Judges 3:9
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.
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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. Judges 3:9In 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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