JUDGES - CHAPTER 3
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000 James Melough
“Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them,
even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;”
this verse we learn that there was a great variety of the enemy left in the land,
reminding us that the spiritual foes confronting us, working often through our own
old nature, and who are represented by Israel’s literal enemies, are equally
numerous and varied. And as noted
already, the later generations which had not experienced the seven years of warfare
under Joshua, represent those generations of believers who have lived after the
“Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach
them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;”
its being necessary for these later generations to learn war, we are being taught
that the enemies against whom we fight, have been defeated by the Lord Jesus Christ,
but they are not yet destroyed. They
will return again and again, to continue the conflict until the day when we are taken
home to heaven. Nor is there a time when
the believer is more vulnerable than just after a spiritual battle from which he has
emerged the victor, no time when it is more necessary for him to be on his guard, for
he who directs the enemy is all too familiar with the human tendency to rest on past
victories. We may win some battles, but
the war won’t be over until we are home in heaven.
Many a seeming dead foe has risen up to deal a deadly wound.
“Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the
Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto
the entering in of Hamath.”
Philistines, meaning wallowing, represent apostate Christianity, just as
Babylon represents false religion in general. Like
the great apostate system Rome, that has come to be virtually synonymous with
Christianity, so have the Philistines left their imprint on the land of Canaan: the
name Palestine is derived from Philistine. A
further clue to the spiritual significance of the Philistine is the meaning wallowing,
for this is the very same word used in 2 Pe 2:22 in reference to apostates, “But it
is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own
vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
The dog and the pig here clearly represent those, who having known the truth,
have rejected it. The dog’s returning to what he had vomited, pictures the
apostate returning to the spiritual food on which he had lived prior to his
professed, but spurious conversion. The
pig, returned to wallowing in the mire, pictures the apostate’s return to his old
should we overlook the number of them, for five is the Biblical number of
responsibility. Whatever else we may be
intended to learn from this, one lesson at least is clear: we are responsible to keep
ourselves separate from the apostate system represented by the Philistines, as we are
also to repel every attempt it makes to impose its ways upon us.
That it has achieved phenomenal success in that very activity is all too
apparent in the state of the professing church today.
It is largely “Philistine” in character and practice.
meaning trafficker, is a foe in whom we see symbolically an evil very apparent
in the professing church: trafficking in spiritual things: hireling clergy handling
the Word for money; false teachers using the Word to win followers, and acquire power
and wealth; choirs and musicians seeking money or fame or both; the organizers of a
host of money-raising schemes; professional counselors making gain of the troubles of
others.... Only blind eyes will fail to
see the extent to which the professing church has become the market place of the
spiritual Canaanite, the trafficker.
temple from which the Lord expelled the money changers and merchants, furnishes a
little picture of what the professing church is today. It is little more than a mart masquerading as a church, and it is
significant that that was the condition in Israel as her national existence was about
to end. This present condition of the
Church is just another indication that the age is almost ended, for as noted already,
Israel’s history is but the symbolic prewritten history of the professing church,
but whereas the Lord expelled the illicit traders, He will remove the true believers
at the Rapture, leaving behind the “traders,” “the Canaanites,” the great
apostate harlot system, to be destroyed in the Tribulation.
means hunting, but it is significant that the alternate spelling Zidon means a
hunting and also a fishery. Sidon
(Zidon) was a powerful city on the coast of Palestine (Canaan), and, like all the
other places in Canaan, points to a characteristic of the Church.
Its proximity to the sea reminds us that the Church is also a “city”
dwelling spiritually “by the sea,” for the sea is the symbol of unconverted
humanity, “The wicked are like the troubled sea....” (Isa 57:20), and she is
responsible to “fish” for souls in that great “sea” (Mk 1:17).
Ominously the spelling here, however, is Sidon, having but the one meaning, hunting,
which never has a good connotation in Scripture.
Nimrod, the evil founder of Babylon was a hunter.
The hunter and the shepherd stand in complete contrast.
The one destroys life; the other preserves it.
Christ is the good Shepherd Who gave His life for the sheep. Satan is the “hunter,” the malignant spirit who hunts for
men’s souls to destroy them.
professing church has become a place that is characterized far more by spiritual
“hunting” than by “fishing.” Very
little “fishing” is done any more. The
professing church, become little more than a religious social club, has become a
spiritual “Sidon,” providing a place
in which Satan hunts very successfully. Unbelievers
received into church fellowship, and never warned of the awful danger of their
unsaved state, but lulled into a false sense of security, hurry on to hell by means
of a morality which they mistake for conversion.
is instructive to note that the name Sidon is the one first used in Scripture, Ge
10:15, the name Zidon not appearing until Ge 49:13.
In keeping with the principle that a Biblical change of name always indicates
a change of state, the lesson being taught in the meanings of the later name of this
city a hunting: fishery, is that it isn’t until we have had a new birth that
we can become “fishers of men.” In
our unconverted state, portrayed in the name Sidon hunting, we were incapable
of spiritual “fishing.” We could
deal only in what is associated with hunting: death.
The double meaning of Zidon reminds us, however, that even as believers we may
still deal in death, helping Satan with his deadly spiritual “hunting” when we
live carnally, and neglect to maintain an effective witness in the Gospel.
and the Hivites.” The name means showers
of life: livers. They represent the
religious, moral, but unconverted who would presume to show others how to live in
order to get to heaven, even though they themselves are on the way to hell, but are
ignorant of that fact. There are many of
these “Hivites” in the professing church today, there amongst God’s people
because careless shepherds never bothered to examine their credentials when they
first came seeking fellowship. Such
individuals are the spiritual counterparts of the Hivites spared by Israel, and
allowed to live in their midst.
