Judges 11:24
Will not you possess that which Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.
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(24) Chemosh thy god.—The expression shows the close connection between Ammon and Moab. Chemosh was distinctively the god of Moab, and Moloch of Ammon; but the two nations were of kindred blood and allied institutions (Judges 3:12-13). The name Chemosh means “subduer,” and there is here, perhaps, a tacit reference to the wild popular song of triumph over the conquest of Heshbon, in which Chemosh is taunted by name (Numbers 21:29; comp. Jeremiah 48:7). The clause might be rendered, “Whatever Jehovah our God hath dispossessed before us, that take we in possession.”

Jdg 11:24. Wilt not thou possess, &c. — He does not call Chemosh a god; but only argues from the opinion that they had of him, which was such as all nations entertained of their gods, namely, that they owed their conquests to them: to whom, therefore, they gave thanks for all their victories. The Ammonites and Moabites got their land by conquest of the old inhabitants, whom they cast out; and their success, though given them by the true God, for Lot’s sake, Deuteronomy 2:9; Deuteronomy 2:19, they impiously ascribed to their god Chemosh, whose gift they owned to be a sufficient title. Jephthah, therefore, here appeals to themselves, whether they would not keep what they believed their god had given them, and consider it as lawfully possessed by them. So whomsoever the Lord our God shall drive out, them will we possess — By the very same title whereby the Moabites and Ammonites conceived that they possessed the country in which they now lived, and from whence they had driven out the ancient inhabitants.11:12-28 One instance of the honour and respect we owe to God, as our God, is, rightly to employ what he gives us to possess. Receive it from him, use it for him, and part with it when he calls for it. The whole of this message shows that Jephthah was well acquainted with the books of Moses. His argument was clear, and his demand reasonable. Those who possess the most courageous faith, will be the most disposed for peace, and the readiest to make advances to obtain; but rapacity and ambition often cloak their designs under a plea of equity, and render peaceful endeavours of no avail.Chemosh was the national god of the Moabites (see the marginal references); and as the territory in question was Moabitish territory before the Amorites took it from "the people of Chemosh," this may account for the mention of Chemosh here rather than of Moloch, or Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. Possibly the king of the children of Ammon at this time may have been a Moabite.13. the king of Ammon …, Because Israel took away my land—(See on [221]De 2:19). The subject of quarrel was a claim of right advanced by the Ammonite monarch to the lands which the Israelites were occupying. Jephthah's reply was clear, decisive, and unanswerable;—first, those lands were not in the possession of the Ammonites when his countrymen got them, and that they had been acquired by right of conquest from the Amorites [Jud 11:21]; secondly, the Israelites had now, by a lapse of three hundred years of undisputed possession, established a prescriptive right to the occupation [Jud 11:22, 23]; and thirdly, having received a grant of them from the Lord, his people were entitled to maintain their right on the same principle that guided the Ammonites in receiving, from their god Chemosh, the territory they now occupied [Jud 11:24]. This diplomatic statement, so admirable for the clearness and force of its arguments, concluded with a solemn appeal to God to maintain, by the issue of events, the cause of right and justice [Jud 11:27]. He speaks according to their fond and absurd opinion. The Ammonites and Moabites got their land by right of war, and conquest of the old inhabitants, whom they cast out; and this success, though given them by the true God, for Lot’s sake, Deu 2:19, they impiously and ridiculously ascribe to their god Chemosh, whose gift they owned to be a firm and sufficient title. Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess?.... Chemosh was the idol of the Moabites, see Numbers 21:29, which has led some to think, that the present king of Ammon was also king of Moab, and who insisted on that part of the country, which formerly belonged to Moab, to be delivered to him, as well as that which had belonged to Ammon. Now since the land, which they now inhabited, as well as what they had lost, they had taken away from others, Deuteronomy 2:10, having conquered them, and which they ascribed to the help and assistance they had from their idol, and possessed as his gift; Jephthah argues with them "ad hominem", from the less to the greater:

so whomsoever the Lord our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess; we have surely as good a claim to what the Lord our God gives to us in a way of conquest, as you have, or can think you have, to what your idol, as you suppose, has given you: however, what we have got, or get this way, we are determined to possess, and keep possession of.

Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the {h} LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.

(h) For we should believe and obey God more than you your idols.

24. Chemosh thy god … the Lord our God] What Jehovah was to Israel Chemosh was to Moab; Numbers 21:29, Moab. St. passim. Obviously Moabites are in the speaker’s mind, not Ammonites, whose national god was Milcom. According to ancient ideas each nation had its own god, whose influence extended over the country where he was worshipped and no further; Micah 4:5, cf. 1 Samuel 26:19, Deuteronomy 4:19 etc.; an Israelite worshipper of Jehovah would not, therefore, deny the divinity of the gods of his neighbours. A belief in the sole Godhead of Jehovah had not yet been reached.

Will not thou … giveth thee to possess] Read Wilt not thou possess (the territory of) those whom Chemosh thy god dispossesseth? omitting thee, and thus making the two halves of the verse correspond.Verse 24. - Chemosh. The national god of the Moabites (cf. Numbers 21:29; 1 Kings 11:7, 33; Jeremiah 48:7, 13, 46, etc.). Thy god. The phrase indicates a very close connection between Moab and Ammon at the present time, both possibly being under one king. Chemosh, rather than Moloch, is mentioned because the territory had belonged to the Moabites, but Chemosh had not been able to save it from the Amorites. The Lord our God. Jehovah was the God of Israel as truly as Chemosh was the god of Moab, in one sense. Possibly Jephthah had not risen to the conception of Jehovah as the God of the whole earth. On leaving Egypt, Israel passed through the desert to the Red Sea, and came to Kadesh (Numbers 20:1). They then sent messengers to the king of Edom, to obtain permission to pass through his land; and this the king of Edom refused (Numbers 20:14-21). They also sent to the king of Moab, who sent back a similar refusal. The embassy to the king of Moab is not mentioned in the Pentateuch, as it had no direct bearing upon the further course of the Israelites (see Pentateuch, p. 741, note 1). "And Israel abode in Kadesh" (word for word, as in Numbers 20:1), and "then passed through the desert," namely to Mount Hor, then down the Arabah to the Red Sea, and still farther past Oboth to Ijje-abarim in the desert (Numbers 20:22-21:11). In this way they went round the land of Edom and the land of Moab (יסב, like סבב in Numbers 21:4); and came from the east to the land of Moab (i.e., along the eastern boundary, for Ijje-abarim was situated there, according to Numbers 21:11); and encamped on the other side of the Arnon (Numbers 21:13), i.e., on the upper course of the Arnon where it still flows through the desert (see Pent. p. 749). On this march, therefore, they did not enter the territory of Moab, as the Arnon formed the boundary of Moab, i.e., the boundary between Moab and the territory of the Amorites (Numbers 21:13).
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