Judges 3:10
And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.
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(10) The Spirit of the Lord came upon him.—Here the Targum has “the spirit of prophecy” (comp. Isaiah 61:1), perhaps with reference to Numbers 11:25. They render the same phrase in Judges 6:34, “spirit of courage from Jehovah.” This expression constantly recurs in this book (Judges 6:34; Judges 11:29; Judges 13:25). For “came upon him” (literally “was upon him”), a stronger phrase is “clothed him” (Judges 6:34; 1Chronicles 12:18; 2Chronicles 24:20). The Jews, however, placed Othniel highest among the judges, and applied to him the words of Song of Solomon 4:7, “Thou art all fair; there is no spot in thee,” because he alone of the judges is represented as irreproachable. Further than this, they followed some dim traditional data in identifying him with Jabez (1Chronicles 4:10), and regarding him as a learned teacher of the law. (See Judges 1:13.)

He judged Israel.—Some of the Rabbis explain “judged” (yishhab) here to mean “avenged,” as in Psalm 43:1, “Avenge me, O God” (Shapetêni),possibly from disliking the notion of a Kenizzite, however distinguished, holding the office of a suffes, or judge. There is a difficulty about Othniel’s age; Caleb was eighty-five at the conquest, and, if Othniel was his brother, he could not have been less than fifty or sixty at that time. But even supposing him to have been Caleb’s nephew, and aged forty at his marriage, then, since Joshua lived to be 110, and Cushan-Rishathaim’s oppression did not begin till after the death of the elders who outlived Joshua, and lasted eight years, if Othniel was judge for forty years, this would make him quite 143 years old at his death. It is only another sign that the chronological data of the Book of Judges are not sufficiently definite to enable us to construct a system out of them.

3:8-11 The first judge was Othniel: even in Joshua's time Othniel began to be famous. Soon after Israel's settlement in Canaan their purity began to be corrupted, and their peace disturbed. But affliction makes those cry to God who before would scarcely speak to him. God returned in mercy to them for their deliverance. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel. The Spirit of wisdom and courage to qualify him for the service, and the Spirit of power to excite him to it. He first judged Israel, reproved and reformed them, and then went to war. Let sin at home be conquered, that worst of enemies, then enemies abroad will be more easily dealt with. Thus let Christ be our Judge and Lawgiver, then he will save us.And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him - The phrase occurs frequently in this book and in the books of Samuel and Kings. It marks the special office of the Judges. They were saviors (Judges 3:9 margin; Nehemiah 9:27) called and directed by the Holy Spirit, who endued them with extraordinary wisdom, courage, and strength for the work which lay before them (compare Judges 6:34; Judges 11:29; Judges 13:25; Judges 14:6, Judges 14:19), and were in this respect types of Christ the "Judge of Israel" Micah 5:1, in whom "the Spirit of the Lord God" was "without measure" Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 12:18-21; Job 1:32; Acts 13:2. 10. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he judged Israel, and went out to war—Impelled by a supernatural influence, he undertook the difficult task of government at this national crisis—addressing himself to promote a general reformation of manners, the abolition of idolatry, and the revival of pure religion. After these preliminary measures, he collected a body of choice warriors to expel the foreign oppressors.

the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim—No details are given of this war, which, considering the resources of so potent a monarch, must have been a determined struggle. But the Israelitish arms were crowned through the blessing of God with victory, and Canaan regained its freedom and independence.

The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, with extraordinary influences, endowing him with singular wisdom, and courage, and resolution; and stirring him up to this great undertaking. Compare Judges 6:34 11:29.

He judged Israel, i.e. pleaded and avenged the cause of Israel against their oppressors; as that phrase is oft used, as Deu 32:36 Psalm 10:18 43:1.

And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him,.... Moved him to engage in this work of delivering Israel, inspired him with courage, and filled him with every needful gift, qualifying him for it; the Targum interprets it the spirit of prophecy; it seems father to be the spirit of counsel and courage, of strength and fortitude of body and mind:

and he judged Israel; took upon him the office of a judge over them, and executed it; very probably the first work he set about was to reprove them for their sins, and convince them of them, and reform them from their idolatry, and restore among them the pure worship of God; and this he did first before he took up arms for them:

and he went out to war; raised an army, and went out at the head of them, to fight with their oppressor:

and the Lord delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim; gave him the victory over him and his army, so that he fell into his hands, became his captive, and perhaps was slain by him.

And the {e} Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.

(e) He was stirred up by the Spirit of the Lord.