Hivites, however, are further designated as being those “that dwelt in mount
Lebanon....” Lebanon means whiteness,
the color of righteousness, but its being located in the north, the direction that
speaks of mere natural intelligence rather than faith, enhances the symbolic picture,
for this is almost invariably the character of the spiritual “Hivite” - he is
marked by a measure of morality, and a head knowledge of Scripture, that would put
some genuine believers to shame.
from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.”
Baal means lord, and Hermon, devoted: banned, but since Baal is
invariably associated with the false gods of Canaan, the whole name has an evil
connotation. It speaks clearly of that
which is banned by God, and devoted to destruction, an interpretation reinforced by
the meaning of Hamath, enclosure of wrath.
No language could be clearer. What
is represented by these Hivites is that combination of mere head knowledge of
Scripture, combined with an outward morality, which passes very easily for genuine
faith, for the new life in Christ. Few
will deny that it is an all too accurate picture of the professing church today.
“And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken
unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of
those literal foes were left to test whether the succeeding generations of Israel
would be obedient, so have their spiritual counterparts been left to test whether we
will be obedient. Her sad history, and
her present sorry state declare all too clearly that the professing church has
followed in the footsteps of disobedient Israel.
“And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and
Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:”
disobedience that failed to exterminate those Canaanites resulted in Israel’s
having to dwell among them. This too
discloses the present state of the professing church, because it is our disobedience
that has caused us to “dwell among” those from whom we have been commanded to
keep ourselves separate. As has been
noted already, had Israel obeyed God, many of the enemy would have been slain, and
the remainder would have fled the land, so that while the survivors might have
continued to live in the adjoining countries, they would not have been in Canaan, and
Israel would not have been compelled to “dwell among” them.
disobedience, however, has been duplicated in the professing church.
We have failed to maintain the Divinely commanded separation from an evil
world, so that it dwells in our very midst instead of the distant place it ought to
occupy. We do well to note that in the early days of the Apostolic age,
that separation was maintained, so that we read concerning the unconverted,
“And of the rest durst no man join himself to them (the believers)” (Ac 5:13).
the days of Joshua it was the sword that compelled the separation, and in the early
Apostolic age it was the “sword of the Spirit” (the Word of God) obeyed and
preached that compelled it. The lack of
separation today is because we do not use that sword: the Word is neither preached
nor obeyed. On the contrary, we have
sheathed the sword, and not only gone into the world ourselves, but have invited the
world into the church. Like disobedient
Israel in the era of the Judges, we dwell “among the Canaanites....” and they
have proved to be what God said they would be, thorns in our sides (2:3).
That metaphor is ominously significant, for thorns are the sign of the curse,
see Ge 3:18. Those spared Canaanites
were a curse to Israel, and what they represent is no less a curse to the professing
church. It is instructive to note also
that God said they would be thorns in their eyes as well (Nu 33:55; Jos 23:13).
A blinded Israel lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong, and her
sorry history reveals how quickly that blindness came.
A similarly blinded professing church testifies to the accuracy of the type.
noted already that the Canaanites represent those who traffick in spiritual things,
and having noted the spiritual application, there is no need to dwell on it further
next foe mentioned is the Hittites, meaning terror. The spiritual significance of this isn’t difficult to discern.
They represent fear, and it is scarcely necessary to mention what a formidable
foe this is. We read in Pr 29:25, “The
fear of man bringeth a snare....” That
fear has silenced many a testimony, stopped many a work for God, and brought eternal
loss to the one who feared man more than he feared God.
The effective weapon against the fear which the Hittite represents is to have
a wholesome fear of God, for we read that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning
of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Pr 9:10).
next enemy is the Amorite, meaning a sayer.
This foe represents what is all too prevalent in the professing church: a
great deal of talk that isn’t backed up with works. It is very easy to talk Christianity, much more difficult to live
it. It is easy to sit in a company of
Christians and sing about going out with the Gospel, about not withholding a mite of
our money, about placing our all on the altar, and a hundred other noble aspirations:
it is much more difficult to put even one of them into practice.
The extent to which the “Amorite” has been permitted to remain ensconced
in a sphere from which he should be expelled, is demonstrated all too conclusively in
the disparity between our speech and our actions.
and the Perizzites” Perizzite means rustic,
with squatter as a possible second meaning.
descriptive of a person, as here, it implies lack of sophistication or learning,
uncouthness, boorishness. In 2 Pe 1:5
believers are exhorted, “... add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge”;
and in 2 Pe 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ.” God sets no premium on
ignorance, and the believer who elects to remain a spiritual “rustic” by
neglecting to study the Scriptures, is allowing the “Perizzite” to retain
possession of what God intends to be possessed by faith.
second meaning is squatter, i.e., “one who settles on land without title,
right, or payment of rent.” In this
case the spiritual lesson of the Perizzite is particularly solemn.
In Mt 7:22 the Lord warns, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy
name done many wonderful works? And then
will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
are many today professing to be Christians, who are in reality spiritual Perizzites:
they are spiritual “squatters” who have no right to the position they have
assumed, for the simple reason that they have never been born again through faith in
Christ. For one who can’t look back to
a time when, and a place where he passed from death to life spiritually by accepting
Christ as his personal Savior, there is very real danger that he is a spiritual
Perizzite - one claiming to be a believer, but without ever having been born again.
No one has “always believed in Christ,” nor does the Bible know anything
of “gradually becoming a believer.” There
may be a long period of conviction: days, weeks, even months of spiritual struggle
leading up to conversion, but conversion itself occurs in an instant.
The decision to accept Christ is made in a second, and it is an experience no
believer will ever forget.
Hivites, meaning showers of life: livers,
were the third enemy on the list. In
Ro 10:9-10 it is written, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou
shalt be saved. For with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto
links faith in the heart with confession of the lips.
Satan, however, says, Live your Christianity, don’t talk it.
