Judges 2:16
Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
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(16) Nevertheless.—Rather, And.

The Lord raised up judges.Acts 13:20; 1Samuel 12:10-11. This is the key-note to the book. (See Judges 3:10; Judges 4:4; Judges 10:2; Judges 12:7, &c.; 15:20.) The word for Judges is Shophetim. The ordinary verb “to judge,” in Hebrew, is not Shaphât, but dayyân. Evidently their deliverers (comp. Deuteronomy 17:8-9; Psalm 2:10; Amos 2:3) are of higher rank than the mere tribe-magistrates mentioned in Exodus 18:26; Deuteronomy 1:16, &c. Artemidorus (Judges 2:14) says that to judge (Krinein) signified among the ancients “to govern.” Of the judges in this book some—e.g., Tola, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon—are not said to have performed any warlike deeds. They may, however, have been warriors, like Jair, whose exploits are only preserved in tradition. Samuel, though not himself a fighter, yet roused the military courage of his people. They received no salary, imposed no tributes, made no laws, but merely exercised, for the deliverance of Israel, the personal ascendency conferred upon them by “the Spirit of God.” Perhaps they find their nearest analogy in the Greek Aisymnetai (elective princes) or the Roman Dictators. The name is evidently the same as that of the Phœnician Suffetes, who succeeded the kings and were the Doges of Tyre after its siege by Nebuchadnezzar. (Jos. 100 Ap. i. 21.) Livy tells us that the Suffetes of Carthage had a sort of consular power in the senate (Liv. 30:7; 28:57; 33:46; 34:61). So, too, in the Middle Ages, Spanish governors were called “judges,” and this was the title of the chief officer of Sardinia. The judges of Israel, at any rate in their true ideal, were not only military deliverers (Judges 3:9), but also supporters of divine law and order (Genesis 18:25). The abeyance of normally constituted authority during this period is seen in the fact that one of the judges is the son of a “stranger” (Judges 11:2), another a woman (Judges 4:4), and not one of them (in this book) of priestly or splendid birth.

Jdg 2:16-17. Nevertheless the Lord raised up — By inward inspiration and excitement of their hearts, and by outward designation, testified by some extraordinary action. Judges — Supreme magistrates, whose office it was, under God, and by his particular direction, to govern the commonwealth of Israel by God’s laws, and to protect and save them from their enemies, to preserve and purge religion, and to maintain the liberties of the people against all oppressors. Yet they would not hearken to their judges — Who admonished them of their sin and folly, and of the danger and misery which would certainly befall them.2:6-23 We have a general idea of the course of things in Israel, during the time of the Judges. The nation made themselves as mean and miserable by forsaking God, as they would have been great and happy if they had continued faithful to him. Their punishment answered to the evil they had done. They served the gods of the nations round about them, even the meanest, and God made them serve the princes of the nations round about them, even the meanest. Those who have found God true to his promises, may be sure that he will be as true to his threatenings. He might in justice have abandoned them, but he could not for pity do it. The Lord was with the judges when he raised them up, and so they became saviours. In the days of the greatest distress of the church, there shall be some whom God will find or make fit to help it. The Israelites were not thoroughly reformed; so mad were they upon their idols, and so obstinately bent to backslide. Thus those who have forsaken the good ways of God, which they have once known and professed, commonly grow most daring and desperate in sin, and have their hearts hardened. Their punishment was, that the Canaanites were spared, and so they were beaten with their own rod. Men cherish and indulge their corrupt appetites and passions; therefore God justly leaves them to themselves, under the power of their sins, which will be their ruin. God has told us how deceitful and desperately wicked our hearts are, but we are not willing to believe it, until by making bold with temptation we find it true by sad experience. We need to examine how matters stand with ourselves, and to pray without ceasing, that we may be rooted and grounded in love, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. Let us declare war against every sin, and follow after holiness all our days.Nevertheless - (rather "and") the Lord raised up judges This is the first introduction of the term judge, which gives its name to the book. (See the introduction to the Book of Judges.) 16. which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them—The judges who governed Israel were strictly God's vicegerents in the government of the people, He being the supreme ruler. Those who were thus elevated retained the dignity as long as they lived; but there was no regular, unbroken succession of judges. Individuals, prompted by the inward, irresistible impulse of God's Spirit when they witnessed the depressed state of their country, were roused to achieve its deliverance. It was usually accompanied by a special call, and the people seeing them endowed with extraordinary courage or strength, accepted them as delegates of Heaven, and submitted to their sway. Frequently they were appointed only for a particular district, and their authority extended no farther than over the people whose interests they were commissioned to protect. They were without pomp, equipage, or emoluments attached to the office. They had no power to make laws; for these were given by God; nor to explain them, for that was the province of the priests—but they were officially upholders of the law, defenders of religion, avengers of all crimes, particularly of idolatry and its attendant vices. The Lord raised them up, by inward inspiration and excitation of their minds and hearts, and by outward designation, testified by some heroical and extraordinary action.