10. the spirit of the Lord came upon him] So the spirit came upon Jephthah Jdg 11:29, and clothed itself with Gideon Jdg 6:34, and impelled (Jdg 13:25) or rushed upon Samson Jdg 14:6; Jdg 14:19, Jdg 15:14, and Saul 1 Samuel 11:6. These heroes seemed to be possessed; their extraordinary feats of strength and daring struck the beholder as due to the presence of a superhuman power—the spirit of the Lord, i.e. Jehovah directly acting in the physical, as elsewhere in the intellectual and spiritual, sphere. In the O.T. the spirit is not realized as a distinct personality; the spirit of Jehovah is Jehovah Himself in operation, and, as the divine name implies, in redemptive operation on behalf of Israel.

and he judged Israel] See on Jdg 2:16. The verb means both ‘to give judgement’ and ‘to do justice,’ ‘to give a person his rights’; in the latter sense it is used in parallelism with ‘save,’ and can even be followed by ‘out of the hand of,’ 1 Samuel 24:15, 2 Samuel 18:19; 2 Samuel 18:31. In the, age before the monarchy the ‘judges’ or ‘deliverers’ exercised in Israel an intermittent function, to which they were specially summoned by Jehovah; hence the Dtc. compiler uses the word almost as the title of an office. When the national sense was more fully developed, the Israelites demanded a king to fulfil the same function permanently instead of intermittently: see 1 Samuel 8:20.

Verse 10. - And the Spirit, etc. This marks Othniel as one of the extraordinary Shophetim, or judges, Divinely commissioned to save Israel (see Judges 6:34; Judges 11:29; Judges 13:25; Judges 14:6, 19). Judges 3:10In this oppression the Israelites cried to the Lord for help, and He raised them up מושׁיע, a deliverer, helper, namely the Kenizzite Othniel, the younger brother and son-in-law of Caleb (see at Joshua 15:17). "The Spirit of Jehovah came upon him." The Spirit of God is the spiritual principle of life in the world of nature and man; and in man it is the principle both of the natural life which we received through birth, and also of the spiritual life which we received through regeneration (vid., Auberlen, Geist des Menschen, in Herzog's Cycl. iv. p. 731). In this sense the expressions "Spirit of God" (Elohim) and "Spirit of the Lord" (Jehovah) are interchanged even in Genesis 1:2, compared with Genesis 6:3, and so throughout all the books of the Old Testament; the former denoting the Divine Spirit generally in its supernatural causality and power, the latter the same Spirit in its operations upon human life and history in the working out of the plan of salvation. In its peculiar operations the Spirit of Jehovah manifests itself as a spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2). The communication of this Spirit under the Old Testament was generally made in the form of extraordinary and supernatural influence upon the human spirit. The expression employed to denote this is usually יי רוּח עליו ותּהי ("the Spirit of Jehovah came upon him:" thus here, Judges 11:29; 1 Samuel 19:20, 1 Samuel 19:23; 2 Chronicles 20:14; Numbers 24:2). This is varied, however, with the expressions יי רוּח עליו (צלחה) ותּצלח (Judges 14:6, Judges 14:19; Judges 15:14; 1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 11:6; 1 Samuel 16:13) and את־פ לבשׁה יי רוּח, "the Spirit of Jehovah clothed the man" (Judges 6:34; 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2 Chronicles 24:20). Of these the former denotes the operations of the Divine Spirit in overcoming the resistance of the natural will of man, whilst the latter represents the Spirit of God as a power which envelopes or covers a man. The recipients and bearers of this Spirit were thereby endowed with the power to perform miraculous deeds, in which the Spirit of God that came upon them manifested itself generally in the ability to prophesy (vid., 1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 19:20, 1 Samuel 19:23; 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2 Chronicles 20:14; 2 Chronicles 24:20), but also in the power to work miracles or to accomplish deeds which surpassed the courage and strength of the natural man. The latter was more especially the case with the judges; hence the Chaldee paraphrases "the Spirit of Jehovah" in Judges 6:34 as the spirit of might from the Lord;" though in the passage before us it gives the erroneous interpretation נבוּאה רוּח, "the spirit of prophecy." Kimchi also understands it as signifying "the spirit of bravery, under the instigation of which he was able fearlessly to enter upon the war with Chushan." But we are hardly at liberty to split up the different powers of the Spirit of God in this manner, and to restrict its operations upon the judges to the spirit of strength and bravery alone. The judges not only attacked the enemy courageously and with success, but they also judged the nation, for which the spirit of wisdom and understanding was indispensably necessary, and put down idolatry (Judges 2:18-19), which they could not have done without the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. "And he judged Israel and went out to war." The position of ויּשׁפּט before למּלחמה ויּצא does not warrant us in explaining ויּשׁפּט as signifying "he began to discharge the functions of a judge," as Rosenmller has done: for שׁפט must not be limited to a settlement of the civil disputes of the people, but means to restore right in Israel, whether towards its heathen oppressors, or with regard to the attitude of the nation towards the Lord. "And the Lord gave Chushan-rishathaim into his hand (cf. Judges 1:2; Judges 3:28, etc.), and his hand became strong over him;" i.e., he overcame him (cf. Judges 6:2), or smote him, so that he was obliged to vacate the land. In consequence of this victory, and the land had rest from war (cf. Joshua 11:23) forty years. "And then Othniel died:" the expression ויּמת with ו consec. does not necessarily imply that Othniel did not die for forty years, but simply that he died after rest had been restored to the land.
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