Let people see by the way you live that you are a Christian, and on the
surface this seems very plausible. If
there has been no verbal confession there can be no charge of hypocrisy.
But God says there must be confession of the lips as well as the faith in the
heart, and he says it for a very good reason. Those
who observe my moral rectitude, without hearing also my confession of faith in Christ
as my Savior, are likely to conclude that a moral life is all that is needed to take
them to heaven. The believer who has
nothing to show but morality divorced from verbal confession, is advertising the
sorry truth that the Hivite remains in control of the inheritance in Canaan.
means he will be trodden down. The
name is derived from Jebus, the aboriginal name of Jerusalem, and applies to the
original inhabitants of that city. Since,
however, Jerusalem meaning dual peace shall be taught: lay (set) ye double peace,
represents the human heart, which can know no peace apart from Christ’s reigning
there as Lord, the spiritual lesson isn’t difficult to read. The
new birth sees man’s heart pass from the dominion of Satan to that of Christ.
Under the control of the old master it was governed by fleshly lusts, and it
knew no peace. The spiritual lesson being taught in God’s commanding the
expulsion of the Jebusites is that no man can serve two masters.
If Satan is left in control, peace will be trodden down, but if Christ is
given control, fleshly lusts will be trodden down.
To allow fleshly lusts to govern the life is to disobey God and leave the
Jebusite in control, with the result that we will be kept out of the enjoyment of the
peace which Christ wants every believer to possess.
“And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters
to their sons, and served their gods.”
had commanded Israel to exterminate the Canaanites, so that this intermarrying went
beyond mere dereliction: it was active rebellion that resulted in idolatry.
We are missing the point if we fail to see that this is but a picture of what
the professing church has done, for in the marriage of Israelite with Canaanite we
see pictured all too clearly the abandonment of that separation from the world which
God has enjoined upon His people today, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what
communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Co 6:14).
As noted already, the professing church for the most part has become simply a
mixed multitude in which the genuine believers are frequently outnumbered by the
unbelievers in their midst. And the
result has been exactly the same as in Israel: the church has turned to idolatry.
Money, pleasure, fame, ease, education, and a host of other gods are
worshiped, while the worship of God has degenerated into an empty ritual divorced
from spiritual intelligence. The bulk of
professing Christians today don’t even
know the significance of the ritual in which they engage.
“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgat
the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves.”
evil began with their forgetting Jehovah, and the pattern remains the same to this
day. The terrible state of the
professing church is the direct result of forgetting God, the first step of departure
being failure to read and study His Word, and to continue in prayer.
It is instructive that one of the first commandments given Joshua related to
the reading and study of Scripture, “This book of the law shall not depart out of
thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to
do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way
prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Jos 1:8). Our success is no less dependent on the study of, and meditation
upon Scripture. A Scripturally
illiterate Christendom shouldn’t wonder that it groans under chastisement.
Blessing is promised only to the obedient, and there can’t be obedience
where there isn’t knowledge. We do
well to remember the words of the Psalmist, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget
not all his benefits” (Ps 103:2).
result of Israel’s forgetting God was that they turned to worship idols.
The spirit of man must express itself in worship, if not of God, then of an
“Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them
into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel
served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.”
anger of the Lord is no less hot or vehement against the professing church today, and
for the same reason. She too has
forgotten Him, and turned to idols.
means blackness of double wickedness, and there can be little question that he
is a figure or type of Satan. He who
will not serve God must serve the devil. Confirmation
of his being a type of Satan appears to be given by the fact that the realm over
which he ruled was Mesopotamia, meaning exalted, and representing pride, the
very sin that brought about Lucifer’s downfall originally.
giving his rebellious people into the hand of this evil Mesopotamian king is written
to warn us that he who continues in rebellion exposes himself to the possibility of
being delivered into the hand of Satan, note for example, 1 Co 5:5, in regard to the
fornicator in the Corinthian assembly, “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the
destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord
Jesus.” See also 1 Tim 1:20.
It is a fearful thing for a believer to walk in such disobedience that God is
compelled to deliver him into the hand of Satan.
(This is not to be construed as implying the possibility of losing one’s
salvation: it doesn’t. Once saved, a
man can never be lost).
is a double implication in the eight-year duration of the servitude, for eight
is the Biblical number of a new beginning. First,
this was a new experience for Israel, but second, the end of those years saw a
deliverer raised up to bring them again into liberty, to give them a new beginning,
as it were.
“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.”
have noted that Othniel appears to have been Caleb’s younger brother, and that
Kenaz seems to have been the grandfather of both; and as has also been noted, this
deliverer, the first of the judges, is introduced to us first in Jos 15:17 in
connection with the capture of Debir an oracle (formerly Kirjath-Sepher city
of the book). As a reward for taking
Kirjath-Sepher, Caleb gave Othniel his daughter Achsah to tinkle or anklet
as his wife. She is clearly a type of
the Church, the tinkling ankle ornament speaking of testimony, just as did the golden
bells on the hem of the robe of Israel’s high priest.
spiritual significance of these three is easily read.
Caleb a dog: whole-hearted represents those who, with whole-hearted
zeal, seek God’s glory, being willing to take the lowest place themselves.
The meaning of Othniel’s name declares him to be a type of all who witness
fearlessly for Christ, and the typical picture is completed by his being joined to
this woman (speaking of submission) whose name speaks also of testimony or witness,
for the foot (symbol of the walk or manner of life) adorned with this anklet of
tinkling bells, speaks unmistakably of testimony.
His taking Kirjath-Sepher (clear type of the written Word) speaks of his
representing those who make the Scriptures their guide for every circumstance of
life, those Scriptures being no longer Kirjath-Sepher (simply a book, a piece of
literature), but Debir an oracle (the Word of God).
years later, this same Othniel is found still faithful, and is raised up to be the
first of Israel’s judges. Nor should
we miss the significance of his having first conquered Kirjath-Sepher.
