Judges 3:12
And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.
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(12) Did evil again.—Literally, added to do evil.” We find this Hebraism even in the New Testament. “He added (prosetheto) to send” (Luke 20:11-12).

Evil.—Literally, the evil, with special reference to idolatry, as in Judges 2:11, &c.

Strengthened Eglon the king of Moab.—See this event referred to by the prophet Samuel, in 1Samuel 12:9. Eglon was a successor of Balak. We have seen that Rishathaim is probably a term of hatred or scorn; is the name Eglon due to the same tendency? It may be so, since Eglon means “a fat bullock” (comp. Psalm 22:12; Amos 4:1).

Jdg 3:12. And the children of Israel did evil again — This was the case of the Israelites during all the time of their judges: the same person who freed them from servitude, purified them also from idolatry; but he was no sooner dead than their religion was at an end, though their peace and happiness were sure to expire with it. Thus every epocha of their history, during the administration of the judges, is only an alternate succession of sinning and contrition, of servitude and deliverance. This may evince what a mighty influence even one good man in authority may have over a whole people. The Lord strengthened Eglon — By giving him courage, and power, and success against them. As God raised up deliverers to Israel, when they became penitent, so he spirited up enemies against them, and gave them power to oppress them, whenever they revolted from his service.

3:12-30 When Israel sins again, God raises up a new oppressor. The Israelites did ill, and the Moabites did worse; yet because God punishes the sins of his own people in this world, Israel is weakened, and Moab strengthened against them. If lesser troubles do not do the work, God will send greater. When Israel prays again, God raises up Ehud. As a judge, or minister of Divine justice, Ehud put to death Eglon, the king of Moab, and thus executed the judgments of God upon him as an enemy to God and Israel. But the law of being subject to principalities and powers in all things lawful, is the rule of our conduct. No such commissions are now given; to pretend to them is to blaspheme God. Notice Ehud's address to Eglon. What message from God but a message of vengeance can a proud rebel expect? Such a message is contained in the word of God; his ministers are boldly to declare it, without fearing the frown, or respecting the persons of sinners. But, blessed be God, they have to deliver a message of mercy and of free salvation; the message of vengeance belongs only to those who neglect the offers of grace. The consequence of this victory was, that the land had rest eighty years. It was a great while for the land to rest; yet what is that to the saints' everlasting rest in the heavenly Canaan.The "strengthening" Eglon was the special work of God, and because Israel "had done evil," etc. Samuel's comment on the event is to the same effect 1 Samuel 12:9. Jud 3:12-30. Ehud Slays Eglon.

12-14. the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord—The Israelites, deprived of the moral and political influences of Othniel, were not long in following their native bias to idolatry.

the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab—The reigning monarch's ambition was to recover that extensive portion of his ancient territory possessed by the Israelites. In conjunction with his neighbors, the Ammonites and the Amalekites, sworn enemies of Israel, he first subjected the eastern tribes; then crossing the Jordan, he made a sudden incursion on western Canaan, and in virtue of his conquests, erected fortifications in the territory adjoining Jericho [Josephus], to secure the frontier, and fixed his residence there. This oppressor was permitted, in the providence of God, to triumph for eighteen years.

Strengthened Eglon, by giving him courage, and power, and success against them.

And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord,.... Fell into idolatry again, which was a great evil in the sight of God, and what they were prone to fall into:

and the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel; put it into his heart to invade them, and encouraged him to it, and gave him success; what kings reigned over Moab between Balak and this king we know not: it is a commonly received notion of the Jews, that Ruth was the daughter of Eglon; see Ruth 1:4; and it was about this time that Elimelech with his two sons went into Moab, and when many of those things recorded in the book of Ruth were transacted:

because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord; which had greatly provoked him to anger, and was the cause of stirring up the king of Moab against them.

And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD {g} strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.

(g) So that the enemies of God's people have no power over them, but by God's appointment.

12. again did that which was evil] The introduction to the story is made up of the familiar phrases of Rd, see Jdg 2:11-19; the special details are derived from the story itself. For strengthened cf. Ezekiel 30:24.

Eglon the king of Moab] Elsewhere Eglon (= calf) is the name of a town in Judah, Joshua 10:3; Joshua 10:34; it survives in the mod. ‘Ajlûn, i.e. the highlands between the Yabbok and the Yarmuk. But Eglah is a personal pr. name in 2 Samuel 3:5. The land of Moab lay on the E. of the Dead Sea and stretched eastwards to the desert; on the S.W. it bordered on Edom; on the N.E. were the Ammonites, and on the N. Reuben and Gad. The northern frontier at this period probably extended beyond the N. end of the Dead Sea.

12–30. Ehud delivers Israel from Moab

The story of Ehud is furnished by the editor with an introduction (Jdg 3:12-15 a) and conclusion (Jdg 3:30) in his usual manner. The narrative thus enclosed is one of the oldest in the Book; it has the freshness and vigour which belong to the best style of Hebrew story-telling. Traces of editorial interference may perhaps be detected here and there, Jdg 3:19-20; Jdg 3:22-23; Jdg 3:27-28 are taken by some to be doublets; but the narrative as a whole (Jdg 3:15-29) is homogeneous. The Moabites, whose territory lay on the E. of the Dead Sea and reached northwards probably to the fords of the Jordan, had crossed the river, occupied Jericho, and reduced the Israelites of the neighbourhood. The Benjamites were the principal sufferers; and it was the Benjamite hero Ehud who, by a clever and courageous stratagem, freed his countrymen from the tyrant. By the Dtc. compiler the subjugation and deliverance are extended so as to affect all Israel.

Judges 3:12In vv. 12-30 the subjugation of the Israelites by Eglon, the king of the Moabites, and their deliverance from this bondage, are circumstantially described. First of all, in Judges 3:12-14, the subjugation. When the Israelites forsook the Lord again (in the place of וגו את־הרע ... ויּעשׂוּ, Judges 3:7, we have here the appropriate expression ... הרע הרע לעשׂות, they added to do, i.e., did again, evil, etc., as in Judges 4:1; Judges 10:6; Judges 13:1), the Lord made Eglon the king of the Moabites strong over Israel. על חזּק, to give a person strength to overcome or oppress another. כּי על, as in Deuteronomy 31:17, instead of the more usual אשׁר על (cf. Jeremiah 4:28; Malachi 2:14; Psalm 139:14). Eglon allied himself with the Ammonites and Amalekites, those arch-foes of Israel, invaded the land, took the palm-city, i.e., Jericho (see at Judges 1:16), and made the Israelites tributary for eighteen years. Sixty years had passed since Jericho had been burnt by Joshua. During that time the Israelites had rebuilt the ruined city, but they had not fortified it, on account of the curse pronounced by Joshua upon any one who should restore it as a fortress; so that the Moabites could easily conquer it, and using it as a base, reduce the Israelites to servitude.
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