1883 Haydock Douay Rheims Bible

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Judges 1:1 After *the death of Josue, the children of Israel consulted the Lord, saying: Who shall go up before us against the Chanaanite, and shall be the leader of the war?

Year of the World 2570, Year before Christ 1434. After. Hebrew, "And after," as if this consultation had taken place immediately after the decease of their late victorious general, who had not pointed out his successor. But it is probable that the ancients who governed in their respective tribes, (Calmet) were only roused to this act of vigour some time after, on seeing the preparations of the Chanaanites, particularly of Adonibezec, whose power became very alarming. (Haydock) --- Indeed it is wonderful how he had escaped the vigilance of Josue, if he had been king during the lifetime (Calmet) of that enterprising leader. It is therefore more likely that he took advantage of the lethargy of the Israelites after his death, and rose to a degree of eminence, which made the people of God consult the high priest, how they were to resist his efforts, (Haydock) who was to be their generalissimo, (Calmet) or which of the tribes was to make head against him. (Menochius) --- God only gave answer to the last question, and it does not appear that all Israel was engaged in this war. After the defeat of the king, the different tribes might easily have subdued the enemies who held possession of part of their territory, if they had been vigorous.
Judges 1:2 And the Lord said: Juda shall go up: behold I have delivered the land into his hands.

Said, by the mouth of Phinees, (Josephus, [Antiquities?] 5:2,) who had succeeded Eleazar in the pontificate. The latter survived Josue some little time, so that this must have happened some time later. Le Clerc offers violence to the text, when he asserts that the war against Adonibezec took place under the government of Josue. --- Juda. Some suppose that this is the name of the leader: but most people conclude from the sequel, that it designated the tribe. (Calmet) --- This first judge was of this tribe, but not all of them. The manner of consulting the Lord was by the high priest praying before the tabernacle, Exodus xxix. (Worthington)
Judges 1:3 And Juda said to Simeon, his brother: Come up with me into my lot, and fight against the Chanaanite, that I also may go along with thee into thy lot. And Simeon went with him.

Brother. They had the same mother, Lia, and were intermixed in the same country. The two tribes unite both for the public and their own private advantage. The king whom they attacked first, did not dwell in the territory of Juda, as the others did, whom they defeated in this chapter.
Judges 1:4 And Juda went up, and the Lord delivered the Chanaanite, and the Pherezite into their hands: and they slew of them in Bezec ten thousand men.

Pherezite. This name denotes "a countryman," as the former does "a merchant." None of the children of Chanaan were of this appellation, Genesis 10:15. The people of the country assembled therefore at Bezec, where Saul called a rendezvous when he was going to attack Jabes, and which seems to have been near the Jordan, 17 miles from Sichem. (Eusebius; St. Jerome) --- It signifies "lightning." A place of this name lies to the west of Bethlehem. (Menochius)
Judges 1:5 And they found Adonibezec in Bezec, and fought against him, and they defeated the Chanaanite, and the Pherezite.

Adonibezec, "Lord of Bezec." The cruelty of this tyrant, and the oppression which he probably made some of the Israelites suffer, roused their attention, and they treated him as he had treated others. He had perhaps recourse to such a cruel expedient, to disable his enemies from ever entering the lists against him afterwards, as the Athenians, who cut off the fingers of the inhabitants of Egina, that these islanders might not dispute with them the empire of the sea. (Cicero, Offic. 3.) Some have thus maimed themselves that they might be exempted from going to war, a practice not unusual among the Romans; and the Italian word poltron, signifies one whose fingers are cut off, as it was supposed, out of cowardice. David ordered the hands and the feet of the murderers of Isboseth to be cut off, and this sort of punishment is common in the eastern countries. Eight hundred Greeks who had been treated in this manner by the Persians, presented themselves to Alexander, at Persepolis, to implore his protection. (Curt. etc.)
Judges 1:6 And Adonibezec fled: and they pursued after him and took him, and cut off his fingers and toes.

Judges 1:7 And Adonibezec said: Seventy kings, having their fingers and toes cut off, gathered up the leavings of the meat under my table: as I have done, so hath God requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Table, at different times. (Haydock) --- These were probably princes of some cities of Chanaan, who had been conquered by the tyrant. He obliged them to feed, like dogs, of what he threw down from his splendid table. Thus Sesostris made the kings whom he had overcome, drag his chariot. Sapor forced the Emperor Valerian to serve as a footstool, when he got on horseback. Tamerlane fed Bajazet in a cage, like a wild beast. (Jovius, etc.) (Calmet) --- Me. So true is that Wisdom 11:17, by what things a man sinneth, by the same also he is tormented. (Menochius)
Judges 1:8 And the children of Juda besieging Jerusalem, took it, and put it to the sword, and set the whole city on fire.

Jerusalem. This city was divided into two; one part was called Jebus, the other Salem; the one was in the tribe of Juda, the other in the tribe of Benjamin. After it was taken and burnt by the men of Juda, it was quickly rebuilt again by the Jebusites, as we may gather from ver. 21, and continued in their possession till it was taken by king David. (Challoner) --- Fire. They treated it with such severity, because it seems to have revolted, (Serarius) though the text of Josue 10:25 only says that the king was slain. But [in] (Josue 15:63., and here) ver. 21., it is said, that the children of Juda and of Benjamin dwelt along with the Jebusites.
Judges 1:9 And afterwards they went down and fought against the Chanaanite, who dwelt in the mountains, and in the south, and in the plains.

Plains, towards the west, which were very fruitful. They did not expel all the inhabitants from this part, as they had done from the mountains, which lay on the south of the promised land, ver. 19. (Calmet)
Judges 1:10 *And Juda going forward against the Chanaanite, that dwelt in Hebron, (the name whereof was in former times Cariatharbe) slew Sesai, and Ahiman, and Tholmai:

Josue 15:14.
Hebron. This expedition against Hebron, etc., is the same as is related [in] Josue 15:24. It is here repeated, to give the reader at once a short sketch of all the achievements of the tribe of Juda against the Chanaanites. (Challoner) --- Josue had taken Hebron before; (Josue 10:37,) and Caleb retakes it. (Calmet)
Judges 1:11 And departing from thence, he went to the inhabitants of Dabir, the ancient name of which was Cariath-sepher, that is, the city of letters.

The city of letters. Perhaps so called, from some famous school or library kept there. (Challoner) --- The explanation, that is, etc., is added by the Vulgate. (Haydock) --- Madrid, in Arabic, means "the mother of sciences." (Menochius)
Judges 1:12 And Caleb said: He that shall take Cariath-sepher, and lay it waste, to him will I give my daughter Axa to wife.

Judges 1:13 And Othoniel, the son of Cenez, the younger brother of Caleb, having taken it, he gave him Axa his daughter to wife.

Brother, or near relation, but much younger. See Josue 15:17. (Calmet)
Judges 1:14 And as she was going on her way, her husband admonished her to ask a field of her father. And as she sighed sitting on her ass, Caleb said to her: What aileth thee?

Judges 1:15 But she answered: Give me a blessing, for thou hast given me a dry land: give me also a watery land. So Caleb gave her the upper and the nether watery ground.

Judges 1:16 And the children of the Cinite, the kinsman of Moses, went up from the city of palms, with the children of Juda, into the wilderness of his lot, which is at the south side of Arad, and they dwelt with him.

The Cinite. Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, was called Cinaeus, or the Cinite: and his children, who came along with the children of Israel, settled themselves among them in the land of Chanaan, embracing their worship and religion. From these the Rechabites sprang, of whom see Jeremias xxxv. ---The city of palms. Jericho, so called from the abundance of palm-trees, (Challoner) or rather Engaddi, which is sometimes called Hazazon-Thamar, on that account. It lies nearer to the Dead Sea. Jericho was not rebuilt till the reign of Achab. See Josue 6:26. --- Arad was one of the most southern towns of Juda, near the country of the Amalecites. Saul ordered the descendants of Jethro to depart from among them, 1 Kings 15:6. The Israelites had defeated the king of Arad long before, Nubmers 21:1. (Calmet) --- With him. Hebrew, "the people" of Israel, (Menochius) or of Arad. (Calmet)
Judges 1:17 And Juda went with Simeon, his brother, and they together defeated the Chanaanites that dwelt in Sephaath, and slew them. And the name of the city was called Horma, that is, Anathema.

Sephaath, near Maresa, where Asa defeated the king of Arabia, 2 Paralipomenon 14:9. It was also called Sephata, and afterwards Horma. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "they anathematized it, and utterly destroyed it, and they called the city Exolethreusis, "utter ruin." (Haydock) --- Whether they had engaged themselves by vow to do so, or they treated the city in this manner in thanksgiving for the victory, is uncertain. (Menochius)
Judges 1:18 And Juda took Gaza, with its confines, and Ascalon, and Accaron, with their confines.

Gaza, etc. These were three of the principal cities of the Philistines, famous both in sacred and profane history. They were taken at this time by the Israelites; but as they took no care to put garrisons in them, the Philistines soon recovered them again, (Challoner) or perhaps the villages and territory were only seized by Juda; the cities being too well defended. Josue had not attacked them, Josue 12:3. Josephus says that only Ascalon and Azotus, in the plain, fell into the hands of the Israelites; and the Roman Septuagint reads with a negation, (Calmet) which is inserted by Grabe in his edition as an interpolation, or as a peculiarity of the Alexandrian manuscripts, "and Juda did [not] possess Gaza with its dependencies, and Ascalon....and Accaron....and Azotus, with its fields around." (Haydock) --- The situation of Gaza, Ascalon and Accaron in the plain, would seem to secure them from being captured, ver. 19. St. Augustine and Procopius admit the negation. But the original and all the versions reject it, so that the children of Juda must have had possession of these cities at least for a short time. (Calmet) See (chap. 15.; chap 16.; 1 Kings 6:17.) (Menochius)
Judges 1:19 And the Lord was with Juda, and he possessed the hill country: but was not able to destroy the inhabitants of the valley, because they had many chariots armed with scythes.

Was not able, etc. Through a cowardly fear of their chariots armed with hooks and scythes, and for want of confidence in God. (Challoner) --- Hebrew does not say expressly that Juda could not: quia non ad expellendum, etc. He had not the courage or the will. With God's assistance, what had he to fear? Were these Philistines with their chariots, more terrible than the giants in their fortresses? --- Scythes. Hebrew receb barzel, "chariots of iron." (Calmet) --- The Roman and Alexandrian Septuagint have "Rechab was opposed to them." (Haydock) --- The edition of Basil adds, "and they had chariots of iron," as St. Augustine (q. 5,) reads. A double translation is thus given. (Calmet) --- These chariots were calculated to cut down all that came in contact with them. (Curt. IV.) (Worthington)
Judges 1:20 And they gave Hebron to Caleb, *as Moses had said, who destroyed out of it the three sons of Enac.

Numbers 14:24.; Josue 15:14.
Enac, mentioned [in] ver. 10. Septuagint add, that "he took the three cities....and destroyed," etc. See (Josue 15:14.) (Haydock)
Judges 1:21 But the sons of Benjamin did not destroy the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem: and the Jebusite hath dwelt with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem until this present day.

Day, before the reign of David. See (Josue 15:63.) The Jebusites occupied the citadel, etc. (Calmet)
Judges 1:22 The house of Joseph also went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them.

Of Joseph, on the west side of the Jordan, attacked Bethel, which it does not appear that Josue molested. (Haydock) --- Instead of house, some Hebrew manuscripts and the Arabic and Septuagint read, "the sons," which seems to be the better reading. (Kennicott)
Judges 1:23 For when they were besieging the city, which before was called Luza,

Besieging. Hebrew, "sent to descry," or they came upon it like spies.
Judges 1:24 They saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him: Shew us the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy.

Mercy. The city belonged of right to them, so that they might use this means, as they were not bound to enquire by what motives the man was actuated thus to betray his country. He might be convinced, like Rahab, that God had granted it to the Israelites, and these might justly requite his good dispositions and suffer him to depart in peace. (Bonfrere; Grotius; Calmet)
Judges 1:25 And when he had shewed them, they smote the city with the edge of the sword: but that man, and all his kindred, they let go:

Judges 1:26 Who being sent away, went into the land of Hetthim, and built there a city, and called it Luza: which is so called until this day.

Hetthim. The Hethite lived towards the south of Chanaan. The man probably retired into the stony Arabia, where we find the city of Lusa or Elysa. (Ptolemy 5:16.) --- He gave it this name in memory of his native city, (Calmet) which was called Luza, or "of nuts." (Menochius)
Judges 1:27 Manasses also did not destroy Bethsan, and Thanac, with their villages; nor the inhabitants of Dor, and Jeblaam, and Mageddo, with their villages. And the Chanaanite began to dwell with them.

Bethsan, etc. See Josue 17:11. --- Began. Hebrew, "would dwell." (Haydock) ---The Israelites sinfully acquiesced, partly through slothfulness and the dislike of war, and partly that they might receive tribute from the Chanaanites. (Menochius)
Judges 1:28 But after Israel was grown strong, he made them tributaries, and would not destroy them.

Them. We shall see the punishment of their prevarication during the greatest part of this book. (Calmet)
Judges 1:29 Ephraim also did not slay the Chanaanite that dwelt in Gazer, but dwelt with him.

Judges 1:30 Zabulon destroyed not the inhabitants of Cetron, and Naalol: but the Chanaanite dwelt among them, and became their tributary.

Judges 1:31 Aser also destroyed not the inhabitants of Accho, and of Sidon, of Ahalab, and of Achazib, and of Helba, and of Aphec, and of Rohob:

Accho. Hebrew haco. The Greeks not knowing the derivation of this word, supposed that the city was so called from aké, "a remedy," as they pretend that Hercules was cured in this place. It was also called Ptolemais, after the king of Egypt. The little river Belus, and the famous bed of sand so proper for making glass, were in the neighbourhood. (Pliny, [Natural History?] 5:19.) --- Ahalab. The situation is unknown, unless it be Aleppo. They say it is the famous city of Berea. (Calmet)
Judges 1:32 And he dwelt in the midst of the Chanaanites, the inhabitants of that land, and did not slay them.

Judges 1:33 Nephthali also destroyed not the inhabitants of Bethsames, and of Bethanath: and he dwelt in the midst of the Chanaanites, the inhabitants of the land, and the Bethsamites and Bethanites were tributaries to him.

Judges 1:34 And the Amorrhite straitened the children of Dan in the mountain, and gave them not a place to go down to the plain:

Judges 1:35 And he dwelt in the mountain Hares, that is, of potsherds, in Aialon and Salebim. And the hand of the house of Joseph was heavy upon him, and he became tributary to him.

He dwelt. That is, the Amorrhite. (Challoner) --- Hebrew, "But the Amorrhites would dwell in Mount Hares, in Aialon, and in Salebim." Some copies of the Septuagint seem to give the meaning of these proper names, though inaccurately. (Haydock) --- Solomon had one of his twelve officers at Salebim, in the tribe of Dan, 3 Kings 4:9.
Judges 1:36 And the border of the Amorrhite was from the ascent of the scorpion, the rock, and the higher places.

Rock, Petra, the capital of Arabia, which Josephus ([Antiquities?] 3:2,) assigns to Amalec. The Amorrhites dwelt in many parts of the land of promise, (Calmet) particularly in the higher places about the Dead Sea. (Haydock)
Judges 2:0 An angel reproveth Israel. They weep for their sins. After the death of Josue, they often fall, and repenting, are delivered from their afflictions; but still fall worse and worse.

Judges 2:1 And an angel of the Lord went up from Galgal to the place of weepers, and said: I made you go out of Egypt, and have brought you into the land for which I swore to your fathers: and I promised that I would not make void my covenant with you for ever:

An angel. Taking the shape of a man, (Challoner) such as had appeared to Josue, (chap. 5:13.; Menochius) the guardian angel of Israel. (Haydock) --- The Jews commonly suppose that it was Phinees, the high priest, Malachias 2:8. (Drusius) But he might be dead with the rest of the ancients when this took place, as the Israelites seem to have experienced many difficulties in consequence of their repeated prevarications, before this messenger was sent to them. He might very probably be some prophet, who speaks in the name of God, (Aggeus 1:13,) as he is said to come not from heaven, but from Galgal to the place of weepers. Hebrew, at Habbocim, "the mulberry trees." Septuagint, Klauthmon. This place, the valley of tears, (Psalm 83:7,) perhaps received his name afterwards, from what happened, ver. 4. Some suppose it designates Silo, where the people might be assembled on some great festival, and where sacrifice was offered, ver. 5. Bonfrere collects from the Septuagint and Josephus, ([Antiquities?] 7:4,) that it lay beyond the vale of the Raphaim, on the south side of Jerusalem, (Menochius) where this messenger might summon the people together, and authorize them to offer sacrifice, as was frequently done (Calmet) by dispensation (Haydock) at a distance from the tabernacle, Judges 6:20., and 13:19. --- I made. If he was an angel, his authority could not be called in question; and if he was the high priest, or a prophet known to the people, they would hear him with attention and respect. (Calmet) --- He appeared at least in human form, and spoke in the name of God. (Worthington) (Josue v.)
Judges 2:2 On condition that you should not make a league with the inhabitants of this land, but should throw down their altars: and you would not hear my voice: why have you done this?

League. None of a public nature had been perhaps made by the whole nation, to sanction the idolatry of the Chanaanites. But so many individuals had entered into marriages with them and imitated their perverse manners, so many tribes had spared the cities, etc., that the Israelites in general merited the reprimand. Whether these leagues, made in contradiction to God's command, were to be observed or broken, is a matter of dispute. We may steer a middle course, and assert that such agreements as stipulated the protection of the idolatrous worship and altars, were null, and never to be observed; whereas those which secured to the inhabitants their lives and property, could not be lawfully broken, though the contractors did wrong in making such leagues. See 1 Esdras ix. (Calmet)
Judges 2:3 Wherefore I would not destroy them from before your face; that you may have enemies, and their gods may be your ruin.

Ruin. Septuagint, "stumbling block," the occasion of ruin. (Menochius) --- Thus by a false compassion (Calmet) and negligence, the Israelites brought upon themselves the most serious difficulties, while those whom they had spared, turned against them by a just judgment of God, and proved the ruin both of their souls and bodies, by drawing them into idolatry and then putting them to the sword. (Haydock)
Judges 2:4 And when the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel: they lifted up their voice, and wept.

Judges 2:5 And the name of that place was called, The place of weepers, or of tears: and there they offered sacrifices to the Lord.

Lord: holocausts to acknowledge his dominion, and sacrifices of expiation for the transgressions of the people. Only the tabernacle and temple were appointed for such sacrifices, though they might be offered elsewhere by dispensation. (St. Augustine, q. 36.) (Worthington)
Judges 2:6 *And Josue sent away the people, and the children of Israel went every one to his own possession to hold it:

Josue 24:28.
And Josue, etc. This is here inserted out of Josue, (xxiv.) by way of recapitulation of what had happened before, and by way of an introduction to that which follows. (Challoner) --- The sacred penman gives a short description of the general conduct of the Israelites, shewing how they abandoned their former fidelity, after Josue and the elders were no more, and in consequence were severely punished. Upon their repentance, God shewed them mercy again and again, as will be explained more at large (Haydock) in the subsequent chapters. Salien and some others have hence inferred, that Josue was living when the angel made this reproach. (Calmet) --- But that is contradicted by many passages in the Book of Josue, where the fidelity of the people is commended, as well as here, ver. 7; and Judges 1., we read of the death of Josue, so that St. Augustine (q. 14,) says, "there can be no doubt but this is a recapitulation." (Menochius) --- As little had been said before, to enable us to see the grounds of the accusation, these few remarks are subjoined to justify the words of the angel, who appeared while the people was groaning under the afflictions which their sins had deserved. (Calmet)
Judges 2:7 And they served the Lord all his days, and the days of the ancients, that lived a long time after him, and who knew all the works of the Lord, which he had done for Israel.

Judges 2:8 And Josue, the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being a hundred and ten years old;

Judges 2:9 And they buried him in the borders of his possession in Thamnathsare, in Mount Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaas.

Judges 2:10 And all that generation was gathered to their fathers: and there arose others that knew not the Lord, and the works which he had done for Israel.

Fathers. These expressions prove the immortality of the soul, Job 34:4., etc. Knew not, or did not approve or cordially serve the Lord. His tabernacle was still at Silo. But many joined the worship of idols with that of the true God, (Calmet) and light and darkness can never agree. (Haydock)
Judges 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they served Baalim.

Judges 2:12 And they left the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt: and they followed strange gods, and the gods of the people that dwelt round about them, and they adored them: and they provoked the Lord to anger,

They followed strange gods. What is here said of the children of Israel, as to their falling so often into idolatry, is to be understood of a great part of them; but not so universally, as if the true worship of God was ever quite abolished among them: for the succession of the true church and religion was kept up all this time by the priest and Levites, at least in the house of God in Silo. (Challoner) --- At different times God raised up deliverers, who were taken from among his people, and no doubt abhorred the impiety of the multitude.
Judges 2:13 Forsaking him, and serving Baal and Astaroth.

Baal, "Lord," a title given to many of the idols, (Haydock) both male and female. (Menochius) --- They are often distinguished by some additional name, as Beelzebub, "fly," and berith, "covenant," gods adored at Accaron and Sichem. Under this name the pagans adored heaven or the sun, (Calmet) as Astaroth denoted some female deity, the moon, Venus, etc. (Menochius)
Judges 2:14 And the Lord being angry against Israel, delivered them into the hands of plunderers: who took them and sold them to their enemies, that dwelt round about: neither could they stand against their enemies:

Who took. Hebrew, "that spoiled them, and he sold" or abandoned them, etc. (Calmet)
Judges 2:15 But whithersoever they meant to go, the hand of the Lord was upon them, as he had said, and as he had sworn to them: and they were greatly distressed.

Judges 2:16 And the Lord raised up judges, to deliver them from the hands of those that oppressed them: but they would not hearken to them,

Them, for any long time. Their inconstancy was astonishing. (Haydock) --- These judges raised up by God, or chose by the people under his direction, often rescued Israel from servitude; and during the remainder of their lives, watched to see the laws put in execution, being assisted by the counsels of the senators (Menochius) and magistrates of the nation. (Haydock) --- They were commissioned to rescue the penitent and suffering Israelites. (Worthington)
Judges 2:17 Committing fornication with strange gods, and adoring them. They quickly forsook the way, in which their fathers had walked: and hearing the commandments of the Lord, they did all things contrary.

Quickly. They had persevered in virtue under the government of Josue and of the elders, for the space of forty years, according to Marsham and Houbigant. The former places the first state of anarchy and of idolatry 34 years after Josue, allowing 15 years for the administration of the surviving ancients, and the remainder to bring the nation to such a pitch of wickedness as to force God to abandon it to the dominion of Chusan, for eight years. --- Walked. Hebrew and Septuagint, "walked, obeying the commands of the Lord: they did not so."
Judges 2:18 And when the Lord raised them up judges, in their days, he was moved to mercy, and heard the groanings of the afflicted, and delivered them from the slaughter of the oppressors.

Moved, etc. Hebrew and Septuagint, "and the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge, (for it repented the Lord (Septuagint, he was moved to compassion) on account of their groans, etc.) (Haydock) --- The repentance of God denotes a change of conduct in our regard. (Calmet) --- Delivered. Hence the judges have the title of Saviour, Judges 3:9., and 2 Esdras 9:27. (Menochius)
Judges 2:19 But after the judge was dead, they returned, and did much worse things than their fathers had done, following strange gods, serving them, and adoring them. They left not their own inventions, and the stubborn way, by which they were accustomed to walk.

And did. Hebrew, "and corrupted themselves." Septuagint, "were more depraved than," etc. --- By which, etc., is put instead of the Hebrew, "their stubborn (or hard) (Haydock) Chaldean, 'corrupt' way." This hard and rough path denotes the labours which the wicked have to encounter, in the pursuit of pleasure, as they themselves confess. We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity....and have walked through hard ways, Wisdom 5:7. (Calmet) --- Though the life of the libertine seem delightful, it draws on the most serious evils and provokes the anger of God. (Menochius)
Judges 2:20 And the wrath of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said: Behold this nation hath made void my covenant, which I had made with their fathers, and hath despised to hearken to my voice:

Judges 2:21 I also will not destroy the nations which Josue left when he died:

Nations. Hebrew, "any." Septuagint, "a man of those nations," which must be understood, unless the Israelites return to a proper sense of their duty. For then he destroyed not only individuals, but whole armies, by the hand of the judges. Yet we do not find that such havoc was made among the infidels afterwards, as had been made in the days of Josue. They frequently rose up and harassed the Israelites; and God suffered them to do so, that the latter might learn to know themselves, and might perceive how dreadful a thing it is not to comply, at first, with his injunctions. (Haydock)
Judges 2:22 That through them I may try Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord, and walk in it, as their fathers kept it, or not.

Or not. The secrets of hearts cannot be hidden from the omniscience of God. (Calmet) --- But he would have an experimental knowledge of the fidelity of his people, by leaving these nations in the midst of them. It was partly on this account that he withdrew the sword of Josue, who would otherwise have easily followed up his victories, and exterminated all the inhabitants. The cowardice and secret indispositions of the people was another obstacle. (Haydock) --- God acted like a person who distrusted the fidelity of his servant, and left something in his way to see if we would steal it. (Calmet)
Judges 2:23 The Lord therefore left all these nations, and would not quickly destroy them, neither did he deliver them into the hands of Josue.

Judges 3:0 The people falling into idolatry, are oppressed by their enemies; but repenting, are delivered by Othoniel, Aod, and Samgar.

Judges 3:1 These are the nations which the Lord left, that by them he might instruct Israel, and all that had not known the wars of the Chanaanites:

Instruct. The original is translated try, ver. 4, and Judges 2:22. --- And all. Hebrew, "as many of Israel as had not," etc. (Haydock) --- Those who had served under Josue, were so strongly impressed with a sense of the divine power and severity, that they never forgot them: but there was danger lest their children should grow careless, if they were suffered to enjoy a constant state of prosperity. Virtue or power is made perfect in infirmity, 2 Corinthians 12:9. (Calmet) --- He that hath been experienced in many things, multiplieth prudence, Ecclesiasticus 34:10.
Judges 3:2 That afterwards their children might learn to fight with their enemies, and to be trained up to war:

And be. Hebrew, "at least, such as before knew nothing thereof." Though war be in itself an evil, the passions of men render it necessary, and God makes use of it as a scourge, to punish the wicked, and at the same time to keep all under due restraint. (Haydock) --- Too long a peace has proved sometimes fatal to states and to the virtue of individuals. In adversity we call upon God, and adhere to him with greater fervour and constancy. The Jews were so prone to evil, that, if they were permitted to enjoy tranquility for a few years, they presently forgot themselves and the author of all their good, and even turned their backs upon the only true God. Their enemies forced them to have recourse to Him. (Calmet)
Judges 3:3 The five princes of the Philistines, and all the Chanaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hevites that dwelt in Mount Libanus, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entering into Emath.

Princes, (satrapas) a Persian word. (Menochius) --- These heads of the five great cities of the Philistines, are called Seranim, (Haydock) but never kings, whether they were governors of so many petty states, united in the same form of republican or aristocratical government, or independent of each other. See Josue xiii. Three of these cities are said to have been take by Juda, (chap. 1:18,) unless the Septuagint be more accurate, as this passage would seem to insinuate. (Calmet) --- They might have thrown off the yoke in a short time, as we before observed. These five cities were Gaza, Geth, Ascalon, Azotus, and Accaron. (Haydock) --- All but Geth were on the Mediterranean sea. (Calmet) --- All the Chanaanites, etc., who dwelt in Libanus, with some others, who were dispersed through the country, ver. 5. (Haydock) --- These chiefly inhabited the environs of Sidon. --- Baal Hermon. The idol of Baal might probably be adored on this mountain. (Menochius) --- We find Baal-gad in the same neighbourhood, and both may mean the same city. (Calmet)
Judges 3:4 And he left them, that he might try Israel by them, whether they would hear the commandments of the Lord, which he had commanded their fathers, by the hand of Moses, or not.

Not. Various reasons are assigned, on the part of God, for not exterminating these nations at once. But their being spared so long, must be imputed to the disobedience of the Israelites, otherwise they would surely never have been tolerated with their idol-worship in the land of promise, to contaminate, by their wicked example, the manners of God's people. If they would have redeemed their lives, they must at least have given up the land and their idols. As the Israelites proved so little zealous in destroying the latter, they were justly punished by God, in being deprived of what would have contributed to make them richer and more comfortable in this world. (Haydock)
Judges 3:5 So the children of Israel dwelt in the midst of the Chanaanite, and the Hethite, and the Amorrhite, and the Pherezite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite:

Judges 3:6 And they took their daughters to wives, and they gave their own daughters to their sons, and they served their gods.

Gods. This was the fatal consequence which God had foretold, Deuteronomy 7:4. (Haydock)
Judges 3:7 And they did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they forgot their God, and served Baalim and Astaroth.

Astaroth. Hebrew Asheroth, Septuagint, "the groves," (Menochius) of which Astaroth was the goddess, (Calmet) like Diana, Judges 2:11. Various trees were sacred to idols. (Menochius)
Judges 3:8 And the Lord being angry with Israel, delivered them into the hands of Chusan Rasathaim, king of Mesopotamia, and they served him eight years.

Chusan. This name leads us to conclude that this prince was of Scythian extraction, a descendant of Chus: (Calmet) it signifies "black, or an Ethiopian." (Menochius) --- Rasathaim was perhaps the place of his nativity. As it means "of two sorts of malice," Arias thinks that the Syrian kings took this title to shew that they would punish or repress all crimes against the civil or criminal law, (Menochius) those which affected the property as well as the lives of their subjects. (Haydock) --- Mesopotamia. In Hebrew Aram naharayim. Syria of the two rivers; so called because it lies between the Euphrates and the Tigris. It is absolutely called Syria, ver. 10. (Challoner) --- Eight years, by manual labour and presents, testifying their submission to their oppressor, who might not perhaps live among them. (Calmet) --- Moir's edition, by mistake, reads eighty years. The Hebrews were equally fallible, Judges 3:30. (Haydock)
Judges 3:9 And they cried to the Lord, who raised them up a saviour, and delivered them; to wit, Othoniel, the son of Cenez, the younger brother of Caleb:

Saviour. "We must remark, that the man by whom God grants us safety, is styled a saviour," (St. Augustine, q. 18,) though Christ is the proper and principal Saviour. (Worthington) --- Caleb. Septuagint, "the younger son of Cenez, who was the brother of Caleb." (Haydock) --- Othoniel was one of the ancients. If he could not prevent the people from falling into idolatry, he rescued them from it. (Calmet)
Judges 3:10 And the spirit of the Lord was in him, and he judged Israel. And he went out to fight, and the Lord delivered Chusan Rasathaim, king of Syria, and he overthrew him:

In him, to instruct and enable him both to rout the enemy, and to govern the people with prudence. (Haydock) --- Chaldean, "the spirit of prophecy." The oracle excited him to attack Chusan. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] 5:3.) He was entrusted with an extraordinary authority, in a wonderful manner, and God gave him all those virtues which were requisite for his exalted station. (Calmet) --- Him. Hebrew, "his hand was strong upon Chusan Rasathaim." He gained a complete victory over him, (Haydock) the particulars of which are not mentioned, though they must have been very interesting and extraordinary, as the power of Chusan was so extensive. (Calmet)
Judges 3:11 And the land rested forty years, and Othoniel, the son of Cenez, died.

Died, "forty years after Josue, according to the chronology of Usher, which we follow," (Calmet) or rather Usher translates the land began to rest "in the fortieth year" from the peace of Josue. He places the death to that leader in the year of the world 2570, and the end of Chusan's dominion 2599; so that, if we deduct 40 years from this last date, we shall come to the year 2559, the sixth of Josue's administration, when he began to divide the conquered lands. He supposes that the peace of Othoniel lasted about 62 years, when Eglon disturbed it for eighteen years. "Aod delivered Israel. After him Samgar appeared, and the land rested till the 80th year from the peace of Othoniel." Houbigant censures this indiscriminate use of cardinal and of ordinal numbers, and the blending the times of servitude with those of peace; (Haydock) and "surely this method of reckoning is very harsh, and contrary to the usual acceptation of words." (Calmet) --- Yet it is adopted by many. (Worthington) --- It may suit to form a system, but can have no solid foundation. (Haydock) --- The epoch from which Usher dates is no where so distinctly specified, as that we should suppose that the author of the Book of Judges had it in view. Moreover, by this method, we are left to guess how long each of the judges reigned, or how long the peace which they had procured, subsisted. Usher admits that the years of servitude are specified; and, why not also the years of peace, since they are expressed exactly in the same manner? If the ordinal numbers 40th, 80th, etc., were intended, b would be prefixed, as [in] Deuteronomy 1:3.; and this grammatical observation alone, suffices to overturn the calculation of Usher. (Houbigant, Proleg.) --- Salien dates from the death of Josue in 2600, and allows that 40 years elapsed from that period till the decease of Othoniel; including the years which some attribute to the ancients, and to the anarchy; (chap. 17.) and on to the end, and also the eight years of servitude; so that instead of a rest of 40 years, we shall find that all was in confusion the greatest part of the time. The idolatry of Israel, which shortly brought on the servitude under Eglon, commenced immediately after the conclusion of these 40 years, when Salien begins to enumerate the years of Aod's government. Thus he does from one judge to another. This system does not indeed make the text bend to uphold it, but it supposes that the sacred writer includes anarchy and servitude under the name of rest. In these matters much is to be supplied by conjecture, and hence the chronological difficulties which infidels propose, to invalidate the authority of the Scripture, can have but little weight, till the learned shall have discovered the exact disposition of former times. The first judge of Israel was of the tribe of Juda. The second was chosen from the almost ruined tribe of Benjamin, as the learned commonly place the dreadful catastrophe which befel that tribe during the anarchy which ensued, and the death of Josue and of the ancients. Aod had no share in the crime. (Haydock)
Judges 3:12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: who strengthened against them Eglon, king of Moab: because they did evil in his sight.

Eglon, signifies "a calf." (Calmet) --- God made use of this prince to scourge his people, with the assistance of the neighbouring nations. He took Engaddi, in the plains of Jericho, and was thus enabled to keep an eye both upon his own subjects and the conquered Israelites. (Calmet) --- Here he probably met with his untimely end. (Haydock)
Judges 3:13 And he joined to him the children of Ammon, and Amalec: and he went and overthrew Israel, and possessed the city of palm-trees.

Judges 3:14 And the children of Israel served Eglon, king of Moab, eighteen years.

Judges 3:15 And afterwards they cried to the Lord, who raised them up a saviour, called Aod, the son of Gera, the son of Jemini, who used the left hand as well as the right. And the children of Israel sent presents to Eglon, king of Moab, by him.

Aod, signifies "praise," whence perhaps Josephus calls him Judes which has the same import. (Menochius) --- He was a descendant of Jemini or Benjamin, by his son Gera, Genesis 46:1. --- Right. Septuagint and many interpreters agree, that Aod was "Ambidexter," a quality which Plato exhorted those who were designed for war, to strive to acquire. Several of the heroes before Troy are praised on this account; and the Scripture takes particular notice of 700 citizens of Gabaa, who could use both hands alike, and could hit even a hair with a stone, Judges 20:16. The Jews explain itter, very absurdly; Aod "had his right hand maimed or tied:" (Calmet) and Protestants render "a man left-handed." (Haydock) --- This would be a very awkward recommendation for a warrior, though it is pretended that such are more resolute, and more difficult to encounter than others. The number of the men at Gabaa who are praised for their skill, as well as the brave men of David, (1 Paralipomenon 12:2,) shews sufficiently that the term does not mean left-handed. But the Scripture here takes notice that Aod could use his left hand so well, because he placed his dagger, contrary to custom, on his right side, and the motions of his left hand would not be so narrowly watched. Rufin does not agree with the present text of Josephus, which indeed seems very confused, saying, "that all the strength of Aod lay in his left hand." Gelenius also translates, utraque manu ex aequo promptus; (Antiquities 5:5,) so that perhaps the Greek of Josephus may have been altered. --- Presents; that is, tribute; an odious expression, instead of which the Scripture often puts presents, 1 Kings 10:27., and 1 Paralipomenon 18:2. No tribute was imposed in Persia till the reign of Darius Hystaspes; the subjects had to make presents to the king. (Herodotus 3:89.) (Calmet)
Judges 3:16 And he made himself a two-edged sword, with a haft in the midst, of the length of the palm of the hand, and was girded therewith, under his garment, on the right thigh.

