|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-3. The land had rest for eighty years, which should have confirmed them in their religion; but it made them secure, and indulge their lusts. Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them. Jabin and his general Sisera, mightily oppressed Israel. This enemy was nearer than any of the former. Israel cried unto the Lord, when distress drove them to him, and they saw no other way of relief. Those who slight God in prosperity, will find themselves under a necessity of seeking him in trouble.
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And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord,.... Because of their hard bondage, and begged deliverance from it, being brought to a sense of their sins, and humbled for them:
for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; the same with the , chariots which carried scythes at the side of them, fastened to the orbs of the wheels (x), and were on both sides; and in some stood out ten cubits (y) which running furiously among the infantry, cut them to pieces in a terrible manner; of which Cyrus had in his army at first but an hundred, afterwards increased to three hundred (z); and yet here a petty prince of Canaan had nine hundred of them; and which Josephus (a) has increased, beyond all belief, to the number of three thousand; which struck great terror into the Israelites, and who therefore durst not attempt to shake off his yoke, but cried to the Lord for help:
and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel; as they increased their sins, and repeated their revolts, the Lord increased their oppressions, and continued them the longer; the first was only eight years, the next eighteen, and this twenty, and which was a very heavy one; the other being foreign princes that oppressed them, but this a Canaanitish king, an implacable enemy, and who doubtless used them the more severely for what they had done to his ancestors, killed his father or grandfather, burnt the city of Hazor, and destroyed the inhabitants of it in Joshua's time; and the servitude was the harder, and the more intolerable to the Israelites, that they were under a people whose land had been given them to possess, and whom they had expelled, and now were become subject to them.
(x) Vid. Suidam in voce (y) Curtius, l. 4. c. 9, 12, 15. Liv. Hist. l. 37. c. 41. (z) Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 6. c. 13. (a) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 1.
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