1 Samuel 12:11
And the LORD sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe.
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(11) And the Lord sent Jerubbaal.—Again the speaker only names a few of the God-sent deliverers, just the most prominent of their great and famous heroes. Gideon was surnamed Jerubbaal out of scorn and derision for the Phœnician deity: “Let Baal then strive or contend with me, Gideon.”

Bedan.—This name does not occur in the record of the “judges.” We meet with it only in 1Chronicles 7:17, as a name of one of the descendants of Machir the Manassite, but this Bedan of the Chronicles seems to have been a person of no importance. The LXX. and the Syriac, the two most ancient versions, read, instead of Bedan, Barak. The letters forming these two names in the Hebrew are very similar, and a scribe might easily have written the one for the other, and the mistake might well have been perpetuated—at least, this is probable. The famous Hebrew commentator, Rabbi D. Kimchi, suggests Bedan is written for Ben-Dan, the son of Dan the Danite. that is. Samson. The list of Hebrew heroes in Hebrews 11:32 noticeably connects Barak with Gideon and Jephthah. Wordsworth curiously prefers to leave the unknown name of Bedan in the hero catalogue, because he argues “that in this very obscurity of the name we have a confirmation of the genuineness of the speech. A forger would not have ventured to insert a name which occurs nowhere else.”

And Samuel.—The Syriac Version substitutes Samson for Samuel, finding, doubtless, a difficulty in the quotation of his own name by the speaker. But the other versions uniformly agree with the Hebrew text, and in truth Samuel could well cite himself a signal instance of God’s loving pity in sending deliverance, conscious as he was of his own high mission. No judge had accomplished such great things for the people, and none had received more general recognition. It was a most fitting name to bring in at the close of his list.

1 Samuel 12:11. And Bedan — We have no mention of Bedan in the book of Judges or elsewhere before, and therefore many commentators think this is another name for Barak. Others, however, think Samson to be the person here meant, being here called Ben-Dan, the son of Dan, or Be-Dan, that is, in or of Dan, because he was of that tribe, and to signify that they had no reason to distrust God, who could raise so eminent a saviour out of so obscure a tribe. And ye dwelled safe — So that it was not necessity, but mere wantonness, that made you desire a change.

12:6-15 The work of ministers is to reason with people; not only to exhort and direct, but to persuade, to convince men's judgments, and so to gain their wills and affections. Samuel reasons of the righteous acts of the Lord. Those who follow God faithfully, he will enable to continue following him. Disobedience would certainly be the ruin of Israel. We mistake if we think that we can escape God's justice, by trying to shake off his dominion. If we resolve that God shall not rule us, yet he will judge us.Bedan - No such name occurs among the Judges who delivered Israel. Some versions and commentators read "Barak," the form of the letters of both words being in Hebrew somewhat similar.

And Samuel - There is nothing improper or out of place in Samuel mentioning his own judgeship. It had supplied a remarkable instance of God's deliverance 1 Samuel 7:12-15; and, as it was the last as well as one of the very greatest deliverances, it was natural he should do so. The passage in Hebrews 11:32 is quite as favorable to the mention of Samuel here as to that of "Samson," which some propose to read instead of "Samuel."

11. Bedan—The Septuagint reads "Barak"; and for "Samuel" some versions read "Samson," which seems more natural than that the prophet should mention himself to the total omission of the greatest of the judges. (Compare Heb 11:32). Bedan is certainly one of the judges; and because there is no judge so called in the Book of Judges, it is reasonably concluded that this was one of the judges there mentioned having two names, as was very frequent. And this was either, first, Samson, as most interpreters believe, who is called Bedan, i.e. in Dan, or of Dan, or the son of Dan, one of the tribe, to signify that they had no reason to distrust that God, who could, and did, raise so eminent a saviour out of so obscure a tribe. Or, secondly, Jair the Gileadite, of whom Judges 10:3; which may seem best to agree, first, With the time and order of the judges; for Jair was before Jephthah, but Samson was after him. Secondly, With other scriptures; for among the sons of a more ancient and a famous Jair, of whom see Numbers 32:41, we meet with one called Bedan, 1 Chronicles 7:17, which name seems here given to Jair the judge, to distinguish him from that first Jair. Thirdly, With he following words, which show that this Bedan was one of those judges who

delivered them out of the hand of their enemies an every side, and made them to dwell safely; which seems not so properly to agree to Samson, who did only begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, as was foretold of him, Judges 13:5, as to Jair, who kept them in peace and safety, in the midst of all their enemies, as may be gathered from Judges 10:3-6; and so did all the rest of the judges here mentioned.

