Judges 10:16
And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) They put away the strange gods.—The moment the sincerity of their repentance was proved, God hears them (Genesis 35:1; 1Samuel 7:3; 2Chronicles 15:8).

His soul was grieved.—Literally, was shortened. (Comp. Zechariah 11:8.)

Jdg 10:16. They put away the strange gods — As an evidence of the sincerity of their sorrow, and that they did not only confess their sins, but also forsake them. And it is probable that, for the present, a thorough reformation took place, and that they entirely quitted the worship of strange gods, and served the Lord alone. His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel — That is, upon their repentance and reformation he turned away his anger, had compassion upon them on account of their miseries, and acted toward them like one that felt their sufferings. He changed his carriage toward them, and punished their enemies as sorely as if they had grieved and injured his own person. From this chapter we may learn the amazing depravity of human nature, and how readily it falls from one degree of degeneracy to another. God, who knows what our nature is, foresaw that apostacy to idolatry would be the certain consequence of the Israelites dwelling among the heathen nations, and therefore had strictly commanded them to expel those nations entirely out of Canaan, and to have no communication with them. But the Israelites did not obey his commands in this; and, in neglecting this one thing, fell into all the errors, crimes, and miseries, which God had forewarned them would be the consequence. They thought there was but little harm in letting the Canaanites remain among them as long as they lived peaceably with them. But, alas! evil communication unavoidably corrupts good manners; they could not converse and traffic with the Canaanites without, by degrees, contracting a friendship with them, perhaps thinking they should be strengthened by these alliances with the inhabitants of the land. This naturally produced at least a complaisant deference to their customs and religious ceremonies, and, in a little longer time, the adjoining some of those customs and ceremonies with their own; till at last they fell into all the abominations of the nations; to deliver them from which, the true God had done so many wondrous works. From hence we may learn how we may, by offending in a single point only, and that not seeming in itself absolutely immoral, or of any great consequence, be by degrees carried entirely out of the paths of piety, and brought to the greatest degeneracy. We may further observe, from the circumstances of the Israelites, related in this chapter, that afflictions are of great use, and are employed by God to bring men to a right sense of their duty, and into the paths of righteousness, from which they had wandered by their follies. And we may also learn, that God is always ready to receive us with forgiveness and mercy whenever we return to him. 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.The Zidonians - An allusion to the time of Barak, when the Zidonians doubtless formed part of the great confederacy of Canaanites under Jabin king of Hazor. See Joshua 11:8.

The Amalekites - In the time of Gideon (marginal reference).

The Maonites - Probably one of the tribes of the "children of the East," who came with the Midianites and Amalekites in the time of Gideon, and may have been conspicuous for their hostility to Israel, and for the greatness of their discomfiture, though the record has not been preserved. The name is "Mehununs" in 2 Chronicles 26:7.

Jud 10:16-18. They Repent; God Pities Them.

16. they put away the strange gods … and served the Lord; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel—On their abandonment of idolatry and return to purity of worship, God graciously abridged the term of national affliction and restored times of peace.

They put away the strange gods: this was an evidence of the sincerity of their sorrow, that they did not only confess and bewail their sins, but also forsake them, and loathe themselves for them.

His soul was grieved; not properly, or as to inward affection; for God being infinitely happy, is not capable of grieving; but figuratively, and as to outward expression. He acted towards them like one that felt their sufferings; he had pity upon them, repented of his severe proceedings against them, and quite changed his carriage towards them, and punished their enemies as sorely as if they had grieved and injured his own person. And they put away the strange gods from among them,.... Which was an evidence of the truth of their repentance, and showed their confessions and humiliations to be genuine:

and served the Lord; and him only, both in private and public; in the observance of duties, both moral and ceremonial; in an attendance on the service of the sanctuary, and by offering sacrifices to God there, according to his will:

and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel; which is to be understood after the manner of men; for grief properly does not belong to God, there being no passion in him; but it denotes a carriage or behaviour of his, which shows what looks like sympathy in men; a love and affection for Israel, notwithstanding their ill behaviour to him, and a change of his dispensations Providence towards them, according to his unchangeable will; so Maimonides (b) understands it of the good will and pleasure of God, to cease from afflicting the people of Israel; but Abarbinel is of opinion that this refers to the soul of Israel, which was shortened and contracted, as the word signifies, because of the labour of servitude, the affliction and distress they were in.

(b) Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 41.

