Judges 3:10
And the Spirit of the LORD came on 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). The enumeration of the different nations rests upon Joshua 13:2-6, and, with its conciseness and brevity, is only fully intelligible through the light thrown upon it by that passage. The five princes of the Philistines are mentioned singly there. According to Joshua 13:4., "all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites," are the Canaanitish tribes dwelling in northern Canaan, by the Phoenician coast and upon Mount Lebanon. "The Canaanites:" viz., those who dwelt along the sea-coast to the south of Sidon. The Hivites: those who were settled more in the heart of the country, "from the mountains of Baal-hermon up to the territory of Hamath." Baal-hermon is only another name for Baal-gad, the present Banjas, under the Hermon (cf. Joshua 13:5). When it is stated still further in Judges 3:4, that "they were left in existence (i.e., were not exterminated by Joshua) to prove Israel by them," we are struck with the fact, that besides the Philistines, only these northern Canaanites are mentioned; whereas, according to Judges 1, many towns in the centre of the land were also left in the hands of the Canaanites, and therefore here also the Canaanites were not yet exterminated, and became likewise a snare to the Israelites, not only according to the word of the angel of the Lord (Judges 2:3), but also because the Israelites who dwelt among these Canaanitish tribes contracted marriages with them, and served their gods. This striking circumstance cannot be set aside, as Bertheau supposes, by the simple remark, that "the two lists (that of the countries which the tribes of Israel did not conquer after Joshua's death in Judges 1, and the one given here of the nations which Joshua had not subjugated) must correspond on the whole," since the correspondence referred to really does not exist. It can only be explained on the ground that the Canaanites who were left in the different towns in the midst of the land, acquired all their power to maintain their stand against Israel from the simple fact that the Philistines on the south-west, and several whole tribes of Canaanites in the north, had been left by Joshua neither exterminated nor even conquered, inasmuch as they so crippled the power of the Israelites by wars and invasions of the Israelitish territory, that they were unable to exterminate those who remained in the different fortresses of their own possessions. Because, therefore, the power to resist the Israelites and oppress them for a time resided not so much in the Canaanites who were dwelling in the midst of Israel, as in the Philistines and the Canaanites upon the mountains of Lebanon who had been left unconquered by Joshua, these are the only tribes mentioned in this brief survey as the nations through which the Lord would prove His people.
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