A mastery of, and obedience to, the Word of God is the foundation of all
is to be noted also that the Judges are not only types of Christ, but also of elders.
Elders therefore ought to study this book carefully, for it has much to teach
concerning their office and work.
as has been noted already, Achsah represents testimony, it is not just coincidence
that her husband’s name should also speak so clearly of testimony, nor is it mere
chance that we should find these two mentioned in connection with the capture of
Kirjath-sepher, which we have seen to represent the Word of God - to the natural man,
merely a book, but to faith, the God-breathed Word.
He who takes possession of that Word, i.e., makes it his own, by obeying its
precepts, can’t fail to be an effective witness for God.
doesn’t require any great stretch of the imagination to see in this man, whose name
speaks clearly of witness for God, a figure of the Lord Jesus Christ Who was God’s
perfect Witness, being Himself, “God ... manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16).
Nor is it difficult to see in his taking Kirjath-sepher from the hand of the
enemy, a picture of Christ’s victory at Calvary.
his being given Achsah as his bride is a symbol easily deciphered: she represents the
Church, the Bride given Christ by the Father as the reward of Calvary’s travail.
As was the bridegroom so was the bride. His
name, as we have seen already, is synonymous with testimony, and so is hers.
It is God’s desire that the spiritual reality should be the accurate
fulfillment of the type. As Achsah was
the perfect complement of Othniel, so is the Church to be of Christ.
Her witness is to be the continuation of His.
1:12-15 is a virtual repetition of Jos 15:16-19, the repetition, very obviously,
being to emphasize the importance which God attaches to this symbolic picture.
It is as though He has written it twice for the benefit of those who might
have overlooked it the first time. We do
well to examine carefully what God has taken the trouble to set before us twice.
beginning of Judges introduces us to a scene far different from that presented in
Joshua. With Joshua gone, Israel quickly
lapsed into flagrant idolatry, so that instead of enjoying blessing, they languished
under chastisement, and the type has been all too accurately fulfilled.
As Joshua bequeathed to Israel a vanquished Canaan which they had but to take
and enjoy, so did the true Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ, bequeath to men, a kingdom
won from the hand of the enemy, a kingdom they had but to enter by faith and enjoy.
But as it was in the type so also is it in reality.
The professing church, instead of fulfilling the type of Achsah, has fulfilled
instead the type of disobedient Israel - and with the same result: as the one groaned
under the yoke of the foe they should have exterminated, so does the other. The world that should have been subject to the Church, has become
the master, and those who should have walked in the enjoyment of blessing, groan
instead under Divine chastisement.
God’s chastisements are meant to produce repentance.
As soon as Israel turned from her folly, and cried out to God, He heard her
cry, and “... the Lord raised up a deliverer (savior) ... who delivered them, even
Othniel....” (Jg 3:9).
very same one who had fought to give them Canaan, is he who now rises up to deliver
them from the bondage into which their sin had brought them. The type is fulfilled in Christ.
He Who first secured our inheritance, is He Who lives today to deliver us from
the bondage and misery into which our disobedience so often brings us, so that we
might, even here on earth, walk in the enjoyment of all that has been secured for us
by His victory at Calvary.
“And the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went
out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his
hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim.”
however, is not just a type of Christ, and of assembly elders: he is also a type of
what any one of us might be if we are willing to yield to God the same obedience.
Each judge raised up to effect some measure of deliverance - even though that
deliverance was only local - is meant to encourage us to effect similar deliverances
in our own small sphere today. How much
such deliverers are needed is declared by the appalling state of the professing
fact that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him reminds us that one of the differences
between this present age and that of past ages is that today the Holy Spirit, once
received, never departs from the believer. He
may be grieved and quenched, but He never ceases to remain in the genuine convert.
going out to war continues to remind us that the Christian experience is one of
warfare, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12). Israel’s
marriages with the Canaanites disclose the fact that she all too quickly lost sight
of the true nature of those with whom she made those alliances: she ceased to see
that they were enemies whose friendship would soon lead to her adopting Canaanitish
ways, ways which would arouse God’s wrath against His disobedient people, no less
than against the Canaanites. The
professing church has been guilty of the same blindness.
She has failed to see the evil of the world with which she has been so eager
to ally herself, as she has failed also to see that that forbidden alliance must
incur the wrath of a God Who will not bless disobedience, but Who must in
faithfulness to His own nature punish the disobedient saint no less than the
considered the spiritual significance of the first half of this verse, we will look
now at what God has to teach us in the record of Othniel’s defeat of this
name means blackness of double wickedness, and
his kingdom Mesopotamia exalted. Scripture
furnishes few clearer pictures of Satan, the evil prince of the realm of pride which
Mesopotamia clearly represents. Nor will
any spiritual mind fail to see in Othniel’s victory over this evil king an OT
picture of Christ’s victory over Satan at Calvary.
And just as this first of the Judges presented Israel with a vanquished foe,
and an inheritance to be enjoyed, so has his great Antitype presented us with a
vanquished Satan, and an inheritance to be enjoyed.
“And the land had rest forty years. And
Othniel the son of Kenaz died.”
is the number of testing, and as the next verse discloses, those forty years of rest
served but to reveal the evil in the heart of Israel: she quickly reverted to the sin
which had brought the original chastisement. So, sadly, is it with most of us. The blessings which should impel greater love and obedience, all
too often beget forgetfulness, carelessness, sloth, and proud complacency.
Such is the perversity of the human heart, even in a believer, that except for
the case of a few rare individuals, only adversity will nurture obedience.
“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.”
the principle meaning of Eglon is a bull calf, it is also linked with that
which is circular, and also with victuals or food. Like every evil king, he is a type of Satan, while Moab, meaning from
father: what father? from (her [the mother’s]) father, and incestuously
begotten by Lot through his elder daughter, and having thus natural ties with Israel,
represents mere profession associated with fleshly lusts.