He made, or procured, though it was formerly honourable for a person to do such things himself. (Calmet) --- Hand. Hebrew gomed, is translated by the Protestants, "of a cubit length," (Haydock) though the term is never used elsewhere for that measure. Septuagint have spithame, a measure of 12 fingers. --- Garment. The sagum, as well as the Septuagint mandua, from the Hebrew mad, denote a military garment. But such a dress might have rendered Aod suspected, (Calmet) unless an uniform might then be deemed a suitable dress for an ambassador. (Haydock) --- Thigh. The Jews wore the sword there; (Psalm 44:4,) and it would be more convenient on the left thigh, as the nations of Gaul and Germany had it, while the Roman cavalry wore the sword on the right; and the infantry had two swords, the long one on the left, and a shorter, about an hand's length, on the right. (Josephus, Jewish Wars 3:3.) (Lipsius)
Judges 3:17 And he presented the gifts to Eglon, king of Moab. Now Eglon was exceeding fat.

Fat. The ancient version used by St. Augustine had, "lean," which he justly took in an ironical sense. Septuagint asteios, signifies "beautiful and genteel." (Calmet) --- Serarius explains it in the same sense as the Vulgate. (Menochius)
Judges 3:18 And when he had presented the gifts unto him, he followed his companions that came along with him.

Him; or according to the Hebrew, Septuagint, and Chaldean, "he sent away the men who had brought the presents." (Calmet) --- But it seems he followed after them as far as Galgal, (Haydock) whence he returned, as if he had been consulting the oracle, and had orders to communicate something of importance to the king, unless we translate, "He dismissed, etc., (19.) and as he was returned from the idols at Galgal, he said," etc., at the same interview. (Calmet) He would not expose his companions to danger. (Menochius)
Judges 3:19 Then returning from Galgal, where the idols were, he said to the king: I have a secret message to thee, O king. And he commanded silence: and all being gone out that were about him,

Idols. Hebrew pesilim. Some take these to be only heaps of stones. Protestants, "quarries." (Haydock) --- But the Septuagint, etc., represent them as "carved" idols. The same expression is used [in] Exodus 20:4., etc. The Moabites had probably placed idols here, to profane that sacred place, which was resorted to out of devotion by the Israelites, Osee 4:14., and Amos 4:5. Here also the prophets inform us that the ten tribes adored and consulted idols; resembling perhaps that of Michas, Judges 17:4. --- Silence to Aod, (Calmet) that none of the people might be able to divulge the secret. Hebrew, "be thou silent." (Menochius)
Judges 3:20 Aod went in to him: now he was sitting in a summer parlour alone, and he said: I have a word from God to thee. And he forthwith rose up from his throne.

Alone. Hebrew, "Aod approached unto him, and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself, alone." It seems to have been a private closet, to which he retired for greater secrecy, as his officers concluded that he was there only to ease nature. (Haydock) --- It might be rendered, "a hall of audience." (Calmet) --- But the place where Aod presented the tribute, was more probably of this description, and Eglon retired thence into a back parlour, and was followed by Aod, alone, ver. 24. (Haydock) --- A word. What Aod, who was judge and chief magistrate of Israel, did on this occasion, was by a special inspiration of God: but such things are not to be imitated by private men. (Challoner; St. Augustine, q. 20.; Numbers xxv. Worthington) --- Hebrew, "a thing (message, etc.) from God, (Aleim) or the gods." Probably the king would imagine that he was speaking of the idols at Galgal, and being full of awe for them, would be off his guard, and rise up out of respect. See Numbers 23:18., and Exodus 3:5. (Calmet) --- But as the word Elohim was only abusively applied to idols and to great men, Aod might say with truth, that he had a word or an errand from Elohim to the king, without minding in what sense Eglon would take the expression. See St. Augustine, q. 20., and Origen, hom. 4. Though God permitted this king to attack his people, and to scourge them for a time, he did not approve of his injustice, and now authorized the chief magistrate of Israel to revenge their wrongs. (Haydock) --- God is the arbiter of our lives, and may order whomsoever he pleases to put us to death. But the doctrine of J. Huss, who preached, "It is lawful for every subject to kill any tyrant," was condemned in the Council of Constance. David severely punished the man who pretended that he had slain Saul. The first Christians never entered into any revolt against those cruel and impious emperors who oppressed them, and whose title to the throne was evidently unjust. See Romans 13:1. Under what government are all satisfied, or of the same religion with the sovereign? Even if any should pretend that they have an order from God to kill a tyrant, they must give proof of their commission to the lawful superiors, or them must expect to be treated as fanatical impostors. (Calmet) --- Throne; or Hebrew, "seat." The throne of state would not probably be placed in a retired chamber. (Haydock) --- The king rose up out of respect to the deity; (Menochius) and at the same moment, Aod plunged the dagger into his bowels. (Haydock)
Judges 3:21 And Aod put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly,

Judges 3:22 With such force that the haft went in after the blade into the wound, and was closed up with the abundance of fat. So that he did not draw out the dagger, but left it in the body as he had struck it in: and forthwith, by the secret parts of nature, the excrements of the belly came out.

With, etc. Hebrew [and] Protestants, "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 out." By the word belly, the Jews mean all the vital parts. (Calmet) ---- The wound was so deep, that Aod did not think proper to strive long to extract his sword; and indeed, being all bloody, it would have only tended to excite suspicion. (Haydock) --- The Chaldean agrees with the Vulgate in rendering parshedona "excrements," though it seem to be rather irregularly in construction with a masculine [], etc. If we should read peristana, "a porch," the difficulty would be avoided. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "(23) and Aod went out into the porch, (prostada) and he shut the doors of the upper chamber....(24) and he himself went out." (Haydock)
Judges 3:23 But Aod carefully shutting the doors of the parlour, and locking them,

Judges 3:24 Went out by a postern door. And the king's servants going in, saw the doors of the parlour shut, and they said: Perhaps he is easing nature in his summer parlour.

Door. Lyranus would prefer porticum, "the porch," as the Chaldean explains the Hebrew by exedra, a portico highly ornamented with pillars and seats, where the princes formerly used to administer justice. Homer give a grand description of the portico of Alcinous. (Odessey) (Haydock) --- See that of Solomon described, 3 Kings 7:6. (Calmet) --- The Roman Septuagint adds after prostada, what may perhaps be a second version, "and he went through those who were drawn up," or the guards. He shewed no signs of fear. (Haydock) --- It was not necessary for him to take the key with him, as a common one was used for several chambers, and was necessary only to unloose some bands, with which the doors were fastened. The keys in the East are very large, and of a very different construction from ours. (Calmet) --- Nature. Hebrew, "he covereth his feet." The ancients did not wear breeches: they covered themselves with great care. (Calmet) See Deuteronomy 23:13. (Haydock) --- Parlour. Hebrew, "chamber." Septuagint, "bed-chamber."
Judges 3:25 And waiting a long time, till they were ashamed, and seeing that no man opened the door, they took a key: and opening, they found their lord lying dead on the ground.

Ashamed, perceiving that their hopes had been vain, (Calmet) and not knowing what to do, (Menochius) they began to fear the worst. (Haydock)
Judges 3:26 But Aod, while they were in confusion, escaped, and passed by the place of the idols, from whence he had returned. And he came to Seirath:

Confusion. Hebrew, "tarrying," as they waited a long time before they ventured to open the door.
Judges 3:27 And forthwith he sounded the trumpet in Mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel went down with him, he himself going in the front.

Seirath seems to have been on the road from Galgal to Mount Ephraim. Some conjecture that Josephus speaks of it under the name of Syriad, (Calmet) where he saw the inscriptions, which he asserts were left by the children of Seth before the deluge. (Haydock) --- They might perhaps be the idols which are mentioned here.
Judges 3:28 And he said to them: Follow me: for the Lord hath delivered our enemies, the Moabites, into our hands. And they went down after him, and seized upon the fords of the Jordan, which are in the way to Moab: and they suffered no man to pass over:

Fords. That none, from the other side, might come to the assistance of the Moabites, (Menochius) who were at their prince's court, in the territory of Jericho, and that none of these might make their escape. (Haydock)
Judges 3:29 But they slew of the Moabites at that time, about ten thousand, all strong and valiant men: none of them could escape.

Strong. Hebrew literally, "the fatness," denoting what is most excellent, Psalm 21:30., and 77:31. (Calmet) --- Eglon would have his chief nobility and most valiant soldiers round his person. (Haydock)
Judges 3:30 And Moab was humbled that day under the hand of Israel: and the land rested eighty years.

Eighty. The Hebrews use the letter p to express this number; and, as it is very like their c, which stands for 20, Houbigant suspects that he first number is a mistake of the transcribers. Usher confesses that it is "extremely improbable" that Aod should have governed so long, after he had slain Eglon, as he must have been at that time, about 40 years old; and the Israelites were not often so constant for such a length of time. (Houbigant, Proleg.) --- But this difficulty does not affect Usher, as he brings Aod forward only in the 80th year from the peace of Othoniel; and instead of allowing him 80 years of peaceful sway, he says Samgar appeared after him; but, it seems, both together did not reign a year, since in that 80th year, he commences the servitude, which Jabin brought upon Israel, from the year of the world 2679 till 2699, and peace was not restored by Barac for other 20 years! (Haydock)
Judges 3:31 After him was Samgar, the son of Anath, who slew of the Philistines six hundred men with a ploughshare: and he also defended Israel.

Samgar. His reign seems to have been short, and only perhaps extended over the tribes of Juda, Simeon, and Dan, while Debbora governed in another part. Some exclude him from the list of judges. But Josephus, Origen, etc., allow his title, with most of the moderns. (Calmet) --- The Alex.[Alexandrian?] Chronicle gives his reign of 24 years, which Salien would understand, as if he had acted under the orders of Aod, when the latter was grown too old, if the author had not said that "after the death of Aod, Samgar, his son, judged Israel 24 years," which he subtracts from the 80 years allotted to Aod. He makes Bocci succeed Abisue in the pontificate, at the same time, which Salien admits, in the year of the world 2696. --- Hundred. Septuagint, "as far as 600," which might be at different times, when the Philistines were dispersed through the country in order to plunder. --- Plough-share. Septuagint aratropodi. (Haydock) --- Some translate the Hebrew, "an ox-goad." Maundrell describes those, which are used in Palestine, as eight feet long; and, at the thick end, 10 inches round, with a kind of spade, to clean the plough, while the other end is very sharp. Samgar might probably use such an instrument. From its being mentioned, we may gather that he did not engage the enemy in a pitched battle, (Calmet) but as he could find an opportunity. Thus Samson slew 1000 of the same nation with the jaw-bone of an ass, Judges 15. (Haydock) --- Defended. Hebrew and Septuagint, "saved," which shews that he was a proper judge. (Menochius) --- It is true, he did not rescue the Israelites entirely, but he stood up in their defence. (Calmet) --- The duration of his government is not specified, nor is it said that the land rested, because he ruled for a short time only: Josephus says not quite a year; and the roads were continually infested with the incursions of the Philistines on the south, and of the Chanaanites on the North, Judges 5:6. Samgar seems to have been a ploughman, and he seized the first weapon that came to hand. The Hungarians and Spaniards formerly defended themselves against the attacks of the Turks and Moors with their plough-shares, in memory of which the Spaniards long after went armed to plough. The most valiant Roman generals, Camillus, Curius, Cincinnatus, and Fabricius, were called from the plough to the Dictatorship; and Pliny ([Natural History?] xviii.) observes, that "countrymen make the best soldiers."
Judges 4:0 Debbora and Barac deliver Israel from Jabin and Sisara. Jahel killeth Sisara.

Judges 4:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord after the death of Aod,

Aod. Samgar is passed over, either because he was only a private man, who performed a feat of valour like Jahel, (chap. 5:6.; Salien) or because his government was so short and limited. Hence we need not wonder that he could not put a stop to the ravages of the Chanaanites, nor to the disorders of the people.
Judges 4:2 *And the Lord delivered them up into the hands of Jabin, king of Chanaan, who reigned in Asor: and he had a general of his army named Sisara, and he dwelt in Haroseth of the Gentiles.

1 Kings 12:9.
Asor. Josue defeated the king of this country, Josue 11:8. But some of his successors had contrived to raise themselves again to power. His dominion probably extended only over the tribes of Nephthali, Zabulon, and Issachar, while Debbora judged in Mount Ephraim, and Samgar in Juda. --- He dwelt. It is not clear whether Jabin or Sisara dwelt in Haroseth, but most probably it was the latter, ver. 13. This city was on the northern banks of the Semechonite lake, (Calmet) surrounded with "woods," as the Hebrew word signifies; (Vatable) though Bonfrere explains it "a shop, foundry, or arsenal," as if the arms and chariots were made and kept here. A mixture of different idolatrous nations dwelt in it.
Judges 4:3 And the children of Israel cried to the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots set with scythes, and for twenty years had grievously oppressed them.

Scythes. Hebrew, "chariots of iron." (Calmet)
Judges 4:4 And there was at that time Debbora, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, who judged the people.

Lapidoth, signifies "lamps," and Barac, "thunder;" which has given rise to various conjectures, as if they were the same person. St. Ambrose thinks that Debbora was a widow at this time, and the mother of Barac. But St. Jerome says there is no proof of either. Others suppose that the excellence of the gift of prophecy would not permit her to cohabit with her husband. It is not unusual for women to possess this gift. Mary, the sister of Moses, Holda, the blessed Virgin, the daughter of St. Philip, etc., were prophetesses. The devil most commonly chose women to explain his oracles. --- Judged. Many deny that this word is taken in the same latitude here, as when it is applied to men. The Jews exclude women from government, and Athalia was only a tyrant. The Roman laws will not admit women to exercise the right of judicature. But the text, as it is explained by the Fathers in general, will not permit us to refuse the prerogatives of a judge to Debbora. Her authority was not merely voluntary, in consequence of the people's high opinion of her, as many would believe, with Salien, Worthington, etc., (Haydock) but she gave decisions which were binding on the Israelites; and she seems to have continued in the exercise of her functions along with Barac, after the victory which they gained over Sisara. The government of the latter was perhaps limited to the tribes which he had rescued from slavery. (Calmet) --- He is guided by her counsel, as Christian princes ought to be by their spiritual superiors. (Origen) (Worthington)
Judges 4:5 And she sat under a palm-tree, which was called by her name, between Rama and Bethel, in Mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for all judgment.

Name. Hebrew, "she dwelt (or sat to judge) under the palm-tree of Debbora." "The oak of weeping," allon Bacuth, under which Debbora, the nurse of Rebecca, was interred, was also near Bethel, Genesis 35:8. (Haydock) --- This city was on the confines of the tribes of Ephraim and of Benjamin, over which Debbora chiefly exercised her authority; and here she was consulted by the people. (Calmet)
Judges 4:6 And she sent and called Barac, the son of Abinoem, out of Cedes, in Nephthali: and she said to him: The Lord God of Israel hath commanded thee: Go, and lead an army to Mount Thabor, and thou shalt take with thee ten thousand fighting men of the children of Nephthali, and of the children of Zabulon:

Cedes. There was another city of this name in Juda. (Haydock) --- Barac was of the tribe of Nephthali. (Calmet) --- The Lord, etc. Protestants translate, "hath not the Lord?" etc., as if the will of God had been notified to him before. We find that he makes some demur, ver. 8. (Haydock) --- Thabor. A city of this name was also built at the foot or on the top of the mountain, and belonged to Zabulon. It is attributed to the Levites, 1 Paralipomenon 6:77. The mountain rises in the midst of a vast plain, to the height of 30 stadia, (Josephus, Jewish Wars 4:2.; St. Jerome in Osee 5:1,) or above 3000 paces, "which make a league, or an hour's walk." It is inaccessible on the northern side. There was a platform two-thirds as broad, at the top, where Polybius says a fortified city stood. Antiochus took possession of this strong-place, and Josephus repaired the fortifications, to keep the country in subjection. It is commonly supposed the Jesus Christ was transfigured on this once delightful mountain, which is now a desert. During the crusades, there was an episcopal city and a Benedictine monastery here. (Calmet)
Judges 4:7 And I will bring unto thee in the place of the torrent Cison, Sisara, the general of Jabin's army, and his chariots, and all his multitude, and will deliver them into thy hand.

Hand. Cison flows through a luxuriant vale or champaign country, on the south of Mount Thabor, whence Barac came rushing down the rocks and precipices upon the army of Sisara, Judges 5:15. (Calmet) --- This general was delivered into the hand of Barac, to be routed, though he was afterwards slain by the hand of Jahel, ver. 9., and 21. (Haydock)
Judges 4:8 And Barac said to her: If thou wilt come with me, I will go: if thou wilt not come with me, I will not go.

Not go. Septuagint and St. Augustine (q. 26,) add, "because I know not when the Lord will send his angel to grant me success." St. Paul (Hebrews 11:32,) praises the faith of Barac, so that he spoke thus out of prudence, that the people, seeing (Calmet) their revered prophetess in his company, (Haydock) might not condemn the undertaking as too rash and perilous. He therefore entreats her, in this earnest manner, to come with him, and point out the time when he must attack the enemy.
Judges 4:9 She said to him: I will go, indeed, with thee, but at this time the victory shall not be attributed to thee, because Sisara shall be delivered into the hand of a woman. Debbora therefore arose, and went with Barac to Cedes.

Thee. Protestants, "the journey that thou takest, shall not be for thine honour, for the Lord shall sell Sisara," etc. It is certain, however, that Barac acquired great commendations on this occasion: but if he had not been accompanied by Debbora, he would not have shared the glory of the victory with her and another woman. (Haydock) --- Some suppose that Debbora speaks of herself; others explain her words of Jahel. They may both be right. (Menochius) --- Cedes. Here the Israelites took the generous resolution to throw off the yoke, and marched to seize the fort of Thabor. This motion gave the alarm to Jabin, who sent his general to besiege them, and to occupy the passages of the Cison, Judges 5:18.
Judges 4:10 And he called unto him Zabulon and Nephthali, and went up with ten thousand fighting men, having Debbora in his company.

Judges 4:11 Now Haber, the Cinite, had some time before departed from the rest of the Cinites, his brethren, the sons of Hobab, the kinsman of Moses: and had pitched his tents unto the valley, which is called Sennim, and was near Cedes.

Valley. Hebrew elon, may denote also, (Septuagint) "a wood of oaks," (Calmet) or a plain. (Haydock) --- Haber probably left the first settlement of the Cinites near Engaddi, when his brethren went (Calmet) into the southern parts of the tribe of Juda, Judges 1:16. This is mentioned, that we might know how his wife came to be in those parts, ver. 17, etc. Whether he had given information to Jabin of these movements, as he was at peace with him, we cannot assert; but his being mentioned in this place, might seem to insinuate as much. Hebrew, ver. 12, "they told or shewed Sisara," etc. His wife, at least, did not prove unfaithful to Israel. (Haydock)
Judges 4:12 And it was told Sisara, that Barac, the son of Abinoem, was gone up to Mount Thabor:

Judges 4:13 And he gathered together his nine hundred chariots armed with scythes, and all his army, from Haroseth of the Gentiles, to the torrent Cison.

Cison. Part of this torrent falls into the Mediterranean, and part into the sea of Tiberias. It rises from Mount Thabor, (which is about two hours' walk, south-west of Nazareth) and from Gelboa, etc. (Menochius) --- Here Sisara displayed his immense army, if we may credit Josephus, Jonathan, etc. But the Scripture only specifies 900 chariots of iron. (Calmet) --- Whence, however, we may conclude that his horse and foot would be very formidable. Yet all were presently routed by the small company of Barac, who had God for his leader, ver. 14. (Haydock)
Judges 4:14 And Debbora said to Barac: Arise, for this is the day wherein the Lord hath delivered Sisara into thy hands: behold, he is thy leader. And Barac went down from Mount Thabor, and ten thousand fighting men with him.

Judges 4:15 *And the Lord struck a terror into Sisara, and all his chariots, and all his multitude, with the edge of the sword, at the sight of Barac; insomuch, that Sisara leaping down from off his chariot, fled away on foot,

Psalm 82:10.
Terror. The most dreadful storms of thunder, lightning, etc., (chap. 5:20,) discomfited the enemy, while the sword of Barac (Calmet) dealt death around, so that Sisara and all his army presently turned their backs, (Haydock) and the general himself being stricken with a panic, leapt from his chariot, as if he thought his horses did not run fast enough. Thus Homer represents two Trojans abandoning their chariots, to escape the fury of Diomed and of Achilles. (Iliad v., and xx.)
Judges 4:16 And Barac pursued after the fleeing chariots, and the army, unto Haroseth of the Gentiles; and all the multitude of the enemies was utterly destroyed.

Multitude. Josephus allots Sisara the same number of horse and foot as he did to Jabin, whom Josue defeated and slew, Judges 11:4. But instead of 20,000 chariots, he only gives Sisara 3000, which number appears to be far too great, and unauthorized by the Scripture. (Haydock)
Judges 4:17 But Sisara fleeing, came to the tent of Jahel, the wife of Haber, the Cinite, for there was peace between Jabin, the king of Asor, and the house of Haber, the Cinite.

Tent. The women had separate tents from their husbands. Haber, it seems, was from home, and was not molested by the Chanaanites. He continued neuter during this war. What then must we think of the conduct of his wife? Commentators generally justify her, as the Scripture gives her great commendations, and as the family of the Cinites enjoyed the religion and privileges of the Israelites. Hence this portion of it could not make a league with the enemy of God's people, to the detriment of the latter; and if they did, they were bound to break it as soon, at least, as God manifested his will, that the enemy should be destroyed. Jahel might however deserve the praise of fortitude, which the Scripture gives her, and yet mingle some human imperfection in her manner of acting. She seems to speak with fraud, and to betray the sacred rights of hospitality; and it is doubtful whether Haber himself could renounce the alliance with Jabin, (particularly if they had taken mutual oaths to observe it, as was then customary) without informing him of his resolution. Fides, quando promititur, etiam hosti servanda est. (St. Augustine, ep. 1:ad Bonif.) See Grotius, Jur. 3:19. (Calmet) --- Yet, if she told a lie, it was only an officious one, (Menochius) such as Sisara desired should be told for his safety, ver. 20. (Haydock) --- It is lawful to use stratagems against an enemy. (Salien, in the year of the world 2741.) See Josue ii., and 8:4. Debbora pronounces the name of Jahel to be most blessed, (chap. 5:24,) which shews that she was inspired by God to kill Sisara. If we consider her action in any other light, it will certainly appear very shocking, as Rahab could not escape the accusation of treason towards her country by any other means. Aod, Judith, etc., who washed their hands in the blood of sinners, (Psalm 57:11,) would undoubtedly have been condemned at any merely human tribunal, which would not admit the plea of inspiration. (Haydock) --- Besides this secret impulse, Jahel might be acquainted with the prediction of Debbora, (ver. 9,) and with the miraculous victory which encouraged her to destroy the common enemy, (Abulensis, Josephus, etc.; Tirinus) the only remnant of an immense army. (Haydock) --- The peace which subsisted between her family and the Chanaanites, was a forced one, (Tirinus) and perhaps consisted only in the former being allowed to live quietly (Du Hamel) in the midst of these idolaters, whose manners they abhorred; (Haydock) while the Israelites, though at a greater distance, were so severely treated even when they were so weak as to adore the idols (Tirinus) of their oppressors. Thus the divine Providence was pleased to reward virtue, and to punish infidelity. (Haydock) --- The Fathers consider Debbora as a figure of the Synagogue, which begins the attack against the empire of the devil, while the victory is reserved for the Christian Church, represented by Jahel, a woman living among the Israelites, though of a different nation, and engrafted, as it were, like the wild olive on the good olive tree. She [the Christian Church] gains strength in the midst of persecutions, and, armed with the cross of Christ, destroys the captain of the worldly empire. (Origen, hom v.; St. Augustine, contra Faust. 12:31, etc.) (Calmet) --- Jahel was also a figure of the blessed Virgin, who crushed the serpent's head. (Worthington) [Genesis 3:15]
Judges 4:18 And Jahel went forth to meet Sisara, and said to him: Come in to me, my lord; come in, fear not. He went into her tent, and being covered by her with a cloak,

Cloak, or rough hairy bed coverlet. Hebrew Semica, occurs no where else. (Calmet)
Judges 4:19 Said to her: Give me, I beseech thee, a little water, for I am very thirsty. She opened a bottle of milk, and gave him to drink, and covered him.

Milk, out of a shew of greater civility. The Rabbins say the milk was sour, which is conformable to the manners of the oriental nations. Valle remarks, that the Arabs still give the preference to it. The bottle in which it was kept was made of leather, (utrem) and the milk was like cream, Judges 5:25. Some think that wine was not then used in this family, as the Rechabites, descendants of the Cinites, always refrained from it, Jeremias xxxv. But it is not certain that they did at this time, nor that they sprang from this branch of the family.
Judges 4:20 And Sisara said to her: Stand before the door of the tent, and when any shall come and enquire of thee, saying: Is there any man here? thou shalt say: There is none.

Judges 4:21 So Jahel, Haber's wife, took a nail of the tent, and taking also a hammer: and going in softly, and with silence, she put the nail upon the temples of his head, and striking it with the hammer, drove it through his brain fast into the ground: and so passing from deep sleep to death, he fainted away and died.

Tent. Such nails were used to fasten down the skins, of which the tent was composed. (Calmet) --- This resembled a stake, though Josephus says it was made of iron. (Menochius) --- And died. Thus he met a more ignoble fate, which would be more hateful to a warrior. Abimelech ordered his armour-bearer to kill him, that it might not be said that he had fallen by the hand of a woman, Judges 9:54. Extreme fatigue, and the will of Providence, caused Sisara to fall asleep so soon. How many, like him, like down in health, and rise no more! (Haydock)
Judges 4:22 And behold, Barac came pursuing after Sisara: and Jahel went out to meet him, and said to him: Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, he saw Sisara lying dead, and the nail fastened in his temples.

Judges 4:23 So God that day humbled Jabin, the king of Chanaan, before the children of Israel:

Humbled Jabin, though he was not present in this battle. The Israelites followed up the victory, and presently brought their late oppressor to ruin, that all might confess, none could resist their power, when God was propitious to them; as, on the other hand, the most feeble state was able to reduce them to servitude, when they proved rebellious. (Haydock)
Judges 4:24 Who grew daily stronger, and with a mighty hand overpowered Jabin, king of Chanaan, till they quite destroyed him.

Judges 5:0 The canticle of Debbora and Barac, after their victory.

Judges 5:1 In that day Debbora and Barac, son of Abinoem, sung, and said:

Debbora probably composed this most flowery and animated canticle, ver. 3, 7. (Calmet)
Judges 5:2 O you of Israel, that have willingly offered your lives to danger, bless the Lord.

Lord. Hebrew may have different senses: "bless the Lord for having avenged Israel, the people willingly exposing themselves, or shewing their concurrence." Roman Septuagint, "What was hidden has been disclosed in Israel, when the people shewed their good will, bless the Lord." Porà, which the Vulgate has not expressed, commonly means to disclose, liberate, etc.; éthondob signifies to give freely, to expose one's self, etc. Septuagint and Theodotion together, (Calmet) and the Alexandrian copy have, "bless the Lord, for that leaders have risen up in Israel, and the people have shewn their good will." These two things were to be greatly desired, as a general can do but little without an obedient army, and the latter is, in a manner, useless, without a head. Both had been wanting in Israel for some time, and even still, some of the tribes seem to be blamed for not co-operating with zeal, ver. 15, etc. This verse is repeated as a kind of chorus, ver. 9. The zeal and concord of the little troop, which had met the formidable army of Sisara, deserved the highest applause. (Haydock) --- Men bless God when they give him thanks; superiors bless by imparting some spiritual benefit. (Worthington)
Judges 5:3 Hear, O ye kings, give ear, O ye princes: It is I, it is I, that will sing to the Lord, I will sing to the Lord, the God of Israel.

Kings. She invites all who have authority, whether in or out of Israel, to attend unto the dispensations of Providence. God alternately cherishes and corrects his people. David makes a similar appeal to all kings and judges, Psalm 2:10. --- It is 1: She dwells with a degree of rapture on the thought that God had shewn his power so wonderfully, and had effected his gracious purposes by the hand of a woman! (Haydock) --- She directed Barac. (Worthington)
Judges 5:4 O Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, and passedst by the regions of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens and clouds dropped water.

Edom. Sinai, where God gave his law amid thunder and lightning, was situated in Idumea. (Calmet) --- God displayed his glory on this mountain, and also on Mount Seir, Deuteronomy 33:2. Some believe that Debbora compares the wonders which attended the late victory, with those which God wrought when he led his victorious bands through the desert, and conquered the countries of Sehon, etc. (Haydock) --- He provided for the wants of his people, even in the most desolate regions, giving them water out of the hard (Calmet) rock of Horeb or Sinai, (Haydock) and causing all nature to change her appearance at his approach, Psalm 67:8., and Exodus 19:18. (Calmet)
Judges 5:5 The mountains melted before the face of the Lord, and Sinai before the face of the Lord the God of Israel.

Judges 5:6 In the days of Samgar, the son of Anath, in the days of Jahel, the paths rested: and they that went by them, walked through by-ways.

The paths rested. The ways to the sanctuary of God were unfrequented; and men walked in the bye-ways of error and sin. (Challoner) --- Though Samgar and Jehel were so remarkable for their valour, as they had manifested on a late occasion, yet they did not prevent the incursions of the enemy both on the south and north. (Haydock) --- The merchants durst not travel, as usual, through the country. (Drusius) --- God had threatened the faithless Israel with this punishment, Leviticus 26:22., and Lamentations 1:4., and Isaias 23:8. (Calmet) --- They that went by them formerly without apprehension, are now forced to seek out bye-ways. (Haydock) --- Thus was justly punished the negligence of those who observed not the festivals of the Lord, nor frequented his tabernacle. (Menochius)
Judges 5:7 The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel: until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel.

Valiant. Hebrew is also translated, "the villages ceased," as no one thought himself in safety out of the strong cities. --- Until. Hebrew, "until I, Debbora, arose, that I arose, a mother," etc. The Holy Ghost obliges her to declare her own praises. She deserved the glorious title of "mother of her country." --- Mother denotes an authority, mixed with sweetness: such had been exercised by Debbora, in deciding the controversies of the people, (Calmet) and in directing them to follow the right path. (Haydock)
Judges 5:8 The Lord chose new wars, and he himself overthrew the gates of the enemies: a shield and spear was not seen among forty thousand of Israel.

Israel. What could be more astonishing and new, than this method of warfare, in which a few unarmed Israelites gain the victory over an immense army, and oblige the general, to leap from his chariot, that he may escape observation? A woman calls to battle. Hebrew is rather different, "They chose new gods:" some copies of the Septuagint have "vain gods, (Calmet) as barley bread." Others agree with the Hebrew, "Then war was in the gates." Jabin would not allow any arms in the country, and hence Samgar was forced to use the implements of husbandry. So the Philistines afterwards would not suffer the Hebrews to have a smith among them, lest they should make arms, 1 Kings 13:19, 22.
Judges 5:9 My heart loveth the princes of Israel: O you, that of your own good will offered yourselves to danger, bless the Lord.

Princes. Hebrew, "legislators," governors, judges. I cannot refuse them due praise, and I invite them earnestly to bless the Lord, ver. 2.
Judges 5:10 Speak, you that ride upon fair asses, and you that sit in judgment, and walk in the way.

Fair asses. Hebrew, "shining, white, or of divers colours, particularly red and white, with which the people were accustomed to paint their asses. (Bochart) --- The rich Arabians paint the back part red. (Tavernier 3:5.) --- The Persians also give a yellowish hue to their horses as well as to themselves, with henna. (Chardin.) --- Asses and mules were formerly much more in use than horses, Numbers 22:21., Matthew 21:25., and 3 Kings 1:33. (Calmet) --- Way. You who can now proceed on your journey without molestation, join the judges of the land in sounding forth God's praises, ver. 6. (Haydock) --- Those who bring the flesh into subjection to the spirit, ride upon fair asses, (Origen, hom. vi.; Worthington) and they may preach to others with more authority. (Haydock)
Judges 5:11 Where the chariots were dashed together, and the army of the enemies was choaked, there let the justices of the Lord be rehearsed, and his clemency towards the brave men of Israel: then the people of the Lord went down to the gates, and obtained the sovereignty.

Choaked in the waters of the Cison, and of Mageddo, ver. 19, 21. Hebrew is very obscure: "from the noise of archers, in the places of drawing water, there shall they relate the justices of the Lord, the righteous acts of his villages, (or brave men) then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates," where the courts of judicature are held. The peaceful inhabitants shall be no more disturbed with the shouts of archers, but rehearsing what obligations they are under to the Lord, the warriors of Barac, they shall pursue their usual employments without fear. (Haydock) --- Septuagint, You shall make your voices heard, playing on instruments, Calmet. (anacrouomenón, pulsantium.) --- Among those who rejoice, there shall they give righteous deeds to the Lord: they have wrought justice in Israel, etc. (Haydock) --- If we neglect the points, we may render the Hebrew more agreeably to the Vulgate. "At the voice of those who are pierced with arrows in the midst of those who draw water (or are drowned) there they shall publish," etc. (Calmet) --- And obtained. This is not in Hebrew expressly; but it is added to shew that the people could now act as a free nation, having cleared their country of its enemies. (Haydock)
Judges 5:12 Arise, arise, O Debbora, arise, arise, and utter a canticle. Arise, Barac, and take hold of thy captives, O son of Abinoem.

Captives. Hebrew, "Take thy captivity prisoner." Hold those in subjection who so lately domineered over you. (Calmet)
Judges 5:13 The remnants of the people are saved, the Lord hath fought among the valiant ones.

Remnants. Many of the Israelites had been slain by Jabin, but the Lord enabled the valiant Barac to requite him. Hebrew, "Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people. The Lord made me rule over the mighty." Barac and Debbora were raised from an humble state to govern Israel; while the nobles were passed over. (Haydock) --- The people of God, which was reduced to such abjection and misery, is now become formidable to the greatest princes, who look upon themselves as something great, and are called beneficent, Luke 22:25. Septuagint, "Then his (Barac's) force was magnified: Lord, humble before me those who exceed me in strength." Chaldean, "Then one of the army of Israel (Barac) crushed the power of these mighty nations," etc. (Calmet)
Judges 5:14 Out of Ephraim he destroyed them into Amalec, and after him out of Benjamin into thy people, O Amalec: out of Machir there came down princes, and out of Zabulon they that led the army to fight.

Out of Ephraim, etc. The enemies struggling in their flight, were destroyed, as they were running through the land of Ephraim, and of Benjamin, which lies after, that is, beyond Ephraim; and so on to the very confines of Amalec. Or, it alludes to former victories of the people of God, particularly that which was freshest in memory, when the men of Ephraim and Benjamin, with Aod at their head, overthrew their enemies, the Moabites, with the Amalecites their allies. See (chap. 3.) (Challoner) --- Fight. Debbora insinuates that the late victory had rendered Nephthali and Issachar as famous as these tribes, which had formerly sent forth the greatest generals; Josue, who conquered Amalec, (Exodus 17:10,) and Aod, of the tribe of Benjamin, (Calmet) who had so greatly signalized himself, and sounded the alarm in Mount Ephraim with success, Judges 3:13, 27. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "out of Ephraim he has torn them (Protestants, was there a root of them against, or) into Amalec, and after thee Benjamin among thy people." There was a mountain called Amalec, in the tribe of Ephraim, (chap. 12:15,) where some victory may have been obtained, though we know not the particulars of it. (Calmet) --- They and the neighbouring tribes might have encountered Amalec, coming to assist Jabin. (Du Hamel) --- It is hardly probable that the army of Sisara would flee in that direction, as they would have had to encounter all the multitudes of Israel, and could have no prospect of saving themselves. Benjamin, who was farther off Debbora than Ephraim, is praised for expelling the king of Moab out of their city of Engaddi; (Haydock) or else the victories which this tribe obtained over the joint forces of the people of Israel are meant, (Calmet) as they shewed the valour of this tribe, though in so bad a cause. (Haydock) --- It is thought that the Moabites fell upon their territory only after most of the inhabitants were cut off, (chap. 19.; chap 20.) The Septuagint and Theodotion take no notice of Amalec, as they have read, Amok, a valley: "the people of Ephraim chastised them in the valley, and thy brother Benjamin, in his people." The Chaldean understands the whole verse, of the wars against Amalec, who had been routed by Josue, and would fall a prey to the arms of Saul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin. Many commentators follow this explanation. It does not appear that Barac received any aid from these tribes, nor from Machir, or any of those who lived at a distance. (Calmet) --- As for Zabulon, the Vulgate intimates that great generals were found among them but the Hebrew rather gives them the praise of learning: "They that handle the pen of the writer." (Haydock) --- Yet sopher is applied not only to writers, and to those who are learned in the law, as the scribes, Esdras, Baruch, etc., were, but also to commissaries, secretaries of state, and officers who were employed both in peace and war, 2 Paralipomenon 26:11. Hence the Septuagint translate, "out of Zabulon, the powerful in the sceptre of learning;" (Calmet) (Grabe,) "of instruction." (Haydock) --- Some, without any proof, attribute the institution of these officers to Moses, others to David. We read of many who possessed this title under his reign; and ever after, the kings of Juda had scribes, as some great men had also. The kings of Persia kept secretaries to write their edicts, and some they sent, with greater authority, into the provinces. See 1 Esdras 4:8. Ecclesiasticus 10:5 says, upon the person of the scribe God shall lay his honour. The scribes, or sopherim, seem therefore to have enjoyed an extensive authority, and the tribe of Zabulon used it on this occasion for the common good, (ver. 18.; Calmet) while many of the other tribes seem to be accused of backwardness in the cause of God.
Judges 5:15 The captains of Issachar were with Debbora, and followed the steps of Barac, who exposed himself to danger, as one going headlong, and into a pit. Ruben being divided against himself, there was found a strife of courageous men.

