Judges 4:1
And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.
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(1) Again did evil in the sight of the Lord.—“They turned their backs, and fell away like their forefathers, starting aside like a broken bow” (Psalm 78:57); see Judges 3:12.

When Ehud was dead.—See Judges 3:31.

4:1-3. The land had rest for eighty years, which should have confirmed them in their religion; but it made them secure, and indulge their lusts. Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them. Jabin and his general Sisera, mightily oppressed Israel. This enemy was nearer than any of the former. Israel cried unto the Lord, when distress drove them to him, and they saw no other way of relief. Those who slight God in prosperity, will find themselves under a necessity of seeking him in trouble.From this verse and Judges 5:6 we may gather that Shamgar was contemporary with Jael, and that he only procured a temporary and partial deliverance for Israel by his exploit. He may have been of the tribe of Judah.

An ox goad - An instrument of wood about eight feet long, armed with an iron spike or point at one end, with which to spur the ox at plow, and with an iron scraper at the other end with which to detach the earth from the plowshare when it became encumbered with it. The fact of their deliverer having no better weapon enhances his faith, and the power of his divine helper. At the same time it shows how low the men of Judah were brought at this time, being disarmed by their oppressors Judges 5:8, as was also the case later 1 Samuel 13:19.


Jud 4:1-17. Deborah and Barak Deliver Israel from Jabin and Sisera.

1. The children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead—The removal of the zealous judge Ehud again left his infatuated countrymen without the restraint of religion.King Jabin oppresses Israel; his captain-general was Sisera, Judges 4:1-3. The prophetess Deborah from the Lord commands Barak to go out against him; promiseth victory; she herself marcheth with him, Judges 4:4-4:14. Sissera’s host is beaten; he flees: Jael hides him in her tent, and while he sleeps she kills him, Judges 4:15-23. King Jabin is destroyed, Judges 4:24.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord,.... Which was the fruit and effect of the long rest and peace they enjoyed; and which is often the case of a people favoured with peace, plenty, and prosperity, who are apt to abuse their mercies, and forget God, the author and giver of them; and the principal evil, though not expressed, was idolatry, worshipping Baalim, the gods of the nations about them; though it is highly probable they were guilty of other sins, which they indulged in the times of their peace and prosperity:

when Ehud was dead; Shamgar is not mentioned, because his time of judging Israel was short, and the people were not reformed in his time, but fell into sin as soon as Ehud was dead, and continued. Some choose to render the words, "for Ehud was dead" (t), who had been, the instrument of reforming them, and of preserving them from idolatry, but he being dead, they fell into it again; and the particle "vau" is often to be taken in this sense, of which Noldius (u) gives many instances.

(t) "enim, vel quia Ehud", Bonfrerius; so Patrick. (u) Concord. Ebr. part. p. 285, 295.

And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.
1. again did that which was evil] The compiler’s formula; see Jdg 2:11; Jdg 2:14 n.

when Ehud was dead
] According to Rd the Israelites remained faithful so long as the judge was alive to keep them in check. The verse is a continuation of Jdg 3:30, Shamgar (Jdg 3:31) being passed over.

Judges 4:1The Victory over Jabin and His General Sisera. - Judges 4:1-3. As the Israelites fell away from the Lord again when Ehud was dead, the Lord gave them into the hand of the Canaanitish king Jabin, who oppressed them severely for twenty years with a powerful army under Sisera his general. The circumstantial clause, "when Ehud was dead," places the falling away of the Israelites from God in direct causal connection with the death of Ehud on the one hand, and the deliverance of Israel into the power of Jabin on the other, and clearly indicates that as long as Ehud lived he kept the people from idolatry (cf. Judges 2:18-19), and defended Israel from hostile oppressions. Joshua had already conquered one king, Jabin of Hazor, and taken his capital (Joshua 11:1, Joshua 11:10). The king referred to here, who lived more than a century later, bore the same name. The name Jabin, "the discerning," may possibly have been a standing name or title of the Canaanitish kings of Hazor, as Abimelech was of the kings of the Philistines (see at Genesis 26:8). He is called "king of Canaan," in distinction from the kings of other nations and lands, such as Moab, Mesopotamia, etc. (Judges 3:8, Judges 3:12), into whose power the Lord had given up His sinful people. Hazor, once the capital of the kingdoms of northern Canaan, was situated over (above or to the north of) Lake Huleh, in the tribe of Naphtali, but has not yet been discovered (see at Joshua 11:1). Sisera, the general of Jabin, dwelt in Harosheth of the Goyim, and oppressed the Israelites most tyrannically (Mightily: cf. Judges 7:1; 1 Samuel 2:16) for twenty years with a force consisting of 900 chariots of iron (see at Joshua 17:16). The situation of Harosheth, which only occurs here (Judges 4:2, Judges 4:13, Judges 4:16), is unknown; but it is certainly to be sought for in one of the larger plains of Galilee, possibly the plain of Buttauf, where Sisera was able to develop his forces, whose strength consisted chiefly in war-chariots, and to tyrannize over the land of Israel.
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