Day 164: Judges (and heroes)
So, now Joshua is dead, and the Israelites must finish with conquering the Canaanites, but they don’t. They figure living with them is not such a bad thing to do, and forget about God. They pick up THEIR religion, instead, and worship idols. They get punished, Israelites beg for mercy, God forgives them, and sends in someone to save them — yet, again.
The Israelites start killing each other in a civil war. It appears this is a time of wars, and they fail. They continue to worship idols alongside the Canaanites, but some of the idols require human sacrifices, and sex rituals. God does not like this; therefore, he lets the enemies have them.
Judges 4:9 states, “You will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hand’s of a woman.” Her name is Deborah.
King Jabin hears of Deborah gathering her army, but he’s not worried since he has been raiding the North land of Israel for years. The Israelites attack, 10,000 of them but flood waters snatches up the chariots of the enemy and washes them downstream. The General named Sisera is running, too. He comes to a house where a woman lets him in. When he falls asleep, she drives a tent peg into his head. This fulfills Deborah’s prophecy; a woman started it, and a woman finished it.
Gideon is an Israelite. He does not want to fight the Midianites. They are always raiding them, stealing livestock, and grains. They come in on camelbacks. This is the first time in the world that there was a camel cavalry. They came in droves. A camel can sprint up to 40 miles per hour. Gideon just doesn’t have the strength to do this, nor the desire. But, the Angel of God says he will be with him. Gideon wants miracles performed as proof.
God wants this glory. He wants Gideon to understand that they will win this battle, but it will be because of God, not Gideon. He has Gideon cut his army from 32,000 to 300. That’s quite a lay-off. They use the act of surprise. They wait until the Midianites are asleep and then storm them with lit torches and ram horns blowing. The Midianite camp wakes up in horror and confusion. In their state of confusion, they start killing each other.
When Gideon dies, the Israelites go back to their bad ways with the Canaanites, worshipping idols. They really are a hard group to train…. This time the Ammonites suppress them. Salvation comes from the son of a prostitute. Jephthah is run out of the family by his half brothers. He wanders and forms a band of men that aren’t very nice, and they can fight. The Israelites enlist him in leading an army against the Ammonites, which he does. He prays that if he wins, he will sacrifice the first thing that comes out of his house, to God.
He wins and goes home. In celebration of his return, his only daughter comes out of the house dancing and playing a tambourine. Judges 11: 31, 34. Even though God loathes human sacrifice, and it is against Jewish law, he kills his daughter.
The Philistines and the Israelites have been living in peace together. Samson marries a Philistine, but for some reason, they begin to put a bad taste in his mouth. Samson give the Philistines a riddle to solve. They cheat by forcing his bride/wife to tell them, or they threaten to kill her. This enrages Samson and he goes off and kills 30 Philistines. He takes their clothes, abandons his bride, and goes back home. Revenge takes over Samson because when he returns to his bride, after he cooled off, her dad had married her to the best man, instead. Well, he did leave her, after all. He burns many farms and groves.
I am sure everyone has heard of the story of Samson and Delilah. She was the love of his life, or so he thought. Samson made a promise to never cut his hair, which was his strength. Samson loves women, and revenge.
Samson is in custody via surrendering. He breaks free of his ropes and kills 1000 more Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone, Judges 15:15. He falls in love with Delilah, a Philistine. She loves money more than him. Philistine leaders offer her a large sum of money if she can find out the source of Samson’s strength. Delilah gets this information out of him, finds out it’s his hair and she cuts his braids off when he is sleeping. She also turns him over to the Philistines, who gouge out his eyes. They parade him around as their conquest. They had put him to work grinding grain.
Judges 16:28, “Let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my eyes.” At the temple where they paraded him, Samson stands between two pillars that are holding up the temple. He pushes on them until they break and they fall collapsing the whole temple. He dies in the crushing of the stones but so do more Philistines than he had ever killed in his life. This starts a huge distrust between the Philistines and the Israelites. The Philistines lose their power and become a lost nation. They assimilate into Middle Eastern culture.P
When King David is born, years later, he finishes the job. King David is the Jews most revered king that they have ever had. Jesus comes through this line.