Exposed. Hebrew, "he was sent on foot into the vale," to contend with the 900 chariots of Sisara. Issachar boldly followed him in battle. They came down with such fury and speed, as if they were falling headlong down a precipice. (Haydock) --- Sisara presently turned his back, being affrighted with the apparition of angels, who probably fought at the head of Barac's troop. (Salien) --- Only three tribes exposed themselves to danger, while the rest were either engaged in civil broils, or in their usual employments. (Calmet) --- Divided. By this it seems that the valiant men of the tribe of Ruben were divided in their sentiments, with relation to this war; which division kept them at home within their own borders, to hear the bleating of their flocks. (Challoner) --- Hebrew may have different explanations, "In the divisions (families) of Ruben, there are princes of a great heart," renowned for their prudence and valour: or "Ruben dwelt in his division, (or territory) there are chiefs," etc. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "for the divisions of Ruben, there were great thoughts of heart." Bonfrere supposes that these disputes excited the surprise and observations of all. (Haydock)
Judges 5:16 Why dwellest thou between two borders, that thou mayst hear the bleatings of the flocks? Ruben being divided against himself, there was found a strife of courageous men.

Borders, trusting in the strength of thy situation. Ruben was protected on all sides by the rivers Jordan, Arnon, and Jaboc.
Judges 5:17 Galaad rested beyond the Jordan, and Dan applied himself to ships: Aser dwelt on the sea shore, and abode in the havens.

Galaad was inhabited by the tribes of Gad and Manasses; and took no part in this war. (Calmet) --- Dan. Hebrew, "Why did not Dan remain in ships?" Debbora now rebukes those who lived on the west side of the Jordan, as well as those on the east. Dan might think himself remote enough from the kingdom of Jabin. But Aser dwelt very near, yet durst not make any attempt to throw off the yoke. --- Havens. Hebrew, "Breaches." He had, perhaps, suffered much already, (Haydock) and preferred to remain quiet, even in his half-ruined cities, before engaging in the perilous attempt of his brethren. (Calmet) --- He was too much taken up with commerce, to pay any attention to the oracles of the Lord. Grabe's Septuagint, "Aser....pitched his tents upon his cavities, or the broken ground of it," the sea shore, which is commonly intersected with a variety of rivulets amid the cliffs. (Haydock)
Judges 5:18 But Zabulon and Nephthali offered their lives to death in the region of Merome.

Merone. Hebrew, "In the heights of the field, or of Merome." Some take this place to be the lake Semechon, but we have endeavoured to shew that it was in the vicinity of Thanac, Josue 11:5. (Calmet) --- Thabor was in the midst of a great field or plain. (Du Hamel) --- Barac seems to have been at the head of 10,000 men, of the tribe of Issachar, attacking Sisara, at the foot of Thabor, while 40,000 of the tribes of Nephthali and Zabulon, almost without arms, fell upon the kings of Chanaan, who had posted themselves near the waters of Mageddo, to intercept any recruits that might be sent from the southern tribes, ver. 8, 15, 19. (Calmet)
Judges 5:19 The kings came and fought, the kings of Chanaan fought in Thanac, by the waters of Mageddo, and yet they took no spoils.

Spoils. So far from it, they even lost their lives. (Menochius) --- Hebrew, "they took no piece (or gain) of money." If we understand this of the Israelites , we may say that they stopped not to plunder the slain, nor would they suffer any to redeem their life by the promise of a great ransom. Whatever riches they found afterwards, they consecrated to the Lord, in testimony of their gratitude. (Calmet) (Numbers 31:54.)
Judges 5:20 There was war made against them from heaven: the stars, remaining in their order and courses, fought against Sisara.

Stars, or angels, who are compared to the stars, and often fought for Israel, 2 Machabees 10:29. (Vales, Philos. Judges 31.) (Calmet) --- The favourable and malignant influences of the stars, which the Rabbins talk of, would here be nugatory, (Haydock) unless they might contribute to bring on rain. (Cajetan) --- Josephus ([Antiquities?] 5:6.) informs us that a furious tempest of hail, etc., met the enemy in the face, and rendered all their efforts useless. (Calmet) --- A similar instance of the divine protection was obtained by the prayers of the thundering legion, in the army of M. Aurelius; (Tertullian; Eusebius, Hist. 5:5.) and again, when Theodosius attacked the tyrant Eugenius, of which Claudian speaks, (in 3 Cons. Honor.) "Te propter gelidis Aquilo de monte procellis---Obruit adversas acies, revolutaque tela---Vertit in Auctores et turbine repulit hastas---O nimium dilecte Deo, cui fundit ab antris---Aeolus armatas hiemes, cui militat aether---Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti." (Haydock) --- Courses. This miracle was of a different kind from that which proved so fatal to the enemies of Josue. (Lyranus) --- Septuagint Alexandrian, "They fought with (meta) Israel," for which Grabe puts, against Sisara. (Haydock)
Judges 5:21 The torrent of Cison dragged their carcasses, the torrent of Cadumim, the torrent of Cison: tread thou, my soul, upon the strong ones.

Dragged. Protestants, "swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon." --- Cadumim, which the Protestants translate ancient, (Haydock) means also eastern. The former epithet seems very insignificant. Some assert, that the Cison divided its streams about Mount Thabor, and one part ran towards the east into the lake of Genesareth, which is here designated, while the other empties itself above Carmel into the great sea. But there is no proof of this assertion in the Scripture, nor in Josephus. We read (Judith 7:3,) of a place, which the Syriac properly calls Cadmon, and the Vulgate Chelmon, in this neighbourhood. Instead of Kedumim, Symmachus and Theodotion read Kodssim, which the former translates, "the holy vale." Many of the army (Calmet) of the kings, and perhaps of Sisara also, (Haydock) endeavouring to make their escape, were drowned in the Cison. (Calmet)
Judges 5:22 The hoofs of the horses were broken whilst the stoutest of the enemies fled amain, and fell headlong down.

Broken (ceciderunt) "fell off," the hoofs being fractured by the hard road, while the riders galloped full speed. (Haydock) --- Some translate the Hebrew, "the hoofs of the horses made a sound like that of a hammer beating an anvil, on account of the hurry of the strong ones who push them forward." Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum, as Virgil attempts to imitate the sound in verse. Others, "the hoof....was broken by the precipitation (Calmet) (Protestants, prancings, the prancings of the mighty ones; Haydock) of those who fled." Formerly, Xenophon observes, the horses were not usually shod with iron. The feet of Bucephalus were consequently much worn. Yet some took the precaution to defend the feet of their horses with brass, (Homer) or iron, in the shape of crescents. (Eustathius) --- Nero shod his mules with silver; (Suetonius) and Poppea, his wife, had shoes of gold for her more delicate beasts. Soleas ex auro quoque induere solebat. (Pliny, [Natural History?] 33:11.) --- Yet many excellent horses in Arabia and Tartary are never shod. (Tavern. T. 1:B. 2:5.)
Judges 5:23 Curse ye the land of Meroz, said the angel of the Lord: curse the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to help his most valiant men.

Meroz. Where this land of Meroz was, which is here laid under a curse, we cannot find: nor is there mention of it any where else in holy writ. In the spiritual sense, they are cursed who refuse to assist the people of God in their warfare against their spiritual enemies. (Challoner) --- Eusebius seems to have thought that Merom, a body of water, and the village of Meroz (Haydock) were the same place, 12 miles from Sebaste. The inhabitants were surely under an obligation of assisting their brethren; and these, it appears, lived in the vicinity, and neglected their duty. Septuagint Alexandrian reads Mazor. Some stars are styled Mazzaroth, Job 38:32. --- Angel, Michael; or the high priest, or Barac, Debbora, etc. See Judges 2:1. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "Curse ye Meroz, (said the angel of the Lord) curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof." --- To help. Protestants, "to the help of the Lord against the mighty." Septuagint, "our helper is the Lord in the mighty warriors." He assists their endeavours, which would otherwise prove unsuccessful. (Haydock) --- The Jews thin that Barac cursed Meroz, the star or the angel of the Chanaanites, who protected Sisara. (Chaldean) See Serarius, q. 15. Others say that he was an ally of that general, who was excommunicated by Barac, at the sound of 400 trumpets. But these opinions only deserve contempt. (Calmet)
Judges 5:24 Blessed among women be Jahel, the wife of Haber the Cinite, and blessed be she in her tent.

Among. Hebrew, "above." After cursing those who befriended the enemy, Debbora pronounces a blessing upon Jahel. (Haydock) --- The blessed Virgin is surely still more entitled to praise. (Worthington) --- Tent. It was esteemed a mark of virtue for a woman to keep at home. (Drusius)
Judges 5:25 He asked her water, and she gave him milk, and offered him butter in a dish fit for princes.

Dish. Hebrew sephel; whence the sympule of the Lydians, Tuscans, and Romans, was probably derived, denoting a bowl or jug with a handle, designed for libations. They were formerly made of potter's ware, fictilibus prolibatur sympuciis, or sympulis. (Pliny, [Natural History?] 35:13.) "Aut quis---Sympuvium ridere Numae, nigrumve catinum---Aut vaticanas fragiles de monte patellas---Ausus erat." (Juvenal, Sat. vi.) (Calmet)
Judges 5:26 She put her left hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman's hammer, and she struck Sisara, seeking in his head a place for the wound, and strongly piercing through his temples.

Sisara. Hebrew says with the hammer; (Protestants,) "she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken (the nail) through his temples." But we may rather translate, (Haydock) "she pierced his head, she struck it, and pierced through his temples." (Calmet) --- For we cannot suppose that she severed his head from his body with the hammer; but she fastened it to the ground with the nail, Judges 4:21.
Judges 5:27 Between her feet he fell: he fainted, and he died: he rolled before her feet, and there he lay lifeless and wretched.

Wretched. Hebrew, "he expired where he fell down." (Haydock) --- Debbora represents Jahel as ready to tread the unhappy Sisara under her feet, if he should offer to stir. She thrice repeats his death.
Judges 5:28 His mother looked out at a window, and howled: and she spoke from the dining-room: Why is his chariot so long in coming back? Why are the feet of his horses so slow?

His mother, etc. This poetical imagination is very natural. --- Room. Hebrew, "through the lattices," eshnab, of which the windows then consisted, Proverbs 7:6. (Calmet) --- Horses. Protestants, "why tarry the wheels of his chariots?" (Haydock)
Judges 5:29 One that was wiser than the rest of his wives, returned this answer to her mother-in-law:

Wives. This is not expressed in Hebrew, "his wise ladies answered her," or joined in her lamentations. Then the mother comforted herself with the hope that they might possibly be employed in dividing the spoils. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "yea she answered herself, Have they not gained the victory? have they divided the prey? to every man a damsel, yea two? to Sisara a booty of divers colours," etc. (Haydock) --- Perhaps instead of damsel, literally, "a belly or two," which occurs no where else, the Hebrew should be, "to the general a most beautiful embroidery work." (Calmet)
Judges 5:30 Perhaps he is now dividing the spoils, and the fairest of the women is chosen out for him: garments of divers colours are given to Sisara for his prey, and furniture of different kinds is heaped together to adorn necks.

Necks. Hebrew, "the spoils of various colours, the embroidery of divers colours, on both sides, for the necks (of the captors) of the spoil." (Haydock) --- Or more simply, "for the neck (general) of the army;" (Vatable) or "the necks of the soldiers," who will be laden with the abundance of spoils. (Calmet) --- The ladies dwell with great delight on the thought of possessing rich embroidery or needle work. How dreadfully would their hopes be blasted, when a few hours after they saw Barac at their gates, and their city in flames! (Haydock)
Judges 5:31 So let all thy enemies perish, O Lord: but let them that love thee shine, as the sun shineth in his rising.

Rising. Hebrew, when he goeth forth in his might." Let the just advance in virtue, and glory, as the sun becomes more beautiful and hot as he leaves the horizon, on a clear summer day. This comparison is often applied to the servants of God, Ecclesiasticus 17:16., 2 Kings 23:5., and Matthew 13:45. (Calmet)
Judges 5:32 *And the land rested for forty years.

Year of the World 2719, Year before Christ 1285. Forty. Usher says only 20 from the victory of Barac. Potau and other able chronologers allow the full term of 40 years, after that event. See Judges 3:11. (Haydock) --- Barac was buried at Cedes, where Benjamin (Itin.) saw his tomb. (Calmet) --- Ozi, the high priest for the last 40 years, was succeeded by Zaraias, in the year of the world 2760, who reigned an equal length of time, and died with Gedeon. Maraioth took his place, in the year 2801, at the commencement of Abimelech's usurpation, and died in the year 2841. (Salien)
Judges 6:0 The people, for their sins, are oppressed by the Madianites. Gedeon is called to deliver them.

Judges 6:1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord: and he delivered them into the hand of Madian seven years,

Madian. This nation had formerly been almost extirpated by Moses, Numbers 31:7, etc. (Haydock) --- But they had re-established themselves, and dwelt in the neighbourhood of the Moabites, whom they had assisted. They now made a league with Amalec, and other eastern nations, (Calmet) in order to revenge themselves upon the Israelites. (Haydock) --- Madian was a descendant of Abraham by Cetura, Genesis 25:2. The shortness of the servitude, which the Israelites had to suffer from them, was compensated by its severity. (Menochius)
Judges 6:2 And they were grievously oppressed by them. And they made themselves dens and caves in the mountains, and strong holds to resist.

Resist is not expressed in Hebrew; neither did Israel dare to encounter the enemy. They retreated into the strongest holds, to rescue their goods and persons from the depredations of the Madianites. (Haydock)
Judges 6:3 And when Israel had sown, Madian and Amalec, and the rest of the eastern nations, came up:

Amalec was formerly widely dispersed through Arabia. Some dwelt to the south of the promised land, Exodus xvii., Numbers 13:3., 1 Kings 15:6., and 31:1. But these inhabited the eastern countries, concerning whom Balaam spoke, Numbers 24:20. The Amalecites were scattered from Hevila upon the Euphrates, as far as the Red Sea and Sur, which is near Egypt, 1 Kings 15:7., and 27:8. The other eastern nations denote those who inhabited the desert Arabia, the Moabites, Ammonites, Idumeans, Cedarenians, etc., Isaias 11:14., Jeremias 49:28., and Ezechiel 8:7.
Judges 6:4 And pitching their tents among them, wasted all things as they were in the blade, even to the entrance of Gaza: and they left nothing at all in Israel for sustenance of life, nor sheep, nor oxen, nor asses.

Blade. Hebrew, "the increase of the earth." They waited till the corn was almost ripe, and what they could not carry off they destroyed. (Calmet) --- It seems they had allowed Gedeon time to gather in some corn, (ver. 11.) and other Israelites would seize their opportunity, and perhaps cut the corn before it was perfectly ripe, which the Vulgate may insinuate by mentioning the blade. --- Gaza. They ravaged the whole country from east to west. (Haydock) --- This method of warfare is, in effect, more cruel than any other. --- Asses. They left no cattle, nor animals that they could take, wherewith the Isrealites might cultivate the earth. (Calmet) --- In the extremity of famine, the flesh of asses would have been used to sustain life, as the text insinuates. (Haydock)
Judges 6:5 For they and all their flocks came with their tents, and like locusts filled all places, an innumerable multitude of men, and of camels, wasting whatsoever they touched.

Locusts. This comparison shews the rapacity and devastation of the enemy. Locusts in those countries often obscure the air with their numbers, and presently eat up every green thing. They proceed in regular order like a great battalion, and it is reported that they send some before to explore the country. (St. Jerome in Joel ii.; Bochart; Calmet) (Genesis 10:4.)
Judges 6:6 And Israel was humbled exceedingly in the sight of Madian.

Judges 6:7 And he cried to the Lord, desiring help against the Madianites.

Judges 6:8 And he sent unto them a prophet, and he spoke: Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: I made you to come up out of Egypt, and brought you out of the house of bondage,

A prophet. The people no sooner repent, than God shews them mercy. (Haydock) --- The name of this prophet is unknown. The Jews say it was Phinees; others think it was an angel in human shape: but he might be one divinely commissioned on this occasion, to make an exhortation to the people, assembled on some of the great festivals, (see Judges 2:1.; Calmet) though he might continue to exercise his authority afterwards. (Menochius) --- St. Augustine (q. 31,) thinks that the angel (ver. 11,) is here called a prophet, because he appeared in human form. (Worthington)
Judges 6:9 And delivered you out of the hands of the Egyptians, and of all the enemies that afflicted you: and I cast them out at your coming in, and gave you their land.

Judges 6:10 And I said: I am the Lord your God, fear not the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell. And you would not hear my voice.

Fear not. Idols can do you no hurt, if you continue faithful to me. (Haydock) --- Shew them no respect or worship. The fear of Isaac means the God (Calmet) whom Isaac worshipped, Genesis 31:42. Idolatry owed its rise to a groundless fear: primos in orbe deos fecit timor. (Lucretius) The pagans offered sacrifice to Paventia, to fear and paleness, etc., that they might be secure from them. (Lactan.) (Haydock)
Judges 6:11 And an angel of the Lord came, *and sat under an oak that was in Ephra, and belonged to Joas, the father of the family of Ezri. And when Gedeon, his son, was threshing and cleansing wheat by the wine-press, to flee from Madian,

Year of the World 2759, Year before Christ 1245. Angel; Michael. (Menochius) --- Some think it was the prophet who had addressed the people, or Phinees, according to the Rabbins. See St. Augustine, q. 31. Others believe it was the Son of God, who takes the name of Jehovah. (Broughton and other Protestants) --- But the most natural opinion is, that a real angel was sent, in the name of God, like that which appeared to Moses, and assumed the incommunicable name, as the ambassador of God. Gedeon took him for a man, and presented him a noble feast, without designing to offer sacrifice to him. Maimonides and Grotius seem to suppose that all this passed in a dream; but the sequal refutes this opinion. --- Ephra, a city of the half tribe of Manasses, on the west side of the Jordan, of which Joas was the richest citizen. He was of the family of Ezri, and a descendant of Abiezer, 1 Paralipomenon 8:18. Hebrew might be rendered, "Joas, the Abiezerite," Judges 8:32., and 13:2. --- Madian. Not having the convenience of cleansing the wheat in the open field, Gedeon was doing it privately, with a design to carry it off, at the approach of the enemy, and to support himself and family in some cavern. Hebrew takes no notice of cleaning: "Gedeon threshed wheat, by the wine press, to hide it, or to flee," etc. He probably used a flail, or some smaller sticks, such as were employed to beat out olives, Isaias 28:27., and Ruth 2:17. (Calmet) --- The wheat harvest was about Pentecost, that of barley was at Easter. It seems the Madianites had been later than usual this year, in making their incursions, ver. 33. (Haydock)
Judges 6:12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said: The Lord is with thee, O most valiant of men.

Is. We should naturally translate, be with thee, if the answer of Gedeon did not shew (Calmet) that it is to be taken as an assertion, that the Lord was already reconciled to Israel, and had made choice of this valiant man to rescue his people from slavery, though he was not of the first nobility, ver. 15.
Judges 6:13 And Gedeon said to him: I beseech thee, my lord, if the Lord be with us, why have these evils fallen upon us? Where are his miracles, which our fathers have told us of, saying: The Lord brought us out of Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hand of Madian.

My lord. This he says out of respect, supposing that he was addressing a prophet, (Haydock) or some virtuous person, of whom he desires to know what reasons could be given for the assurance of divine favour, which he held out. He speaks not out of distrust. (Menochius)
Judges 6:14 And the Lord looked upon him, and said: *Go, in this thy strength, and thou shalt deliver Israel out of the hand of Madian: know that I have sent thee.

1 Kings 12:11.
Lord, Jehova. (Haydock) --- The Chaldean and Septuagint have, "the angel of the Lord," as the best interpreters understand it. (Calmet) --- Upon him, with benevolence and an air of authority, that he might know that he was speaking to some one more than man. (Haydock) --- Strength, with which I have endued thee. (Menochius) --- Though Gedeon was naturally brave, he was no more disposed to attack the Madianites than the rest of his dispirited countrymen; and, even after he was strengthened from above, he was so conscious of his own inability to effect so great a deliverance, that he stood in need of the most convincing miracles, to make him act as the judge of Israel. (Haydock)
Judges 6:15 He answered, and said: I beseech thee, my lord, wherewith shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the meanest in Manasses, and I am the least in my father's house.

The meanest in Manasses, etc. Mark how the Lord chooses the humble (who are mean and little in their own eyes) for the greatest enterprises. (Challoner) --- Hebrew and Septuagint literally, "My millenary is poor, or lowly," etc. This term means a great family, from which many others spring, or a city inhabited by such. Bethlehem was of this description in Juda, Micheas 5:2. Ephra and the family of Abiezer were not the first in Manasses. Grotius observes, that Gedeon and Cincinnatus were called to the highest offices, when they least expected it.
Judges 6:16 And the Lord said to him: I will be with thee: and thou shalt cut off Madian as one man.

Judges 6:17 And he said: If I have found grace before thee, give me a sign that it is thou that speakest to me:

Thou, the Lord, or his angel, capable of fulfilling these great promises; or be pleased, by some sign, to manifest thyself to me. (Calmet) --- He began to perceive that he was talking with some person of authority: (Haydock) yet still he did not suspect that it was a spirit, otherwise he would not have offered food, nor would he have been so much surprised and afraid, only when the angel disappeared so suddenly, ver. 22.
Judges 6:18 And depart not hence, till I return to thee, and bring a sacrifice, and offer it to thee. And he answered: I will wait thy coming.

A sacrifice, or some provisions to present unto thee. Hebrew mincha, is taken for a present, particularly of flour and wine. It is used to denote those presents which were made by Jacob to Esau, and Joseph, and by Aod to the king of Moab, Judges 3:15., and Genesis 43:14. (Calmet) --- To sacrifice, often means to kill things for a feast, Matthew 22:4. What Gedeon brought, was afterwards turned into a sacrifice by the angel, ver. 21. (Menochius) --- Gedeon was not a priest, nor was there any altar prepared for a sacrifice. If Gedeon had intended to offer one, he would not have boiled nor baked the food, which he presented before his guest. (Calmet)
Judges 6:19 So Gedeon went in, and boiled a kid, and made unleavened loaves of a measure of flour: and putting the flesh in a basket, and the broth of the flesh into a pot, he carried all under the oak, and presented to him.

Measure. Hebrew, "epha," containing ten gomors, each of which was sufficient for the daily maintenance of a man; so that Gedeon brought as much as would have sufficed for ten men. Abraham presented no more before the three angels, Genesis 18:6. The magnificence of the ancients consisted rather in producing great abundance, than in multiplying dishes. --- Broth. Syriac and Arabic translate, "a good (old) wine."
Judges 6:20 And the angel of the Lord said to him: Take the flesh and the unleavened loaves, and lay them upon that rock, and pour out the broth thereon. And when he had done so,

Thereon. Thus he would shew Gedeon that he had no need of food. He would exercise his obedience, and manifest a greater miracle, as the flesh and bread would be less apt to take fire, when the angel touched them, even though some might imagine that he caused a spark to come from the rock. For the like purpose, Elias ordered thrice four buckets of water to be poured on the bullock, which fire from heaven would miraculously consume, 3 Kings 18:34. (Haydock) --- This broth might serve to anoint the altar, (Exodus 40:10.; Menochius) or answer instead of the usual libations. (A. Montan.)
Judges 6:21 The angel of the Lord put forth the tip of the rod, which he held in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened loaves: and there arose a fire from the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened loaves: and the angel of the Lord vanished out of his sight.

Judges 6:22 And Gedeon seeing that it was the angel of the Lord, said: Alas, my Lord God: for I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.

Alas. He makes this exclamation, concluding that he should soon die, Exodus 33:20. Callimachus says that "it was a law of Saturn, that the man who saw an immortal, unless the god himself chose to shew him that favour, should pay dearly for it." (Grotius) --- This opinion was groundless; and it is wonderful that it should prevail among the Israelites, (Haydock) since so many had seen angels without receiving any harm. (Menochius)
Judges 6:23 And the Lord said to him: Peace be with thee: fear not, thou shalt not die.

Said to him, as he was ascending into heaven, (Menochius) or the following night. (Calmet) --- It seems that Gedeon heard the angel's proclamation of peace, and shewed his gratitude by forming the rock, or stone, into a kind of rough altar, which he entitled Yehova shalom, "God's peace," (Haydock) for doing which he received an order, ver. 26. (Menochius) --- Others erect altars, in various places; but they must be authorized by God. (Calmet) --- Ezri. Protestants, "unto this day it is yet in Ophra, of the Abiezrites." Septuagint is ambiguous. "He, or it, being yet in Ephra," etc. (Haydock)
Judges 6:24 And Gedeon built there an altar to the Lord, and called it the Lord's peace, until this present day. And when he was yet in Ephra, which is of the family of Ezri,

Judges 6:25 That night the Lord said to him: Take a bullock of thy father's, and another bullock of seven years, and thou shalt destroy the altar of Baal, which is thy father's: and cut down the grove that is about the altar:

And another, or "the second." Only one seems to have been sacrificed; (ver. 28.; Cajetan) though others think that the second bullock was designed for a peace-offering. (Bonfrere) Some infer that it had been fattened for Baal. Septuagint observe, that the first bullock or "calf was fattened:" but it does not appear for what purpose. (Calmet) --- Seven years, in memory of the duration of the slavery. (Menochius) --- Before that age, bulls were not deemed so fit for yoking. Hesiod would have them to be nine years old. --- Altar. We may render the Hebrew, "Cut down the idol which is upon the altar; or, Break in pieces the ashera," etc. This is the title of the idol of the grove, Astare or Asteroth. (Syriac and Arabic) The Septuagint is favourable to this explanation. (Calmet) --- But the groves themselves were to be cut down, where an altar of God was to be erected. It seems this altar and the grove belonged to Joas, who is hence supposed to have joined in the worship of Baal. If he did formerly, his eyes were now opened, and he boldly approved of the conduct of his son, (ver. 31.; Haydock) who had probably never been infected. (Menochius)
Judges 6:26 And thou shalt build an altar to the Lord thy God, in the top of this rock, whereupon thou didst lay the sacrifice before: and thou shalt take the second bullock, and shalt offer a holocaust upon a pile of the wood, which thou shalt cut down out of the grove.

Top. Hebrew, "on the top of this fortress, (Mawz. Daniel 11:38.; Septuagint) on the platform, (Calmet) or place appointed." (Haydock) --- Offer. Though Gedeon was not a priest, he was authorized to offer sacrifice. (Menochius) --- God can dispense with his own laws. (Haydock)
Judges 6:27 Then Gedeon, taking ten men of his servants, did as the Lord had commanded him. But fearing his father's house, and the men of that city, he would not do it by day, but did all by night.

House, his relations and fellow-citizens, (Calmet) who were addicted to idolatry. Prudence dictated that he should do this privately, lest he might be prevented by them. They would soon perceive the weakness of their idol. Yet some of the servants, or others who had been on the watch, disclosed to the idolaters that Gedeon had done the daring deed, unless perhaps they accused him on suspicion, as his enmity to that worship could not be concealed. (Haydock)
Judges 6:28 And when the men of that town were risen in the morning, they saw the altar of Baal destroyed, and the grove cut down, and the second bullock laid upon the altar, which then was built.

Judges 6:29 And they said one to another: Who hath done this? And when they enquired for the author of the fact, it was said: Gedeon, the son of Joas, did all this.

Judges 6:30 And they said to Joas: Bring out thy son hither, that he may die: because he hath destroyed the altar of Baal, and hath cut down his grove.

Bring. Parents took cognizance of the evil actions done in their family. The citizens require Joas to punish his son, or to deliver him up to them. On the same principle, the Israelites insisted that the tribes of Benjamin should not neglect to punish the citizens of Gabaa; and the Philistines demand Samson, Judges 15:12., and 20:13. Cato advised that Caesar should be given up to the Germans, whom he had unjustly invaded; and the Gauls would not be satisfied, unless the Fabii should be abandoned unto them. (Grotius, Jur. 2:21, 4.[24?]) (Haydock)
Judges 6:31 He answered them: Are you the avengers of Baal, that you fight for him? he that is his adversary, let him die before to-morrow light appear: if he be a god, let him revenge himself on him that hath cast down his altar.

His, Baal's, or rather my son's adversary; (Calmet) let him die before this morning be spent, as the Hebrew insinuates. Joas represents to the men of the city, who looked upon him with a degree of respect, (Haydock) as the first in power and riches among them, (Calmet) how ill it became the Israelites to vindicate an idol. If Baal were truly so powerful, as they seemed to imagine, (Haydock) and so eager to revenge himself, he could never be restrained from bringing his adversary to condign punishment. "Let the gods punish those who injure them," said Tacitus, Ann. 1:"They would take care that their sacred things were not abused." (Livy x.) This argumentation would suit the idolaters, who supposed that their gods were animated with the same sentiments and eagerness for revenge as themselves. But the true God, who can feel no such impressions, bears for a long time with the impiety of men, though he requires that those who are in power should punish notorious offenders. The magistrate is the instrument of God's justice, and must stop, as much as possible, the growth of vice and irreligion. (Calmet) --- It seems the citizens of Ephra acquiesced to the reason or authority of Joas, and even enlisted under the banners of Gedeon. (Haydock)
Judges 6:32 From that day Gedeon was called Jerobaal, because Joas had said: Let Baal revenge himself on him that hath cast down his altar.

Altar. Protestants, "Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar." Septuagint Alexandrian says that he then styled it (auto, the altar,) "the judgment-seat of Baal," Dikasterion Baal. But the Vatican copy [of the Septuagint] leaves Terobaal; and this title rather belonged to Gedeon. (Haydock) --- David, out of horror for the name of Baal, calls him Jeruboseth, 2 Kings 11:21. "Let confusion plead," etc. For the same reason, Esbaal and Meribaal are called Isboseth and Miphiboseth in Scripture. We read that Sanconiathon consulted "Jerombaal, priest of the god Jao," concerning the antiquities of Phoenicia, which has led some to conclude that he had seen Jerobaal. The work, however, of that author is generally supposed to be a fabrication of Porphyrius, and was unknown to Josephus. It contains a multitude of fabulous accounts, intermixed with some truths, which might be taken from the Bible. Gedeon was no priest, and we may suppose little concerned about the Phoenician affairs or antiquities. (Calmet)
Judges 6:33 Now all Madian, and Amalec, and the eastern people, were gathered together, and passing over the Jordan, camped in the valley of Jezrael.

Jezrael. The crossed the Jordan, probably at Bethsan, expecting to find rich booty in this most fertile vale, where it is reported that grass, or the plants, grow to such a size, that a man on horseback can scarcely be seen! They met with a defeat near Endor and Mount Thabor, Judges 8:18., and Psalm 82:11. (Calmet)
Judges 6:34 But the spirit of the Lord came upon Gedeon, and he sounded the trumpet, and called together the house of Abiezer, to follow him.

Him. He first calls his relations, and then the neighbouring tribes, to march against the enemy. He had before declared God's orders, and was recognized as judge and deliverer of Israel; so that no one objects to his exercising this act of sovereignty.
Judges 6:35 And he sent messengers into all Manasses, and they also followed him: and other messengers into Aser, and Zabulon, and Nephthali, and they came to meet him.

Him. Hebrew, "them." (Menochius) --- The people readily obey the summons, though many of them had not got the better of their fears, Judges 7:3. (Haydock)
Judges 6:36 And Gedeon said to God: If thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as thou hast said,

Judges 6:37 I will put this fleece of wool on the floor: if there be dew in the fleece only, and it be dry on all the ground beside, I shall know that by my hand, as thou hast said, thou wilt deliver Israel.

Judges 6:38 And it was so. And rising before day, wringing the fleece, he filled a vessel with the dew.

So. Gedeon besought the Lord to confirm his mission, in order to raise the drooping spirits of his soldiers. If he had not believed that he was chosen for the purpose of rescuing Israel, he would never have exposed himself, by destroying the idol and grove of Baal, and by calling the people to arms. Yet he might fear at present, lest he might be destitute of some of the necessary qualifications, and might entertain some apprehensions, lest the promises of God might by only conditional. The readiness with which God grants his requests, shews that he was inspired to act as he did, and his faith is greatly commended, Hebrews 11:32. Other great saints have asked for a miraculous confirmation of what was promised, Exodus 4:1., Josue 5:13., and Luke 1:34. (Calmet) --- Vessels. Hebrew sephel, Septuagint lecané, "a dish." Syriac, "a basin." The dew in Chanaan is very copious, resembling a shower of rain, insomuch that the roads are rendered extremely slippery. (Roger. 1:2.) (Calmet)
Judges 6:39 And he said again to God: Let not thy wrath be kindled against me, if I try once more, seeking a sign in the fleece. I pray that the fleece only may be dry, and all the ground wet with dew.

Judges 6:40 And God did that night as he had requested: and it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

Ground. In these two miracles the Fathers observe, that the fleece represented the Jewish nation, favoured with so many graces, while the rest of the world was dry and barren; and that, when the latter was watered with dew from heaven, by the coming of Jesus Christ, the Synagogue was deprived of those favours. (Origen, hom. viii.; Theodoret, q. 14.; St. Jerome, ad Paulin.; St. Augustine; etc.) --- In the first miracle we may also contemplate, the incarnation of our Saviour [Jesus Christ] in the womb of the most pure Virgin [Mary], Psalm 71:6. (St. Bernard, serm.; St. Jerome, epist. Paul.) (Calmet)
Judges 7:0 Gedeon with three hundred men, by stratagem, defeats the Madianites.

Judges 7:1 Then *Jerobaal, who is the same as Gedeon, rising up early, and all the people with him, came to the fountain that is called Harad. Now the camp of Madian was in the valley, on the north side of the high hill.

Year of the World 2759. Fountain. The same also called Areth, as the copies of the Septuagint and of St. Jerome vary. (Bonfrere) --- Harad, or "of trouble," either because the Madianites were filled with terror at the approach of Gedeon, or because so many of his soldiers returned home through fear. (Menochius) --- Perhaps it may be the same which is called the fountain of Jezrael, near which Saul encamped, 1 Kings 29:1. (Calmet) --- Adrichomius places it on the south of Gelboe, which is called the high hill. (Menochius) --- Hebrew, "on the north side of them, by the hill of More, in the vale." (Haydock) --- Jezrael was between Gelboe to the south, and Hermon to the north. (Calmet)
Judges 7:2 And the Lord said to Gedeon: The people that are with thee are many, and Madian shall not be delivered into their hands: lest Israel should glory against me, and say: I was delivered by my own strength.

Lest Israel, etc. By this we see that God will not choose for his instruments in great achievements, which depend purely on his grace, such as, through pride and self-conceit, will take the glory to themselves. (Challoner) --- Yet Gedeon had only 32,000 to encounter 135,000 fighting men; so that if all had remained with him, they would each had to engage above four men, ver. 3., and Judges 8:10. (Menochius)
Judges 7:3 Speak to the people, and proclaim in the hearing of all: *Whosoever is fearful and timorous, let him return. So two and twenty thousand men went away from Mount Galaad and returned home, and only ten thousand remained.

Deuteronomy 20:8.; 1 Machabees 3:56.
Return, agreeably to the law of Moses, Deuteronomy 20:8. If God had not enforced this order, it would perhaps have been neglected in the hurry, particularly as all seemed to have joined the army with such alacrity. (Menochius) --- Scipio going to destroy Carthage, was informed that some Sicilian knights went on this expedition with extreme reluctance and fear; whereupon he gave 300 leave to depart. (Livy xxix.) --- Galaad perhaps may have been substituted for Gelboe, as there seems to have been none from the Galaad, on the other side of the Jordan, in the army of Gedeon. (Calmet) --- Abulensis thinks that some little mountain of this name might be in the vicinity of Jezrael. --- Home. They were terrified at the sight of the enemy's camp. (Menochius)
Judges 7:4 And the Lord said to Gedeon: The people are still too many, bring them to the waters, and there I will try them: and of whom I shall say to thee, This shall go with thee, let him go: whom I shall forbid to go, let him return.