The type is easily read. Profession
continues long after the heart has turned away from God, but it diminishes as the
lusts of the flesh are more freely gratified, and the backslidden saint lies in
bondage to those same lusts, powerless to free himself.
“And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon, and Amalek, and went and
smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.”
tribal (peoplish, inbred) was descended from the son incestuously begotten by
Lot through his younger daughter, Gn 19:38. This
illegal link with Israel has led some to see in Ammon the representative of false
profession resulting from a mere intellectual acceptance of the historicity of
Christ, but falling short of saving faith.
people of lapping (or licking up) was a grandson of Esau, and therefore also
having natural ties with Israel; but Esau is a type of the flesh in the unregenerate
man, and Amalek very clearly portrays the deadly antagonism of the flesh against the
Spirit, for example, he was the first to attack Israel after her deliverance from
Egypt, but since that deliverance is a type of conversion, that attack is the typical
presentation of the truth that the first attack against the new believer comes from
the flesh within him, so that experience confirms the accuracy of the type.
That this warfare between the flesh and the spirit is lifelong is declared
symbolically in the fact that God said He would have “war with Amalek from
generation to generation” (Ge 17:16).
continues to portray the bondage into which disobedience brings the careless saint.
The Holy Spirit quenched and grieved, can no longer carry on His ministry of
enlightenment, so that the man is left to walk in the darkness of mere human
intelligence, while the flesh finds increasing opportunity to manifest its antagonism
to the Spirit.
palm tree is a symbol of the obedient, and therefore spiritually prosperous believer,
“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree” (Ps 92:12).
Eglon’s capture of the city of palm trees is the symbolic declaration of the
truth that the inevitable result of disobedience is the loss of righteousness and
spiritual prosperity. Significantly,
Moab, Ammon, and Amalek all represent different aspects of the lusts of the flesh.
When the flesh rules, righteousness is lost.
“So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.”
factors of eighteen are 2 (number of witness or testimony), and 3 x 3 (number of
resurrection), so that even though the bondage was long, it was meant, like all
God’s chastisement, to bring repentance and “resurrection,” i.e., restoration
to an obedient walk.
“But when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them
up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man left-handed: and by him the
children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon, the king of Moab.”
the deliverer, meaning I will give thanks: I will be praised: unifying is an
unmistakable type of Christ; and Gera, meaning the cud: a grain: sojourning,
is related to Gerar, which also means ruminating: sojourning (Abraham and
Isaac both sojourned at Gerar); and Benjamin means son of the right hand.
lineage has much to teach us. Benjamin
by the very meaning of his name speaks of the power that is linked to obedience.
All spiritual success begins with obedience.
speaks of rumination or meditation on the written Word.
(Note the requirements relative to clean animals: they were to be ruminants,
i.e., cud-chewers, and they were to have cleft hoofs, the former speaking of
meditation on the Word, the latter, of a separated walk.
They represent believers).
represents the Word, and reminds us that Christ was the grain of wheat which fell
into the ground and died to bring life to all who would trust Him as Savior (Jn
12:24). Sojourning reminds us that He
left the glory of heaven to come down to sojourn on earth in order to redeem our
souls by the shedding of His precious blood at Calvary.
name speaks of the praise or worship that is the inevitable result of an obedient
life. A man’s spiritual state is
measured, not by his eloquence, or the amount of his service, but by his worship.
Since the right hand is the hand of power, his being left-handed speaks of
that personal weakness that finds its strength in that very acknowledgement which
leads it to seek power from God. Recognition
of personal weakness is the prerequisite of strength, for God has declared, “My
strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Co 12:9), so that Paul was led to exclaim,
“I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in
distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Co 12:10).
is a type of Christ as Son of Man, for as man, He took the place of servitude and
weakness, and was totally dependent on the Holy Spirit.
Meditation on the Word of God marked His life. He quoted it constantly, and lived by it.
He was the true Son of the right hand, because He was “left-handed” - He
was weak in the sense that His own will was always subservient to that of the Father.
He delighted in doing only the Father’s will.
all the judges, Ehud is also a type of what we should be.
by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon....” As Ehud made himself the servant of Israel, so did Christ.
Victory lies in service. See
Christ’s words relative to taking the servant’s place (Mt 20:26-28).
In Ehud’s seeming submission to the evil Eglon who ruled over Israel by
God’s permission, we see the obedience of Christ to the laws of the evil Caesar who
ruled Israel during His lifetime. We are
to obey the civil authorities up to the point where that obedience makes us
disobedient to God.
“But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he
did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.”
dagger is a type of the written Word (Heb 4:12).
“... of a cubit length....” A
cubit was a human measurement, from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, but
the arm or hand speaks of service. Christ’s
service was according to the written Word. Ours
too must be according to that same Word.
represents righteousness, so that its being under his raiment reminds us that
obedience to the written Word was the foundation of Christ’s righteousness.
Only what is according to His Word is counted righteousness with God.
being bound to his right thigh speaks of the walk or manner of life under the
government of the Word. The right side
is the side of power. The Lord’s life
was lived victoriously because He walked in obedience to the written Word, and
therefore in the Spirit’s power. If we
would know anything of that power we too must walk in obedience to what God has
“And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very
noted already, Eglon represents mere empty profession linked with the lusts of the
flesh, and his gross fatness (presumably the result of gluttony and sloth) reminds us
that profession and the indulgence of fleshly lusts, are always associated with the
spiritual inertia portrayed by the literal inactivity which is almost invariably the
twin of obesity.
