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Judges – Chapter 19
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Another story from the early days of the Judges: there was a Levite who lived in Mt. Ephraim whose concubine left him and returned to her father’s home. After four months, the Levite went to retrieve her. Everyone was reconciled and the Levite stayed at his father-in-law’s house for several days. (A concubine is sort […]
Judges – Chapter 18
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Despite being placed after the story of Samson, there is a consensus that it actually occurred much earlier, in the time of Osniel, the first Judge. Scouts from the Tribe of Dan were looking for territory when they discovered the altar in Micah’s house. They asked the Levite if they would be successful in their […]
Judges – Chapter 17
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There was a man from Mt. Ephraim named Micah, who stole a large sum of silver from his mother, but returned it fearing her curse on the thief. She had already resolved to consecrate the money, so she gave it back to him to have made into a statue. When he received the statue from […]
Judges – Chapter 16
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Samson went to Gaza where he saw a prostitute and desired her. The Philistines were told that Samson was in town, so they set an ambush. No problem for Samson! He simply ripped the city gates off the wall and carried them away with him. But here’s where the trouble began: Samson was permitted to […]
Judges – Chapter 15
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Samson had left his wife with her father. He later went to reclaim her, only to find that the father had given her away to another man. Since she was not divorced from Samson, this was blatant adultery, tacitly sanctioned by the local Philistine community in violation of the Seven Universal Laws. Samson tied foxes […]
Judges – Chapter 14
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Samson saw a Philistine woman in Timnah and asked his parents to get her for his wife. The obvious question is how this was permissible. Granted, people do impermissible things all the time, but Samson was the Judge of Israel and would logically be expected to follow halacha (Jewish law). Samson’s parents were equally bothered […]
Judges – Chapter 13
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The Jews slacked off again, so G-d allowed the Philistines to take over for forty years. A man named Manoach, from the Tribe of Dan, had no children. An angel appeared to Manoach’s wife and told her that she would have a child who would begin to save the nation from Philistine oppression; he would […]
Judges – Chapter 12
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The warriors of Ephraim were once again upset about not being called to battle. They threatened to burn down Yiftach’s house, with him in it. While almost a century earlier, Gidon was able to appease them with words, Yiftach got into a chest-thumping contest with them. The people of Gilad, Yiftach’s home, warred with Ephraim. […]
Judges – Chapter 11
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Yiftach (Jephthah in English) was a great warrior, but he had a different mother than his siblings. (She was possibly a prostitute, a concubine, or simply a woman from another Tribe – the commentators offer a variety of opinions.) His brothers expelled him so that he would not inherit with them. But when Israel went […]
Judges – Chapter 10
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After Avimelech, Israel was ruled by Tola for 23 years, then Yair for 22 years. (This actually totals 44 years, as there was one year in which both ruled.) The Jews then backslid into their bad habits and started worshipping idols again. G-d therefore allowed the nation to fall into the hands of Ammon and […]