Judges 7:5 And when the people were come down to the waters, the Lord said to Gedeon: They that shall lap the water with their tongues, as dogs are wont to lap, thou shalt set apart by themselves: but they that shall drink bowing down their knees, shall be on the other side.

Tongues. Some Latin copies add, "and hand," as it is expressed in Hebrew, etc., in the following verse. They resembled dogs more in the hurry than in the method of taking water. An old proverb says, "the dog drinks and flees away," (Calmet) alluding to the dogs of Egypt, who, through fear of the crocodiles which infest the banks of the Nile, lap the water with all expedition, "like a dog from the Nile." (Erasmus; Haydock; Macrob. 2:2.) --- Hence we might infer, that these 300 men were the most cowardly in the army, as Josephus, ([Antiquities?] 5:8,) Theodoret, (q. 15,) have done; (Calmet) and thus the glory of the victory would belong more incontrovertibly to God. (Haydock) --- But as these 300, on this supposition, ought to have been disbanded, as well as the rest, we may rather conclude that they shewed greater courage and temperance by their posture, and were therefore retained (Calmet) to accompany their heroic leader in his perilous expedition. We must, nevertheless remark, that only those who preferred to acknowledge their fear, were disbanded according to the law; and as, among those who were not quite so cowardly, (Haydock) there would be some less courageous than others, (Amama) these might be selected by God, that no flesh should glory in his sight, 1 Corinthians 1:29. (Haydock)
Judges 7:6 And the number of them that had lapped water, casting it with the hand to their mouth, was three hundred men: and all the rest of the multitude had drunk kneeling.

Judges 7:7 And the Lord said to Gedeon: By the three hundred men, that lapped water, I will save you, and deliver Madian into thy hand: but let all the rest of the people return to their place.

That lapped water. These were preferred that took the water up in their hands, and so lapped it, before them who laid themselves quite down to the waters to drink; which argued a more eager and sensual disposition. (Challoner) --- It is thought that the former would be more capable of supporting the fatigues of war. (Menochius) --- The Jews suppose that those who knelt, had been accustomed to do so in honour of Baal. Lyranus concludes that they were extremely fatigued and thirsty, while the 300 underwent the labours of war with less inconvenience. Josephus observes that this experiment was made in the heat of the day; yet, if Providence had not interfered, it seems very improbable that 10,000 men should all be so eager for water. (Haydock)
Judges 7:8 So taking victuals and trumpets according to their number, he ordered all the rest of the multitude to depart to their tents: and he with the three hundred gave himself to the battle. Now the camp of Madian was beneath him in the valley.

Victuals. It appears that they did not take sufficient, (Calmet) not expecting that they would have to pursue the enemy so far, Judges 8:5, 8.
Judges 7:9 The same night the Lord said to him: Arise, and go down into the camp: because I have delivered them into thy hand.

Judges 7:10 But if thou be afraid to go alone, let Phara, thy servant, go down with thee.

Judges 7:11 And when thou shalt hear what they are saying, then shall thy hands be strengthened, and thou shalt go down more secure to the enemies' camp. And he went down with Phara, his servant, into part of the camp, where was the watch of men in arms.

Servant. Thus he confessed that he was not entirely free from fear himself, ver. 5, 10. (Haydock) --- The most courageous feel less alarm, when they have a companion, (Menochius) as Diomede observed, when he desired that one or two might accompany him in the attempt to explore the enemy's camp. (Homer, Iliad x.) --- Arms. The greatest part of this immense crowd of people, who came to plunder, neglected the laws of war; as the Israelites had not dared, for a long time, to oppose them. A select number of 135,000 men in arms was destined to keep them in order, and to protect them. Among these Gedeon insinuated himself, to know how they were encamped, and what sentiments they entertained. (Calmet)
Judges 7:12 But Madian and Amalec, and all the eastern people, lay scattered in the valley, as a multitude of locusts: their camels also were innumerable, as the sand that lieth on the sea shore.

Judges 7:13 And when Gedeon was come, one told his neighbour a dream: and in this manner related what he had seen: I dreamt a dream, and it seemed to me as if a hearth-cake of barley-bread rolled and came down into the camp of Madian: and when it was come to a tent, it struck it, and beat it down flat to the ground.

A dream. Observation of dreams is commonly superstitious, and as such is condemned by the word of God; but in some extraordinary cases, as we here see, God is pleased by dreams to foretel what he is about to do. (Challoner) --- See Genesis xl., Leviticus 19:26., and Deuteronomy 18:10. (Worthington) --- The small company of Gedeon stood in need of every sort of encouragement. (Haydock)
Judges 7:14 He to whom he spoke, answered: This is nothing else but the sword of Gedeon, the son of Joas, a man of Israel. For the Lord hath delivered Madian, and all their camp into his hand.

Sword and loaf are both derived from the same Hebrew word, which signifies "to make war." See Numbers 14:9. But if there had been no connection or reason in the discourse of the soldier, (which was not the case, as Providence put it into his mouth,) the end would be equally obtained, which was to encourage Gedeon, and to inform him that the enemy was not without some apprehensions. (Calmet) --- Gedeon was not of the richest family, but came with great expedition, as the rolling of the barley-loaf might designate. (Menochius) --- He was also encamped upon an eminence, and presently threw the affairs of Madian into confusion. (Haydock) --- He understands the language of the Madianites, as it was not very different from the Hebrew.
Judges 7:15 And when Gedeon had heard the dream, and the interpretation thereof, he adored: and returned to the camp of Israel, and said: Arise, for the Lord hath delivered the camp of Madian into our hands.

Interpretation. Hebrew, "the breaking," in allusion to a loaf or nut which must be broken. (Calmet) --- Adored God, in thanksgiving. (Menochius)
Judges 7:16 And he divided the three hundred men into three parts, and gave them trumpets in their hands, and empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.

Lamps, or flambeaux, (Calmet) made of wood, full of turpentine. (Haydock) --- The soldiers held one end in their hand, and when they had thrown down their pitchers, the sudden light, the sound of trumpets and of men on three sides of the camp, threw the various nations into the utmost consternation, as they very naturally supposed that they were surrounded with a great army. God also sent among them the spirit of confusion, so that they knew not one another. An ancient author, under the name of Tertullian, asserts that the 300 men were on horseback, and conquered by virtue of the cross, as the letter T, in Greek, stands for 300; (Calmet) and St. Augustine (q. 37,) follows up this idea, saying that, as the Greeks are put by the apostle for all the Gentiles, this letter was to insinuate, that the Gentiles chiefly would believe in Christ. Some of the Fathers have given a like mysterious explanation of the 318 servants of Abraham, as the two first letter of the name of Jesus denote 18. (Eucher. Gen. 14:14.) (St. Ambrose, de Abr. 1:3.) --- We can never conquer our spiritual enemies, without a lively faith in our crucified Saviour. If Amama, and other enemies of the cross of Christ, ridicule these pious meditations of the Fathers, we need not wonder. See Apocalypse 13:18. (Haydock)
Judges 7:17 And he said to them: What you shall see me do, do you the same: I will go into one part of the camp, and do you as I shall do.

Camp. The three divisions stopt at the entrance, ver. 21. (Calmet)
Judges 7:18 When the trumpet shall sound in my hand, do you also blow the trumpets on every side of the camp, and shout together to the Lord and to Gedeon.

Camp, and shout together to the Lord and to Gedeon: or rather "the sword of, etc., ver. 20. The war is the Lord's, victory to or by the hand of Gedeon," Chaldean. He is the minister of God's justice to punish Madian. (Menochius) --- It is no derogation to God (Calmet) that honour is given to his servants. (Worthington) --- Protestants supply the word which seems to be wanting. The sword of the Lord, etc. (Haydock)
Judges 7:19 And Gedeon, and the three hundred men that were with him, went into part of the camp, at the beginning of the midnight watch, and the watchmen being alarmed, they began to sound their trumpets, and to clap the pitchers one against another.

Watch. This was the second of the three watches known to the ancient Hebrews: in the New Testament, they followed the Roman discipline, and admitted four, Matthew 14:25. (Calmet) --- Menochius thinks they did the same at this time. (Haydock) --- Alarmed. They were not asleep. (Menochius) --- We read of similar stratagems in the Roman history. The Falisci threw the Romans into consternation, by appearing among them in mourning weeds; (Calmet) others read in priestly attire, (Haydock) with flambeaux and serpents; as those of Veii did by means of burning torches. (Grotius; Fontin., Strat, 2:4, etc.) (Calmet) --- Trumpets. In a mystical sense, the preachers of the gospel, in order to spiritual conquests, must not only sound with the trumpet of the word of God, but must also break the earthen pitchers, by the mortification of the flesh and its passions, and carry lamps in their hands by the light of their virtues. (Challoner) --- These lamps denote the virtues and miracles of the martyrs. (Ven. Bede, C. 5.) The things which would seem ridiculous, fill the enemy with terror and dismay. (ibid.[Ven. Bede, C. 5.]) (Worthington)
Judges 7:20 And when they sounded their trumpets in three places round about the camp, and had broken their pitchers, they held their lamps in their left hands, and with their right hands the trumpets which they blew, and they cried out: The sword of the Lord and of Gedeon:

Judges 7:21 Standing every man in his place round about the enemies' camp. So all the camp was troubled, and crying out and howling, they fled away:

Camp. Hence the Madianites made no doubt but a great army was in the midst of the camp, and began to cut in pieces all whom they met. (Calmet)
Judges 7:22 And the three hundred men nevertheless persisted sounding the trumpets. *And the Lord sent the sword into all the camp, and they killed one another,

Psalm 82:10.
Judges 7:23 Fleeing as far as Bethsetta, and the border of Abelmehula, in Tebbath. But the men of Israel, shouting from Nephthali, and Aser, and from all Manasses, pursued after Madian.

Bethsetta. These cities seem to have been near Bethsan. --- And the border. Hebrew, "in Zererath," (Haydock) which Junius takes to be Sarthan. --- Abelmehula gave birth to Eliseus, and was 12 miles from Scythopolis. (St. Jerome) --- Tebbath occurs no where else. But we read of Thebes, three miles from the last mentioned city, famous for the death of Abimelech, Judges 11:50. --- Men. Probably those who had been sent home the preceding night. Upon hearing of the success which attended Gedeon, all the tribes began to be in motion.
Judges 7:24 And Gedeon sent messengers into all Mount Ephraim, saying: Come down to meet Madian, and take the waters before them to Bethbera and the Jordan. And all Ephraim shouted, and took the waters before them and the Jordan as far as Bethbera.

Bethbera, "the house of corn." (Serarius) --- Many take it to be Bethabera, "the house of passage," or the ford of the Jordan. The river was fordable on camels at any time. But in summer, people might cross the Jordan in many places on foot. (Calmet)
Judges 7:25 *And having taken two men of Madian, Oreb and Zeb: Oreb they slew in the rock of Oreb, and Zeb in the wine-press of Zeb. And they pursued Madian, carrying the heads of Oreb and Zeb to Gedeon, beyond the waters of the Jordan.

Psalm 82:12.; Isaias 10:26.
Two men. That is, two of their chiefs. (Challoner) --- Press. Hebrew yekeb, denotes a cistern fit to contain wine, Isaias 5:2., and Proverbs 3:10. --- Zeb had concealed himself in it. --- Jordan. They afterwards took occasion from this exploit to extol their own valour, and to quarrel with Gedeon. (Calmet)
Judges 8:0 Gedeon appeaseth the Ephraimites. Taketh Zebee and Salmana. Destroyeth Soccoth and Phanuel. Refuseth to be king. Maketh an ephod of the gold of the prey, and dieth in a good old age. The people return to idolatry.

Judges 8:1 And* the men of Ephraim said to him: What is this that thou meanest to do, that thou wouldst not call us, when thou wentest to fight against Madian? And they chid him sharply, and almost offered violence.

Year of the World 2759. Ephraim. The valour and insolence of these men are placed together. Afterwards we have an account of the transactions of Gedeon in the pursuit, ver. 4. (Haydock) --- The tribe of Ephraim seems to have had some grounds for being displeased at not being summoned at first, as well as the tribes of Aser, etc., which were farther off; particularly as they sprang from Joseph, no less than Manasses, and had their portion in common. The general answers them with great respect, as otherwise their displeasure might have had very pernicious consequences. (Calmet)
Judges 8:2 And he answered them: What could I have done like to that which you have done? Is not one bunch of grapes of Ephraim better than the vintages of Abiezer?

What could I, etc. A meek and humble answer appeased them; who otherwise might have come to extremities. So great is the power of humility both with God and man. (Challoner) (Proverbs 15:1.) --- Could. Hebrew and Septuagint, "What have I yet done like you? (Menochius) --- Is not the gleaning?" etc. I only commenced the war; you have brought it to a happy termination, by killing the princes of the enemy. (Debrio adag. 157.) At the first siege of Troy, Telamon having entered the city before Hercules, the latter was on the point of killing him, when Telamon, collecting a heap of stones, which he said he intended for an altar in honour of "the victorious Hercules," the hero's fury was appeased. (Apol. Bibl. 2:6.)
Judges 8:3 The Lord hath delivered into your hands the princes of Madian, Oreb and Zeb: what could I have done like to what you have done? And when he had said this, their spirit was appeased, with which they swelled against him.

Judges 8:4 And when Gedeon was come to the Jordan, he passed over it with the three hundred men that were with him: who were so weary that they could not pursue after them that fled.

Jordan. Notwithstanding the precautions of Gedeon, some had got over the river, whom he resolves to follow at Bethsan. This city was about 15 miles from Mount Thabor. His men had been in motion a great part of the night, and had not taken provisions (Calmet) for so long a journey; so that he was obliged to apply for some when he had crossed the Jordan. (Haydock)
Judges 8:5 And he said to the men of Soccoth: Give, I beseech you, bread to the people that is with me, for they are faint: that we may pursue Zebee, and Salmana, the kings of Madian.

Soccoth. "The tents," where Jacob had encamped, Genesis xxxiii. It belonged to the tribe of Dan. (Menochius) --- The people of this town, as well as the ancients of Phanuel, return an insolent reply to the just request of Gedeon. In cases of such extremity, all are bound to assist the defenders of their country; and the refusal is punished as a sort of rebellion, 2 Kings 25:10. (Calmet)
Judges 8:6 The princes of Soccoth answered: Peradventure the palms of the hands of Zebee and Salmana are in thy hand, and therefore thou demandest that we should give bread to thy army.

Hand. Perhaps thou makest sure of taking these kings. (Haydock) We apprehend that they will return with greater forces, and punish our compliance. (Menochius)
Judges 8:7 And he said to them: When the Lord therefore shall have delivered Zebee and Salmana into my hands, I will thresh your flesh with the thorns and briers of the desert.

Desert. An usual mode of punishment, (2 Kings xii., and 1 Paralipomenon 20:3.; Calmet) which the cruel irrision of Gedeon and his army, who were fighting in the cause of God and of the nation, richly called for.
Judges 8:8 And going up from thence, he came to Phanuel: and he spoke the like things to the men of that place. And they also answered him, as the men of Soccoth had answered.

Judges 8:9 He said, therefore, to them also: When I shall return a conqueror in peace, I will destroy this tower.

Tower; on the strength of which they ventured to treat him with insolence. Phanuel, "the face of God," (Genesis 32:33,) was near the Jaboc. (Menochius)
Judges 8:10 But Zebee and Salmana were resting with all their army. For fifteen thousand men were left of all the troops of the eastern people, and one hundred and twenty thousand warriors that drew the sword were slain.

Resting, as the Hebrew word Korkor, signifies. (Bochart) --- Protestants have, "in Karkor," as if it were the name of a place. (Haydock)
Judges 8:11 *And Gedeon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents, on the east of Nobe, and Jegbaa, and smote the camp of the enemies, who were secure, and suspected no hurt.

Osee 10:14.
Tents. The Scenitae, (Menochius) who inhabited part of the desert Arabia. (Calmet) --- Hurt. They had probably been mounted on camels, etc., (Haydock) and did not suspect that Gedeon would be so soon after them across the Jordan. (Menochius)
Judges 8:12 And Zebee and Salmana fled, and Gedeon pursued and took them, all their host being put in confusion.

Judges 8:13 And returning from the battle before the sun-rising,

Sun-rising. It would seem as if all these exploits had been performed between midnight and sun-rising, in the month of May, which is quite incredible; and hence many translate, "the sun being up." Septuagint and Theodotion, "from the height or ascent of Hares," (the situation of which we know not,) or "of the mountains," (Aquila) or "woods," (Symmachus) or perhaps "from the eastward." (Calmet) --- The Scripture does not, however, specify that all this took place in the space of six or seven hours, or of one night, but only that Gedeon came to Soccoth so early, as to take the magistrates unawares, being informed by a young man where they lived. This might probably happen on the second morning, after he had surprised the camp of the Madianites, at Jezrael. Protestants and Chaldean agree with the Vulgate, "before the sun was up." The other translations explain chares, as if it denoted the place or situation from which Gedeon was returning. (Haydock) --- Described. The text may signify either that the boy marked them out, or that Gedeon took down a memorandum of their names. (Calmet) --- He would not punish the innocent with the guilty. (Menochius)
Judges 8:14 He took a boy of the men of Soccoth: and he asked him the names of the princes and ancients of Soccoth, and he described unto him seventy-seven men.

Judges 8:15 And he came to Soccoth, and said to them: Behold Zebee, and Salmana, concerning whom you upbraided me, saying: Peradventure the hands of Zebee and Salmana are in thy hands, and therefore thou demandest that we should give bread to the men that are weary and faint.

Judges 8:16 So he took the ancients of the city, and thorns and briers of the desert, and tore them with the same, and cut in pieces the men of Soccoth.

Tore. Hebrew seems to be corrupted in this place. "And he shewed (instructed or chastised) with these thorns." The Septuagint and Vulgate read the same word as ver. 7. He crushed the people with such instruments as are used to beat out corn. It is probable that he only treated the magistrates of Soccoth and of Phanuel in this manner. (Calmet)
Judges 8:17 And he demolished the tower of Phanuel, and slew the men of the city.

Judges 8:18 And he said to Zebee and Salmana: What manner of men were they, whom you slew in Thabor? They answered: They were like thee, and one of them as the son of a king.

Thabor. Some of the relations or brothers of Gedeon had retired thither, as to a place of safety; and the latter wished to know what was become of them, that he might redeem them, if alive. (Calmet) --- King. They answer with flattery, insinuating that Gedeon had the air of a king. (Menochius)
Judges 8:19 He answered them: They were my brethren, the sons of my mother. As the Lord liveth, if you had saved them, I would not kill you.

Kill you. They were not included in the number of the seven devoted nations, (Worthington) and the precept for destroying the Madianites no longer subsisted, Numbers 31:17. (Menochius) --- The laws of war permitted the Hebrews to kill their prisoners, if they thought proper. No public executioner was necessary. Samuel killed Agag, 1 Kings 15:32. See 3 Kings 2:25., and 2 Kings 1:15. (Calmet) --- Gedeon had a mind to make his son partake in the victory, and punish these kings for an unjust murder of his relations. He would also inure him to fight against the enemies of God, etc. (Menochius)
Judges 8:20 And he said to Jether, his eldest son: Arise, and slay them. But he drew not his sword: for he was afraid, being but yet a boy.

Judges 8:21 And Zebee and Salmana said: Do thou rise, and run upon us: because the strength of a man is according to his age: *Gedeon rose up and slew Zebee and Salmana: and he took the ornaments and bosses, with which the necks of the camels of kings are wont to be adorned.

Psalm 82:12.
Age. They beg that they may die in a more speedy and noble manner. Tacitus (Hist. iv.) observes, "it was reported that Civilis exposed some of the Roman captives to his little son, in order that he might fix his arrows and javelins in their bodies." --- Ornaments. Most interpreters understand "crescents." The veneration of the Arabs for the moon, the celestial Venus, or Alilat, is well known. The Turks still make use of this sign, as Christians employ the cross on their standards, temples, etc. Men and women anciently wore on their necks or forehead ornaments of the same nature, as these camels did, Isaias 3:18. Latinus adorned his horses in the most splendid manner. Virgil, Aeneid vii: Aurea pectoribus demissa monilia pendent. Caligula decorated with extravagance his famous horse Incitatus, on which he designed to confer the consulate. (Suetonius) --- In Egypt the camels are sometimes painted yellow, and hung with a variety of little bells. (Vaneb.)
Judges 8:22 And all the men of Israel said to Gedeon: Rule thou over us, and thy son, and thy son's son: because thou hast delivered us from the hand of Madian.

Israel, who were in his army, and of whom he receives the earlets for his share of the spoil. (Calmet) --- But as those who staid at home received a share of the booty, and no doubt would come to congratulate Gedeon on his victory, it seems equally probable that this offer of the regal dignity was made to him in a full assembly of the people, (Haydock) which is greatly to the honour of this valiant man. (Menochius) --- Rule thou. They wish to confer upon him a dignity which he did not now possess, and which he absolutely refused, being, as he thought, incompatible with the theocracy. This shews that it was not the dignity of judge, which he retained till his death, but that of king, which was so displeasing to God, when the Israelites resolved to establish it among them, 1 Kings 8:7. (Menochius; Tirinus; Grotius; Calmet) --- Josephus ([Antiquities?] 5:8.) thinks that Gedeon wished to resign the former dignity, but was forced to retain it forty years. The judges were chosen by God, and acted as his lieutenants, so that the people having no part in their election, the Lord alone was considered as the king of Israel. Some are of opinion that the people wished, on this occasion, to make the dignity hereditary. (Calmet) --- Serarius thinks that they made an offer of the regal power to Gedeon, to his son, and grandson, only. But it seems rather that they meant to make the sovereign authority over entirely to his family, (Menochius) so great a sense had they of his courage, moderation, and just severity, of which he had given such striking proofs. (Haydock)
Judges 8:23 And he said to them: I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you, but the Lord shall rule over you.

Judges 8:24 And he said to them: I desire one request of you: Give me the earlets of your spoils. For the Ismaelites were accustomed to wear golden earlets.

Request. It was not then thought dishonourable to ask nor to receive presents. The most precious part of the booty had been already presented to the general, according to the custom of the heroic times. But, as the people wished to make Gedeon king, he consents to receive the earlets, as a memorial of their affection. --- Earlets. Hebrew and Septuagint (Menochius) may also signify, "each an earlet," as if he would only accept one from each soldier. The original signifies also, the rings which women put under their noses; but, as men never did, it has not that meaning here, (Calmet) though there might be women in the camp of the Madianites. (Haydock) --- Ismaelites. By this title various nations are designated. It seems almost as general as the word Arab among us. These nations were no more distinguished by these ornaments than the Hebrews themselves, Exodus 32:2., and 35:12. The Persians, Africans, Lybians, etc., wore ear-rings. (Calmet)
Judges 8:25 They answered: We will give them most willingly. And spreading a mantle on the ground, they cast upon it the earlets of the spoils.

Judges 8:26 And the weight of the earlets that he requested, was a thousand seven hundred sicles of gold, besides the ornaments, and jewels, and purple raiment, which the kings of Madian were wont to use, and besides the golden chains that were about the camels' necks.

And jewels. Some translate, "crescents (Septuagint, "little moons,") and boxes" (netiphoth, Menochius) of perfumes, such as Alexander found among the spoils of Darius, and reserved to put his Homer in. These ornaments were also used by women, Isaias 3:18. (Calmet) --- The eastern nations delight in perfumes. (Menochius) --- The ear-rings alone would amount to 3102l. 10s. sterling. (Haydock)
Judges 8:27 And Gedeon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city Ephra. And all Israel committed fornication with it, and it became a ruin to Gedeon, and to all his house.

An ephod. A priestly garment; which Gedeon made with a good design: but the Israelites, after his death, abused it by making it an instrument of their idolatrous worship, (Challoner) and perhaps consulting their idols with it. No law forbad the making of such a garment. (Menochius) --- It was not peculiar to the high priest, since we find that Samuel and David occasionally wore the ephod, (2 Kings 6:14,) and probably Gedeon would, on public occasions, do the like with this most costly one, which would serve to remind the people of the victory which they had gained over Madian. The chief judge in Egypt wore a great golden chain and collar, adorned with curious figures, as a mark of his dignity. (Diod. 2:3.) This monument of the victory, and of the dignity of Gedeon, became, after his death, an occasion of superstition to the people, who foolishly imagined that they might consult the Lord, wherever an ephod was found. See Judges 17:5., and Exodus 25:7. The began to neglect the tabernacle, and to form a religion of their own choice. Many think that Gedeon was guilty of indiscretion in making it. (St. Augustine, q. xli.; Lyranus; Estius) --- But the thing was in itself indifferent. He did not intend to arrogate to himself the privileges of the Levitical tribe. The Scripture nowhere condemns him, but speaks of his faith and of his death with honour, ver. 32., and Hebrews 11:3. --- With it. Hebrew, "after it or him," which may either signify that this superstition took place after the death of Gedeon, (Septuagint; Pagnin; Menochius) or in consequence of the making of the ephod. (Jonathan; Drusius; Protestants; etc. versions; Calmet) --- And to. This explains how it affected Gedeon, who was probably dead. He suffered in the ruin of his family, (Haydock) as it is explained in the following chapter. (Menochius)
Judges 8:28 But Madian was humbled before the children of Israel, neither could they any more lift up their heads: but the land rested for forty years, while Gedeon presided.

Judges 8:29 So Jerobaal, the son of Joas, went and dwelt in his own house:

Judges 8:30 And he had seventy sons, who came out of his thigh, for he had many wives.

Judges 8:31 And his concubine, that he had in Sichem, bore him a son, whose name was Abimelech.

His concubine. She was his servant, but not his harlot; and is called his concubine, as wives of an inferior degree are commonly called in the Old Testament, though otherwise lawfully married. (Challoner) --- They had not all the privileges of wives; (Genesis 25:6,) and their children could not claim the inheritance. (Calmet) --- Abimelech means, "my (Haydock) father king;" alluding to the dignity of Gedeon; or perhaps the mother imposed this name, hoping that her son would obtain the highest honours. Josephus calls her Druma. She dwelt at Sichem, to which place the judge of Israel often resorted, though his usual residence was at Ephra. This son of theirs is included among the 70.
Judges 8:32 And Gedeon, the son of Joas, died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father, in Ephra, of the family of Ezri.

Good. He left an excellent reputation, and died in God's friendship. (Menochius)
Judges 8:33 But after Gedeon was dead, the children of Israel turned again, and committed fornication with Baalim. And they made a covenant with Baal, that he should be their god:

After. This is the most solid proof of Gedeon's piety, since he kept the people in awe, and faithful to the Lord during his life. --- God. Hebrew, "and appointed Baal Berith their god," or goddess; for Berith, "of the covenant," is feminine. In the temple of this idol, the citizens of Sichem kept money, chap 9:4. The pagans had many gods who presided over treaties; and the parties were, it seems, at liberty to choose whom they thought proper. They commonly pitched upon Jupiter, who is, therefore, styled Zeus orkios, or Dius fidius, or Fistius Jupiter. (Laert. in Pythag.; Halicar. iv.) A statue "of Jupiter for oaths," was seen at Olympus, holding the thunderbolts in his hands, ready to hurl against those who proved faithless. (Pausan. Eliac.) Philo of Byblos speaks of the Phoenician god Eliun, "the High," and (Calmet) of the goddess "Beruth," which last has a visible connection with Berith. The former title is sometimes given to the true God in Scripture. The city of Berytus was so called, probably in honour of the latter. Nonnus seems to have styled her Beroe. (Bochart; Chanaan 2:17.) --- Pliny ([Natural History?] 31:1.) mentions the god Briaze, at the foot of whose temple runs the river Olachas, the waters of which are said to burn those who are guilty of perjury. The Chaldean reads, "they chose Beel-kiam for their error." Amos 5:26. speaks of the images of Chiun. May he not be the same as Berith or Kiam? Spencer says, that Chiun was Saturn: but Vossius thinks it was the moon. (Idol. 2:23.) (Calmet)
Judges 8:34 And they remembered not the Lord their God, who delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies round about:

Judges 8:35 Neither did they shew mercy to the house of Jerobaal Gedeon, according to all the good things he had done to Israel.

Mercy is here put for many virtues: gratitude, justice, kindness, etc. (Menochius) --- The Israelites did not take care to provide for (Calmet) the family of one who had rendered them such essential services. (Haydock)
Judges 9:0 Abimelech killeth his brethren. Joatham's parable. Gaal conspireth with the Sichemites against Abimelech, but is overcome. Abimelech destroyeth Sichem; but is killed at Thebes.

Judges 9:1 And Abimelech, *the son of Jerobaal, went to Sichem, to his mother's brethren, and spoke to them, and to all the kindred of his mother's father, saying:

Year of the World 2768, Year before Christ 1236. Abimelech was encouraged to contend with his brethren as he saw the indifference which the people shewed for them, and as he was of a bold enterprising temper. (Calmet)
Judges 9:2 Speak to all the men of Sichem: whether is better for you that seventy men, all the sons of Jerobaal, should rule over you, or that one man should rule over you? And withal, consider that I am your bone, and your flesh.

Men, particularly to those who have the greatest influence. Hebrew Bahalim. (Menochius) --- The argumentation of Abimelech tended to prove that monarchy was the most perfect and eligible form of government, and that it would be hard upon the people, and greatly weaken the state, if seventy princes were to be supported in all the dignity of kings. But it was easy to discern the fallacy of his reasons. The dignity of judge was not hereditary, and it does not appear that the sons of Gedeon claimed it. If it had belonged to his family, the eldest would have been entitled to it, or any of the children, in preference to this son of the servant, ver. 18. He was, indeed, born at Sichem; but the others were by no means strangers: (Calmet) and what right had the men of this town to give a ruler to Israel? (Haydock) --- Flesh, an usual expression in Scripture to denote kindred, ver. 3., Genesis 2:23., and 2 Kings 19:13. (Calmet)
Judges 9:3 And his mother's brethren spoke of him to all the men of Sichem, all these words, and they inclined their hearts after Abimelech, saying: He is our brother:

Judges 9:4 And they gave him seventy weight of silver out of the temple of Baalberith: wherewith he hired to himself men that were needy, and vagabonds, and they followed him.

Weight. Hebrew, Chaldean, and Septuagint do not express what quantity of silver was given. (Menochius) --- But sicle on such occasions is generally supplied. (Calmet) --- Hence this sum would amount to little more than 8l. sterling. (Haydock) --- As this appears too insignificant a sum to maintain an army, (Calmet) some would supply pounds, each consisting of 24 sicles, or talents, which were equivalent to 3000 sicles. (Menochius) --- But this is without example, and the army of Abimelech was, probably, a company of banditti, or villains, who went with him to Ephra, to murder his brethren, and afterwards kept near his person. When he had got possession of his father's estate, and of the sovereign power, he found means to supply his wants. (Calmet) --- Baalberith. That is, Baal of the covenant, so called from the covenant they had made with Baal, Judges 8:33. (Challoner) --- The custom of keeping money in temples was formerly very common. Almost all the cities of Greece sent money to the temple of Apollo, at Delphos, (Marsham, saec. xvii.) where the people of Rome and of Marseilles had also some. The different cities had likewise holes cut in the rock of Olympia, in Elis, for the same purpose. The public treasury was, almost universally, some temple. That of Rome was the temple of Saturn. --- Vagabonds. Hebrew, "empty and inconstant" (Calmet) people who had nothing to lose, and who would not embrace any proper method of getting a livelihood. (Haydock) --- Chaldean, "seekers." Septuagint, "stupid." Symmachus, "idle and of desperate fortunes, or frantic." (Calmet) --- Such people are generally at the head of every revolution, or, at least, are ready to follow the directions of some powerful and designing man; as but too many instances, both in ancient and modern times evince; which ought to be a caution for all to watch their motions. (Haydock)
Judges 9:5 And he came to his father's house in Ephra, and slew his brethren, the sons of Jerobaal, seventy men, upon one stone: and there remained only Joatham, the youngest son of Jerobaal, who was hidden.

Stone where criminals were, perhaps, commonly executed, that he might seem to act with justice, (Tostat) or he might slaughter his brethren on the very altar, which had been erected to God by Gedeon, after he had thrown down that of Baal. By doing so, he would seem to vindicate the idol, and gratify the people of Sichem, who were zealous idolaters, ver. 46. Joatham escaped his fury, yet he, also, uses a round number, 70, when he says you have killed 70 men, ver. 18. (Calmet) --- Abimelech himself must also be deducted from the number. Thus we say the seventy interpreters, (Menochius) though the Greek interpreters of the Bible are supposed (Haydock) to have been 72. (Menochius) --- The history of nations is full of similar instances of cruelty. Ochus, king of Persia, killed his uncle, and 80 or 100 of his sons. Phraartees, son of Herod, king of the Parthians, by a concubine, slew his father and his 30 children. (Justin. X. and xlii.) --- The Turkish emperors have shewn equal barbarity on many occasions, and they still murder or confine all their brothers. (Serar. q. 6.)
Judges 9:6 *And all the men of Sichem were gathered together, and all the families of the city of Mello: and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak that stood in Sichem.

Year of the World 2769, Year before Christ 1235. Mello. We know of no such city in the vicinity of Sichem. Hebrew, "all the house of Millo:" which some take to be the town-house of Sichem, full of the chief citizens, as Mello signifies "filled up;" (Vatable) or it might designate some part of the city which had been levelled, like the deep valley at Jerusalem, (3 Kings 9:15.; Haydock) and where some powerful family, probably the father of Abimelech's mother, might dwell. (Calmet) --- This family would interest itself the most in the advancement of the tyrant, ver. 3. (Haydock) --- Oak. Hebrew, "the plain, or oak of the statue," (alluding to the monument which was left here by Josue, ver. 37., Josue 24:26) or Septuagint, "of the station," as those of Sichem might assemble here to deliberate on public affairs, (Calmet) in memory of the solemn covenant between God and the people. (Haydock)
Judges 9:7 This being told to Joatham, he went, and stood on the top of Mount Garizim: and lifting up his voice, he cried, and said: Hear me, ye men of Sichem, so may God hear you.

Stood on. As Abimelech was a figure of Antichrist, who will reign for a time, so Joatham denotes the pastors of the church, who shall stand up for the truth. (Worthington) --- Garizim. At the foot of this mountain Sichem was built. Joatham addressed the people of the city, probably during the absence of Abimelech, (Calmet) when, Josephus ([Antiquities?] 5:9.) says, a great festival was celebrated.
Judges 9:8 The trees went to anoint a king over them: and they said to the olive-tree: Reign thou over us.

Us. By this parable, Joatham expostulates with the men of Sichem, who had so basely requited the labours of Gedeon, and had given the preference to the son of a servant, who was of the most savage temper. (Haydock) --- In a spiritual sense, which the Fathers chiefly regard, heretics and schismatics act in this manner, and choose rather to be governed by those who will allow them to follow their passions, than by such governors as God has appointed, though the latter be endued with the grace of the Holy Ghost, and with all virtues, signified by the olive and other fruit trees. They prefer the bramble, or the worst dispositions, like Nemrod, Mahomet, Antichrist, etc., who, after persecuting the virtuous, and Catholics for a time, (2 Thessalonians ii.) will, in the end, prove their ruin, though they themselves be involved in the common destruction. "Fire shall rise (says Ven. Bede, q. 6.) against this bramble, Antichrist, and shall devour him, and all his together." (Worthington) --- The use of parables has been very general. (Menochius) --- Agrippa brought the Roman plebeians, who had retired to the sacred mount, to a sense of their duty, and to a love of mutual harmony with the nobles, by observing that the members once refused to supply the wants of the belly, because it did not labour like the rest. (Livy ii.) --- In the application of these parables, Maimonides justly remarks, that we must consider their general scope, and not pretend to explain every circumstance; (More. Neboc.) a remark which Origen had already made. Many things are only added for the sake of ornament. (Haydock) --- Thus we need not imagine that the people of Sichem offered the sovereign authority to many, who refused to accept of it, and at last only prevailed upon Abimelech. Gedeon had, indeed, rejected a similar offer, (chap. 8:22.) and his other sons not endeavouring to retain the authority of their father, the Sichemites acceded to the petition of Abimelech, to anoint him king. This expression does not always imply a material unction, though such was used among the Jews. It signifies the granting of all the power of a king; in which sense it is applied to foreign princes, (Isaias 65:1.) and to Jesus Christ, (Daniel 9:24.) who received the reality of that sovereign dominion, of which this unction was only a figure. (Calmet)
Judges 9:9 And it answered: Can I leave my fatness, which both gods and men make use of, to come to be promoted among the trees?