Israel’s disobedience had brought them under the dominion of this Moabite king, so
does our disobedience bring us under the dominion of the evils which Eglon
“And when he (Ehud) had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the
people that bare the present.”
alone would do the work that would slay the foe, and deliver Israel. So was it with Christ. He
was alone when He slew the foe at Calvary. We
should note further that this is always God’s method.
He uses individuals. We read
nothing in Scripture of His either using organizations, or authorizing their
formation, and for a very good reason: where you have an organization you have human
management and the usurpation of the Holy Spirit’s prerogative to direct the
activity of the servant. That is a
function God has not given to any man, not even the elders.
“But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and
said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence.
And all that stood by him went out from him.”
means rolling: a wheel, and as the place where the Israelites were circumcised
after crossing the Jordan into Canaan, it represents the cutting off of the flesh;
but since Calvary is the place where the flesh was effectually cut off for the
believer in the crucifixion (cutting off) of Christ, Gilgal is an unmistakable type
various suggestions that have been offered relative to “the quarries that
were by Gilgal,” that of Arthur E. Cundall seems the most likely, his suggestion
being that, “... they were the actual stones set up by Joshua to commemorate the
miraculous crossing of the Jordan ... and thus were a well-known landmark.”
that “... he (Ehud) turned again from the quarries (stones) that were by Gilgal.”
His coming there the first time to present the present (literally, the
tribute) to Eglon, speaks of Christ’s coming to Calvary, where, it seemed
that Satan, whom Eglon represents, did indeed receive the tribute due the conqueror:
the life of Christ. But this coming
again to slay Eglon speaks of what actually happened at Calvary during the
three hours of darkness. Just as no man
saw Ehud slay Eglon, neither did any man see Satan receive his death wound, when
Christ, by submitting Himself to death conquered it and slew him who had the power of
death, Satan (Heb 2:14).
I have a secret errand unto thee, O king....”
So was it in connection with Christ and Satan.
It was “secret” in that none but He knew it for the victory it was.
None but He knew that it was then that He slew Satan.
All others perceived it to be the defeat of God and the victory of Satan.
The bloated Eglon, enriched by the recently delivered tribute, must have
seemed very far superior to the left-handed Benjamite who had delivered it.
So must Satan have seemed when Christ hung on the cross.
But things are not always what they seem.
Ehud was the victor; Eglon, the vanquished.
And so at Calvary: Christ was the Victor; Satan, the vanquished.
His activities today are his death throes.
“And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlor, which he had
for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have
a message from God unto thee. And he
arose out of his seat.”
in solitary splendor seemed Satan to sit that day when the true Ehud confronted him
at Calvary. As God’s message to Eglon,
through Ehud, was one of death, so also was His message to Satan, through the Lord
rising out of his seat to receive his death wound, points to the activity of Satan at
Calvary where he also received his death wound at the hand of Christ.
“And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh,
and thrust it into his belly:”
noted already, the left hand is the symbol of weakness, so that Ehud’s using his
left hand is the symbolic demonstration of the truth so perfectly expressed by the
poet relative to Christ’s mighty victory at Calvary,
weakness and defeat, He won the meed and crown;
all His foes beneath His feet,
also comments on verse 15.
the left side speaks of weakness, the right speaks of power, so that Ehud’s taking
the dagger from his right thigh reminds us that the Lord’s complete submission to
the Father made available to Him all the power of heaven even while He hung on the
cross. Similar submission makes that
same power available to us. The dagger,
as noted already, represents the written Word, nor should we ever forget the inherent
power in that Word.
and thrust it into his belly.” As it
was by that dagger that the Moabite oppressor was slain, so was it by Him Who is the
living Word portrayed in the written Word, that Satan was slain at Calvary.
“And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the
blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came
speaks of the deadliness of the blow. There
could be no healing. Nor would a second
stroke be needed. In this we see the
perfection of the Lord’s work at Calvary, as it is written, “But this man, after
he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God”
and the dirt came out.” Nowhere was
the “dirt” that is in Satan more fully exposed than at Calvary. He who is the epitome of evil could be destroyed only by Him Who
is the Epitome of good.
“Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlor
upon him, and locked them.”
similarly emerged from the gates of death, leaving behind Him a slain foe.
Eglon had formerly controlled those doors, but that control was now ended.
He would neither open nor shut those doors again.
So, as a result of Calvary’s work, has Satan been slain, and the keys he
once held are now in the hands of Christ, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and,
behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Re
“When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold,
the doors of the parlor were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his
ignorance of Eglon’s servants relative to the fate of their master, foreshadows
that of the unbelieving Jewish rulers relative to what happened at Calvary.
Neither did they suspect that their evil spiritual master, Satan, was for all
practical purposes dead, having just received his death wound at the hand of Christ.
term “covereth his feet,” incidentally, was a euphemism for obeying a call of
“And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the
doors of the parlor; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their
lord was fallen down dead on the earth.”
is the symbolic announcement of the completeness of Satan’s defeat.
He has been slain. As we, according to God’s reckoning, live, so according also to
God’s reckoning has Satan been slain. This
is not to say that there is no Satanic activity today.
There most certainly is. But it
is the activity of a mortally wounded foe.
is a special significance to its being said that Eglon “was fallen down dead on
the earth,” for, as noted in other studies, the earth is the Biblical
symbol of those who are genuine believers. It
is only for believers that Satan is dead, his power over them having been broken at
Calvary. For the rest of the world he is
very much alive, and will continue to be “the prince of this world” (Jn 14:30),
until that soon-coming day when Christ returning in power and glory, takes up the
scepter and rules the world for God’s glory.
regard to the earth’s being a Scriptural symbol of genuine believers, we should
note also, that “the land” is used as a symbol of those whose profession of faith
is false, while “the ground” is used symbolically of those who make no profession
because they are totally indifferent to spiritual things).