And Samuel; he speaks of himself in the third person, which is frequent in the Hebrew tongue, as Genesis 4:23 Psalm 132:1,10,11 Da 1:6 Isaiah 1:1. And he mentions himself not through vain ostentation, but for his own just and necessary vindication, and for the justification and enforcement of his following reproof, to show that he had not degenerated from his predecessors, nor had been so inconsiderable and unprofitable to them, as to give them any occasion to contrive or desire this change of government in his days.

Ye dwelled safe; so that it was no necessity, but mere wantonness, that made you desire a change.

And the Lord sent Jerubbaal,.... Or Gideon, as the Targum, for Jerubbaal was the name given to Gideon, when he first became a judge, Judges 6:32.

and Bedan; if this was one of the judges, he must have two names, or is one that is not mentioned in the book of Judges; the Targum interprets it of Samson; so Jerom (h), for the word may be rendered "in Dan"; one in Dan, who was of the tribe of Dan, as Samson was; and it was in the camp of Dan the Spirit of God first came upon him; and Kimchi observes that it is the same as Bendan, the son of Dan, that is, a Danite; and though he was after Jephthah, yet is set before him, because he was a greater man than he; and this way go the generality of Jewish writers (i); but a man of this name being among the posterity of Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 7:17. Junius, and who is followed by others, thinks that Jair is meant, and is so called to distinguish him from a more ancient Jair, the son of Manasseh, and with whom the order of the judges better agrees, see Numbers 32:41 but the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions read Barak; and he may rather be thought to be meant, because he was the instrument of delivering Israel out of the hand of Sisera, the captain of the host of Hazor before mentioned, 1 Samuel 12:9 and agrees with the words of the apostle, Hebrews 11:32, who mentions those judges much in the same order:

and Jephthah, and Samuel; meaning himself, who was the last of the judges, and who speaks of himself as of a third person, as Lamech does, Genesis 4:23 and this he did not out of ostentation, but to observe that God had made him an instrument of delivering them out of the hand of the Philistines, which must be fresh in their memory, as he had made use of others before him, when he sent judges, and not kings, and therefore they had no need to ask a king. The Syriac and Arabic versions read Samson instead of Samuel, and which also agrees best with Hebrews 11:32.

and delivered you out of the hands of your enemies on every side; not the judges, but the Lord; for the word for "delivered" is of the singular number:

and ye dwelled safe; in the greatest security and confidence, without any fear of enemies, having God their King in the midst of them, and stood in no need of any other king to protect and defend them.

(h) Heb. Trad. in lib. Reg. fol. 75. K. (i) So in T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 25. 1.

And the LORD sent Jerubbaal, {f} and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe.

(f) That is Samson, Jud 13:25.

11. And the Lord sent, &c.] Four typical deliverers of the nation are mentioned. (1) Jerubbaal, who brought the Midianite oppression to an end (Judges 6-8). His original name Gideon was changed to Jerubbaal (= let Baal plead) for his bold act of piety in destroying the altar of Baal (Jdg 6:31-32). (2) Bedan. This name is not found in the book of Judges, but as that book is not a complete history, Bedan may possibly have been the name of a judge not mentioned there. But more probably Bedan is a copyist’s error for Barak, which is the reading of the Sept. and Syriac. The letters of the two words are much alike. In this case the reference will be to the deliverance from the Canaanite oppression already mentioned (Jdg 4:6 ff.). Bedan has also been explained as a name of Samson, either = Ben-Dan, i.e. the son of Dan or Danite (Jdg 13:2): or as a bye-name = corpulent. (3) Jephthah the Gileadite, who routed the Ammonites (Judges 11). (4) Samuel. That Samuel should thus mention himself need not surprise us if we remember (a) that the apparent abruptness of the mention is due to the condensation of the narrative, which gives only a summary of the original speech: (b) that he has resigned his office, and standing as it were outside the era of the Judges, he reviews it as a whole: (c) that in order to point his rebuke of the Israelites for ingratitude to Jehovah in asking a king, it was necessary to prove that He had not forsaken them, but had continued His deliverances down to the present.