Leave. But, would this advancement prove any disadvantage? The king is bound to give himself up wholly for the good of the public, so that he must frequently be full of anxiety and care. (Calmet) --- Use of. The olive-tree is introduced, speaking in this manner, because oil was used, both in the worship of the true God, and in that of the false gods, whom the Sichemites served. (Challoner) --- The pagans burnt lamps in honour of their idols, and anointed their statues: unguentoque lares humescere nigro. (Prud., contra Sym. 1.) --- They also anointed their military standards at Rome. (Pliny, [Natural History?] 13:3.) --- The same author observes, that "two sorts of liquor are very delightful to the bodies of men: wine to drink, and oil for the outside: intus vini, foris olei. (B. 14:22.) --- Men use oil to strengthen and foment their bodies, as well as to give them light. (Calmet) --- It spiritually denotes the grace of God, which establishes the peace of the soul, as the fig-tree signifies the sweetness of God's law, producing good works, and the vine shews forth those noble actions, which are performed without the affection of outward show; and which are therefore, most agreeable both to God and to men. (Worthington) --- Promoted. Some translate the Hebrew, "to put myself in motion for," Syriac, etc. We might also render, "which honoureth the gods, (or the judges) and men to come to be promoted among (or disquieted on account of) the trees."
Judges 9:10 And the trees said to the fig-tree: Come thou and reign over us.

Judges 9:11 And it answered them: Can I leave my sweetness, and my delicious fruits, and go to be promoted among the other trees?

Sweetness. The fig is the sweetest of fruits, and is regarded as the symbol of sweetness. (Aristop.[Aristophanes?]; Bonfrere)
Judges 9:12 And the trees said to the vine: Come thou and reign over us.

Judges 9:13 And it answered them: Can I forsake my wine, that cheereth God and men, and be promoted among the other trees?

Cheereth God and men. Wine is here represented as agreeable to God, because he had appointed it to be offered up with his sacrifices. But we are not obliged to take these words, spoken by the trees in Joatham's parable, according to the strict rigour of divinity; but only in a sense accommodated to the design of the parable expressed in the conclusion of it. (Challoner) --- The same word, Elohim, which is translated God may also signify any powerful man, as in ver. 9. (Haydock) --- Yet wine may be said to cheer God, in the same figurative sense, as the odour of victims is sweet and delightful to him. (Calmet) --- He is pleased with the devotion of men, and requires these things as a testimony of their love and fidelity. (Haydock) --- Joatham might speak according to the notions of the idolaters, who thought that their gods really fed on ambrosia and nectar, and were pleased with the smell of victims and of perfumes. That wine cheereth the heart of man needs no proof, Psalm 103:15. --- Tunc veniunt risus, tunc pauper cornua sumit.---Tunc dolor et curae rugaque frontis abit. (Ovid)
Judges 9:14 And all the trees said to the bramble: Come thou and reign over us.

Bramble. Septuagint rhamnos, "the white, or hawthorn." Some suppose that atad means "a wild rose, (Vatable) thistle," etc. (Calmet) --- It is here put for any base and ambitious man. (Worthington)
Judges 9:15 And it answered them: If, indeed, you mean to make me king, come ye, and rest under my shadow: but if you mean it not, let fire come out from the bramble, and devour the cedars of Libanus.

Shadow or protection, Psalm 16:8., and Baruch 1:12. (Calmet) --- Joatham hints at the insolence of Abimelech, (Haydock) and foretels that he and his foolish subjects will soon be at variance, and destroy each other. Fire is often put for war. The people of Sichem began soon to despise their new king, and he made war upon them, and destroyed their city; though the people afterwards took ample revenge, ver. 20. (Calmet) --- Tyrants promise much, but their rage soon falls upon the more wealthy and powerful citizens, (Haydock) here signified by the cedars. (Menochius)
Judges 9:16 Now, therefore, if you have done well, and without sin, in appointing Abimelech king over you, and have dealt well with Jerobaal, and with his house, and have made a suitable return for the benefits of him who fought for you,

Judges 9:17 And exposed his life to dangers, to deliver you from the hand of Madian,

Judges 9:18 And you are now risen up against my father's house, and have killed his sons, seventy men, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his handmaid, king over the inhabitants of Sichem, because he is your brother:

You are. People are answerable for the injuries which they do not prevent, when they have it in their power. (Calmet) --- Many of the chief citizens of Sichem had assisted Abimelech, ver. 4. --- Brother. The ties of kindred could not hide their ingratitude and cruelty. (Haydock)
Judges 9:19 If therefore you have dealt well, and without fault, with Jerobaal and his house, rejoice ye, this day, in Abimelech, and may he rejoice in you.

Judges 9:20 But if unjustly: let fire come out from him, and consume the inhabitants of Sichem, and the town of Mello: and let fire come out from the men of Sichem, and from the town of Mello, and devour Abimelech.

Town of. Hebrew, "the house of Mello," ver. 6. (Calmet) --- The imprecation of Joatham was prophetical. He had not the smallest doubt but the people had done wrong; (Haydock) and the three different fruit-trees, which rejected the offer of promotion, represented all the virtuous Israelites, who knew that they could not lawfully assume the regal or judicial authority, without the divine call. Ezechiel (xvii. 24,) attributes knowledge to trees by the same figure of speech, as Joatham does here. (Menochius)
Judges 9:21 And when he had said thus, he fled, and went into Bera: and dwelt there for fear of Abimelech, his brother.

Bera. Hebrew, Bar or Beera, "the well." There was a place of this name in the tribe of Ruben, where the Israelites encamped, Numbers 21:16. Bersabee, in the tribe of Juda, was another famous well, and it is probable that Joatham would retire to some distant place. (Haydock) --- St. Jerome mentions a Bera, eight miles north of Eleutheropolis; and Maundrell speaks of another, about 21 miles from Sichem, on the road to Jerusalem. The dominion of Abimelech did not extend far. (Calmet)
Judges 9:22 So Abimelech reigned over Israel three years.

Judges 9:23 And the Lord sent a very evil spirit between Abimelech and the inhabitants of Sichem; who began to detest him,

Spirit. God permitted the spirit of discord to arise, like an executioner, (Calmet) to punish the sins both of the ruler and of his subjects. (Haydock) --- St. Augustine (q. 45.) observes, that God caused the people to be sorry for what they had done: but they afterwards proceeded to acts of violence and enmity, at the instigation of the devil, to whose advice they gave ear, in consequence of their former transgression. (Worthington) --- The common people began to open their eyes, and beheld the cruelty of Abimelech, and of some of the principal citizens, who had espoused his cause, with abhorrence. (Menochius) --- They reflected on the justice of Joatham's parable, which tended to rouse them not to suffer the tyrant to remain unpunished any longer. (Haydock) --- Detest him. Hebrew, "revolted against (or dealt treacherously with) Abimelech, (24) that the crime (or punishment of the murder) of the, etc., might come, and their blood be laid upon," etc. (Haydock) --- God permitted that Abimelech should be punished by those very men who had been the occasion of his sin. To obtain the sceptre over them, he had committed the most horrible cruelty. (Calmet)
Judges 9:24 And to lay the crime of the murder of the seventy sons of Jerobaal, and the shedding of their blood, upon Abimelech, their brother, and upon the rest of the princes of the Sichemites, who aided him.

Judges 9:25 And they set an ambush against him on the top of the mountains: and while they waited for his coming, they committed robberies, taking spoils of all that passed by: and it was told Abimelech.

Coming. Abimelech resided at Ephra, having appointed Zebul governor of Sichem, from whom he received information of what was doing. The malcontents began to plunder his adherents; (Calmet) and as it was the time of vintage, they gave way to all the sallies which fury, heated by wine, can suggest; particularly after Gaal, a powerful man of the neighbourhood, came to put himself at their head, ver. 28. (Haydock)
Judges 9:26 And Gaal, the son of Obed, came with his brethren, and went over to Sichem. And the inhabitants of Sichem, taking courage at his coming,

Judges 9:27 Went out into the fields, wasting the vineyards, and treading down the grapes: and singing and dancing, they went into the temple of their god, and in their banquets and cups they cursed Abimelech.

Cups. Such revellings were common in the days of vintage; (Isaias 16:10., and Jeremias 48:33,) and they generally accompanied the heathenish sacrifices, Judges 16:24. They went to give thanks to their god, for having delivered them, (Calmet) as they thought, from the power of Abimelech. (Haydock)
Judges 9:28 And Gaal, the son of Obed, cried: Who is Abimelech, and what is Sichem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerobaal, and hath made Zebul, his servant, ruler over the men of Emor, the father of Sichem? Why then shall we serve him?

Sichem. Why should this ancient city be thus degraded? This son of Jerobaal deigns not to reside among us, but sets one of his servants over us! (Haydock) --- He mentions Jerobaal instead of Gedeon, to remind the people of the indignity formerly offered to their great idol, by the father of their present ruler. (Menochius) --- Hebrew may have another sense. "Who is Abimelech?....Is he not the son of Jerobaal, and Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hemor," etc. It seems that Gaal was of the race of Chanaan, by the manner in which he speaks of Hemor, whose history is given, Genesis xxxiv. Many of the same nations might still inhabit Sichem, (Calmet) which made the people so bold and zealous in the adoration of Baal. (Haydock) --- The insidious Gaal hence takes occasion to propose to his countrymen, that they had better acknowledge the authority of their ancient magistrates, who occupied the place of Hemor. (Calmet) --- But he immediately insinuates, that the most effectual method to expel the tyrant, would be to vest him with the sovereign authority. (Haydock) (ver. 29.) --- The party of Abimelech was now the weaker. (Calmet)
Judges 9:29 Would to God that some man would put this people under my hand, that I might remove Abimelech out of the way. And it was said to Abimelech: Gather together the multitude of an army, and come.

Judges 9:30 For Zebul, the ruler of the city, hearing the words of Gaal, the son of Obed, was very angry,

Judges 9:31 And sent messengers privately to Abimelech, saying: Behold, Gaal, the son of Obed, is come into Sichem with his brethren, and endeavoureth to set the city against thee.

Thee. Hebrew, "they besiege (Calmet) or fortify the city." (Haydock) --- The partizans of Gaal attacked those who were still favourable to Abimelech, and fortified themselves as much as possible, in those parts which they had already seized. (Vatable; Drusius) --- Or as tsarim means "enemies," we may as well translate, "lo, the enemies are in (or with) the city against thee." (Calmet)
Judges 9:32 Arise, therefore, in the night, with the people that is with thee, and lie hid in the field:

Judges 9:33 And betimes in the morning, at sun-rising, set upon the city, and when he shall come out against thee, with his people, do to him what thou shalt be able.

Judges 9:34 Abimelech, therefore, arose with all his army, by night, and laid ambushes near Sichem in four places.

Places. Hebrew, "companies, (Haydock) or heads." He divided his army into four parts, over each of which he appointed a commander. (Calmet)
Judges 9:35 And Gaal, the son of Obed, went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city. And Abimelech rose up, and all his army with him, from the places of the ambushes.

Judges 9:36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul: Behold, a multitude cometh down from the mountains. And he answered him: Thou seest the shadows of the mountains as if they were the heads of men, and this is thy mistake.

To Zebul. It seems the latter had acted with such dissimulation, that Gaal supposed he had come over to his party. Zebul laughs at him, as if he were disturbed with groundless fears, (Haydock) in order that Abimelech may take him unawares. (Menochius)
Judges 9:37 Again Gaal said: Behold, there cometh people down from the midst of the land, and one troop cometh by the way that looketh towards the oak.

Midst. Hebrew Tabur, here signifies "a little hill, or the navel," which title is given to places which are elevated and in the centre of the country, Ezechiel 38:12. (Josephus, Jewish Wars 3:2.) Varro mentions the lake of Cutilia, as the navel of Italy. The wood of Enna and Etolia are styled the navel of Sicily and of Greece, by Cicero and Livy. (Bonfrere; Calmet) --- Oak, which is probably mentioned, ver. 6. (Menochius) --- Hebrew, "another company comes by the oak or plain of Mehonenim," which may signify, "of the augurs." Septuagint, "of those who make observations," apoblepontón. (Calmet)
Judges 9:38 And Zebul said to him: Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst: Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? Is not this the people which thou didst despise? Go out, and fight against him.

Judges 9:39 So Gaal went out, in the sight of the people of Sichem, and fought against Abimelech,

Judges 9:40 Who chased and put him to flight, and drove him to the city: and many were slain of his people, even to the gate of the city:

Judges 9:41 And Abimelech sat down in Ruma: but Zebul drove Gaal, and his companions, out of the city, and would not suffer them to abide in it.

Ruma may be the same place as Arimathea, between Joppe and Lidda. (St. Jerome) (Menochius) --- But this seems to be too remote from Sichem, (Haydock; Bonfrere) in the neighbourhood of which Abimelech halted, to give the citizens time to enter into themselves, (Calmet) and to open their gates to him without farther resistance. Gaal entered the city after his defeat: but was forced the next day to leave it by Zebul. Whereupon he was met by two divisions of Abimelech's army, which routed him, and pursued the fugitives, while the king marched straight to the city; and though he had a party within the walls, headed by Zebul, (Haydock) unless he was slain, (Calmet) the rest of the inhabitants made such a stout resistance, that the tyrant resolved to demolish the city, when he took it, at night. (Haydock)
Judges 9:42 So the day following the people went out into the field. And it was told Abimelech,

Judges 9:43 And he took his army, and divided it into three companies, and laid ambushes in the fields. And seeing that the people came out of the city, he arose, and set upon them

Judges 9:44 With his own company, assaulting and besieging the city: whilst the two other companies chased the enemies that were scattered about the field.

Judges 9:45 And Abimelech assaulted the city all that day: and took it, and killed the inhabitants thereof, and demolished it, so that he sowed salt in it.

Sowed salt. To make the ground barren, and fit for nothing; (Challoner) and to testify his eternal hatred towards the place, as salt is the symbol of duration. See Deuteronomy 29:23., Sophonias 2:9., and Jeremias 17:6. --- Salsa autem tellus et quae perhibetur amara---Frugibus infelix. (Virgil, Georg. ii.) Notwithstanding the fury of Abimelech, Sichem was afterwards rebuilt, and became as fertile as before. The city of Milan was destroyed and sowed with salt in 1162. (Sigon.) --- The houses of traitors were formerly treated in this manner in France, (Brantome) as was that of the admiral de Chatillon. (Calmet) --- See on this custom Bochart, animal. 3:16. --- Some think it denoted that the ground might henceforth be cultivated, and grow corn where houses had stood. Salt is the source of fertility, if there be not too much of it. (Haydock)
Judges 9:46 And when they who dwelt in the tower of Sichem, had heard this, they went into the temple of their god Berith, where they had made a covenant with him, and from thence the place had taken its name, and it was exceeding strong.

Tower. Serarius thinks it was the house of Mello, out of the city, ver. 6. (Menochius) --- It was the citadel, large enough to contain 1000 soldiers. They durst not, however, stop here to encounter Abimelech, but retired to the temple, either because it was still stronger and higher, or in hopes that they would be secure, on account of the veneration (Calmet) to which the place was entitled among the idolaters. --- Berith. Protestants, "they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith." Septuagint, "of the covenant." (Haydock) --- Where, etc., is added by way of explanation, (Calmet) except the word strong, which the Septuagint render ochuroma, "a fortress." The tower and temple seem to have been contiguous, since Abimelech, by setting fire to the tower, destroyed these people at the same time, ver. 49. (Haydock)
Judges 9:47 Abimelech also hearing that the men of the tower of Sichem were gathered together,

Judges 9:48 Went up into Mount Selmon, he and all his people with him: and taking an ax, he cut down the bough of a tree, and laying it on his shoulder, and carrying it, he said to his companions: What you see me do, do ye out of hand.

Selmon. This mountain lay towards the Jordan, and was covered with trees and snow, Psalm 67:16. (Menochius) --- Bough. Septuagint, "a burden or faggot of sticks." Josephus observes that they were dry. (Calmet)
Judges 9:49 So they cut down boughs from the trees, every man as fast as he could, and followed their leader. And surrounding the fort, they set it on fire: and so it came to pass, that with the smoke and with the fire a thousand persons were killed, men and women together, of the inhabitants of the tower of Sichem.

And so. Hebrew and Septuagint, "upon them, so that all the men of the tower of Sichem died also, about a thousand men and women." The sanctity of the place where they had taken refuge, made no impression upon the tyrant's mind, who was equally devoid of religion as of humanity. (Haydock)
Judges 9:50 Then Abimelech, departing from thence, came to the town of Thebes, which he surrounded and besieged with his army.

Thebes, about 13 miles from Sichem, towards Scythopolis. (Eusebius) --- Besieged. Hebrew, etc., "took," as the sequel shews, (ver. 52,) since Abimelech was killed, as he was attacking the tower or citadel, in the midst of the city. (Calmet)
Judges 9:51 And there was in the midst of the city a high tower, to which both the men and the women were fled together, and all the princes of the city, and having shut and strongly barred the gate, they stood upon the battlements of the tower to defend themselves.

Battlements, or roof of the tower, which was flat. Hence the defendants hurled down stones, etc., upon the enemy.
Judges 9:52 And Abimelech, coming near the tower, fought stoutly: and approaching to the gate, endeavoured to set fire to it:

Judges 9:53 *And behold, a certain woman casting a piece of a millstone from above, dashed it against the head of Abimelech, and broke his skull.

2 Kings 11:21.
Above, or "of the upper millstone," according to the Hebrew and Septuagint. Pyrrhus met with a similar fate at Argos. Plutarch observes, (in Scylla) that the Lacedemonians did not like to attack walls, because the bravest men are there often slain by the greatest cowards. (Calmet) --- Hence Joab puts this advice in the mouth of David, that it is imprudent to come too near the walls, 2 Kings 11:21. --- Skull, (cerebrum) "brain." Yet the tyrant's understanding was not perhaps so much impaired, as to excuse him for commanding his armour-bearer to kill him. (Menochius)
Judges 9:54 *And he called hastily to his armour-bearer, and said to him: Draw thy sword, and kill me: lest it should be said that I was slain by a woman. He did as he was commanded, and slew him.

1 Kings 31:4.; 1 Paralipomenon 10:4.
Slew him. The ancient heroes were always attended by their armour-bearers. (Calmet) --- Marius ordered his servant to run him through, that he might not be exposed to the insults of his enemies; and V. Maximus (VI. 8,) greatly commends the servant for doing so. Nihil eorum pietati cedit, a quibus salus Dominorum protecta est. David was not of the same opinion, since he punished the Amalecite who pretended that he had rendered this service to Saul, 2 Kings 1:16. The Christian religion condemns both those who engage others to take away their life, and those who comply with the impious request. Hercules was affected in the same manner as Abimelech, when he found that he was to die by the malice of a woman. O turpe fatum! femina Herculeae necis---Auctor feratur. (Seneca) --- The Lacedemonians were not eager to besiege Argos, when they saw that the women were engaged in its defence. (Pausan. ii.) (Calmet) --- Notwithstanding the wicked precaution of Abimelech, what he so much feared took place; for Joab said, Did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, and slay him in Thebes? (2 Kings 11:21.) His skull was so much fractured, that he had received a mortal wound: the sword only hastened his death. Thus was he justly punished with a stone, who had slaughtered 68 or 69 of his brethren upon one stone. (Haydock) --- He can only be considered as an usurper or tyrant, since he was neither chosen by God nor by the Israelites in general. Hence he is only said to have reigned at Sichem. (Cornelius a Lapide) --- He was going to extend his conquests over other cities and tribes, when he was slain at Thebes. (Josephus) (Haydock)
Judges 9:55 And when he was dead, all the men of Israel that were with him, returned to their homes.

Judges 9:56 And God repaid the evil, that Abimelech had done against his father, killing his seventy brethren.

Judges 9:57 The Sichemites also were rewarded for what they had done, and the curse of Joatham, the son of Jerobaal, came upon them.

Judges 10:0 Thola ruleth Israel twenty-three years: and Jair twenty-two. The people fall again into idolatry, and are afflicted by the Philistines and Ammonites. They cry to God for help, who, upon their repentance, hath compassion on them.

Judges 10:1 After Abimelech, there arose a ruler in Israel, Thola, son of Phua, the uncle of Abimelech, a man of Issachar, who dwelt in Samir of Mount Ephraim:

Uncle of Abimelech, that is, Half-brother to Gedeon, as being born of the same mother, but by a different father, and of a different tribe. (Challoner) --- The wife of Joas might have been married to a person of the tribe of Issachar, by whom she had Phua, who was half-brother of Gedeon. (Haydock) --- Thola was cousin-german of Abimelech. (St. Augustine, q. xlvii., etc.) The Israelites elected Thola for their judge, (Abulensis) out of respect to Gedeon, (Cornelius a Lapide) that he might put an end to the commotions which had been excited by the tyrant. (Menochius) -- Joatham might be passed over on account of his youth. The Septuagint and Chaldean have "Thola, the son of Phua, the son of his uncle by the father's side," which may be true, if the brother of Gedeon adopted him; or this uncle might refer to Abimelech. The uncertainty arises from the Hebrew Dodo, which may be taken as a proper name. "Phua, the son of Dodo;" (Pagnin; Protestants, etc.; Haydock) or as denoting a relation, the paternal uncle of Abimelech, or of Thola, (Bonfrere, etc.; Calmet) or simply "his kinsman." The Hebrew, Septuagint, etc., assert that Thola "arose to defend or to save Israel." He seems to have kept all quiet during the 23 years of his administration. --- Samir. Septuagint Alexandrian reads "Samaria;" but the city was not built till the reign of Amri. There was a city on a mountain, (Haydock) called Samir, in the tribe of Juda, (Josue 15:48,) different from this. (Menochius) --- People were at liberty to dwell where they pleased, out of their own tribe. (Calmet) --- This judge was buried among the Ephraimites. (Haydock) --- But we know not the exact place where Samir stood. (Calmet) --- There seems, however, to be no inconvenience in allowing that there was a town in the vicinity of Sichem, long before Amri made Samaria the capital of his kingdom; (see 3 Kings 13:22., and 16:24,) and here Thola might reside. He was probably the eldest, or of the second branch, of Issachar, (Numbers 26:23, ) of great nobility and virtue, and the 10th judge of Israel.
Judges 10:2 And he judged Israel three and twenty years, and he died, *and was buried in Samir.

Year of the World 2816. Years. S. Severus says 22, making the reign of Jair of equal length. Cum aeque viginti et duos annos principatum obtinuisset. But this is contrary to all the best chronologers. The fidelity of the Israelites seems to have been of no longer continuance at this period than usual, as we find that they relapsed into idolatry again, at least after the death of Jair, within 45 years after they had been scourged by the tyrant Abimelech, ver. 6. (Haydock)
Judges 10:3 To him succeeded Jair, the Galaadite, who judged Israel for two and twenty years,

Judges 10:4 Having thirty sons, that rode on thirty ass-colts, and were princes of thirty cities, which from his name were called Havoth Jair, that is, the towns of Jair, until this present day, in the land of Galaad.

Havoth Jair. This name was now confirmed to these towns, which they had formerly received from another Jair, Numbers 32:41. (Challoner) --- Sixty are there specified, and only 30 here, which might either be the same, or different from those villages to which the former Jair had left his name. Grotius thinks that judge Jair was the son of Segub, who left 23 cities to him. These, with seven belonging to his grandfather, Hesron, make up the number here specified, 1 Paralipomenon 2:22. --- The Hebrew does not say that these 30 cities were called after the judge: "they had 30 cities, which are called Havoth Jair," etc. (Calmet) --- Some copies of the Septuagint add "two" to the number of sons, asses, and cities, as if there had been 32 of each. In other respects they agree with the original. It was formerly a mark of distinction to ride on fair asses, Judges 5:10. (Haydock) --- St. Jerome thinks that horses were prohibited, as they were in Egypt, without the king's leave. But we nowhere find this law recorded , (Calmet) and it is not universally true that it existed. (Menochius) (Hieropolit. 3:15.) --- Some have inferred from Jair's children having 30 cities, that he exercised a sovereign authority over Israel: but he might only give his children the authority of magistrates in them, as Samuel did, 1 Kings viii. (Estius) --- We know not by what means Jair was raised to the chief command, nor what he did for the benefit of the people. He is supposed to be the same who is called Bedan, 1 Kings 12:11. Serarius; Usher, etc.); though others think that Bedan is a title of Samson. He was of the tribe of Manasses in Galaad. Having kept the people under due restraint during his administration, they burst forth, like a torrent, at his death, and, on all sides, abandoned themselves to a multiplicity of idols, so that God made some difficulty in restoring them again to favour. (Haydock) --- Cornelius a Lapide thinks that they had begun to relapse 18 years before the death of Jair, and were, consequently, chastised by the Ammonites. Serarius is of a contrary opinion, though Houbigant rather inclines to the former sentiment, as it is not said that Jair gave rest to the land, nor more than Samgar. (Haydock)
Judges 10:5 And Jair died, and was buried in the place which is called Camon.

Camon is placed in Galaad by Adrichomius, though St. Jerome mentions another, six miles from Legion, where he supposes that Jair was buried. It seems more natural to say that he was interred in his own country, on the east side of the Jordan. (Bonfrere) --- It is, probably the same city as Hamon (1 Paralipomenon 6:16,) and Hammothdor, Josue 31:32. (Calmet)
Judges 10:6 But the children of Israel, adding new sins to their old ones, did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served idols, Baalim and Astaroth, and the gods of Syria, and of Sidon, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines: and they left the Lord, and did not serve him.

Gods. The sun and moon were principally adored among these nations, under different names.
Judges 10:7 And the Lord being angry with them, delivered them into the hands of the Philistines, and of the children of Ammon.

Ammon. While these infested the eastern parts, the Philistines made incursions into the territories of their neighbours. (Haydock) --- This servitude resembled that of Madian. Jephte attacked the Ammonites, and Abesan, with other judges, made head against the Philistines (Calmet) on the west. (Haydock)
Judges 10:8 And they were afflicted, and grievously oppressed for eighteen years, all they that dwelt beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorrhite, who is in Galaad:

Years by the Ammonites, whose dominion was suppressed by the victory of Jephte. When the servitude commenced is uncertain, ver. 4. Hebrew, "and that year they vexed," etc. (Calmet) --- Roman Septuagint, "at that time." Grabe's copy has "in that year;" and though the former expression appear to be more indefinite, yet it must refer to some period, (Haydock) either prior to the death of Jair, (Salien) or subsequent to that event. (Eusebius; Genebrard.) --- The text will not decide with certainty. How long the Philistines harassed Israel is specified, Judges 13:1.
Judges 10:9 Insomuch that the children of Ammon, passing over the Jordan, wasted Juda, and Benjamin, and Ephraim: and Israel was distressed exceedingly.

Exceedingly. Not only those who lived in Galaad, but also three tribes on the west of the Jordan, were treated as the half tribe of Manasses had been, (Calmet) when Gedeon delivered them. (Haydock)
Judges 10:10 And they cried to the Lord, and said: We have sinned against thee, because we have forsaken the Lord our God, and have served Baalim.

Judges 10:11 And the Lord said to them: Did not the Egyptians, and the Amorrhites, and the children of Ammon, and the Philistines,

Said by the mouth of an angel, or of some prophet. (Menochius)
Judges 10:12 The Sidonians also, and Amalec, and Chanaan, oppress you, and you cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand?

Chanaan. Hebrew, "Maon." Septuagint Roman and Alexandrian, "Madian." The Maonites are styled Mineans by the Septuagint (1 Paralipomenon 4:40,) and these inhabited Arabia, (Diod. 3:42,) and might join themselves to Madian and Amalec, in their attacks upon the Israelites. As for Chanaan, which other editions of the Septuagint retain, we know that they were domestic enemies, like thorns in the sides of Israel, Josue 23:13. All the persecutions, which the Hebrews had to undergo, are not particularized in this book. (Calmet) --- They were grievously tormented in Egypt, they had to contend with the Amorrhites at their first entrance into the land. (Haydock) --- The Ammonites and Amalecites had assisted Eglon before, and the Philistines had attacked Samgar. The Sidonians, it seems, had also greatly molested those who lived near them, and probably were the auxiliaries of Jabin. (Calmet) --- But the Chanaanites were ready to fall upon every weak spot, living in various parts of the country, (Haydock) and continually tempted the people of Israel to abandon the service of God. (Calmet)
Judges 10:13 And yet you have forsaken me, and have worshipped strange gods: therefore I will deliver you no more:

No more, so readily as I have done formerly. I will make you feel the rod of your oppressors. (Haydock) --- Unless you change your conduct, I will never deliver you. (Calmet)
Judges 10:14 Go, and call upon the gods which you have chosen: let them deliver you in the time of distress.

Go. This is not a command, but an ironical expression, as Deuteronomy 32:38.
Judges 10:15 And the children of Israel said to the Lord: We have sinned, do thou unto us whatsoever pleaseth thee: only deliver us this time.

Time. They are willing to suffer from the hand of God, (2 Kings 24:14,) if they prove inconstant any more. (Menochius)
Judges 10:16 And saying these things, they cast away out of their coasts all the idols of strange gods, and served the Lord their God: and he was touched with their miseries.

Touched. Literally, "grieved." Hebrew, "his soul was straitened," as in joy it is said to be enlarged. He speaks of God in a human manner. (Calmet) (Genesis 6:6.) (Menochius)
Judges 10:17 And the children of Ammon shouting together, pitched their tents in Galaad: against whom the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and camped in Maspha.

Together, as people sure of victory. --- Galaad, the capital of the country of the same name. It belonged to Gad. --- Maspha, near the springs of the Jaboc, Josue 11:3., and 13:26. (Calmet) --- It signifies "a watch-tower." (Menochius)
Judges 10:18 And the princes of Galaad said one to another: Whosoever of us shall first begin to fight against the children of Ammon, he shall be the leader of the people of Galaad.

Galaad. It seems none of them durst accept the offer, as the first onset was the most hazardous. Hence they invited Jephte to take upon him the command. The Israelites consulted the Lord on a former occasion, who should begin the attack upon the Chanaanites, Judges 1:1. In these wars much depended on one battle. The wars were seldom protracted to such a length as they have been since. (Calmet)
Judges 11:0 Jephte is made ruler of the people of Galaad: he first pleads their cause against the Ammonites; then making a vow, obtains a signal victory: he performs his vow.

Judges 11:1 There was at that time Jephte, the Galaadite, a most valiant man, and a warrior, the son of a woman that was a harlot, and his father was Galaad.

Harlot. Hebrew Zona, Josue 2:1. It is uncertain whether she was properly a concubine, or a wife of inferior dignity. She lived with her son in the house of Galaad; (Calmet) at least the latter was in his father's house. (Haydock) --- Hence Jephte complains that he had been expelled, not that he was debarred from enjoying his father's inheritance, and consequently the law was not observed in his regard. Moses makes no provision for illegitimate children, but he excludes the son of a mamzer from the church of God, Deuteronomy 23:2. Some think that the mother of Jephte was of a nation with whom it was not lawful to marry. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] 5:9.) Said. (Grotius) --- Seratius believes that his father was already married, when he had to do with this harlot. (Menochius) --- But he might have first taken her to wife, without the usual formalities. (Drusius; Cornelius a Lapide) --- It is equally uncertain whether Jephte was of the tribe of Gad or of Manasses, as both occupied the country of Galaad. Interpreters generally conclude that he was of one of these tribes, and most probably of the latter; his father also was called Galaad. (Haydock)
Judges 11:2 Now Galaad had a wife of whom he had sons: who, after they were grown up, thrust out Jephte, saying: Thou canst not inherit in the house of our father, because thou art born of another mother.

Sons. Grabe's Septuagint determines the number to be "two." (Haydock) --- They caused the magistrates to declare that Jephte should not partake in the inheritance, ver. 7. (Menochius)
Judges 11:3 Then he fled and avoided them, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered to him needy men, and robbers, and they followed him as their prince.

Tob, to the north of Galaad, of which it is a part. (Josephus) --- It is called Tubim, 1 Machabees 5:13. See 2 Kings 10:6. --- And robbers. This is a farther explication of rekim, poor, vain fellows, chap 9:4. They did not infest the Israelites, but made war on their enemies around; latro, in Latin, often signifies a soldier, particularly such as lived on plunder, as we read in Plautus. (Mil. glorios.) Latrocinatus annos decem, mercedem accipio. Some have imagined that Jephte was at the head of some banditti. (St. Augustine, q. 43.) --- But David's followers were of the same description (1 Kings 22:2,) as those of Jephte, men of determined resolution and valour. (Calmet) --- Such a man as Jephte, was therefore a valuable acquisition to the dispirited Israelites; and Providence had inured him to labour, and endued him with extraordinary prudence, notwithstanding his want of education, ver. 12. Necessity has often supplied every deficiency, and produced the most consummate generals. Prince. Hebrew and Septuagint, "and there were gathered unto Jephte vain men, and they went out with him." (Haydock)
Judges 11:4 In those days the children of Ammon made war against Israel.

Judges 11:5 And as they pressed hard upon them, the ancients of Galaad went to fetch Jephte out of the land of Tob to help them:

Hard. Hebrew, "and when the Ammonites made war." As both armies were encamped near Maspha, they could hardly avoid having some skirmishes. But the Israelites durst not come to a pitched battle till they had Jephte at their head. (Haydock) --- The Ammonites infested them every year with similar incursions, ver. 12. (Calmet)
Judges 11:6 And they said to him: Come thou, and be our prince, and fight against the children of Ammon.

Judges 11:7 And he answered them: *Are not you the men that hated me, and cast me out of my father's house, and now you are come to me, constrained by necessity?

Genesis 26:27.
House. Perhaps he saw some of his brothers among them: though he might speak thus to the magistrates, because they had not prevented this injustice, (Calmet) as it was their duty to do. (Haydock)
Judges 11:8 And the princes of Galaad said to Jephte: For this cause we are now come to thee, that thou mayst go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be head over all the inhabitants of Galaad.

Cause to make some reparation for our offence, though we must acknowledge that our present distress caused us to think of doing so. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "therefore we turn again to thee," etc. (Calmet) --- Galaad. They only engage that the tribes of Gad and Manasses, who inhabited that country, should submit to his authority. (Menochius) --- But as they were the most in danger, they first make head against the enemy, not doubting but their brethren in other parts would come to their assistance, Judges 12:1. God ratified their choice, ver. 11, 29; (Haydock) and he was acknowledged, after his victory, judge of all Israel. (Menochius)
Judges 11:9 Jephte also said to them: If you be come to me sincerely, that I should fight for you against the children of Ammon, and the Lord shall deliver them into my hand, shall I be your prince?

Judges 11:10 They answered him: The Lord who heareth these things, he himself is mediator and witness that we will do as we have promised.

Judges 11:11 *Jephte therefore went with the princes of Galaad, and all the people made him their prince. And Jephte spoke all his words before the Lord in Maspha.

Year of the World 2817, Year before Christ 1187. Prince. Hebrew, "head or captain," (Haydock) to carry on the war, with a promise that he should be the judge of all the people, if he succeeded. (Calmet) --- Words. Plans, explaining how he would first send a message to the king of Ammon, and if he would not accede to reasonable terms, he would collect all the forces of Galaad, and invite all their brethren on the other side of the river to make a joint attack upon him. (Haydock) --- The Lord was considered as present in their public assemblies, Deuteronomy vi., and xx. (Menochius) --- He had also been taken by the people to witness their engagement; and Jephte promises, in like manner, to perform his part with fidelity. (Haydock) --- They promise on oath to be constant to each other. (Calmet)
Judges 11:12 And he sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, to say in his name: What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me, to waste my land?

Land. Jephte acts with a prudence and moderation which could not have been expected from one who had been brought up amid the noise of arms. (Calmet) --- He gives notice that he has been recognized by the lawful proprietors of the land for their head; and therefore begs that the Ammonites would desist from their unjust warfare. If words prove ineffectual, he must then try the fortune of a battle. (Haydock)
Judges 11:13 And he answered them: *Because Israel took away my land, when he came up out of Egypt, from the confines of the Arnon unto the Jaboc and the Jordan: now, therefore, restore the same peaceably to me.

Numbers 21:24.
To me. The king falsely asserts, that all the country between the Arnon and the Jaboc belonged to him when Moses took it. The Amorrhites had possession when the Israelites arrived, and it had formerly been occupied by Moab, and not by Ammon, Deuteronomy 2:19., and 37; (Menochius) unless both might claim different parts. (Calmet)
Judges 11:14 And Jephte again sent word by them, and commanded them to say to the king of Ammon:

Judges 11:15 Thus saith Jephte: Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:

Moab. After the death of Eglon, the Ammonites had probably seized upon his dominions, (ver. 25,) as we find no farther mention of the Moabites among the enemies of Israel, nor any king of that nation till the reign of David. Hence, as the king of Ammon laid claim to all the country, and had many of the Moabites in his army, Jephte answers at once, that the land under dispute belonged to neither of these nations. (Calmet) --- They had entirely lost it when Israel attacked Sehon, and took it from him, as was plain from the history of Moses and of the Amorrhites, Numbers 21:27. (Haydock) --- Jephte refers to facts universally known. (Calmet)
Judges 11:16 But when they came up out of Egypt, he walked through the desert to the Red Sea, and came into Cades.