Judges; supreme magistrates, whose office it was, under God, and by his particular direction, to govern the commonwealth of Israel by God’s laws, and to protect and save them from their enemies; to preserve and purge religion; to maintain the liberties of the people against all oppressors. See Judges 3:9,10,15,4:4 6:25,26 8:23. Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges,.... Who are particularly mentioned by name, and their exploits recorded, in some following chapters, and from whom the book in general has its name: these were men that God raised up in an extraordinary manner, and spirited and qualified for the work he had to do by them; which was to deliver the people of Israel out of the hands of their oppressors, and restore them to their privileges and liberties, and protect them in them, and administer justice to them; which was a wonderful instance of the goodness of God to them, notwithstanding their many provoking sins and transgressions:

which delivered them out of the hands of those that spoiled them; who took away their goods and cattle from them, and carried their persons captive: these were the instruments of recovering both again, just as Abraham brought again Lot and all his goods.

Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
16. raised up … saved] Phrases of the compiler, cf. Jdg 2:18, Jdg 3:9; Jdg 3:15; Jdg 3:31, Jdg 10:12-13.

judges] not in the sense of magistrates, for there was no law or tribunal in our sense at a period when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The “judges” were champions and leaders, called out to meet a special emergency, who vindicated Israel’s rights in battle, Jdg 3:10. The suffetes (Heb. shôfětim) of Carthage and the Carthaginian colonies bore the same title, but they held a regular magistracy, entirely different from the extraordinary office characteristic of this age; see. NSI., p. 115 f.Verse 16. - Raised up judges. Hence the name of this book, which recites the names and exploits of those whom God raised up to deliver them out of the hand of their enemies. The title Judges (Hebrew, shophetim) is, as is well known, identical with the Carthagenian suffetes. Mark the riches of God's mercy. The account of this development of the covenant nation, which commenced after the death of Joshua and his contemporaries, is attached to the book of Joshua by a simple repetition of the closing verses of that book (Joshua 24:28-31) in Judges 2:6-10, with a few unimportant differences, not only to form a link between Josha and Judges 2:11, and to resume the thread of the history which was broken off by the summary just given of the results of the wars between the Israelites and Canaanites (Bertheau), but rather to bring out sharply and clearly the contrast between the age that was past and the period of the Israelitish history that was just about to commence. The vav consec. attached to וישׁלּח expresses the order of thought and not of time. The apostasy of the new generation from the Lord (Judges 2:10.) was a necessary consequence of the attitude of Israel to the Canaanites who were left in the land, as described in Judges 1:1-2:5. This thought is indicated by the vav consec. in וישׁלּח; so that the meaning of Judges 2:6. as expressed in our ordinary phraseology would be as follows: Now when Joshua had dismissed the people, and the children of Israel had gone every one to his own inheritance to take possession of the land, the people served the Lord as long as Joshua and the elders who survived him were alive; but when Joshua was dead, and that generation (which was contemporaneous with him) had been gathered to its fathers, there rose up another generation after them which knew not the Lord, and also (knew not) the work which He had done to Israel. On the death and burial of Joshua, see at Joshua 24:29-30. "Gathered unto their fathers" corresponds to "gathered to his people" in the Pentateuch (Genesis 25:8, Genesis 25:17; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:29, Genesis 49:33, etc.: see at Genesis 25:8). They "knew not the Lord," sc., from seeing or experiencing His wonderful deeds, which the contemporaries of Joshua and Moses had seen and experienced.

In the general survey of the times of the judges, commencing at Judges 2:11, the falling away of the Israelites from the Lord is mentioned first of all, and at the same time it is distinctly shown how neither the chastisements inflicted upon them by God at the hands of hostile nations, nor the sending of judges to set them free from the hostile oppression, availed to turn them from their idolatry (Judges 2:11-19). This is followed by the determination of God to tempt and chastise the sinful nation by not driving away the remaining Canaanites (Judges 2:20-23); and lastly, the account concludes with an enumeration of the tribes that still remained, and the attitude of Israel towards them (Judges 3:1-6).

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