|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:10-18 God is able to multiply men's punishments according to the numbers of their sins and idols. But there is hope when sinners cry to the Lord for help, and lament their ungodliness as well as their more open transgressions. It is necessary, in true repentance, that there be a full conviction that those things cannot help us which we have set in competition with God. They acknowledged what they deserved, yet prayed to God not to deal with them according to their deserts. We must submit to God's justice, with a hope in his mercy. True repentance is not only for sin, but from sin. As the disobedience and misery of a child are a grief to a tender father, so the provocations of God's people are a grief to him. From him mercy never can be sought in vain. Let then the trembling sinner, and the almost despairing backslider, cease from debating about God's secret purposes, or from expecting to find hope from former experiences. Let them cast themselves on the mercy of God our Saviour, humble themselves under his hand, seek deliverance from the powers of darkness, separate themselves from sin, and from occasions of it, use the means of grace diligently, and wait the Lord's time, and so they shall certainly rejoice in his mercy.
Verse 17. - This verse ought to begin the new chapter. The preliminary matter of Israel's sin, of their oppression by the Ammonites, of their repentance and return to the God of their fathers, and of God's merciful acceptance of their penitence and prayer, was concluded in the last verse. The history of their deliverance by Jephthah begins here. And the children of Ammon, etc., i.e. they encamped, as they had done during the previous seventeen years, in Gilead, either to carry off the crops or to wring tribute from the people, or in some other way to oppress them, expecting no doubt to meet with tame submission as before. But a new spirit was aroused among the Israelites. By whatever channel the bitter reproach in vers. 11-14 had been convey. ed to them, probably by the same channel, whether angel, or prophet, or high priest, had an answer of peace come to them on their repentance, and so they were roused and encouraged to resistance. As a first step, they encamped in Mizpeh (see Judges 11:11, 29, 34). Mizpeh, or Mizpah of Gilead, is probably the same as Mizpah in Gilead where Laban and Jacob parted (Genesis 31:25, 49); as Ramoth-Mizpeh (Joshua 13:26), called simply Ramoth in Gilead (Joshua 20:8; 1 Chronicles 6:80); and as the place well known in later Israelite history as Ramoth-Gilead (1 Kings 4:13; 1 Kings 22:3, 6), situated in the tribe of Gad, and a strong place of much importance. It was the place of national meeting for the whole of Gilead. Mizpah means the watch-tower, and would of course be upon a height, as the name Ramoth-Mizpeh, the heights of Mizpeh, also shows. It almost always preserves its meaning as an appellative, having the article prefixed, ham-mizpah, which is its usual form; only once ham-mizpeh (Joshua 15:38), and Mizpeh (Joshua 11:18; Judges 11:29; 1 Samuel 22:3), and once Mizpah (Hosea 5:1). Whether Mizpeh in Judges 20:1-3 is the same will be considered in the note to that passage. The modern site is not identified with certainty; it is thought to be es-Salt.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then the children of Ammon were gathered together,.... By a crier, as Jarchi; they had passed over Jordan, as in Judges 10:9 and had been distressing three of the tribes of Israel on that side; but now being informed, by an herald at arms, that the children of Israel, on the other side Jordan, were risen up in defence of their country, rights, and liberties, the children of Ammon came back and crossed over Jordan again:
and encamped in Gilead; in the land of Gilead, part of which belonged to the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the other part to the half tribe of Manasseh:
and the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped at Mizpeh: of which name there were several cities in the land of Israel, on both sides Jordan; this must design a place on the other side Jordan, either in the tribe of Gad or Manasseh, for it seems there was of this name in each, see Genesis 31:49.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17, 18. the children of Ammon were gathered together—From carrying on guerrilla warfare, the Ammonites proceeded to a continued campaign. Their settled aim was to wrest the whole of the trans-jordanic territory from its actual occupiers. In this great crisis, a general meeting of the Israelitish tribes was held at Mizpeh. This Mizpeh was in eastern Manasseh (Jos 11:3).
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