“And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and
escaped unto Seirath the hairy she-goat.”
passing beyond the boundary stones is the figure of Christ’s resurrection, and the
effect of that resurrection relative to sinners. He bears away the sins of those who trust Him as Savior.
lesson of Seirath lies in its meaning the hairy she-goat.
In Nu 15:27 a she-goat is the offering to be offered for sins committed
“through ignorance.” Until a man learns the true meaning of Christ’s death, his sins
are reckoned by God as being sins of ignorance, see also Ac 3:17, but having learned
the way of salvation and having refused it, he then becomes guilty of wilful sin.
For such sins there was no offering. Nothing
can atone for the sins of the man who rejects Christ.
“There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking
for of judgment” (Heb 10:27).
coming as savior to Seirath is the symbolic announcement that Christ is available as
Savior to all who will offer him to God as the “she-goat,” i.e., their sin
offering for the sins committed when they were ignorant of Who He was.
picture of Calvary, was the boundary that ended the dominion of Moab (type of the
lusts of the flesh). Satan’s power
ends at Calvary.
“And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the
mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount,
and he before them.”
trumpet speaks of testimony. We are
saved to be a testimony to Christ. He
who hears the “trumpet” is responsible to sound it to warn others. We are to preach the Gospel.
means double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful, and clearly it speaks of
that fruitfulness that should spring from the new life in Christ; and the double
fruitfulness reminds us that it consists not merely of the fruits of the Spirit (Ga
5:22), but of spiritual children - men and women led to the Savior.
noted many times in the course of our studies, the meaning double ash-heap in
no way contradicts the other meaning I shall be doubly fruitful.
As the size of its ash-heap indicated the prosperity of the city, so is it in
the spiritual realm. Our spiritual
prosperity will be in direct proportion to the degree that we are willing to cast
upon the “ash-heap” the things that would hinder us in the heavenly race, as Paul
has written, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Php 3:7-8).
being in the mountain of Ephraim reminds us that there can be no fruitfulness
apart from “the mountain.” A
mountain is the symbol of a kingdom, and/or king.
The King is Christ. A man must be
“in Christ” (2 Co 5:17) before he can produce fruit for God.
But the mountain speaks also of separation. Note for example that when Abraham was come into Canaan he began
at Shechem shoulder, symbolic of the place of security and strength to which
faith brings the believer. Like the
recovered sheep, he rests on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd.
He is eternally safe in the hand of Christ and of God.
But Abraham ended up on “a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his
tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar
unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.”
believer’s “mountain” is the place where he goes aside from all the
distractions of the day, to read, meditate, study, and pray.
There can be no fruitfulness apart from “the mountain.”
That’s why Ephraim, the tribe that speaks of fruitfulness, was given a
mountain portion in Canaan.
we can’t spend all our time “on the mountain” living in separation from the
world. That time is meant to equip us to
go back into the world to work for God, to produce fruit that will endure for
should note that those who followed Ehud down from the mountain are described as
Israelites, though they were in fact Ephraimites. This is no accident. Israel
means he shall be prince of God: God’s fighter: may God strive (fight for him),
but this speaks of obedience, for the princes, the king’s sons, God’s fighters,
are subject to their father the king. We
are to be subject to the Father, as was Christ.
and he before them.” Ehud is a type of
Christ. As the Ephraimites followed Ehud,
so must we follow Christ. Paul could
exhort believers to follow him, but only because he followed Christ (1 Co 4:16;
“And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the Lord hath delivered your
enemies the Moabites into your hand. And
they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not
a man to pass over.”
is the public result of the victory won by Ehud in private.
Had Christ not won that victory, alone, in the darkness at Calvary, there
would have been no deliverance for us, no victory to celebrate, no foe to chase.
Had Ehud not won that private victory, he could not have called upon others to
follow him to Jordan or anywhere else. The
lesson is easily read. Only as we
overcome the enemy in private will there be public victory, and work done for God.
Only as we follow Christ, can we invite others to follow us.
same assurance of victory is given us. It
is to be noted, however, that while every foe has been vanquished by Christ, so that
we stand as victors in every realm once controlled by the enemy, the emphasis here is
upon one particular enemy, Moab, which we have seen to represent the lusts of the
flesh. There is no reason for any
believer to live in bondage to the flesh. Look
for example at what is written in Ro 8:8, “So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God,” Ga 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live
by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,” Ga 5:17,24,
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and
these are contrary the one to the other.... And they that are Christ’s have
crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts,” and 1 Jn 2:16, “For all that
is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of
life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”.
We, however, are responsible to keep the flesh where it is according to
God’s reckoning, i.e., in the place of death.
is special significance in its being said that they took the “fords” of Jordan.
Jordan represents death, and when Israel was brought into Canaan, it was
through a Jordan in flood, but divided by the power of God, and there was only one
crossing place: where the Ark was on the shoulders of the priests standing in the
midst of the divided river. That Ark is
a type of Christ Who has annulled the power of death.
The fords, however, speak of another crossing place.
The Moabites had come in by “another way” (Jn 10:1-5; 14:6), but their
having come into Canaan speaks of something of the flesh intruding into the
believer’s life, or into the life of the assembly. There are many “fords” over which the flesh crosses to bring
the believer’s life into the same bondage as that into which Moab had brought
following Ehud, “took the fords of Jordan toward Moab.”
Only as we follow Christ will the “fords” be taken, and the flesh
vanquished. As we leave those places of
easy access open to the flesh, it will use them to bring about our ruin.
and suffered not a man to pass over.” The
same vigilance should mark us in regard to the things of the flesh.
One Moabite allowed to cross had the power to injure Israel.
So is it with one sin tolerated in the life.
“And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and
all men of valor; and there escaped not a man.”
ten speaks of Divine government, and here represents obedience to that government in
slaying these Moabites. In spite of the
power of the enemy “all lusty, and all men of valor,” Israel slew them.