Red Sea, as Asiongaber, many years after they left Egypt.
Judges 11:17 *And he sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying: Suffer me to pass through thy land. But he would not condescend to his request. He sent also to the king of Moab, who, likewise, refused to give him passage. He abode, therefore, in Cades,

Numbers 20:14.
Moab. This is not specified by Moses, but he sufficiently insinuates that he had done it, Deuteronomy 2:8, 9. (Calmet)
Judges 11:18 And went round the land of Edom at the side, and the land of Moab: and came over-against the east coast of the land of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon: *and he would not enter the bounds of Moab.

Numbers 21:13.
Judges 11:19 So Israel sent messengers to Sehon, king of the Amorrhites, who dwelt in Hesebon, and they said to him: Suffer me to pass through thy land to the river.

Judges 11:20 But he, also despising the words of Israel, suffered him not to pass through his borders: but gathering an infinite multitude, went out against him to Jasa, and made strong opposition.

Judges 11:21 And the Lord delivered him, with all his army, into the hands of Israel, and he slew him, and possessed all the land of the Amorrhite, the inhabitant of that country,

Judges 11:22 And all the coasts thereof from the Arnon to the Jaboc, and from the wilderness to the Jordan.

Judges 11:23 So the Lord, the God of Israel, destroyed the Amorrhite, his people of Israel fighting against him, and wilt thou now possess his land?

His land, which the Amorrhite had first conquered, and which God took from him to give to Israel. It was clear that this country was not then considered as the property of the sons of Lot, since God expressly forbad his people to molest them. (Haydock) --- Jephte produces the right of conquest, the grant of God, and the possession of 300 years, to prove that the country belonged to the Israelites. All acknowledge that the right of conquest, in a just war, give a good title. (Grotius, Jur. 3:6, 7.) --- The children of Lot had lost all hopes of recovering what Sehon had taken from them. (Calmet) --- He could not be proved to be a thief or an usurper, but was in peaceable possession when the war with Israel commenced, in which he lost all his dominions. (Haydock) --- By the same right, David kept what he had taken from the Amalecite plunderers, (1 Kings 30:20,) and Abraham might have retained the spoils which had been carried off from Sodom, Genesis 14:21. The Roman and Grecian histories are full of such examples; and this right was admitted by all as the law of nations, Quae ex hostibus, jure gentium, statim capientium fiunt. (Caius. J. C.) --- The second argument of Jepthe is unanswerable, since God may undoubtedly transfer the property of one to another. But as the Ammonites might reply that they did not admit the God of Israel, he observes that the latter might at least have the same privilege as their Chamos, ver. 24. Prescription of so long a time, with good faith, was the third argument, as the Amorrhites being destroyed, and the Moabites disheartened, could not pretend to reclaim the conquered country. There would never be an end of disputes among men, if the undisturbed possession of a country for such a length of time did not confirm their right to it. These principles establish the tranquillity of families and of states. (Calmet; Grotius, Jur. 2:4.)
Judges 11:24 Are not those things which thy god Chamos possesseth, due to thee by right? But what the Lord our God hath obtained by conquest, shall be our possession:

Chamos. The idol of the Moabites and Ammonites. He argues from their opinion, who thought they had a just title to the countries which they imagined they had conquered by the help of their gods: how much more then had Israel an indisputable title to the countries which God, by visible miracles, had conquered for them. (Challoner) --- Hebrew, "And shall not we possess those (counties occupied by the people whom) the Lord our God has driven out from before us?" (Haydock) --- The Emim had been expelled by the people, Deuteronomy 2:10. Chamos was the peculiar deity of Moab, (Numbers 21:29., and Jeremias 48:46., etc.; Calmet) and signifies "as taking away." It is commonly supposed to be the sun. (Haydock)
Judges 11:25 *Unless, perhaps, thou art better than Balac, the son of Sephor, king of Moab: or canst shew that he strove against Israel, and fought against him,

Numbers 22:2.
Him. Josue (xxiv. 9,) says that Balac fought against Israel. But it was not in a pitched battle, (Calmet) at least of which we have the particulars, (Haydock) nor to recover the territory which the Israelites had taken from Sehon, but only to defend his own dominions. He collected an army, and called the soothsayer to curse Israel, Numbers 22:4, etc. (Calmet)
Judges 11:26 Whereas he hath dwelt in Hesebon, and the villages thereof, and in Aroer, and its villages, and in all the cities near the Jordan, for three hundred years. Why have you for so long a time attempted nothing about this claim?

He. Hebrew, "While Israel," etc. --- Years. He makes use of a round number. (Haydock) --- Chronologists generally suppose that either more or fewer years had elapsed; (Menochius) and the Scripture only relates what Jephte said. (Sa) --- The Jews reckon 394. Some date from the coming out of Egypt 305. (Calmet) --- Petau has 365. But as Jephte only speaks of the time during which the Israelites had occupied the land, the 40 years' sojournment must be deducted, and still Petau will have 25 years too many; (Haydock) whereas "those who adduce the title of prescription, are accustomed rather to increase than to diminish the length of time." (Usher, p. 74.) --- Hence this author allows only 263 years. Houbigant comes rather nearer to the number of Jephte, and reckons 281, which the ambassadors might represent, in a round number, as 300. (Proleg.) --- Salien almost agrees with Usher dating 306 years from the exit, and 266 from the victory over Sehon. He observes, with Eusebius, that Hercules instituted the Olympic games in the first year of Jephte, in the year of the world 2849. But they were restored, and became a famous epoch only 400 years after. He place the first rape of Helen by Theseus at the same time, when she was about 12 years old. In her 24th, she was stolen again by Paris, and gave occasion to the famous siege of Troy. (Haydock)
Judges 11:27 Therefore I do not trespass against thee, but thou wrongest me by declaring an unjust war against me. The Lord be judge, and decide this day, between Israel and the children of Ammon.

And decide. Literally, "the arbiter of this day." Jephte is so well convinced of the justice of his cause, that he is willing to abide by God's decision, (Haydock) to be manifested by the issue of the battle. (Menochius) --- At the same time, he threatens the Ammonites with God's judgments, if by their fault blood be shed unjustly, as he, like a good prince, had tried every means to prevent that misfortune, and to bring things to an amicable conclusion. (Calmet)
Judges 11:28 And the king of the children of Ammon would not hearken to the words of Jephte, which he sent him by the messengers.

Judges 11:29 Therefore the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephte, and going round Galaad, and Manasses, and Maspha of Galaad, and passing over from thence to the children of Ammon,

Therefore. Hebrew, "then." Septuagint, "and." The refusal of the king of Ammon was not precisely the reason why God endued Jephte with shuch wisdom and courage, though we may say that it was the occasion. (Haydock) --- Jephte summoned the troops in Galaad, and in the two tribes of Manasses, to attend his standard. He also invited Ephraim, (chap. 12:2.; Calmet) and we may reasonably suppose the other tribes also, who were near enough to be ready for the day of battle. Having collected what force he could in so short a time, he returned to Maspha, and thence proceeded to attack the enemy. (Haydock)
Judges 11:30 He made a vow to the Lord, saying: If thou wilt deliver the children of Ammon into my hands,

He. Hebrew and Septuagint, "And he vowed." A new sentence commences; (Cajetan) so that it is not clear that Jephte was moved to make this vow by the spirit of the Lord; else it could not be blamed. (Haydock)
Judges 11:31 Whosoever shall first come forth out of the doors of my house, and shall meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, the same will I offer a holocaust to the Lord.

Whosoever, etc. Some are of opinion, that the meaning of this vow of Jephte, was to consecrate to God whatsoever should first meet him, according to the condition of the thing; so as to offer it up as a holocaust, if it were such a thing as might be so offered by the law; or to devote it otherwise to God, if it were not such as the law allowed to be offered in sacrifice. And therefore they think the daughter of Jephte was not slain by her father, but only consecrated to perpetual virginity. But the common opinion followed by the generality of the holy fathers and divines is, that she was offered as a holocaust, in consequence of her father's vow: and that Jephte did not sin, at least not mortally, neither in making nor in keeping his vow; since he is no ways blamed for it in scripture; and was even inspired by God himself to make the vow, (as appears from ver. 29, 30.) in consequence of which he obtained the victory; and therefore he reasonably concluded that God, who is the master of life and death, was pleased, on this occasion, to dispense with his own law; and that it was the divine will he should fulfil his vow. (Challoner) --- St. Thomas [Aquinas] (2. 2. q. 88. a. 2.) acknowledges that Jephte was inspired to make a vow, and his devotion herein is praised by the apostle, Hebrews 11:32. But he afterwards followed his own spirit, in delivering himself, without mature deliberation, and in executing what he had so ill engaged himself to perform. This decision seems to be the most agreeable to the Scripture, and to the holy fathers. St. Jerome (in Jer. vii.) says, non sacrificium placet, sed animus offerentis. "If Jephte offered his virgin daughter, it was not the sacrifice, but the good will of the offerer which deserves applause." Almost all the ancients seem to agree that the virgin was really burnt to death; and the versions have whosoever, which intimates that Jephte intended to offer a human victim; particularly as he could not expect a beast fit for such a purpose, would come out of the doors of his house to meet him. (Calmet) --- Yet many of the moderns, considering how much such things are forbidden by God, cannot persuade themselves that Jephte should be so ignorant of the law, or that the priests and people of Israel should suffer him to transgress it. The original may be rendered as well, "whatsoever proceedeth....shall surely be the Lord's, and (Protestants) or I will offer it up for a holocaust." (Pagnin. etc.) --- The version of Houbigant is very favourable to this opinion. See Hook's Principia. --- It is supposed that the sacrifice of Iphigenia, which took place about this time, (Aulis. 5:26,) was only in imitation of this of Jephte's daughter. But the poets say, that Diana saved her life, and substituted a doe in her place; (Ovid, Met. xii.) which, if true, would make the conformity more striking, if we admit that the sacrifice of Jephte's daughter was not carried into effect. Iphigenia was made a priestess of Diana, to whom human victims were immolated. The daughter of Jephte, whom the false Philo calls Seila, was consecrated to the Lord, and shut up (Haydock) to lead a kind of monastic life; as the wives of David, (2 Kings 20:3.; Grotius) after they had been dishonoured, were obliged to live in a state of continency. Although (Haydock) forced chastity be not a virtue, (Calmet) yet Jephte had no reason to believe that his daughter would not enter into the spirit of his vow, and embrace that state for God's honour and service. We know that she gave her entire consent to whatever might be the nature of his vow; and surely she would be as ready to refrain from marriage, however desirable at that time, as to be burnt alive, which would effectually prevent her from becoming a mother, ver. 37. To require this of her, was not, at least, more cruel in her father than to offer her in sacrifice. The Chaldean paraphrast says, "Jephte did not consult Phinees, the priest, or he might have redeemed her;" and Kimchi gives us a very mean idea, both of Jephte and of the high priest, the great Phinees, whom the Rabbins foolishly suppose was still living, and of course above 300 years old, ver. 26. --- "Phinees said, He wants me, let him come to me. But Jephte, the head of the princes of Israel, shall I go to him? During this contest the girl perished." To such straits are those reduced who wish to account for the neglect of Jephte in redeeming his daughter, as the Targum observes, was lawful for a sum of money, Leviticus 27:2, 3, 28. --- But (Haydock) his vow was of the nature of the cherom, which allowed of no redemption, and required death. (Calmet) --- On this point, however, interpreters are not agreed, and this manner of devoting to death, probably, regarded only the enemies of God, or such things as were under a person's absolute dominion. (Haydock) --- If a dog had first come out to meet Jephte, could he have offered it up for a holocaust? Certainly not, (Grotius) because it was prohibited, (Deuteronomy 23:18,) to offer even its price, (Haydock) and only oxen, sheep, goats, turtles and doves, were the proper victims. If, therefore, a person made a vow, of a man, he was to be consecrated to the Lord, (Grotius) like Samuel, and he might marry. But a woman could not, as she was already declared the servant of the Lord, and was not at liberty to follow her husband. (Amama) --- We need not herein labour to defend the conduct of Jephte. The Scripture does not canonize him on this account. If he did wrong, his repentance, and other heroic acts of virtue, might justly entitle him to be ranked among the saints of the old law. (St. Augustine, q. 49) --- "Shew me the man who has not fallen into sin....Jephte returned victorious from the enemy, but in the midst of his triumph, he was overcome by his own vow, so that he thought it proper to requite the piety of his daughter, who came out to meet him, by parricide. In the first place, what need was there of making a vow so hastily, to promise things uncertain, the event of which he knew not, instead of what was certain? Then why did he perform so sorrowful a vow to the Lord God, by shedding blood?" (St. Ambrose, Apol. Dav. 1:4.) --- This saint adopts the common opinion that Jephte really immolated his daughter. But he is far from thinking that he was influenced by the holy spirit to make the vow, otherwise he would never represent it in such odious colours. If God had required the life of Jephte's daughter, as he did formerly command Abraham to sacrifice his son, the obedience and faith of the former would have been equally applauded, as the good will of the latter. But most of those who embrace the opinion that Jephte sacrificed his daughter, are forced to excuse or to condemn the action. They suppose that he was permitted to fulfil his vow, that others might be deterred from making similar promises, without the divine authority. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xiv. ad pop. Ant.; St. Jerome, contra Jov. I.) "I shall never, says St. Ambrose (Off. 3:12,) be induced to believe that Jephte, the prince, did not promise incautiously that he would immolate whatever should meet him,...since he repented of his vow," etc. We may observe that this great Doctor supposes, that Jepthe promised to sacrifice the first thing that should meet him "at the door of his own house;" whence he seems to take whosoever in the same latitude as we have given in the Hebrew. He concludes, "I cannot accuse the man who was obliged to fulfil his vow," etc. We may imitate his moderation, (Haydock) rather than adopt the bold language of one who has written notes on the Protestant Bible, (1603) who says, without scruple, that by this rash vow and wicked performance, his victory was defaced; and again, that he was overcome with blind zeal, not considering whether the vow was lawful or not. (Worthington). --- If Jephte was under the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost in what he did, as Salien believes, and the context by no means disproves, we ought to admire the faith of this victorious judge, though he gave way to the feelings of human nature, ver. 35. We should praise his fidelity either in sacrificing or in consecrating his daughter to God's service in perpetual virginity: but if he followed his own spirit, we cannot think that he was so ill-informed or so barbarous as to murder his daughter, nor that she would consent to an impiety which so often disgraced the pagan superstition, though she might very well agree to embrace that better part, which her father and God himself, by a glorious victory, seemed to have marked out for her. Amid the variety of opinions which have divided the learned on this subject, infidels can derive no advantage or solid proof against the divine authority of the Scripture, and of our holy religion. The fact is simply recorded. People are at liberty to form what judgment of it they think most rational. If they decide that Jepthe was guilty of an oversight, or of a downright impiety, it will in the first place be difficult for them to prove it to the general satisfaction; and when they have done so, they will only evince that he was once a sinner, and under this idea the word of God gives him no praise. But if he did wrong in promising, as many of the Fathers believe, he might be justified in fulfilling his vow, as God might intimate to him both interiorly, and by granting him the victory, that he dispensed with his own law, and required this sort of victim in order to foreshew the bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins, (Serarius and Salien, in the year of the world 2850) or the state of virginity which his blessed Mother and so many nuns and others in the Christian Church embrace with fervour. --- Peace, with victory. --- Same. Hebrew, "it shall be the Lord's, and (or) I will make it ascend a whole burnt-offering." (Haydock) --- The particle ve often signifies or as well as and, and it is explained in this sense here by the two Kimchis, by Junius, etc. See Exodus 21:17. Piscator says, the first part of the sentence determines that whatever the thing was it should be consecrated to the Lord, with the privilege of being redeemed, (Leviticus 27:11,) and the second shews that it should be immolated, if it were a suitable victim. (Amama)
Judges 11:32 And Jephte passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them: and the Lord delivered them into his hands.

Judges 11:33 And he smote them from Aroer till you come to Mennith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel, which is set with vineyards, with a very great slaughter: and the children of Ammon were humbled by the children of Israel.

Aroer, upon the Arnon, belonged to the tribe of Gad. Mennith was four miles from Hesebon, towards Rabbath. --- Abel was noted for its vineyards, 12 miles east of Gadara, so that Jephte pursued the enemy, as they fled towards the north for about 60 miles, and during the course of the war destroyed 20 of their cities, (Calmet) to punish them for their unjust revenges and usurpation of another's property. (Haydock)
Judges 11:34 And when Jephte returned into Maspha, to his house, his only daughter met him with timbrels and with dances: for he had no other children.

Daughter. It seems the vow had been kept secret, as no precautions were taken to prevent the affliction of the general; (Calmet) and indeed to have done so, would have been injurious to God's providence, and childish in Jephte, as he meant to offer whatever should come to meet him. It would have been very mean, and contrary to the meaning of the vow, for him to procure something for which he had no great value, to present itself. (Haydock) --- Dances, as it was customary on such occasions, 1 Kings 18:6.
Judges 11:35 And when he saw her, he rent his garments, and said: Alas! my daughter, thou hast deceived me, and thou thyself art deceived: for I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I can do no other thing.

Alas. These indications of grief are the effects of nature. (Salien) --- St. Ambrose considers them as the marks of repentance; (ver. 31,) and we might hence infer that the vow was not dictated by the holy spirit, who would have endued Jepthe with fortitude, as he did Abraham, though all may not possess the virtue of that great father of believers, Genesis xxii. (Haydock) --- Deceived. We mutually expected comfort from each other's presence: but we must both experience the reverse. Hebrew may signify, "depressed, terrified," etc. --- Thing. Hebrew, "I cannot recede." (Haydock) --- It appears that he could not redeem what he had promised, (Calmet) as the condition had been fulfilled on the part of God. He might consider that he as no longer at liberty to use the privilege which the law allowed, when no condition had been specified, Leviticus 27:4. (Haydock)
Judges 11:36 And she answered him: My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth to the Lord, do unto me whatsoever thou hast promised, since the victory hath been granted to thee, and revenge of thy enemies.

Judges 11:37 And she said to her father: Grant me only this, which I desire: Let me go, that I may go about the mountains for two months, and may bewail my virginity with my companions.

Bewail my virginity. The bearing of children was much coveted under the Old Testament, when women might hope that from some child of theirs the Saviour of the world might one day spring. But under the New Testament virginity is preferred, 1 Corinthians 7:35.
Judges 11:38 And he answered her: Go. And he sent her away for two months. And when she was gone with her comrades and companions, she mourned her virginity in the mountains.

Mountains. Such places were frequented in times of mourning, Jeremias 31:15., and Isaias 15:2. (Calmet) --- Jepthe allowed his daughter this short respite, without any offence, (Deuteronomy 23:21,) before he immolated her, (Menochius) or before he debarred her from the society of men. (Grotius, etc.)
Judges 11:39 And the two months being expired, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed, and she knew no man. From thence came a fashion in Israel, and a custom has been kept:

Father. Her fortitude is commended by St. Ambrose (Off. 3:12,) as more worthy of admiration than that of the two Pythagorean friends, one of whom, being sentenced to die, procured the other to stand bond for his return; and, at the time appointed, came freely to deliver himself up; an instance of generosity which made the tyrant who had sentenced him to die, beg that they would admit him into the society of their friendship. (Haydock) --- Whatever we may think of Jephte, "we cannot sufficiently admire the dutiful behaviour, and amiable simplicity of the daughter, who voluntarily submitted to her parent's will, and exhorted him to do as he had vowed. To die to sin, to resign the pomps of a licentious world, to renounce those pleasures and incentives to vice, which are inconsistent with a clean heart, is a sacrifice truly meritorious, and acceptable to God; it is a sacrifice which was solemnly begun at the font of baptism." (Reeves, in the year of the world 2817.) --- No man. It is remarked by those who believe that she was not slain, that this observation would be very unnecessary in the contrary opinion. No mention of death is made. The virgin only deplores, with pious resignation, that she cannot be the happy mother of the Messias.
Judges 11:40 That, from year to year, the daughters of Israel assemble together, and lament the daughter of Jephte, the Galaadite, for four days.

Lament. Hebrew Lethanoth. On this term the solution of this question greatly depends. (Haydock) --- Kimchi translates, "to talk with," or "to comfort the daughter of Jephte" as he supposes that the custom subsisted during her life, while she was shut up either near the tabernacle, or in her father's house. (Calmet) --- Montanus renders "to speak to." Junius and the Tigurin version, "to discourse with." --- Thanan certainly is used for "he related," etc. Judges 5:11., yethannu narrentur, or rather narrent; and the construction here seems to require this sense. (Amama) --- If this be admitted, the bloody sacrifice is at an end, since the daughters of Israel could not meet to comfort the virgin every year, if she was immolated at the expiration of two months. But if we follow the translation of the Vulgate, Septuagint, and Chaldean, as the Protestants have done, the lamentation might still be viewed in the same light, as tending to condole with the lady, rather than bewail her untimely death, (Haydock) as, for the latter purpose, it would not have been necessary for them to assemble together. (Amama) --- They might well enter into her sentiments, when she mourned her virginity, (ver. 38,) and strive to yield her some comfort in her secluded state, by coming in such numbers, and with the permission of the priests of God, continuing with her four days. (Haydock) --- Some translate "to publish," or sound forth the praises (Calmet) of this heroic virgin, which may be true, whether she was slain, or only consecrated to the Lord. (Haydock) --- St. Epiphanius (haer. 55., and 78,) informs us that "at Sichem an annual sacrifice was still offered up in the name of the virgin, and that she was revered as a goddess by the people in the vicinity." The vow of Jephte seems to have given rise to what we read in profane authors, of that which Idomeneus, king of Crete, made in the midst of a storm at sea: "He vowed that he would sacrifice to the gods whatever met him first. It happened that his son was the person, whom, when he had immolated, or, as others say, had wished to do it, and afterwards a pestilence had ensued, his subjects drove him from his kingdom." (Servius in Aeneid iii., and xi.) (Calmet) --- Aldrovandus (in Asino) relates a similar vow of Alexander the Great. Even the more sober pagans could not, it seems, approve of the unwarranted vows of parents to destroy the lives of their children. But of people consecrated to the Lord, by their parents, without first requiring their consent, we have many examples, in Samuel. (St. Bonaventure, July 14, etc.) --- If we explain the vow of Jephte in the same sense, every difficulty will be removed, and infidels will not allege this example to prove that human victims are pleasing to God. (Haydock)
Judges 12:0 The Ephraimites quarrel with Jephte: forty-two thousand of them are slain: Abesan, Ahialon, and Abdon, are judges.

Judges 12:1 But behold there arose a sedition in Ephraim. And passing towards the north, they said to Jephte: When thou wentest to fight against the children of Ammon, why wouldst thou not call us, that we might go with thee? Therefore we will burn thy house.

Sedition. Hebrew, "the men of Ephraim shouted together" to arms. --- North. Septuagint, "Sephena." The Hebrew may either signify north, or some city. (Montfaucon) --- It is probable that Ephraim went to quarrel with Jepthe at Abel, before he had returned to Maspha. (Calmet) --- House. Hebrew and Septuagint add, "with or upon thee." (Menochius)
Judges 12:2 And he answered them: I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon: and I called you to assist me, and you would not do it.

Strife, to defend our property. --- I called. Drusius doubts whether he sent an express invitation to Ephraim, otherwise how durst they assert that they had not been summoned? (Calmet) --- But we may rather give credit to Jephte. The condition of the nation was a sufficient invitation, as they knew that the greatest preparations were making for war on both sides, and it was their duty to come forward. (Haydock)
Judges 12:3 And when I saw this, I put my life in my own hands, and passed over-against the children of Ammon, and the Lord delivered them into my hands. What have I deserved, that you should rise up to fight against me?

Hands exposed to all sorts of danger. I resolved to defend myself to the utmost, 1 Kings 19:6., and Ecclesiastes 10:2. (Calmet)
Judges 12:4 Then calling to him all the men of Galaad, he fought against Ephraim: and the men of Galaad defeated Ephraim, because he had said: Galaad is a fugitive of Ephraim, and dwelleth in the midst of Ephraim and Manasses.

Fugitive. Vile and timid, so that his brethren around him might destroy him at any time. (Menochius) --- Galaad dwelt in the midst of the descendants of Joseph. (Haydock) --- But Ephraim, in despite, had represented him as an outcast. Their envy deserved to be severely punished. (Calmet) --- The same passion had nearly excited them to make war upon Gedeon, Judges 8. (Menochius)
Judges 12:5 And the Galaadites secured the fords of the Jordan, by which Ephraim was to return. And when any one of the number of Ephraim came thither in the flight, and said: I beseech you let me pass: the Galaadites said to him: Art thou not an Ephraimite? If he said: I am not:

Judges 12:6 They asked him: Say then, Shibboleth, which is interpreted, An ear of corn. But he answered, Sibboleth, not being able to express an ear of corn by the same letter. Then presently they took him and killed him in the very passage of the Jordan. And there fell at that time of Ephraim, two and forty thousand.

Letter. Protestants, "Say now Shibboleth, and he said Sibboleth, for he could not frame to pronounce it right." The interpretation of the first word is added by St. Jerome, (Haydock) and denotes also "a running water;" (Menochius) whereas the Ephraimites pronounced a word which signifies "a burden," not being able to utter properly sh, or schin, for which the substituted s, or samec, sobloth. (Haydock) --- In the same natioin, a variety of pronunciation frequently distinguishes the inhabitants of the different provinces. The Galileans were thus known from the rest of the Jews, Matthew 26:23.
Judges 12:7 And Jephte, the Galaadite, judged Israel six years: and he died, and was buried in his city of Galaad.

His city. Maspha, in the country of Galaad, Judges 11:34. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "in the cities;" whence the Rabbins have idly conjectured, that parts of his body were interred in different cities out of respect, or that they rotted off, in punishment of the sacrifice of his daughter. (Munster) --- Grotius compares Jepthe with the renowned Viriatus. His character, both in peace and war, deserves the highest commendations; and in many respects, he was a striking figure of Jesus Christ. (Calmet) --- The uncertainty of his birth, and the subsequent persecution which he endured from his brethren, foreshewed the deformity of the synagogues, and the conduct of the Jews (Haydock) towards their Messias, from whom alone they could expect salvation. Hence they are forced to have recourse to him, as the Israelites found themselves under a necessity of recalling Jepthe to lead them on to victory. Those who refused obedience to him, were deservedly exterminated, as the faithless Jews were by the arms of the Romans. Whether the daughter of Jepthe was immolated, or only consecrated to God, we may discover in her person a figure of the death and of the resurrection of our Saviour, who voluntarily made a sacrifice of his human nature to the justice of his father. See St. Augustine, q. 49.; Serarius, q. 26. (Calmet)
Judges 12:8 After him Abesan of Bethlehem judged Israel:

Bethlehem of Juda, where Booz also was born. (Calmet) --- The Rabbins make him the same person with Abesan. (Serarius, q. 5.) --- Maldonat (in Mat. 2:1,) believes that this judge was of a city in Zabulon, Josue 19:15. (Menochius) --- In the 6th year of Abesan, the Philistines compelled the Israelites to pay tribute, (chap. 13:1,) and Samson was born in the year of the world 2860. (Salien)
Judges 12:9 He had thirty sons, and as many daughters, whom he sent abroad, and gave to husbands, and took wives for his sons, of the same number, bringing them into his house. And he judged Israel seven years:

House, or family, though perhaps not under the same roof. (Menochius)
Judges 12:10 And he died, and was buried in Bethlehem.

Judges 12:11 To him succeeded Ahialon, a Zabulonite: and he judged Israel ten years:

Ahialon. Eusebius calls him Adon, and his successor Labdon. (Calmet) --- Salien says that he entirely omits the 10 years of Ahialon's administration, though his name occurs in the body of the Chronicle, as being in the Hebrew and not in the Septuagint. (Haydock)
Judges 12:12 And he died, and was buried in Zabulon.

Judges 12:13 After him, Abdon, the son of Illel, a Pharathonite, judged Israel:

Illel. Josephus reads "the son or servant of Helon," whom some have confounded with Ahialon, though contrary to the Hebrew. (Calmet) --- The author supposes that Abdon reigned in peace. But it seems that he and the two others preceding him in the government of the people, were forced to purchase rest by paying tribute. (Salien, in the year before Christ 1193.)
Judges 12:14 And he had forty sons, and of them thirty grandsons, mounted upon seventy ass-colts, and he judged Israel eight years:

Forty sons. At this we need not be surprised, in a country where polygamy prevailed. Priam had 50 sons, and the Turks have often as many. --- Colts. This judge succeeded Ahialon, in the year of the world 2872, in the year before Christ 1182, the year after Troy was taken, having endured a ten years' siege, by the treachery of Antenor, and of Aeneas, Dictys, etc. Dares says the Greeks lost 886,000, and the Trojans 676,000, before the city was taken. (Salien)
Judges 12:15 And he died, and was buried in Pharathon, in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of Amalech.

Amalec. The situation of this mountain, as well as of the town of Pharathon, is unknown. Some have supposed that Amalec had formerly had possession of this country, Judges 5:14. Septuagint Alexandrian reads "Mount Lanak." But this place occurs no where else, and other copies agree with the Vulgate. (Haydock) --- Amarias, who entered upon the pontificate the same year that Heli was born, died after a reign of 39 years, in the year of the world 2879, and left the care of the people to Achitob and Samson for 20 years. (Salien)
Judges 13:0 The people fall again into idolatry, and are afflicted by the Philistines. An angel fortelleth the birth of Samson.

Judges 13:1 And *the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and he delivered them into the hands of the Philistines forty years.

Judges 10:6.
Years. It is not clear whence this sixth and longest servitude is to be dated. If it terminated at the death of Samson, when the Philistines lost their chief nobility, etc., we must allow that the Israelites began to be obliged to pay tribute in the 6th year of Abesan. (In the year before Christ 1193, Salien) Judges 12:8. (Haydock) --- Marsham dates from the third month after the death of Jair, to the third year of Samuel, during which period Heli governed in one part, and Jephte, Abesan, Ahialon, and Abdon in other provinces of Palestine. It is not very material which of these systems be adopted, as they do not contradict the text. All Israel was not reduced under the power of the Philistines; but the neighbouring tribes were infested with their incursions, and were obliged to pay tribute. Juda complains at their invading his territory, and they allege that it was because Samson had been the aggressor, which shews that the Israelites retained some little liberty, Judges 15:9. (Calmet) --- The servitude had scarcely commenced, when God provided Samson a deliverer for his people. (Salien, in the year of the world 2860.) (Haydock)
Judges 13:2 Now there was a certain man of Saraa, and of the race of Dan, whose name was Manue, and his wife was barren.

Saraa, in the confines of Juda and of Dan, ten miles north of Eleutheropolis. (Eusebius) --- Manue seems to have resided in the country, near this town, ver. 25. (Menochius)
Judges 13:3 *And an angel of the Lord appeared to her, and said: Thou art barren and without children: **but thou shalt conceive and bear a son.

Genesis 16:11.; 1 Kings 1:20.; Luke 1:31.
Year of the World 2848. Angel, in human form. Some Protestants pretend that he was "the Son of God," and yet (ver. 16) they say, "he sought not his own honour, but God's, whose messenger he was," (Bible, 1603) in which they plainly contradict themselves, or else teach Arianism, as if the Son were not true God, and equal to his Father. (Worthington) --- The title of God, (Jehova) which is given to this angel, (ver. 15, 21) is no proof that he was the Supreme Being, Judges 6:11.
Judges 13:4 *Now therefore beware, and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.

Numbers 6:34.
Thing. Exhortations to observe the law are not unnecessary. (St. Augustine, q. 50.) Besides the things which common people might take, such as wine, grapes, etc., were unclean for the Nazarites. The mother of Samson was required to abstain from every species of uncleanness as much as possible, at least while she bore and nursed her child. (Calmet) --- Abulensis says, she was unquestionably under peculiar restrictions till her delivery. (Menochius) --- This was a preparation for the child who should abstain from all unclean things, not only for a time, (Numbers vi.) but during his whole life, that he might be a more perfect figure of Christ. (Worthington) --- His dignity was not of choice, nor could he forfeit it by touching any thing unclean, nor by the violent cutting off his hair. As the deliverer of the people, he must often have been obliged to touch dead bodies. (Calmet) --- Begin. The power of the Philistines was greatly broken by Samson, chap 16:13. (Menochius) --- But Samuel, Saul, and David had still to contend with them, 1 Kings 7:13. (Haydock)
Judges 13:5 Because thou shalt conceive, and bear a son, and no razor shall touch his head: for he shall be a Nazarite of God, from his infancy, and from his mother's womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.

Judges 13:6 And when she was come to her husband, she said to him: A man of God came to me, having the countenance of an angel, very awful. And when I asked him whence he came, and by what name he was called, he would not tell me:

And when, etc. Hebrew, Chaldean, Syriac, Arabic, and the Vatican Septuagint read a negation, "And I did not ask him whence he came; neither did he tell me his name." The other copies of the Septuagint, St. Augustine (q. 51.), etc., agree with the Vulgate though St. Augustine suspected that the negation was wanting. (Calmet)
Judges 13:7 But he answered thus: Behold thou shalt conceive and bear a son: beware thou drink no wine, nor strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite of God from his infancy, from his mother's womb until the day of his death.

Judges 13:8 Then Manue prayed to the Lord, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord, that the man of God, whom thou didst send, may come again, and teach us what we ought to do concerning the child, that shall be born.

Born. Josephus ([Antiquities?] 5:10.) insinuates that Manue was touched with a sort of jealousy, as his wife had mentioned the comeliness of the stranger. (Haydock) --- But St. Ambrose (ep. 70) has undertaken his defence; and surely God would not have wrought a miracle to gratify his request, if it had not proceeded from a virtuous motive, desiring to enjoy the same happiness as his wife, and to know precisely how they were to educate their son. (Calmet) --- Procopius thinks that the wife of Manue was of more eminent virtue than her husband, and was therefore honoured with the first vision. She had been most afflicted at her sterility, and had prayed more earnestly for the people's safety. (Menochius)
Judges 13:9 And the Lord heard the prayer of Manue, and the angel of the Lord appeared again to his wife, as she was sitting in the field. But Manue her husband was not with her. And when she saw the angel,

Judges 13:10 She made haste, and ran to her husband: and told him, saying: Behold the man hath appeared to me, whom I saw before.

Judges 13:11 He rose up, and followed his wife: and coming to the man, said to him: Art thou he that spoke to the woman? And he answered: I am.

Judges 13:12 And Manue said to him: When thy word shall come to pass, what wilt thou that the child should do? or from what shall he keep himself?

Himself. Hebrew and Septuagint, "What shall be the judgment (education; Calmet) of the boy, and what his works? (or Protestants) how shall we do unto him?" (Haydock)
Judges 13:13 And the angel of the Lord said to Manue: From all the things I have spoken of to thy wife, let her refrain herself:

Let her refrain, etc. By the Latin text, it is not clear whether this abstinence was prescribed to the mother or to the child; but the Hebrew (in which the verbs relating thereto are of the feminine gender) determines it to the mother. But then the child also was to refrain from the like things, because he was to be from his infancy a Nazarite of God, (ver. 5) that is, one set aside in a particular manner, and consecrated to God; now the Nazarites, by the law, were to abstain from all these things.
Judges 13:14 And let her eat nothing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: and whatsoever I have commanded her, let her fulfil and observe.

Judges 13:15 And Manue said to the angel of the Lord: I beseech thee to consent to my request, and let us dress a kid for thee.

Dress. Hebrew and Septuagint, "let us make." Vulgate, faciamus, is used either for a common feast or for a sacrifice, Exodus 29:36. Virgil, (eclog. iii.) Cras faciam vitula. Manue did not yet know who the angel was. He only designed to give him something to eat. A kid was then esteemed the most delicious food, and physicians esteem it very wholesome. The taste of people has since altered. (Bochart, Anim. p. 1:b. 2:52.) (Calmet)
Judges 13:16 And the angel answered him: If thou press me, I will not eat of thy bread: but if thou wilt offer a holocaust, offer it to the Lord. And Manue knew not it was the angel of the Lord.

Bread is put for all sorts of food. Angels eat none, Tobias 12:19. (Menochius)
Judges 13:17 And he said to him: What is thy name, that, if thy word shall come to pass, we may honour thee?

Honour thee with a suitable reward, 1 Timothy 5:17.
Judges 13:18 And he answered him: *Why askest thou my name, which is wonderful?

Genesis 32:29.
Wonderful. Hebrew Peli. Some have concluded that this was the proper name of the angel, as it is one of the titles of the Messias, Isaias 9:6. But it is more probable that the angel did not reveal his name. (Chaldean) Others divide this sentence thus, "and he (the angel, or rather God) was wonderful." He was the author of all miracles, to whom sacrifice was immediately offered. It is doubtful whether the angels have distinctive names. But we read of Michael, etc., and there is no reason why they should not have names denoting their peculiar dignity and offices. (Calmet) --- Michael, the guardian of the church, perhaps appeared on this occasion. (Menochius)
Judges 13:19 Then Manue took a kid of the flocks, and the libations, and put them upon a rock, offering to the Lord, who doth wonderful things: and he and his wife looked on.

