Judges 4:3
And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
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(3) Cried unto the Lord.Judges 3:9; Judges 3:15; Psalm 107:13.

Nine hundred.—Josephus magnifies the number to 3,000.

Chariots of iron.Judges 1:19; Joshua 17:10. We may notice that as the children of Israel burnt these chariots at Misrephoth-maim (Joshua 11), they could not have been of solid iron throughout.

Mightily oppressed.—The word “mightily” is rendered “sharply” in Judges 8:1; “by force” in 1Samuel 2:16.

Jdg 4:3. Mightily oppressed — More than former tyrants, from his malice and hatred against the Israelites, and from God’s just judgment, the growing punishment being suitable to their aggravated wickedness.

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.Oppressed - The same word is used Exodus 3:9 of the oppression of Israel by the Egyptians. If they were put to task-work in hewing timber, their condition was very like that of their ancestors making bricks. 2, 3. Jabin king of Canaan—"Jabin," a royal title (see on [215]Jos 11:1). The second Jabin built a new capital on the ruins of the old (Jos 11:10, 11). The northern Canaanites had recovered from the effect of their disastrous overthrow in the time of Joshua, and now triumphed in their turn over Israel. This was the severest oppression to which Israel had been subjected. But it fell heaviest on the tribes in the north, and it was not till after a grinding servitude of twenty years that they were awakened to view it as the punishment of their sins and to seek deliverance from God. More than the former tyrants; partly from his malice and hatred against the Israelites; and principally from God’s just judgement, the growing punishment being most suitable to their aggravated wickedness.

And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord,.... Because of their hard bondage, and begged deliverance from it, being brought to a sense of their sins, and humbled for them:

for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; the same with the , chariots which carried scythes at the side of them, fastened to the orbs of the wheels (x), and were on both sides; and in some stood out ten cubits (y) which running furiously among the infantry, cut them to pieces in a terrible manner; of which Cyrus had in his army at first but an hundred, afterwards increased to three hundred (z); and yet here a petty prince of Canaan had nine hundred of them; and which Josephus (a) has increased, beyond all belief, to the number of three thousand; which struck great terror into the Israelites, and who therefore durst not attempt to shake off his yoke, but cried to the Lord for help:

and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel; as they increased their sins, and repeated their revolts, the Lord increased their oppressions, and continued them the longer; the first was only eight years, the next eighteen, and this twenty, and which was a very heavy one; the other being foreign princes that oppressed them, but this a Canaanitish king, an implacable enemy, and who doubtless used them the more severely for what they had done to his ancestors, killed his father or grandfather, burnt the city of Hazor, and destroyed the inhabitants of it in Joshua's time; and the servitude was the harder, and the more intolerable to the Israelites, that they were under a people whose land had been given them to possess, and whom they had expelled, and now were become subject to them.

(x) Vid. Suidam in voce (y) Curtius, l. 4. c. 9, 12, 15. Liv. Hist. l. 37. c. 41. (z) Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 6. c. 13. (a) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 1.

And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
Judges 4:3The 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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