No power can stand against the obedient believer.
“So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel.
And the land had rest fourscore years.”
long period of rest secured by this victory (the longest enjoyed during the era of
the Judges) should encourage us to pursue the same victory in our warfare against the
flesh; nor should we forget that not one Moabite was spared.
Not even the least activity of the flesh is to be spared.
we view the eighty as “fourscore” or as eighty, there is a lesson to be learned
from the factors of both. Four is the
number of testing, and twenty factorizes to 2 x 2 x 5, but since two is the number of
witness or testimony, and five, of responsibility, the lesson is that victory over
the flesh introduces us to a time of peace that is also a time that tests our
obedience: will we fulfill our responsibility to remain obedient, so as to continue
under God’s blessing?
teaches almost the same lesson, but with the emphasis upon what eight represents: a
new beginning. Every victory against the
flesh introduces us to a new beginning - the end of one battle becoming the basis for
other and greater victories through which we will walk in the enjoyment of blessing.
“And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines
six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.”
meaning of Shamgar is uncertain, but thought to mean the desolate dragged away;
and the meaning of Anath, though
generally taken to mean afflicted: answered, seems more accurately to be
related to the idea of singing, speaking, testifying.
lack of detail has led many, not only to assign this deliverer a place of lesser
importance than he deserves, but to miss the valuable lessons being taught in this
have already noted that the Philistines represent
apostate Christianity, a fact which lends significance to the meaning of Shamgar’s
name, for the lesson of this one-verse episode is clearly related to the experience
of the genuine believer living under the dominion of apostate Christianity,
particularly as represented by the great harlot system masquerading as the true
Church. This has never ceased to be the
situation relative to true believers: they have always had to exist as a despised and
hated minority in the midst of the professing, but unbelieving mass.
They who constitute the true Church have had to live in the shadow of the
great religious counterfeit. In this
respect Israel and the Church are identical. In
the one as in the other, there has always been a believing remnant within the
professing, but faithless mass.
fact of Shamgar’s name being of Hurrian/Hittite origin has led some to conclude
that he was not an Israelite, a conclusion they believe to be supported by his being
described as “the son of Anath,” for Anath, the sister of Baal, was the Canaanite
goddess of sex and war. Others, however,
have pointed out that his name may indicate nothing more than Hurrian or Hittite
influence on his parents, while Anath may much more likely relate, not to the
Canaanite goddess, but to the town of Beth-anath.
It is very unlikely that he was anything but an Israelite.
afflicted: answered, points to the truth that while the believing remnant have
also been afflicted, they have also known the answer or response of God to their cry
of supplication. That cry is not
recorded here, but there can be little doubt that the Philistine oppression evoked
it. The other meanings, singing,
speaking, testifying remind us that the believing remnant, whether in Israel or
in the professing church, have also borne a joyful testimony to God’s love and
as noted already, all of the judges are types of Christ, the application of all of
this to Him is easily discerned. The
same uncertainty concerning His parentage existed in the minds of the Jews, and the
aptness of the meaning of Anath scarcely needs comment: He was the One Who was
afflicted above all others, and though it seemed that His desolate cry from the cross
went unanswered, His resurrection furnished a far more effective answer than would
His having been delivered from the cross. As to His joy and testimony for God, we are reminded that His
faithful witness, even unto the death of the cross, was impelled by love for His
Father, and by the anticipated joy that would result from His death and resurrection,
as it is written, “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb
is the Biblical number of man and of incompleteness, so that Shamgar’s slaying six
hundred of the enemy declares in symbol that Christ has effectively ended all the
power of man in his natural opposition to God. He has not only annulled the power of Satan, but of one of the
devil’s most useful instruments: man in his natural fallen state.
number six, however, would also remind us that the full effect of Calvary’s victory
won’t be experienced until we reach heaven. Literally
it reveals that not all the enemy were slain. The
type has been fulfilled in the experience of the Church.
Faith has enjoyed some victories, but the great false church still rules
Christendom, and will until the end of the Tribulation.
This is announced symbolically in that it wasn’t till the reign of David
that the Philistines were finally destroyed. The
best we can hope for is to be like Shamgar - recognize that no matter how plausible
the disguise of her religious facade, that great harlot system is the enemy of faith.
We are to destroy whenever possible what Philistinism represents: empty
profession without faith in Christ, yet masquerading as the true church.
weapon, an ox goad, is unique. It
consisted of a pole 8 to 10 feet long, having a pointed metal spike at one end, and a
flat blade at the other, the former to prod the oxen, and the latter to scrape
accumulated earth from the plowshare.
all of this points to activity connected with plowing and sowing, the spiritual
lesson isn’t difficult to read. It has
to do with the sowing of the good seed of the Gospel. During the days of Saul, Philistine control of Israel was such
that they were forbidden to possess any weapons, and so strict was the enemy’s
repression that even agricultural implements had to be taken to the Philistines for
sharpening (1 Sa 13:21). Whether such
conditions prevailed in the days of Shamgar, we aren’t told, though 5:8 would
indicate that they did, but only blind eyes fail to see that the same conditions rule
today. The great false church exercises
essentially the same control. Her
clergy, usurping the sole right to teach and preach, have so effectively stifled the
development of spiritual gift, that virtually nothing may be done except what she
approves. The believer is under the
oppressive hand of the “Philistine” - except where there is Shamgar-like faith
and courage to use the “ox goad,” i.e., use the Word to “slay” the
“Philistine,” to prod the reluctant physical members to activity, and to scrape
away the earthly things that would impede the work of God.
he also delivered Israel.” Others have
pointed out that here again “Israel” is used, not to designate the whole nation,
but a part. Any one of us may be a “Shamgar.”
The “ox goad” can be as effective in our hands as in his to bring at least
a measure of recovery, not to the Church at large, but in the sphere in which God has