On. Manue was convinced that the person who had authorized him to offer sacrifice, had power to dispense with him. (Worthington) --- The angel "did wonderful things," as the Hebrew may be explained, causing a flame to proceed from the rock and to consume the victim, as Josephus assures us, (Calmet) and as the angel who had appeared to Gedeon had done, Judges 6:21. (Menochius)
Judges 13:20 And when the flame from the altar went up towards heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended also in the flame. And when Manue and his wife saw this, they fell flat on the ground;

Judges 13:21 And the angel of the Lord appeared to them no more. And forthwith Manue understood that it was an angel of the Lord,

Judges 13:22 And he said to his wife: We shall certainly die, because we have seen God.

Seen God: not in his own person, but in the person of his messenger. The Israelites, in those days imagined they should die if they saw an angel, taking occasion perhaps from those words spoken by the Lord to Moses, (Exodus 33:20.) No man shall see me and live. But the event demonstrated that it was but a groundless imagination. (Challoner) --- Elohim is applied to angels and men, as well as to God. (Calmet)
Judges 13:23 And his wife answered him: If the Lord had a mind to kill us, he would not have received a holocaust and libations at our hands; neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor have told us the things that are to come.

Come. The wife of Manue allays his fears with great prudence, as she observes that God had just promised them a son. (Haydock)
Judges 13:24 *And she bore a son, and called his name Samson. And the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.

Year of the World 2849. Samson signifies, "His sun, or joy;" or Syriac, "service." (Calmet) --- "His, or a little sun." (Menochius) --- Blessed him with graces and strength, suitable for his office. (Calmet)
Judges 13:25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to be with him in the camp of Dan, between Saraa and Esthaol.

To be. Septuagint, "to walk along." Jonathan, "to sanctify." Samson began to manifest an eager desire to deliver his brethren. (Calmet) --- Dan, as it was called from those 600 men who encamped here, when they were going to take Lais, Judges 18:12. (Haydock) --- God inspired him to commence the liberation of his country, when he was about 17 years old, (Usher) or 20 according to Salien. Then he entered upon his judicial authority, and punished the wrongs which the Philistines did him in person, as well as his countrymen. The seven years wandering of Aeneas had terminated in his death just before, at the river Numicus. (Halicar. 1; Salien, in the year before Christ 1176.) (Haydock)
Judges 14:0 Samson desireth a wife of the Philistines. He killeth a lion: in whose mouth he afterwards findeth honey. His marriage feast and riddle, which is discovered by his wife. He killeth and strippeth thirty Philistines. His wife taketh another man.

Judges 14:1 Then *Samson went down to Thamnatha, and seeing there a woman of the daughters of the Philistines,

Year of the World 2867, Year before Christ 1137. Thamnatha, in the confines of the tribes of Juda and Gad, and of the Philistines, who often took it from the latter. It is called Thamna, Genesis 38:12, (Bonfrere) and lies near Lidda. (Eusebius)
Judges 14:2 He came up, and told his father and his mother, saying: I saw a woman in Thamnatha of the daughters of the Philistines: I beseech you, take her for me to wife.

Judges 14:3 And his father and mother said to him: Is there no woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou wilt take a wife of the Philistines, who are uncircumcised? And Samson said to his father: Take this woman for me; for she hath pleased my eyes.

Eyes. He probably informed his parents (Haydock) that he was inspired by the Lord, ver. 4. (Worthington) --- The Jews say that he had first converted this woman; and interpreters generally excuse his conduct. But St. Ambrose thinks that he forfeited God's grace; (ep. 19) and Theodoret also supposes that he transgressed the law, (Exodus 34:12.) and God only permitted him to fall in love with women, without approving his conduct, q. 21. The Scripture often says, that he does and wills what he only permits, Exodus 4:21., and Josue 11:20. (Calmet) --- If the conversion of this woman were well attested, there would be no difficulty about his marrying her, as Salmon did Rahab, St. Matthew 1:5. We have only conjectures that the women whom these and other holy personages espoused, embraced the true faith. But these may suffice in a matter of this nature. We cannot condemn Samson on this occasion, without involving his parents in the same censure, as they were charged to keep him from any contamination. St. Ambrose justly observes that a woman was the occasion of his fall, but he might allude to Dalilia, Judges 16:4. It seems hard to pass sentence on this judge of Israel, on his first appearance, without the most cogent reasons. See Lyranus, Cornelius a Lapide, etc. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "She is right in my eyes." His parents were at length convinced that he was directed by God. (Tirinus)
Judges 14:4 Now his parents knew not that the thing was done by the Lord, and that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

He sought. This may be understood either of the Lord, or rather of Samson. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "because he himself sought to retaliate upon the Philistines." Hebrew, "that it was of the Lord that, or because he sought an occasion to take," etc. (Haydock)
Judges 14:5 Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Thamnatha. And when they were come to the vineyards of the town, behold a young lion met him, raging and roaring.

Young lion, not quite so strong as an old one, but in its vigour. (Rabbins) (Calmet) --- Met him. Hebrew, "roared against him." (Haydock) --- His parents were at some distance. (Menochius) --- St. Augustine (in Psalm lxxxviii.) shews the application of this history to Christ's establishing and adorning the church of the Gentiles with sweet and wholesome laws. (Du Hamel)
Judges 14:6 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, and he tore the lion as he would have torn a kid in pieces, having nothing at all in his hand: and he would not tell this to his father and mother.

Spirit, increasing his courage and strength. (Menochius) --- This shews that the strength of Samson was miraculous, attached to the keeping of his hair, and the observance of the duties of the Nazarites. (Calmet) (Chap. 16:19.) --- Mother. The modesty which he displays is more wonderful than the feat of valour. (Haydock) --- Brave men are never boasters. (Menochius) --- He kept what he had done secret, designing to propose a riddle. (Salien)
Judges 14:7 And he went down, and spoke to the woman that had pleased his eyes.

Spoke. Septuagint, "they spoke;" both Samson and his parents (Menochius) asked the young woman in marriage, Genesis 24:57., and Canticle of Canticles 8:8. (Calmet) --- That had. Protestants, "and she pleased Samson well," as at first, ver. 3. (Haydock)
Judges 14:8 And after some days, returning to take her, he went aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold there was a swarm of bees in the mouth of the lion, and a honey-comb.

A honeycomb. There was a very remarkable providence in this particular of the history of Samson. From which also in the mystical sense we may learn what spiritual sweetness and nourishment our souls will acquire from slaying the lions of our passions and vices. (Challoner) --- Samson waited some time before he went to celebrate his marriage. The Rabbins say a full year was the usual term after the espousals; (Esther 2:12,) and many have translated "after a year." (Chaldean, Arabic, etc.) During this space the flesh of the lion would be consumed, and bees might make honey in its skeleton. Herodotus (V. 114,) informs us that a swarm lodged in the skull of Onesylus, the tyrant of Cyprus, which had been suspended for a long time. They keep at a distance from carrion and every fetid smell. Some say that they were produced form the corrupted flesh of the lion, in the same manner as Virgil (iv.) describes them proceeding from a young ox beaten to death, and covered with boughs, in a place closely shut up. The bees might have laid their eggs upon these boughs, and the grass upon which an ox feeds, etc. But none of these precautions were taken with the lion which Samson tore in pieces. (Calmet)
Judges 14:9 And when he had taken it in his hands, he went on eating: and coming to his father and mother, he gave them of it, and they ate: but he would not tell them that he had taken the honey from the body of the lion.

Judges 14:10 So his father went down to the woman, and made a feast for his son Samson: for so the young men used to do.

Father. Before the nuptials, the young man was not accustomed to go to the house of his future bride. (Montanus) --- Samson's mother also accompanied him. (Abulensis) --- Do. Septuagint, "Samson made there a feast for seven days, because young men do so." (Haydock)
Judges 14:11 And when the citizens of that place saw him, they brought him thirty companions to be with him.

With him. Some imagine that these were placed to watch his motions. But he had surely invited them, ver. 15. During the time that the nuptials were celebrated, these men (who are called the friends of the bridegroom, Matthew 9:15,) are said to have been exempted from all public charges. (Montanus) (Calmet)
Judges 14:12 And Samson said to them: I will propose to you a riddle, which if you declare unto me within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty shirts, and as many coats:

Riddle. Such obscure and ingenious questions were much liked in the East, 3 Kings 10:1. The Egyptians concealed the mysteries of their religion, and Pythagoras his choicest maxims under them. (St. Clement of Alexandria, strom. 5.) The Greeks proposed the griphous at feasts, determining some reward or punishment to those who succeeded or failed to explain them. Athenaeus (X. 22,) relates that Simonides proposed this to his companions, after he had seen a blacksmith asleep, with a skin of wine and a craw-fish beside him. "The father of the kid, which eateth all sorts of herbs, and the miserable fish knocked their heads against each other, and he who has received upon his eye-lids the son of the night, would not feed the minister, who kills the oxen of king Bacchus." He could not get his ax mended. The ancients kept their wine in skins of kids, etc., whence he alludes to the bottle of wine, near the miserable craw-fish or lobster. --- Shirts. Hebrew sedinim, "sindons," the garment which was worn next the skin, Mark 14:51. It was used also by women, (Isaias 3:23,) and is probably the same which is called a tunic. (Calmet) --- Coats. Hebrew, "change of garments." Some understand new and splendid garments. But Samson complied with his promise, by giving such as he found upon the 30 men, whom he slew, ver. 19. (Haydock) --- The custom of making presents of garments has long prevailed in the East. The Turkish emperor still receives and makes such presents to ambassadors. (Calmet) --- Their long robes may easily be made to fit any person. (Haydock)
Judges 14:13 But if you shall not be able to declare it, you shall give me thirty shirts and the same number of coats. They answered him: Put forth the riddle, that we may hear it.

Judges 14:14 And he said to them: Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not for three days expound the riddle.

Sweetness. The explication of the ancient riddles frequently depended on the knowledge of something that had taken place. Our riddle-makers follow other rules. In a spiritual sense, the Philistines might be considered as those strong ones who had domineered over Israel, but would shortly afford them the spoils of a glorious victory. Jesus rises triumphant from the grave, and, after he has been persecuted and torn in pieces, becomes the food of Christians. (St. Augustine, etc.) (Calmet)
Judges 14:15 And when the seventh day came, they said to the wife of Samson: Sooth thy husband, and persuade him to tell thee what the riddle meaneth. But if thou wilt not do it, we will burn thee, and thy father's house. Have you called us to the wedding on purpose to strip us?

Seventh day of the week, (Salien) which was the fourth of the feast; and the Syriac, Arabic, and some editions of the Septuagint read, "the fourth." The young men tried their skill for three days; when, despairing of success, they solicited Samson's wife to draw the secret from him. She tried; but the seventh day being come, or at hand, (Menochius) the men began to threaten her, so that she became more importunate, and obtained her request. She had been weeping during a great part of the seven days, (ver. 17.; Calmet) or perhaps she had begun to tease him from the beginning. (Menochius) --- Strip us. Septuagint, "to impoverish us." Homer (Odyssey Z.) insinuates, that it was customary for the bride to furnish her attendants with white linen garments. These companions of Samson fear that they are going to be losers, by the honour which they do him. (Calmet) --- They compel his wife by threats to betray his secret, and still destroy her afterwards: thus persecutors frequently treat those who comply with they demands, and deny the faith. (Worthington)
Judges 14:16 So she wept before Samson and complained, saying: Thou hatest me, and dost not love me: therefore thou wilt not expound to me the riddle, which thou hast proposed to the sons of my people. But he answered: I would not tell it to my father and mother: and how can I tell it to thee?

Judges 14:17 So she wept before him the seven days of the feast: and, at length, on the seventh day, as she was troublesome to him, he expounded it. And she immediately told her countrymen.

Judges 14:18 And they, on the seventh day before the sun went down, said to him: What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said to them: If you had not ploughed with my heifer, you had not found out my riddle.

Down, at which time the day ended among the Jews. --- Heifer. This proverbial expression means, that another's property had been used against himself; (Delrio adag.162) or it may intimate, that improper liberties had been taken with Samson's wife, (Calmet) as her so readily taking one of them for her husband, (ver. 20) might lead us to suspect. (Haydock) --- The Greek and Latin authors speak of a faithless wife in similar terms. (Theognis. lviii., etc.)
Judges 14:19 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ascalon, and slew there thirty men, whose garments he took away, and gave to them that had declared the riddle. And being exceeding angry, he went up to his father's house:

Riddle. Samson must no longer be considered as a private man. He was authorized by the Spirit of the Lord, thus to punish the oppressors of Israel. (Calmet) --- Though these 30 men had done him no injury in person, (Haydock) they had sinned against God, and deserved to die. (Salien) --- He slew them publicly in the city (Menochius) though others believe that he did it in the neighbouring country, as it does not appear that the people knew of their death. (Calmet)
Judges 14:20 But his wife took one of his friends and bridal companions for her husband.

Companions, the chief friend of the bridegroom, (John 3:29,) the paranymph. (St. Ambrose) (Calmet) --- Protestants, "But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend." It seems her father had supposed, from Samson's keeping away for a long time, that he had abandoned her. (Haydock) --- But, though he offered some sort of recompense, (Menochius) he justly fell a victim to the people's rage, who abhorred adultery, (Calmet) and were irritated at the persecution which he had brought upon them, Judges 15:2, 6. (Haydock)
Judges 15:0 Samson is denied his wife: He burns the corn of the Philistines, and kills many of them.

Judges 15:1 And *a while after, when the days of the wheat harvest were at hand, Samson came, meaning to visit his wife, and he brought her a kid of the flock. And when he would have gone into her chamber, as usual, her father would not suffer him, saying:

Year of the World 2868, Year before Christ 1136. After. The same term is used in the original as Judges 14:8, which may be rendered "a year after," as it is not probable that the wife of Samson should be married to another, nor that he should lay aside his resentment much sooner. (Calmet)
Judges 15:2 I thought thou hadst hated her, and therefore I gave her to thy friend: but she hath a sister, who is younger and fairer than she, take her to wife instead of her.

Sister. Jacob married two sisters, and such marriages were not uncommon among the eastern nations. (Calmet) --- Samson does not accept the offer, as it was now contrary to the law, Leviticus 18:18. (Menochius)
Judges 15:3 And Samson answered him: From this day I shall be blameless in what I do against the Philistines: for I will do you evils.

Evils. This is a declaration of war, made by Samson in person, against a whole nation. (Haydock) --- He does not wish to engage his countrymen in the quarrel, that they may not be more oppressed. God chose that he should weaken the Philistines by degrees. They had been apprised of the injustice done to Samson, and did not strive to hinder it, so that they all deserved to suffer. (Grotius; Estius; Calmet)
Judges 15:4 And he went and caught three hundred foxes, and coupled them tail to tail, and fastened torches between the tails:

Foxes. Being judge of the people, he might have many to assist him to catch with nets or otherwise a number of these animals; of which there were great numbers in that country, (Challoner) as we may gather from Canticle of Canticles 2:15., and Lamentations 5:15. (Menochius) --- Hence many places received the name of Sual, Josue 15:28., and 19:42. Pompey exhibited 600 lions at Rome, and the Emperor Probus 5000 ostriches, and as many wild boars, et., in the theatre. (Vopisc.; Pliny [Natural History?] 8:16.; Cornelius a Lapide) --- Is it more incredible that Samson should collect 300 foxes? By this means he cleared his country of a pernicious animal, the most proper for carrying flambeaux, and spreading fire far and wide among the fields of the enemy. By tying the foxes together, he hindered them from retiring into their holes, and gave the fire time to take hold of the corn and vineyards. (Calmet) --- Ovid mentions a Roman custom of burning foxes in the theatre, with torches tied upon their backs, in the month of April; which some have imagined was in memorial of this transaction. (Serarius, q. 7.) "Factum abiit, monumenta manent, nam vivere captam Nunc quoque lex vulpem Carseolana vetat. Utque luat paenas genus hoc cerealibus ardet, Quoque modo segetes perdidit, illa perit." ----- Fast. 4:--- Torches. Hebrew and Septuagint, "a torch or firebrand," (Haydock) made of resinous wood, such as the pine, olive, etc., which easily catch fire, and are extinguished with difficulty. (Calmet) --- Qua fugit incendit vestitos messibus agros---Damnosis vires ignibus aura dabat. (Ovid) "Where'er he flees, corn-fields in flames appear, The fanning breeze brings devastation near." A hundred and fifty firebrands, in different parts of the country, destroy the farmer's hopes. (Haydock) --- And olive. The conjunction is now wanting in Hebrew and some translate, "the vineyards of olive-trees." (Kimchi) --- But who ever heard of such an expression? It is better therefore to supply and, with the Septuagint (Calmet) as the Protestants also have done. (Haydock) --- "The foxes signify the deceitful ensnarers, and chiefly heretics." (St. Augustine in Psalm viii.) (Du Hamel)
Judges 15:5 And setting them on fire he let the foxes go, that they might run about hither and thither. And they presently went into the standing corn of the Philistines. Which being set on fire, both the corn that was already carried together, and that which was yet standing, was all burnt, insomuch that the flame consumed also the vineyards and the olive-yards.

Judges 15:6 Then the Philistines said: Who hath done this thing? And it was answered: Samson, the son-in-law of the Thamnathite, because he took away his wife, and gave her to another, hath done these things. And the Philistines went up and burnt both the woman and her father.

Father. Thus they met with the fate which the woman had endeavoured to avoid, by an infidelity to her husband. (Salien) --- The princes of the Philistines acknowledged the wrong which had been done to Samson, and thus testify their abhorrence of adultery. (Calmet) --- Some Hebrew manuscripts confirm the Septuagint, Arabic, and Syriac versions; and instead of "her father with her," read, "and her father's house," (Kennicott) or all his family.
Judges 15:7 But Samson said to them: Although you have done this, yet will I be revenged of you, and then I will be quiet.

Of you. He intimates that they should answer for the injustice which they ought to have prevented, or punished sooner. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "If you had done like this," and slain the father and daughter, I should be quiet. (Du Hamel)
Judges 15:8 And he made a great slaughter of them, so that in astonishment they laid the calf of the leg upon the thigh. And going down he dwelt in a cavern of the rock Etam.

Thigh. Striking this part is often mentioned as a mark of consternation, Jeremias 31:19. (Menochius) --- Hebrew, "and he smote them thigh and leg, with a great slaughter." (Haydock) --- Vatable supposes this means an entire destruction. Chaldean, "he smote both horse and foot." He rendered them incapable of fleeing, or of making resistance, Nahum 2:5. (Calmet) --- Cavern. Hebrew sahiph, signifies, "the top, branch, etc. The rock might be covered with wood, (Calmet) and was situated in the confines of the tribes of Simeon, Juda, and Dan, 1 Paralipomenon 4:32. (Menochius)
Judges 15:9 Then the Philistines going up into the land of Juda, camped in the place which afterwards was called Lechi, that is, the Jaw-bone, where their army was spread abroad.

Spread. Hebrew, "encamped in Juda, and spread themselves in Lechi." (Haydock)
Judges 15:10 And the men of the tribe of Juda said to them: Why are you come up against us? They answered: We are come to bind Samson, and to pay him for what he hath done against us.

Judges 15:11 Wherefore three thousand men of Juda went down to the cave of the rock Etam, and said to Samson: Knowest thou not that the Philistines rule over us? Why wouldst thou do thus? And he said to them: As they did to me, so have I done to them.

Judges 15:12 And they said to him: We are come to bind thee, and to deliver thee into the hands of the Philistines. And Samson said to them: Swear to me, and promise me that you will not kill me.

Kill me, in a treacherous manner. He was not afraid of them. (Calmet)
Judges 15:13 They said: We will not kill thee: but we will deliver thee up bound. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him from the rock Etam.

Cords. Hebrew habothim, Septuagint Kalodiois, denote strong ropes or cables. (Menochius) --- Etam is not in Hebrew or the Septuagint. (Haydock)
Judges 15:14 Now when he was come to the place of the Jaw-bone, and the Philistines shouting went to meet him, the Spirit of the Lord came strongly upon him: and as the flax is wont to be consumed at the approach of fire, so the bands with which he was bound were broken and loosed.

Bone. Hebrew, "Lechi," as it was called after the slaughter made by Samson, ver. 15. It is about 20 miles to the east of Ascalon. (Calmet) --- Approach: literally, "the smell." This expression is often used to denote burning. (Septuagint; Chap 16:9.; Daniel 3:94.)
Judges 15:15 And finding a jaw-bone, even the jaw-bone of an ass, which lay there, catching it up, he slew therewith a thousand men.

There. The Septuagint, Josephus, and the Vulgate agree, reading Hebrew truth, instead of the present teriya, "fresh," or raw, which seems an useless remark in this place. (Calmet) --- Asses are very large in Palestine. (Menochius)
Judges 15:16 And he said: With the jaw-bone of an ass, with the jaw of the colt of asses, I have destroyed them, and have slain a thousand men.

Asses. He insists on this particular, as such an unusual weapon rendering his victory more astonishing, and he would not leave any room for doubt. Hebrew is variously translated, "with the jaw-bone of an ass, I have made a heap, yea two heaps; with the jaw-bone of an ass, I have defeated a thousand men." (Syriac, etc.) Castalion and Bonfrere defend the Vulgate. The Septuagint have, "with the jaw-bone of an ass I have entirely taken them off, (Haydock; defending them) with," etc. They have explained chamorathayim, as the first person of émor, rubefecit, or Chaldean destruxit, "I have covered them with blood;" and indeed to understand it of "two she asses," is impossible. (Calmet) --- This verse formed the chorus of Samson's song. (Haydock) --- He did not take the glory to himself, as Josephus ([Antiquities?] 5:10,) would insinuate, but attributed the victory to God, ver. 18. (Salien, in the year before Christ 1172.) This miracle of strength can no more be accounted for by reason, than many others. (Worthington)
Judges 15:17 And when he had ended these words, singing, he threw the jaw-bone out of his hand, and called the name of that place Ramathlechi, which is interpreted the lifting up of the jaw-bone.

Which is, etc. This is added by the Vulgate being the interpretation of the Septuagint Lnairesis; (Calmet) though it also signify, "the slaughter." (St. Ambrose, ep. 19.) (Haydock) --- The Syriac and Arabic have read domoth, "the blood," instead of ramath Lechi, "the lifting up;" or as others would have it, "the throwing down of the jaw-bone." (Calmet) --- Samson had snatched it form the ground, slew the thousand Philistines, and left it as a monument of his victory. (Haydock)
Judges 15:18 And being very thirsty, he cried to the Lord, and said: Thou hast given this very great deliverance and victory into the hand of thy servant: and behold I die for thirst, and shall fall into the hands of the uncircumcised.

Thirsty. St. Ambrose (ep. 19 or 70) follows Josephus, (Menochius) in supposing that the arrogance of Samson, in attributing the victory to his own strength, was thus punished. But others are more favourable to the hero, (Calmet) and suppose that his thirst was occasioned by the extraordinary fatigue. He sufficiently testifies that he had received all from God, (Menochius) and he is immediately favoured with another miracle. (Haydock) --- God is able to grant victory by the most feeble instruments, and he is never wanting when his presence is requisite. (St. Augustine, Doct. 4:15.) (Tirinus)
Judges 15:19 Then the Lord opened a great tooth in the jaw of the ass, and waters issued out of it. And when he had drank them, he refreshed his spirit, and recovered his strength. Therefore the name of that place was called, The Spring of him that invoked from the jaw-bone, until this present day.

Then. Hebrew, "And God clave the Mactesh (Haydock; hollow place, great tooth;" or the name of a rock, as Josephus and others understand it, perhaps on account of its resemblance with a tooth) which was at Lechi; and....he called it the fountain of him who cries out, (Calmet; En-hakkore, Protestants) which is in Lechi, until this day." The translating of some proper names has given occasion to various difficulties. See 2 Kings 6:3., and 1 Paralipomenon 4:22. (Haydock) --- Sophonias 1:11. mentions a place called (Mactesh, or) Machtes, in Hebrew, which seems to have been built where the fountain of Samson was. (Calmet) --- It is a greater miracle to draw water out of a dry bone, than out of the earth or stones. But all things are possible to God. (Worthington)
Judges 15:20 And he judged Israel, in the days of the Philistines, twenty years.*

Judges 16:31.
Years. Salien gathers from this remark being made here, that the Philistines still asserted their dominion over Israel, but with greater moderation than they had done before: and both nations acknowledged the judicial authority of Samson, who had now been giving them such proofs of his valour for two years, soon after he performed the feat at Gaza, in the year before Christ 1169, being on some business. (Haydock)
Judges 16:0 Samson is deluded by Dalila: and falls into the hands of the Philistines. His death.

Judges 16:1 He *went also into Gaza, and saw there a woman, a harlot, and went in unto her.

Year of the World about 2880. A harlot, or an innkeeper; for the Hebrew word signifies either. (Challoner) --- We have already noticed the ambiguity of the word zona, which occurs [in] Josue 2:1, and is applied to Rahab. This woman seems to have been of the same profession. Gaza was one of the strongest towns of the Philistines, on the south of the country. Some have erroneously supposed, (Calmet) that it was so called from a Persian word, which signifies a treasury, as Cambyses there deposited his most valuable effects. (Mela. 1:11.)
Judges 16:2 And when the Philistines had heard this, and it was noised about among them, that Samson was come into the city, they surrounded him, setting guards at the gate of the city, and watching there all the night in silence, that in the morning they might kill him as he went out.

Setting. Hebrew, "they laid wait for him all night in the gate,....and were quiet all night, saying, in the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him." They hoped to seize him unawares, (Haydock) as they were afraid to rouse this lion, and hence probably refrained from setting fire to the house: (Calmet) though they might be deterred from doing this, by the fear of the conflagration spreading to other parts of the city, (Haydock) and by an over-ruling Providence. (Salien)
Judges 16:3 But Samson slept till midnight, and then rising, he took both the doors of the gate, with the posts thereof, and the bolt, and laying them on his shoulders, carried them up to the top of the hill, which looketh towards Hebron.

Bolt, (sera) which many translate, "lock." (Haydock) --- The doors of the Hebrews were fastened with bars tied in a curious manner, so as to require a sort of a key, and not to be opened but on the inside. Hebron was above thirty miles distant: but travellers mention a small hill, where they say the doors were left in the vicinity of Gaza; (Calmet) and the text does not assert that Samson carried them as far as Hebron. (Haydock) --- He went out by that gate, contrary to the expectations of the Philistines, who supposed that he would go towards Thamnatha. If any saw him, none durst encounter the hero, as they had not yet forgotten the thousand slain with the jaw-bone. (Salien) --- The pagans confound their Hercules with Samson; (St. Augustine, City of God 18:19.) but the former durst not attack two at a time, whereas the latter engaged and slew so many. (Worthington)
Judges 16:4 After this he loved a woman, *who dwelt in the valley of Sorec, and she was called Dalila.

Year of the World about 2885. After this. The lamentable fall of Samson took place in the last year of his administration, when Heli, of the house of Thamar, succeeded Achitob 1:in the high priesthood. (In the year before Christ 1154. Salien) --- Sorec was not far from Saraa, where Samson was born. It probably belonged to the Philistines, as Dalila is generally supposed to have been of that nation, and most people believe a harlot. (Calmet) --- Adrichomius says the eunuch was here baptized. (Tirinus) --- Dalila. Some are of opinion she was married to Samson; others that she was his harlot. If the latter opinion be true, we cannot wonder that, in punishment of his lust, the Lord delivered him up by her means into the hands of his enemies. However, if he was guilty, it is not to be doubted, but that under his afflictions, he heartily repented and returned to God, and so obtained forgiveness of his sins. (Challoner) --- Dolol means, "to be impoverished or weakened," as Samson was in all respects by this wicked woman.
Judges 16:5 And the princes of the Philistines came to her, and said: Deceive him, and learn of him wherein his great strength lieth, and how we may be able to overcome him, to bind and afflict him: which if thou shalt do, we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

Princes, (seranim;) the five satraps, who had the chief sway in the nation, either came in person or sent messengers to Cephar-Sorec. They were convinced that the strength of Samson was supernatural; but they wished to learn whether it depended on some magical charm, or on some religious observation, or whether he was vulnerable only in some particular part, like Achilles, who could only be slain by a wound in the heel, according to the pagans. (Calmet) --- If Dalila would learn, and endeavour to remove the obstacle, these princes engaged to give her each 1100 pieces (or sicles, Calmet) of silver. (Salien)
Judges 16:6 And Dalila said to Samson: Tell me, I beseech thee, wherein thy greatest strength lieth, and what it is, wherewith if thou wert bound, thou couldst not break loose.

Judges 16:7 And Samson answered her: If I shall be bound with seven cords, made of sinews not yet dry, but still moist, I shall be weak like other men.

Her, in jest. (Haydock) --- Sinews; such were frequently used for strength. (Vegetius 4:9.; Psalm 10:2) Cato often speaks of loreos funes, (Calmet) or "leathern thongs." (Haydock) --- Moist. Hebrew, "seven bands, green and moist;" as if he were speaking of willow twigs, or bands made of the rind of trees, etc. But we need not abandon the Septuagint and Vulgate to follow the moderns in this place, as yetharim unquestionably means cords of sinews, and the epithet, green, is applied to the eyes of Moses, (Deuteronomy 24:7.) to denote their shining vigour and strength; so here it may signify, that the sinews were to be fresh and in full perfection. (Calmet) --- Dalila might easily think that such bands would make Samson her prisoner. She had people to assist her, in case she proved successful. But Samson probably broke the bands before they made their appearance; otherwise he would have resented the woman's infidelity, and not exposed himself again. He supposed she only made these exclamations to see what he would do, ver. 9., etc.
Judges 16:8 And the princes of the Philistines brought unto her seven cords, such as he spoke of, with which she bound him;

Judges 16:9 Men lying privately in wait with her, and in the chamber, expecting the event of the thing, and she cried out to him: The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And he broke the bands, as a man would break a thread of tow, when it smelleth the fire: so it was not known wherein his strength lay.

Fire. Protestants, "and he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire." (Haydock) --- Thus he played with her, never suspecting that the enemy was concealed so near. (Calmet)
Judges 16:10 And Dalila said to him: Behold thou hast mocked me, and hast told me a false thing: but now at least tell me wherewith thou mayest be bound.

Judges 16:11 And he answered her: If I shall be bound with new ropes, that were never in work, I shall be weak and like other men.

Judges 16:12 Dalila bound him again with these, and cried out: The Philistines are upon thee, Samson, there being an ambush prepared for him in the chamber. But he broke the bands like threads of webs.

Judges 16:13 And Dalila said to him again: How long dost thou deceive me, and tell me lies? Shew me wherewith thou mayest be bound. And Samson answered her: If thou plattest the seven locks of my head with a lace, and tying them round about a nail, fastenest it in the ground, I shall be weak.

Lace, (licio;) "the woof about the beam," etc. Hebrew, "the web, (14) and she fastened it," etc. The original text is here imperfect. (Haydock) --- The Septuagint have preserved eighteen words, which have been omitted in Hebrew, "the web, (and fastened them with a pin unto the wall, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. (14) And it came to pass, when he slept, that Dalilia took seven locks of his head, and wove them with a web) and fastened them with a pin, (unto the wall) and said," etc. (Kennicott, Diss. ii.) --- The Vulgate expresses the whole idea in fewer words: but the Hebrew leaves the proposal of Samson imperfect. It is observable that Grabe's edition of the Alexandrian Septuagint has no mark of any thing being redundant; whence we might suppose, that in the days of Origen, (whose marks he endeavours to exhibit) the Hebrew agreed with the Greek version: but the 14th verse is rather different from the Vatican copy, which has been given above. --- "And Dalila (so the Septuagint always style her) lulled him asleep; (ekoimisen, as [in] ver. 19, (Haydock) perhaps by giving him some potion, with which people of her character are frequently provided; Salien) and she wove the seven curls of his head with the wool, (ektaseos) and she fastened them with the pins of wood into the wall," etc. (Haydock) --- The Hebrew text is liable to many difficulties, says Calmet; "If thou shalt make a tissue of seven locks of my head with the veil, which thou weavest, and shalt fasten it to a nail, I shall become weak as another man: or, If thou weave together my hair and my thread," etc. The ancients were accustomed to weave standing. Samson was probably lying on the ground, while Dalila was acting this farce. (Calmet)
Judges 16:14 And when Dalila had done this, she said to him: The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And awaking out of his sleep, he drew out the nail with the hairs and the lace.

Judges 16:15 And Dalila said to him: How dost thou say thou lovest me, when thy mind is not with me? Thou hast told me lies these three times, and wouldst not tell me wherein thy great strength lieth.

Judges 16:16 And when she pressed him much, and continually hung upon him for many days, giving him no time to rest, his soul fainted away, and was wearied even unto death.

Death. Hebrew, "and pressed him so, that his soul was straitened unto death." It would be well if Christians would always make as stout a resistance against manifest temptations to sin, as Samson did on this occasion, when he might consider the revealing of the truth rather as an indiscretion than as a crime. It is difficult to determine in what precisely the fault consisted, which was followed by so severe a punishment. Perhaps he may have been placed as a pattern of patience, like holy Job, without incurring the divine displeasure. Yet most people suppose, that he fell by the love of women, and by disclosing the secret of his strength. But where do we read that he had received a precept from God, not to mention it even to his wife? For in this light Sts. Ephrem and Chrysostom, Sulp Severus, Pererius, and others, represent Dalila, which removes the greatest objection to his character. We have seen (ver. 1) that the harlot of Gaza might be only an innkeeper; and the first object of his love, was proposed to him by the holy spirit, Judges 14:4. But even allowing that Dalila was a harlot, though the Scripture does not assert it, what harm was there in Samson's endeavouring to reclaim her, and to make her his wife, as was commanded (Osee 1:2.) to do? It is only said, (ver. 4) the he loved a woman; and his subsequent conduct with her, might be nothing more than what is lawful among lovers, or even commendable between married people. Isaac's playing with Rebecca, his wife, (Genesis 26:8.) was a proof of his conjugal love for her, as St. Francis de Sales observes. Generous souls are frequently prone to love, and delight to unbend their minds in the company of the fair sex, with whom they can fear no rivalship in strength. Samson, in particular, seemed unable to deny their importunate requests. He yielded at last to explain his riddle to his first wife, and though he was justly offended at her infidelity, he took occasion from it to begin the work for which he was sent by God, the destruction of the enemy. Perhaps he thought that his compliance with the repeated solicitations of Dalila would be attended with the like effect, as in reality it was, and he destroyed more in death than during the whole course of his life. Without the strongest proofs, it seems unjust to pass sentence of condemnation upon a great character, the number of the perfect being already too small. Our Saviour, laden with the sins of mankind, as with the treacherous Dalila, exclaimed, my soul is sorrowful unto death, Matthew 26:38. Yet (Haydock) the weakness of Samson's heart throughout this history, is still more surprising than the strength of his body. (Calmet) --- Tirinus asserts that God had granted him such strength, with an order not to disclose the secret, that it was attached to the not wilfully having his hair cut.
Judges 16:17 Then opening the truth of the thing, he said to her: The razor hath never come upon my head, for I am a Nazarite, that is to say, consecrated to God from my mother's womb: If my head be shaven, my strength shall depart from me, and I shall become weak, and shall be like other men.

Thing. Hebrew and Septuagint, "He told her all his heart." --- That is to say, consecrated, is added by the Vulgate. (Haydock) --- Men. Was the hair the physical, or only the moral, cause of his wonderful strength? It is generally believed that it was only a moral cause, or a token appointed by God, that as long as Samson retained his hair he should be endued with such force. The pagans relate, that the kingdom of Nisus and of Pterelaus depended on a fatal lock of hair, which their daughters cut off. Crinis inhoerebat, magni fiducia regni. (Ovid, Met. viii.; Apoll. 2.) (Calmet)
Judges 16:18 Then seeing that he had discovered to her all his mind, she sent to the princes of the Philistines, saying: Come up this once more, for now he hath opened his heart to me. And they went up, taking with them the money which they had promised.

To me. Hebrew, "to her." Lah instead of li, perhaps in all the printed editions except the Complutensian, which has corrected the mistake, and is authorized by some manuscripts. (Kennicott)
Judges 16:19 But she made him sleep upon her knees, and lay his head in her bosom. And she called a barber, and shaved his seven locks, and began to drive him away, and thrust him from her: for immediately his strength departed from him.

