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Judges – Chapter 6
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After 40 years of peace, the nation once again slacked off and G-d allowed Midian to occupy the country. The Midianites were particularly cruel; they didn’t just raid the Jews’ crops, they destroyed what they couldn’t use. (Verse 5 compares them to a swarm of locusts.) The people cried out and G-d sent Gideon (Gidon […]
Judges – Chapter 5
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Like Moses and Miriam after the salvation at the Red Sea, Devorah and Barak now sang a song of praise to G-d. It’s very beautiful and a synopsis can’t do it justice, so make sure you read it. We’ll just hit a few high points here: * In the song, Devorah refers to herself as […]
Judges – Chapter 4
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When the Jews backslid into their bad ways, G-d allowed Canaan to occupy Israel, led by a general named Sisera. They cried out and G-d sent Devorah (Deborah, whose name is Hebrew for a bee) as a Judge to save them. Devorah summoned Barak to lead her army. (Barak may be another name for Lapidos, […]
Judges – Chapter 3
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The chapter begins with a list of nations that still maintained a presence in Israel: Philistines, Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, Tzidonites, Hivites and Perizites. They were there to serve as a constant test for the Jews, to see if they would follow G-d’s laws. The Jews didn’t do so well. They intermarried with the Canaanite nations […]
Judges – Chapter 2
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A messenger of G-d spoke to the people. (While the Hebrew word “malach” often refers to a Heavenly angel, it literally means a messenger. The Targum translates this as a “prophet” and Vayikra Rabbah and Seder Olam both state that it was Pinchas, the High Priest.) The messenger (Pinchas) chastised the people for not chasing […]
Judges – Chapter 1
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Following the death of Joshua, the Jews consulted G-d via the Urim and Tumim to see which Tribe should be the first to conquer remaining Canaanite pockets within their territory. The first role fell to the Tribe of Judah. Judah invited Simeon to join them as Simeon’s cities were scattered throughout the portion of Judah. […]
Joshua – Chapter 24
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Joshua gathered the people in Shechem and gave a recap of Jewish history to that point: Terach was an idolator, but G-d chose his son Abraham and promised the land of Canaan to his descendants. Abraham had Isaac, Isaac had Jacob and Esau, Jacob and his family went down to Egypt… (If this sounds familiar, […]
Judges- An Introduction
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Tanach now enters what appears to be a tumultuous period. In fact, I believe the period of the Judges is completely misunderstood by most people. Here’s what happens in the Book of Judges: Foreign occupation, assassination, idolatry, uprisings, apparent human sacrifice, civil war, intermarriage, treachery, prostitution, torture, more idolatry, murder, dismemberment, a bigger civil war, […]
Joshua – Chapter 23
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At age 110, Joshua realized that he wouldn’t live much longer, so he gave words of encouragement to the Jewish people. He reminded them of all Hashem did for them and urged them to be strong in their observance of the Torah. Joshua restated the prohibition on intermarriage, found in the Torah in parshas Va’eschanan. […]
Joshua – Chapter 22
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Now that all 12 Tribes received their land, the men of Reuben, Gad and half of Menashe moved into their portions. Almost immediately, however, there was an enormous problem, as these two and a half Tribes assembled a giant altar on the eastern side of the Jordan River. This was a huge source of concern […]