Judges 3:9
And when the children of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.
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(9) Cried unto the Lord.—“In the time of their trouble, when they cried unto Thee, Thou heardest them from heaven; and according to Thy manifold mercies Thou gavest them saviours” (Nehemiah 9:27). “Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses” (Psalm 107:13; see, too, Psalm 26:5; Psalm 78:34; Psalm 106:44).

A deliverer.—Heb., moshia; LXX., “a saviour.” (Comp. Luke 1:69; Acts 13:23.) The same word as is used for the judges in Hebrews 9:27.

Othniel.—The name means “lion of God.” St. Jerome makes it mean “my time of God,” and spells it Athaniel

The son of Kenaz.—(See Judges 1:13.) Josephus, to escape the apparent improbability of a brother of Caleb being young enough to marry Caleb’s daughter, when Caleb was past eighty-five, calls him “a person of the tribe of Judah.” He rightly regards the events of Judges 17-21 as preceding the judgeship of Othniel; but they can hardly have happened during the oppression of Cushan-Rishathaim.

Jdg 3:9-10. When the children of Israel cried unto the Lord — When they returned to him in repentance, acknowledged him to be their only Protector and Saviour, and prayed fervently for pardon and deliverance; the Lord raised up a deliverer — Qualified a person for, and called him to, the great work of delivering them. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him — With extraordinary influence, endowing him with singular wisdom and courage, and stirring him up to this great undertaking. Judged Israel — That is, pleaded and avenged the cause of Israel against their oppressors. And went out to war — The sacred historian gives us no further account of this war than that Othniel obtained a victory over the king of Mesopotamia, and a peace which lasted forty years. This victory and deliverance of Israel, it seems, happened about thirty-eight years after the death of Joshua.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.Othniel was already distinguished in Joshua's lifetime as a brave and successful leader. See Joshua 15:16-17. 9. when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord—In their distress they had recourse to earnest prayer, accompanied by humble and penitent confession of their errors.

Othniel—(See on [213]Jos 15:16; Jud 1:13). His military experience qualified him for the work, while the gallant exploits he was known to have performed, gained him the full confidence of his countrymen in his ability as a leader.

Cried unto the Lord, i.e. prayed fervently for deliverance.

Caleb’s younger brother; of which see Poole "Judges 1:13". And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord,.... Towards the close of the eight years' bondage, as it may be supposed, groaning under the oppressive taxes laid upon them, and the bondage they were brought into: and

the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel; he heard their cry, and sent them a saviour, whose spirit he stirred up, and whom he qualified for this service:

who delivered them; out of the hands of the king of Mesopotamia, and freed them from his oppressions:

even Othniel, the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother; the same that took Debir, and married Achsah, the daughter of Caleb, Judges 1:12; who now very probably was a man in years.

And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.
9. The verse is composed of the standing phrases of the Dtc. compiler: cried unto the Lord Jdg 3:15, Jdg 4:3, Jdg 6:6-7, Jdg 10:10; raised up … saved Jdg 3:15, see Jdg 2:16 n.

] See Jdg 1:13 n.

Verse 9. - A deliverer. Hebrew, Saviour, as ver. 15 (see Nehemiah 9:27). Othniel, etc. Mentioned Judges 1:13; Joshua 15:17, and 1 Chronicles 4:13, where he is placed under "the sons of Kenaz," and seems to be the father of Hathath and Meonothai. According to Judith 6:15, he had a descendant, Chabris, living in the time of Holofernes. The Hebrew, though grammatically it favours the view that Othniel was the brother of Caleb, does not absolutely exclude the rendering that Kenaz was his brother, and so Othniel his nephew. Compare Jeremiah 32:7, where the words "thine uncle" apply to Shallum, not to Hanameel, as is clear from ver. 8. And as the chronology seems to make it impossible that Othniel should be Caleb's brother, since Caleb was eighty-five years old at the time of Othniel's marriage, and Othniel therefore could not be less than fifty-five, an improbable age for his marriage; and since, again, Othniel could not well have been less than eighty at Joshua's death, which, allowing only ten years for the elders, and reckoning the eight years for Chushan's dominion, would make him ninety-eight when he was raised up to deliver Israel, it is a lesser difficulty to take Othniel as the nephew of Caleb, by understanding the words, Caleb's younger brother, to apply to Kenaz. But perhaps the least objectionable escape from the difficulty is to take the phrase in its most natural grammatical sense, but to understand the word brother in its wider and very common sense of kinsman or fellow-tribesman. They were both sons of Kenaz, or Kenizzites. Caleb was the head of the tribe, and Othniel was next to him in tribal dignity, and his junior in age, but probably succeeded to the chieftainship on Caleb's death. This would leave the exact relationship between Caleb and Othniel uncertain. 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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