Verse 11. - Bedan. Numerous ingenious explanations of this name have been given, but the only probable account is that Bedan is a misreading for Barak. The two names are very similar in the Hebrew, and the two most ancient versions, the Septuagint and the Syriac, actually have Barak. And Samuel. This is even more puzzling than Bedan. We cannot suppose that Samuel, who hitherto had confined himself to the old deliverances, would thus suddenly introduce his own name. In mentioning only them he had avoided everything that would grate upon the ears of the people, but this would look like giving way to personal vexation. Some, therefore, would read Samson; but this, though found in the Syriac, is supported by no other version. Possibly some scribe, mindful of Samuel's recent achievement at Mizpah, wrote his name in the margin, whence it was admitted into the text. And ye dwelled safe. Literally, "in confidence," in security. With sin came danger and unquiet; upon repentance, not only was their country free from danger, but their minds were at rest. 1 Samuel 12:11The first proof of this was furnished by the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and their safe guidance into Canaan ("this place" is the land of Canaan). The second was to be found in the deliverance of the people out of the power of their foes, to whom the Lord had been obliged to give them up on account of their apostasy from Him, through the judges whom He had raised up for them, as often as they turned to Him with penitence and cried to Him for help. Of the hostile oppressions which overtook the Israelites during this period of the judges, the following are singled out in 1 Samuel 12:9 : (1) that by Sisera, the commander-in-chief of Hazor, i.e., that of the Canaanitish king Jabin of Hazor (Judges 4:2.); (2) that of the Philistines, by which we are to understand not so much the hostilities of that nation described in Judges 3:31, as the forty years' oppression mentioned in Judges 10:2 and Judges 13:1; and (3) the Moabitish oppression under Eglon (Judges 3:12.). The first half of Judges 13:10 agrees almost word for word with Judges 10:10, except that, according to Judges 10:6, the Ashtaroth are added to the Baalim (see at 1 Samuel 7:4 and Judges 2:13). Of the judges whom God sent to the people as deliverers, the following are named, viz., Jerubbaal (see at Judges 6:32), i.e., Gideon (Judges 6), and Bedan, and Jephthah (see Judges 11), and Samuel. There is no judge named Bedan mentioned either in the book of Judges or anywhere else. The name Bedan only occurs again in 1 Chronicles 7:17, among the descendants of Machir the Manassite: consequently some of the commentators suppose Jair of Gilead to be the judge intended. But such a supposition is perfectly arbitrary, as it is not rendered probable by any identity in the two names, and Jair is not described as having delivered Israel from any hostile oppression. Moreover, it is extremely improbable that Samuel should have mentioned a judge here, who had been passed over in the book of Judges on account of his comparative insignificance. There is also just as little ground for rendering Bedan as an appellative, e.g., the Danite (ben-Dan), as Kimchi suggests, or corpulentus as Bttcher maintains, and so connecting the name with Samson. There is no other course left, therefore, than to regard Bedan as an old copyist's error for Barak (Judges 4), as the lxx, Syriac, and Arabic have done, - a conclusion which is favoured by the circumstance that Barak was one of the most celebrated of the judges, and is placed by the side of Gideon and Jephthah in Hebrews 11:32. The Syriac, Arabic, and one Greek MS (see Kennicott in the Addenda to his Dissert. Gener.), have the name of Samson instead of Samuel. But as the lxx, Chald., and Vulg. all agree with the Hebrew text, there is no critical ground for rejecting Samuel, the more especially as the objection raised to it, viz., that Samuel would not have mentioned himself, is far too trivial to overthrow the reading supported by the most ancient versions; and the assertion made by Thenius, that Samuel does not come down to his own times until the following verse, is altogether unfounded. Samuel could very well class himself with the deliverers of Israel, for the simple reason that it was by him that the people were delivered from the forty years' tyranny of the Philistines, whilst Samson merely commenced their deliverance and did not bring it to completion. Samuel appears to have deliberately mentioned his own name along with those of the other judges who were sent by God, that he might show the people in the most striking manner (1 Samuel 12:12) that they had no reason whatever for saying to him, "Nay, but a king shall reign over us," as soon as the Ammonites invaded Gilead. "As Jehovah your God is your king," i.e., has ever proved himself to be your King by sending judges to deliver you.
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