fulness thereof, he it was, that dispossessed the Amorites, vexatious or oppressing to them, (either by way of reprisal, or and planted Israel in their room. God gave it them by an ex- under colour of propagating their religion, that the king of the press and particular conveyance, such as vested the title in Ammonites, when he would seek an occasion of quarrelling with them, which they might make good against all the world; (Deut. them, was forced to look three hundred years back for a pretence. 2. 24,) I have given into thy hand Sihon and his land ; he gave It becomes the people of God thus to be blameless and harmless, it them, by giving them a complete victory over the present and without rebuke. occupants, notwithstanding the great disadvantages they were 7. For the deciding of the controversy, he puts himself upon under: “ Can you think that God gave it us in such an extra- God and his sword, and the king of Ammon joined issue with ordinary manner, with design that we should return it to the him; (v. 27, 28,) The Lord the Judge be Judge this day. With Moabites or Ammonites again? No, we put a higher value this solemn reference of the matter to the Judge of heaven and upon God's favours, than to part with them so easily.” To earth, he designs either to deter the Ammonites from proceedcorroborate this plea, he urges him with an argument ad homi- ing, and oblige them to retire, when they saw the right of the nem-directed to the man, Will not thou possess that which cause was against them, or to justify himself in subduing them, Chemosh thy god giveth thee? He not only appeals to the com- if they should go on. Note, War is an appeal to heaven, to mon resolutions of men, to hold their own against all the world, God the Judge of all, to whom the issues of it belong. If doubtbut to the common religion of the nations, which, they thought, ful rights be disputed, he is thereby requested to determine obliged them to make much of that which their gods gave them them: if manifest rights be invaded or denied, he is thereby Not that Jephthah thought Chemosh a god, only he is thy god; applied to for the vindicating of what is just, and the punishing and the worshippers even of those dunghill deities that could of wrong. As the sword of justice was made for lawless and do neither good nor evil, yet thought themselves beholden to them disobedient persons, (I Tim. 1. 9,) so was the sword of war for all they had, (Hos. 2. 12, These are my rewards which my made for lawless and disobedient princes and nations. In war lovers have given me : and see Judg. 16. 24,) and make this a therefore the eye must be ever up to God, and it must always reason why they would hold it fast, that their gods gave it them. be thought a dangerous thing to desire or expect that God should “This thou thinkest a good title, and shall not we?" The Am- patronise unrighteousness. monites had dispossessed those that dwelt in their land before Nei Jephthah's apology, nor his appeal, wrought upon them; they thought they did it by the help of Chemosh their the king of the children of Ammon ; they had found the sweets god, but really it was Jehovah the God of Israel, that did it for of the spoil of Israel, in the eighteen years wherein they had them, as is expressly said, Deut. 2. 19, 21. “Now,” says oppressed them, (ch. 10. 8,) and hoped now to make themselves Jephthah,.“ we have as good a title to our country as you have masters of the tree which they had so often enriched themselves to yours. Note, One instance of the honour and respect we
with the fruit of. He hearkened not to the words of Jephthah, owe to God, as our God, is, rightly to possess that which he his heart being hardened to his destruction. gives us to possess, receive it from him, use it for him, keep it V. 29–40. We have here Jephthah triumphing in a glorious for his sake, and part with it when he calls for it. He has given victory, but, as an allay to his joy, troubled and distressed by it us to possess, not to enjoy. He himself only must be en an unadvised vow. joyed.
I. Jephthah's victory was clear, and shines very bright, both 5. He pleads prescription. (1.) Their title had not been to his honour, and to the honour of God, his in pleading, and disputed when they first entered upon it, v. 25. “ Balak, who God's in owning, a righteous cause. was then king of Moab, from whom the greatest part of these
1. God gave him an excellent spirit, and he used it bravely, lands had been taken by the Amorites, and who was most con
v. 29. Then when it appeared by ihe people's unanimous cerned and best able to oppose us, if he had had any thing to choice of him for their leader, that he had so clear a call 10 object against our settlement there, yet sat still, and never engage, and by the obstinate deafness of the king of Ammon to offered to strive against Israel.” He knew that for his own part the proposals of accommodation, that he had so just a cause lo he had fairly lost it to the Amorites, and was not able to recover engage in, then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and it, and could not but acknowledge that Israel had fairly won it very much advanced his natural faculties, enduing him with of the Amorites, and therefore all his care was to secure what power from on high, and making him more bold and more wise was left, he never pretended a title to what was lost. See Num. than ever he had been, and more fired with a holy zeal against 22.2, 3. “He then acquiesced in God's way of disposing king the enemies of his people. Hereby God confirmed him in his doms, and wilt not thou now?” (2.) Their possession had office, and assured him of success in his undertaking. Thus never yet been disturbed, v. 26. He pleads that they had kept animated, he loses no time, but with an undaunted resolution this country as their own, now about three hundred years, and takes the field. Particular notice is taken of the way by which the Ammonites in all that time had never attempted to take it he advanced toward the enemies' camp, probably, because the from them, no, not when they had it in their power to oppress choice of it was an instance of that extraordinary direction VOL. I.-76
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