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Judges – Chapter 9
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Avimelech stirred up trouble in the city of Shechem. He suggested that all 70 of Gidon’s sons would become rulers over the nation and wouldn’t it be better if there was just one (i.e., him)? The people of Shechem were from Avimelech’s mother’s side of the family. They gave Avimelech 70 pieces of silver with […]
Judges – Chapter 8
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The men of Ephraim complained to Gideon: Why didn’t he call them for the battle with Midian, instead of leaving them the clean-up? Gideon replied that their role, which they perceived to be small, was actually greater than his accomplishment. (At the risk of waxing political, capturing Orev and Zeev could be compared to the […]
Judges – Chapter 7
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Gideon’s army was too large for G-d’s tastes. Yes, the army was too LARGE. G-d wanted it to be clear that the victory was in no way a natural occurrence and, while it is unlikely that 32,000 Jews would defeat 135,000 Midianites, it is not outside the realm of possibility. G-d told Gideon to send […]
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. […]
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, […]