And they put away the strange gods from among them, and {f} served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

(f) This is true repentance, to put away evil, and serve God aright.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. The first half of the verse resembles Genesis 35:2 E, Joshua 24:20-23 E, 1 Samuel 7:3.

strange gods] i.e. foreign gods, E’s expression: Joshua 24:20; Joshua 24:23, etc.; contrast other gods, Jdg 10:13.

was grieved] lit. was shortened, cf. Jdg 16:16, Exodus 6:9, Numbers 21:4, Zechariah 11:8; i.e. He lost patience, He could bear Israel’s distress no longer. Jehovah’s impatience (cf. Micah 2:7 RVm.) is aroused by mingled pity and indignation.Verse 16. - And they put away the strange gods. Here at length were "the fruits meet for repentance," and "the returning to the Lord their God;" the intended result of the severe but loving correction (see Homiletics, Judges 6:25-32). Cf. Genesis 35:2; 1 Samuel 7:3, in which passages, as here, the phrase the strange gods is the correct rendering; not, as in the margin, gods of strangers. The Hebrew phrase here rendered his soul was grieved occurs Numbers 21:4; Judges 16:16; Zechariah 11:2; it means was impatient - literally, was shortened, i.e. he could bear it no longer. A somewhat similar description of the Divine relenting is contained in the beautiful passage Hosea 11:7-9. When the Israelites cried in their distress to the Lord, "We have sinned against Thee, namely, that we have forsaken our God and served the Baals," the Lord first of all reminded them of the manifestations of His grace (Judges 10:11, Judges 10:12), and then pointed out to them their faithless apostasy and the worthlessness of their idols (Judges 10:13, Judges 10:14). וכי, "and indeed that," describes the sin more minutely, and there is no necessity to remove it from the text-an act which is neither warranted by its absence from several MSS nor by its omission from the Sept., the Syriac, and the Vulgate. Baalim is a general term used to denote all the false gods, as in Judges 2:11. This answer on the part of God to the prayer of the Israelites for help is not to be regarded as having been given through an extraordinary manifestation (theophany), or through the medium of a prophet, for that would certainly have been recorded; but it was evidently given in front of the tabernacle, where the people had called upon the Lord, and either came through the high priest, or else through an inward voice in which God spoke to the hearts of the people, i.e., through the voice of their own consciences, by which God recalled to their memories and impressed upon their hearts first of all His own gracious acts, and then their faithless apostasy. There is an anakolouthon in the words of God. The construction which is commenced with ממּצרים is dropped at וגו וצידונים in Judges 10:12; and the verb הושׁעתּי, which answers to the beginning of the clause, is brought up afterwards in the form of an apodosis with אתכם ואושׁיעה. "Did I not deliver you (1) from the Egyptians (cf. Exodus 1-14); (2) from the Amorites (cf. Numbers 21:3); (3) from the Ammonites (who oppressed Israel along with the Moabites in the time of Ehud, Judges 3:12.); (4) from the Philistines (through Shamgar: see 1 Samuel 12:9, where the Philistines are mentioned between Sisera and Moab); (5) from the Sidonians (among whom probably the northern Canaanites under Jabin are included, as Sidon, according to Judges 18:7, Judges 18:28, appears to have exercised a kind of principality or protectorate over the northern tribes of Canaan); (6) from the Amalekites (who attacked the Israelites even at Horeb, Exodus 17:8., and afterwards invaded the land of Israel both with the Moabites, Judges 3:13, and also with the Midianites, Judges 6:3); and (7) from the Midianites?" (see Judges 6-7). The last is the reading of the lxx in Cod. Al. and Vat., viz., Μαδιάμ; whereas Ald. and Compl. read Χαναάν, also the Vulgate. In the Masoretic text, on the other hand, we have Maon. Were this the original and true reading, we might perhaps think of the Mehunim, who are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 26:7 along with Philistines and Arabians (cf. 1 Chronicles 4:41), and are supposed to have been inhabitants of the city of Maan on the Syrian pilgrim road to the east of Petra (Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 734 and 1035: see Ewald, Gesch. i. pp. 321, 322). But there is very little probability in this supposition, as we cannot possibly see how so small a people could have oppressed Israel so grievously at that time, that the deliverance from their oppression could be mentioned here; whilst it would be very strange that nothing should be said about the terrible oppression of the Midianites and the wonderful deliverance from that oppression effected by Gideon. Consequently the Septuagint (Μαδιάμ) appears to have preserve the original text.
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