Knees, by some soporiferous draught, as on the other occasions. (Menochius) --- Barber. He only produced the razor, or rather a pair of scissors, such as were used to shear sheep. Barbers were unknown at Rome for 454 years; and the ancient Greeks looked with indignation upon those who introduced the custom of shaving among them. (Pliny, [Natural History?] 7:59.) The Hebrews did not cut all their beard, and generally let the hair of their head grow long. Samson wore his curled, which is still the fashion among some people. --- And began. Septuagint, "he began to be humbled, (Calmet) or rendered abject, and his strength," etc. Hebrew, "she began to render him contemptible" (Haydock) "But what is strength without a double share Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burdensome." --- Milton's Samson.
Judges 16:20 And she said: The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And awaking from sleep, he said in his mind: I will go out as I did before, and shake myself, not knowing that the Lord was departed from him.

Myself. This might insinuate that he was bound, though it may only mean that he will extricate himself from the hands of the Philistines. (Calmet) --- We read of no bands on this occasion. But the loss of the sign of his being a Nazarite was Samson's greatest misfortune, and rendered him less formidable than if he had been bound with chains of adamant. He was not sensible of his loss at first; or he himself was uninformed that his strength depended on the preservation of his hair. The cutting it off was wholly involuntary, so that, if he sinned by losing it, we must conclude that he was guilty in putting himself in the power of a woman, by revealing a secret which he ought to have kept to himself. Other Nazarites were surely under no such obligation. If a barbarous ruffian or infidel had, by violence, deprived them of their sacred ornament, or touched them with something unclean, they would have been obliged to submit to the legal purifications, but no blame could have attached to them. (Haydock) --- From him, as to the gratuitous and supernatural degree of strength. (Menochius)
Judges 16:21 Then the Philistines seized upon him, and forthwith pulled out his eyes, and led him bound in chains to Gaza, and shutting him up in prison made him grind.

Chains. Hebrew and Septuagint add, "of brass," which were more ancient than those of iron or of steel. Brass was generally used instead of the latter, for knives, etc. (Calmet) --- Gaza, the place where he had lately given such an instance of strength, ver. 3. (Haydock) --- Grind. Before the invention of wind or of water mills, the ancients forced their meanest slaves to grind with a hand-mill, consisting of two large stones. Many such are made in the isle of Milo. The mill was the common place for slaves, who had given an offence not deserving of death, Isaias 47:2., Lamentations 5:13. (Cod. Theod. de poenit.) Apuleius describes their condition as most pitiful; half naked, with their hair half cut, their feet chained, disfigured with scourges, etc. (Metam. ix.) Herodotus (IV. 2.) says, that the Scythians put out the eyes of their slaves, that they may not become dizzy with turning round vessels of milk, upon which these people feed. Such was the condition of Samson. St. Jerome (in Isaias xlvii.) mentions a foolish interpretation of the Rabbins, as if the Philistines obliged this strong man to have children by their women. See Thalmud, sutah 1, fol. 10. (Calmet) (Job 31:10.) (Haydock) --- Samson "laboured hard, that he might not eat his bread for nothing." (Lyra.)
Judges 16:22 And now his hair began to grow again,

Again. Hebrew adds, "as when he was shaven." (Haydock) --- He was in prison three or four months. (Menochius) --- As his hair grew his strength returned, because he entered into himself and did penance, so that he was restored to the rank and privileges of a Nazarite. (Calmet; Menochius)
Judges 16:23 And the princes of the Philistines assembled together, to offer great sacrifices to Dagon, their god, and to make merry, saying: Our god hath delivered our enemy Samson into our hands.

Dagon. Probably the derceto, whom Diodorus (3,) represents with the head of a woman, and the rest of the body like a fish, the chief object of adoration at Ascalon. (Calmet) --- Dagon may signify "wheat;" and hence Eusebius (praep. 1,) styles him "the ploughing Jupiter," or "a fish." --- Hands. For this purpose they were offering sacrifices of thanksgiving, (Menochius) which they did not only when they first took Samson, but probably on all their great festivals, till the hero's death. They could not but excite the indignation and zeal of this great judge, and God resented the indignity offered to himself. They cursed Samson, (Haydock) as the Sichemites had done Abimelec on a similar occasion, Judges 9:27. (Menochius) God "will not connive or linger, thus provoked, but will arise and his great name assert." --- Milton, 5:466.
Judges 16:24 And the people also seeing this, praised their god, and said the same: Our god hath delivered our adversary into our hands, him that destroyed our country, and killed very many.

Judges 16:25 And rejoicing in their feasts, when they had now taken their good cheer, they commanded that Samson should be called, and should play before them. And being brought out of prison, he played before them; and they made him stand between two pillars.

Played. Dancing in a ridiculous manner, (Montanus) running against the walls, or falling down, so as to make the people laugh, (Lyranus) or rather (Haydock) Serarius gathers from the Septuagint that "they buffetted him," and made a sport of him. (Menochius) --- It is not at all probable that Samson would act the ape before the Philistines; but, in attempting to keep off the rabble with many a fruitless blow, against his will he might make them merry. (Calmet) --- He appeared before them in the garb of a slave, covered with the dust of the mill, (Salien) like our Saviour in the fool's garment. (Haydock) --- Two pillars. The temples of Hercules, at Tyre and in Africa, had the same number. (Porphyr. Abst. 2.) --- The temple of Dagon was supported on wooden pillars standing near each other. People might see down from the roof. (Serarius) --- We read that the theatre of Rome rested on one pivot, and the amphitheatre on two. Ecce populus Romanus universus, says Pliny, ([Natural History?] 36:15,) binis cardinibus sustinetur. (Calmet) --- The roofs of the Philistine temples were flat, and galleries all around them, so that an immense crowd might be collected, (Menochius) to gaze on this terror of their country, now their prey. They had forgotten how he had formerly carried off their gates, or they concluded that his amazing strength was gone for ever. (Haydock)
Judges 16:26 And he said to the lad that guided his steps: Suffer me to touch the pillars which support the whole house, and let me lean upon them, and rest a little.

Judges 16:27 Now the house was full of men and women, and all the princes of the Philistines were there. Moreover about three thousand persons of both sexes, from the roof and the higher part of the house, were beholding Samson's play.

Play. It is not clear from the text, whether the 3000 were distinct from those who were below. It seems this is the number of all the slain, (Calmet) as Josephus asserts. But the Protestants insert, "the lords of the Philistines were there: and there were upon the roof," etc., which shews that they understand it in the same sense as the Vulgate and the Septuagint which distinguish these outside spectators from those who filled the house, and were in company with the princes. (Haydock)
Judges 16:28 But he called upon the Lord, saying: O Lord God remember me, and restore to me now my former strength, O my God, that I may revenge myself on my enemies, and for the loss of my two eyes I may take one revenge.

Revenge myself. This desire of revenge was out of zeal for justice against the enemies of God and his people; and not out of private rancour and malice of heart. (Challoner) --- He was judge of his people, and concerned for their wrongs: God, by miracle, testified that he approved of his sentiments. (Calmet) -- Septuagint insinuate that the cry of Samson was accompanied with tears, (eklause.) It was the cry of the heart, which is most eloquent with God. Hebrew and Septuagint, "strengthen me yet this once, O God, and I will repay," etc. (Haydock)
Judges 16:29 And laying hold on both the pillars on which the house rested, and holding the one with his right hand, and the other with his left,

Both the. Hebrew adds, "middle" pillars, so that their fall occasioned that of the whole temple, (Calmet) excepting perhaps some of the ruins, which are still shewn at Gaza. (Button.) "He tugged, he shook till down they came, and drew The whole roof after them with bursts of thunder." (Milton) (Haydock)
Judges 16:30 He said: Let me die with the Philistines. And when he had strongly shook the pillars, the house fell upon all the princes, and the rest of the multitude, that was there: and he killed many more at his death, than he had killed before in his life.

Let me die. Literally, let my soul die. Samson did not sin on this occasion, though he was indirectly the cause of his own death. Because he was moved to what he did, by a particular inspiration of God, who also concurred with him by a miracle, in restoring his strength upon the spot, in consequence of his prayer. Samson, by dying in this manner, was a figure of Christ, who by his death overcame all his enemies. (Challoner; Worthington) --- St. Augustine says, "he was not under a human delusion, but divinely inspired....Who will accuse his obedience?" (De C.[City of God?] 1:21., and 26., etc.) And St. Bernard (de praec. 3.) observes that he would have sinned, if he had not received a particular inspiration. But many think that he might have acted as he did, without it, in quality of judge, as he might intend primarily to avenge his people and the glory of God. He was willing to sacrifice his life for this purpose, though he would have preserved it, if it had been in his power. (Cajetan; Lessius, etc) --- The Church honours many virgin martyrs, (Calmet) who have thrown themselves into fire or water, in similar dispositions. St. Ambrose says, "it is to be presumed that their zeal came from God." (De Virg. 3:7.) He mentions St. Pelagia, and her mother and sisters, and St. Soteris, a relation of his, whose memory is honoured on the 10th of February. St. Apollonia's feast occurs the day before. "She leapt into the fire, having her breast enkindled with a stronger flame of the holy spirit. (Brev. Rom. [Roman Breviary?]) See the fact of Razias, 2 Machabees 14:37. (Haydock) --- So that the revelation of St. Mathildes doubting of his, Solomon's, Origen's, and Trajan's salvation, as if God would thus keep mankind in fear, seems to be a fabrication. (Baronius. A.D. 604.) St. Paul ranks Samson among the saints, Hebrews 11:32. --- Life. Express mention is made of 1030 slain by Samson, besides the great numbers, which excited the astonishment of the Philistines, Judges 15:8. But on this occasion he destroyed 3000 at once, and the death of all the princes made the slaughter more terrible, (Calmet) insomuch that the people being without a head, were glad to let Samson's brethren take away his body without molestation, as they have every reason to fear that the Israelites would now fall upon them. (Salien) --- If 3000 perished on the outside of the temple, (Haydock) Serarius concludes that not less than 20,000 were destroyed in all.
Judges 16:31 And his brethren and all his kindred, going down took his body, and buried it between Saraa and Esthaol, in the burying-place of his father Manue: and he judged Israel twenty years.

Twenty. "Why then, says the Thalmud of Jerusalem, does the Scripture allow him 40? That thou mightest understand the Philistines were kept in awe, by the fear of him, for 20 years after his decease." The Hebrew copies seems to have varied. (Drusius) --- Some refuse the Samson the title of judge, (Masius) as they suppose (Haydock) that Heli filled that office at the same time. But there might be several in different parts of the country, and Heli might administer sacred things, while Samson acted in the character of a warrior. (Calmet) --- Salien believes that Heli only commenced high priest and judge at the death of Samson, and continued for 40 years, though he was 58 years old when he entered upon office, in the year of the world 2900, in the year before Christ 1153. Samson prefigured the Messias, not only in death, but also in his annunciation, birth, name, and in many particulars of his life. He was a Nazarite: Jesus receives that title even from his enemies. Samson marries a foreign woman; is delivered by his brethren of Juda into the hands of his enemies; judges and delivers his people. Christ, the sun of justice, calls the Gentiles; is betrayed by Judas, and abandoned to the fury of the Romans; is appointed Judge and Saviour of all. He embraces the cross, as Samson did the pillars, and by his humiliations redeemed the world. The pagan temple falls and crushes the idolaters. The Jews are overwhelmed in the ruins of their temple and city; and the earth trembles at the death of Christ. He is buried with honour, notwithstanding the malice of his enemies, (Calmet) as the body of Samson was taken from the midst of the raging inhabitants of Gaza, and interred peaceably in his father's tomb. The fabulous account of the Phoenician, or of another (Haydock) Hercules, who lived about this time, seems to have been chiefly taken from the history of Samson. Both encountered many difficulties, and perished by woman's malice. Hercules never used a sword, and we do not read that Samson had any. (Calmet) --- "He was possessed of an incomparable strength both of mind and body, says Josephus, ([Antiquities?] 5:10,) which he employed for the destruction of the enemy even to the last breath. His being deceived by a woman, we ought to attribute to human weakness, which is prone to such faults. In all other respects, his virtue entitles him to eternal praise." (Haydock) "Tax not divine disposal; wisest men Have err'd, and by bad women been deceived; And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise." (Sams. Agon. 5:210.)
Judges 17:0 The history of the idol of Michas, and the young Levite.

Judges 17:1 There was at that time a man of Mount Ephraim, whose name was Michas.

At that time, is not in the Hebrew or Septuagint. It only means that the event which is recorded took place at some time, which the sacred writer does not determine. We should conclude, that the histories which fill up the remainder of this book, ought to be placed after the death of Samson, (Serarius, etc.) if some passages did not determine us to allow that their proper order must be soon after the death of Josue and of the ancients. The grandson of Moses must, on the former supposition, have been extremely old, whereas he is said to have been a young man, ver. 7. The tribe of Dan was still straitened for room, Judges 18:1, etc. (Calmet) --- Josephus, ([Antiquities?] 5:2,) who passesover the history of Michas. (Salien, in the year of the world 2622, the 22d year of Othoniel and Phinees.) (Haydock) --- Anarchy at that time prevailed, (ver. 6,) so that we need not wonder to behold such confusion among the Israelites. (Menochius) --- Ephraim. The country was mountainous for nine miles. (Adrichomius)
Judges 17:2 Who said to his mother: The eleven hundred pieces of silver, which thou hadst put aside for thyself, and concerning which thou didst swear in my hearing, behold I have, and they are with me. And she said to him: Blessed be my son by the Lord.

Mother. A rich (Calmet) old widow, since she had grandchildren, one of whom was appointed to serve her domestic chapel. (Menochius) --- She had lost a sum of money, and was venting imprecations against the thief, when her son came and informed her that he had it safe, upon which she changed her curses into blessings. --- Swear, may have another meaning, as if she had made a vow of this money. (Calmet; Menochius) --- Lord. Hebrew Yehova, the title of God, which she gives to idols, (Menochius) or perhaps she preposterously adored both the true and false gods at the same time. (Calmet) --- Many Protestants assert that her intention was good, in what she did. (Monceius; Grotius, etc.) --- So willing are they to excuse all from idolatry but Catholics! (Haydock) --- Almost all interpreters condemn Michas and his mother of superstition, and of acting contrary to the express orders of God, in appointing a priest who was not of the family of Aaron, etc. (Calmet) --- Their graven image was an idol. But this is no proof against the sacred images of Catholics. (Worthington)
Judges 17:3 So he restored them to his mother, who said to him: I have consecrated and vowed this silver to the Lord, that my son may receive it at my hand, and make a graven and a molten god; so now I deliver it to thee.

God. Hebrew pesel umaseca. The word thing, would perhaps be as well substituted, as (Haydock) all are not convinced that the woman was guilty of idolatry. (Cajetan) --- The same figure might be both graven and molten. The image was first carved, and then covered with plates of gold, etc., in the more ancient times. (Calmet) --- There might be two figures made by Michas. (Salien) --- The Theraphim denote "images which foretel what is to happen." (Rabbins; Tirinus) --- But this is not always the case. (Haydock)
Judges 17:4 And he restored them to his mother: and she took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith, to make of them a graven and a molten god, which was in the house of Michas.

Judges 17:5 And he separated also therein a little temple for the god, and made an ephod, and theraphim, that is to say, a priestly garment, and idols: and he filled the hand of one of his sons, and he became his priest.

That....idols is added by the Vulgate. St. Jerome supposes that the ephod denotes all the sacerdotal vestments, and the theraphim whatever else was requisite for priestly functions, ep. ad Marcel. Grotius is of opinion that these theraphim, or cherubim, are styled elohim, gods, (ver. 5) and that the altar, candlesticks, etc., are designated above by whatever was to be graven or molten. Michas had a mind to represent the tabernacle, with its ornaments, in miniature. By the theraphim he might imitate the urim, etc., at the expense of 200 sicles, while 900 might be set apart for the other ornaments. (Calmet) --- Many think that he wished to have domestic gods, like the Lares or Penates. --- Hand. That is, appointed and consecrated him to the priestly office. (Challoner) --- He put in his hand the offerings which he had to make, as was customary, Exodus 28:41. (Calmet) --- Priest, contrary to all order. (Menochius) (Numbers 3:10., and Hebrews 5:4.) (Calmet) --- The anointing of his hands with oil, prescribed, (Leviticus viii.) could give him no authority. (Worthington)
Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every one did that which seemed right to himself.

Himself. Serarius thinks this took place before Heli was appointed to succeed Samson. But the opinion of Salien (Menochius) is more probable. For, though he places this history in the 22d year of Othoniel, yet we must remember that he attributes to him all the years of anarchy, so that this liberty was taken by an individual, when none had power or zeal enough to restrain it. How much would Phinees be mortified at this prevarication if he were still alive! (Haydock) --- The title of king may be applied to the judges. But this book was probably written after the appointment of Saul. (Calmet)
Judges 17:7 There was also another young man of Bethlehem Juda, of the kindred thereof: and he was a Levite, and dwelt there.

Another, is not in Hebrew or the Septuagint but it refers to the former young priest, the son of Michas, whose place he took. --- Thereof. It is uncertain whether this be spoken of the city or of the man. Some think that this Levite's mother was of Juda, though his father was the son of Moses, Judges 18:30. (Calmet) --- He was poor, as the people neglected to pay tithes, and he imitated their irreligion, being of a fickle temper. He was yet single, (ver. 10 though he married among the Danites, Judges 18:30. (Menochius) --- Being a Levite, he is esteemed fitter for the priesthood; so Protestants receive with joy an apostate Catholic priest. (Worthington)
Judges 17:8 Now he went out from the city of Bethlehem, and desired to sojourn wheresoever he should find it convenient for him. And when he was come to Mount Ephraim, as he was on his journey, and had turned aside a little into the house of Michas,

Judges 17:9 He was asked by him whence he came. And he answered: I am a Levite of Bethlehem Juda, and I am going to dwell where I can, and where I shall find a place to my advantage.

Judges 17:10 And Michas said: Stay with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee every year ten pieces of silver, and a double suit of apparel, and thy victuals.

A father. So he styles him out of respect, as we do our directors. (Haydock) --- It is a title of dignity, Esther 16:11., 2 Machabees 14:37., and 2 Paralipomenon 2:13. (Calmet) --- Pieces, sicles. --- Double suit, one for summer and another for winter, (Menochius) or such as might be worn on common, or on sacred occasions, unless it rather mean a cloak and a tunic; (Calmet) a change of dress, Judges 14:13.
Judges 17:11 He was content, and abode with the man, and was unto him as one of his sons.

Judges 17:12 And Michas filled his hand, and had the young man with him for his priest, saying:

Judges 17:13 Now I know God will do me good, since I have a priest of the race of the Levites.

Good. He was in hopes that the people would come and make their offerings with more zeal, so that he would derive greater advantage: the true character of superstitious misers, 1 Timothy 6:5. (Calmet) -- He foolishly flattered himself that God would be pleased with his devotion; though he had done so many things contrary to the law. (Menochius) --- Thus many form a religion to themselves, and would still claim the title of Christians. But the judge will drive them away with, I never knew you, Matthew 7:23. They think that if they believe some things (which they are pleased to call fundamental, though they cannot agree what they are) they may form a "true Catholic church" out of all the contradictory heresies which have made such havoc in the world! Perhaps Michas thus deluded himself with the idea that his innovations were not fundamental. It is rather ridiculous to hear J. Wesley, and a late very weak defendant of his, (Mr. Slack,) refusing the title of Christian to Roman Catholics, while they prostitute it to almost every sectary. But heretics have, indeed, no just pretensions to it. See St. Athanasius, etc.
Judges 18:0 The expedition of the men of Dan against Lais: in their way they rob Michas of his priest and his gods.

Judges 18:1 In those days there was no king in Israel, and the tribe of Dan sought them an inheritance to dwell in: for unto that day they had not received their lot among the other tribes.

Days, after the death of Josue and the ancients. Debbora speaks of the tribe of Dan, as addicted to navigation, Judges 5:17. (Calmet) --- It had now conquered most of the enemies who had formerly forced some to seek fresh settlements, (Haydock) as it is hinted at, Josue xix. The particulars are here given in detail. (Calmet) --- Received, etc. They had their portions assigned them, Josue 19:40. But through their own sloth, possessed as yet but a small part of it. See Judges 1:34. (Challoner; Worthington) --- Protestants supply, "all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel." (Haydock)
Judges 18:2 So the children of Dan sent five most valiant men, of their stock and family, from Saraa and Esthaol, to spy out the land, and to view it diligently: and they said to them: Go, and view the land. They went on their way, and when they came to Mount Ephraim, they went into the house of Michas, and rested there:

Family. Hebrew, "From their extremity." Which may denote such as came to hand, (Calmet) or princes, (De Dieu) or people of mean appearance, (Castalion) unless we explain it "from their coasts," with Montanus, Protestants, etc. (Haydock)
Judges 18:3 And knowing the voice of the young man the Levite, and lodging with him, they said to him: Who brought thee hither? what dost thou here? why wouldst thou come hither?

Judges 18:4 He answered them: Michas hath done such and such things for me, and hath hired me to be his priest.

Voice. His pronunciation was different from that of the Ephraimites, Judges 12:6.
Judges 18:5 Then they desired him to consult the Lord, that they might know whether their journey should be prosperous, and the thing should have effect.

Lord (Elohim.) A title sometimes given to false gods. The Levite answered in the name of Jehova; whence it is inferred that they all adored the true God, though their worship was not clear of superstition. (Calmet)
Judges 18:6 He answered them: Go in peace: the Lord looketh on your way, and the journey that you go.

Looketh with approbation. (Haydock) --- It is uncertain whether this prediction proceeded from God, from the devil, or from the crafty Levite, (Calmet) who might answer as he thought the messengers wished him to do. (Menochius) --- Their undertaking proved successful. But the devil, who knew the valour of the Danites, and the security of the citizens of Lais, or even a man of moderate prudence and sagacity, might have told what would be the probable event of an attack in such circumstances. (Calmet) --- Whether God approved or condemned the Levite's worship, he might speak by his mouth, as he did by that of Balaam. (Haydock) --- But it is generally supposed that Jonathan was the organ of the devil, (Calmet) who answered with a degree of obscurity, as he was accustomed, (Worthington) that, in any case, his credit might subsist. (Haydock)
Judges 18:7 So the five men going on came to Lais: and they saw how the people dwelt therein without any fear, according to the custom of the Sidonians, secure and easy, having no man at all to oppose them, being very rich, and living separated, at a distance from Sidon and from all men.

Lais, four miles from Paneas, towards Tyre. It is called Lesem Dan; (Josue 19:47.) both the ancient and the new name being joined together. --- Rich, Hebrew has almost as many different meanings as interpreters. De Dieu, "There was no one to put them to shame, no chief magistrate." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "and there was no magistrate in the land that might put them to shame in any thing." (Haydock) --- The citizens of Lais were perhaps a colony, and followed the manners and religion of Sidon, but were at a day's journey from their territory; (Josephus) so that the latter could not come to their assistance at a very short warning. The Danites were therefore encouraged to make the attack, (Calmet) particularly as this city was confident in its own strength and riches, and made no alliance with any other. (Haydock) --- Septuagint Alexandrian, etc., read, Aram instead of Adam. "They had no commerce with Syria." But the Roman edition (Calmet) has, "they are far off from the Sidonians, and have no (word or) commerce with man." The edition of Grabe repeats a great part of this verse again; ver. 9, with an obelus.
Judges 18:8 And they returned to their brethren in Saraa and Esthaol, who asked them what they had done? to whom they answered:

Judges 18:9 Arise, and let us go up to them: for we have seen the land which is exceeding rich and fruitful: neglect not, lose no time: let us go and possess it, there will be no difficulty.

There will, etc., is added to signify, that it will be necessary only to go to take possession. (Haydock)
Judges 18:10 We shall come to a people that is secure, into a spacious country, and the Lord will deliver the place to us, in which there is no want of any thing that groweth on the earth.

Secure. "No one is sooner overcome than the man who has no fear; and security is generally the forerunner of ruin." Velleius 2., initium est calamitatis securitas.
Judges 18:11 There went therefore of the kindred of Dan, to wit, from Saraa and Esthaol, six hundred men, furnished with arms for war.

War, besides their wives, etc., ver. 21.
Judges 18:12 And going up they lodged in Cariathiarim of Juda: which place from that time is called the camp of Dan, and is behind Cariathiarim.

Behind, on the west. (Calmet)
Judges 18:13 From thence they passed into Mount Ephraim. And when they were come to the house of Michas,

Judges 18:14 The five men, that before had been sent to view the land of Lais, said to the rest of their brethren: You know that in these houses there is an ephod and theraphim, and a graven and a molten god: see what you are pleased to do.

To do. Whether we must take them by force or by craft. (Haydock) --- It seems they had a premeditated design to seize them. (Calmet)
Judges 18:15 And when they had turned a little aside, they went into the house of the young man the Levite, who was in the house of Michas: and they saluted him with words of peace.

Judges 18:16 And the six hundred men stood before the door, appointed with their arms.

Judges 18:17 But they that were gone into the house of the young man, went about to take away the graven god, and the ephod, and the theraphim, and the molten god, and the priest stood before the door, the six hundred valiant men waiting not far off.

They. Hebrew and Septuagint, "and the five men that went to spy out the land." (Haydock) --- Off. The Levite's attention was drawn off for a while by the 600 men, till the five, who had formerly become acquainted with him, had ransacked his little temple. (Calmet) --- Perceiving them as they came out, he began to complain, but was soon persuaded to follow the Danites, and to abandon his former protector. So little dependence can be had on those who are faithless to their God! (Haydock)
Judges 18:18 So they that were gone in took away the graven thing, the ephod, and the idols, and the molten god. And the priest said to them: What are you doing?

Judges 18:19 And they said to him: Hold thy peace, and put thy finger on thy mouth, and come with us, that we may have thee for a father, and a priest. Whether is better for thee, to be a priest in the house of one man, or in a tribe and family in Israel?

Mouth; to signify that silence must be observed, Job 29:9., and Ecclesiasticus 5:12.[14?] Angerona, among the Romans, and Harpocrates, in Egypt, were represented in this posture; digitoque silentia suadet. (Ovid, Met. ix.)
Judges 18:20 When he had heard this, he agreed to their words, and took the ephod, and the idols, and the graven god, and departed with them.

Judges 18:21 And when they were going forward, and had put before them the children and the cattle, and all that was valuable,

Judges 18:22 And were now at a distance from the house of Michas, the men that dwelt in the houses of Michas gathering together followed them,

Houses. Hebrew, "near the house of Michas." The poor fellow called his neighbours, and pursued the Danites, (Haydock) despising as it were all his other effects, in comparison with his god. (Menochius)
Judges 18:23 And began to shout out after them. They looked back, and said to Michas: What aileth thee? Why dost thou cry?

Judges 18:24 And he answered: You have taken away my gods which I have made me, and the priest, and all that I have, and do you say: What aileth thee?

Judges 18:25 And the children of Dan said to him: See thou say no more to us, lest men enraged come upon thee, and thou perish with all thy house.

House. The violence and injustice of the Danites cannot be excused, particularly as they were stealing what they deemed sacred. (Calmet)
Judges 18:26 And so they went on the journey they had begun. But Michas seeing that they were stronger than he, returned to his house.

Judges 18:27 And the six hundred men took the priest, and the things we spoke of before, and came to Lais, to a people that was quiet and secure, and smote them with the edge of the sword: and the city they burnt with fire,

And, etc. Hebrew, "and they took what Michas had made, and the priest,....and came." (Haydock) --- Fire, as they could not make themselves masters of it otherwise. They were forced afterwards to rebuild it. Some Rabbins have supposed, that Sidon and its colonies were not given by God to Israel: but their proofs are unsatisfactory. Lais was inhabited by the Chanaanites; and though it was in the territory of Aser, as the people of Dan had made the conquest, they were suffered to keep quiet possession of it. See Josue 17:10.
Judges 18:28 There being no man at all who brought them any succour, because they dwelt far from Sidon, and had no society or business with any man. And the city was in the land of Rohob: and they rebuilt it, and dwelt therein,

Rohob, which stood at the foot of Libanus. The vale belonging to this city, extended for about twenty miles.
Judges 18:29 Calling the name of the city Dan, after the name of their father, who was the son of Israel, which before was called Lais.

Lais. Hebrew Ulam Layish, as the Septuagint express it. (Calmet) --- But the former term is explained by the Alexandrian and other copies in the sense of the Vulgate, before. (Haydock) --- Dan is often placed for the northern boundary of Palestine. (Calmet)
Judges 18:30 And they set up to themselves the graven idol, and Jonathan the son of Gersam, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests in the tribe of Dan, until the day of their captivity.

Idol. Hebrew pasel. (Worthington) --- Grabe's Septuagint, "the graven thing of Michas, and Jonathan the son of Gersam, of the son of Manasses." The Roman copy omits "of Michas," but retains Manasses, as the present Hebrew reads, instead of Moses. (Haydock) --- It is suspected that the Jews have inserted an n over the word Mose[Moses?], that it might not be known that a grandson of their lawgiver had been guilty of such impiety. They have not dared, however, to place the letter in the same rank as the others, but have suspended it, (Calmet) as if it were suspected, says Michaelis. Abendana relates, that by (or on) the authority of the ancients, this nun was added for the honour of Moses, lest his grandson might appear to be the first little sacrificing priest of an idol. The Latin Vulgate reads the name of Moses; and I am convinced that Moses, and not Manasses, ought to be understood: for how could a Levite have Manasses for his ancestor? (Grotius, Comm. 1753.) The Jews pretend that this relationship to the idolatrous king of Juda was not real, but figurative, in as much as Jonathan acted like him. But thus the reproach would fall on Gersam, who is said to be the son of Manasses, while the idolatrous priest is only placed as the son of Gersam. It is surely very absurd to say that he was the son of Manasses, because Manasses acted like him 800 years afterwards; and Sol. Jarchi honestly confesses that, "for the honour of Moses nun was written, on purpose to change the name, and it was written suspended, to indicate that it was not Manasses, but Moses." See Talmud Bava. fol. 109. The letter has, however, sometimes been suspended half way, and sometimes uniformly inserted, so that it has at last supplanted the genuine word. Some copies of the Septuagint agree with the Vulgate. (Brug.) --- Theodoret reads, "Jonathan, the son of Manasses, of the son (uiou) of Gersam, of the son of Moses," retaining both words, in order to be sure of the right one, as the copies varied. (Kennicott, Dis. 2., see Deuteronomy 27:4.) Here we have a plain proof of the liberties which the Jews have taken with their text. But the providence of God has left us means to detect their fraud, by the Vulgate, etc. In other difficulties of a like nature, the collation of ancient manuscripts and versions will generally remove the uncertainty, and we may pronounce that the word of God has not been adulterated, though perhaps no one copy may now represent it in all its genuine beauty and integrity. See Proelog. in SS. Mariana, C. xxiii. T. iii.; Menochius, etc. Protestants here follow the corrupted Hebrew, "Manasseh." (Haydock) --- Captivity, under the Philistines, when many of their brethren were taken prisoners, (Psalm 77:61.; Tirinus) and when Samuel obliged all Israel to renounce idolatry, 1 Kings 7:4. (Estius) --- Serarius, (q. 7.) or the sacred penman, speaks of a captivity, the particulars of which are not recorded. Salien understands it of the captivity of Nephthali, 35 years before the rest of the kingdom of Israel was destroyed: (4 Kings 15:29.; Haydock) though Lyranus and Bonfrere explain it of the latter event, under Salmanaser, 4 Kings xvii. (Menochius) --- We may allow that some interruptions took place under Samuel, David, etc. (Salien) --- In effect, Jonathan and his posterity might serve the idol of Michas till it was destroyed, at the same time as the ark was removed from Silo; (ver. 31.) and afterwards they might relapse into their wonted impiety, and act in the character of priests to the golden calves of Jeroboam; who, no doubt, would prefer such of the tribe of Levi as would come over to him, (Ezechiel 44:10.) though he was generally forced to select his priests from the dregs of the people, 3 Kings xii. In this sense they might be priests in Dan, till Salmanaser led them captives. But substituting galoth or geloth, we might translate, "till the deliverance of the land," which was effected by Samuel; (Calmet) who not only repressed the Philistines, (1 Kings 7:13.) but also persuaded all Israel to renounce the service of idols, 1 Kings 7:4. (Haydock)
Judges 18:31 And the idol of Michas remained with them all the time, that the house of God was in Silo. In those days there was no king in Israel.

In Silo. The ark was taken by the Philistines, (1 Kings iv.) after remaining at Silo 349 years, and 217 from the idolatry of Michas and of Dan. (Salien) (Haydock) --- In those. The Hebrew here commences the following chapter, which contains an account of another instance of licentiousness, which probably took place after the two former. Phinees was high priest; but there was no civil head. (Calmet)
Judges 19:0 A Levite bringing home his wife, is lodged by an old man at Gabaa, in the tribe of Benjamin. His wife is there abused by wicked men, and in the morning found dead. Her husband cutteth her body in pieces, and sendeth to every tribe of Israel, requiring them to revenge the wicked fact.

Judges 19:1 There was a certain Levite, who dwelt on the side of Mount Ephraim, who took a wife of Bethlehem Juda:

Ephraim. Some think at Silo, to which place, he says, he was going, (ver. 18,) though it might be only out of devotion. (Calmet) --- A wife. Hebrew, "a concubine." Septuagint joins both together, "he took a harlot to wife." (Haydock)
Judges 19:2 And she left him, and returned to her father's house in Bethlehem, and abode with him four months.

Left him. Hebrew thozné. Now tizne, (Du Hamel) "his concubine, fell into fornication against (Junius improperly translates with) him." Chaldean, "She despised and went from him." Septuagint, "She was vexed at or she left him." (Calmet) --- Josephus, "as he was deeply in love with her on account of her beauty, he was displeased that she did not correspond with his love. Hence a quarrel ensuing, the woman would not bear his continual expostulations, and leaving her husband, after four months, returns to her parents. Hither, overcome by his love for her, he follows, and, by the mediation of her parents, he is reconciled to his wife, both agreeing to lay aside all complaints." (Antiquities 5:2.) --- It is clear that the Septuagint, Vulgate, etc., have read the text in a different manner from what we do at present, and their explanation seems more rational than the Hebrew. For, is it probable that a Levite should go to be reconciled to an adulteress, contrary to the intention of the law (Deuteronomy 24:2., Jeremias 3:1., and Proverbs 18:22.) and the custom of the Jews, as well as of pagan nations, who looked upon those with contempt, who kept a woman of this character? The word concubine, we have often remarked, signifies a wife without a dowry, etc., (Calmet) such as the Mahometans still maintain as lawful wives. (Busbec. ii.) --- Months. Josephus explain this of the time she had remained with her husband.
Judges 19:3 And her husband followed her, willing to be reconciled with her, and to speak kindly to her, and to bring her back with him, having with him a servant and two asses: and she received him, and brought him into her father's house. And when his father-in-law had heard this, and had seen him, he met him with joy,

With him. Hebrew, "her husband arose and followed her to speak to her heart, to bring her back," Genesis 34:3. He shewed great condescension and love, (Haydock) and she received him with suitable sentiments of regard, and did not become more haughty, as women, who perceive themselves to be courted, frequently do. If she had been married to another, she could not have been received by her former husband.
Judges 19:4 And embraced the man. And the son-in-law tarried in the house of his father-in-law three days, eating with him and drinking familiarly.

Judges 19:5 But on the fourth day, arising early in the morning, he desired to depart. But his father-in-law kept him, and said to him: Taste first a little bread, and strengthen thy stomach, and so thou shalt depart.

Judges 19:6 And they sat down together, and ate and drank. And the father of the young woman said to his son-in-law: I beseech thee to stay here to-day, and let us make merry together.

Judges 19:7 But he rising up, began to be for departing. And nevertheless his father-in-law earnestly pressed him, and made him stay with him.

With him. A beautiful instance of hospitality, like that of the disciples at Emaus, Luke 24:29. (Menochius)
Judges 19:8 But when morning was come, the Levite prepared to go on his journey. And his father-in-law said to him again: I beseech thee to take a little meat, and strengthening thyself, till the day be farther advanced, afterwards thou mayest depart. And they ate together.

Advanced. Hebrew, "and they tarried until the evening." Septuagint, "rest till the day decline." (Haydock) --- He wishes them to wait till the heat of the day be over. (Calmet) --- When he had obtained this request, he made the late hour an excuse for detaining them longer. But unhappily, the Levite was too resolute and desirous of returning home.
Judges 19:9 And the young man arose to set forward with his wife and servant. And his father-in-law spoke to him again: Consider that the day is declining, and draweth toward evening: tarry with me to-day also, and spend the day in mirth, and to-morrow thou shalt depart, that thou mayest go into thy house.

Depart. Hebrew and Septuagint add, "early," before the sun was up to render travelling incommodious. (Haydock)
Judges 19:10 His son-in-law would not consent to his words: but forthwith went forward, and came over-against Jebus, which by another name is called Jerusalem, leading with him two asses loaden, and his concubine.

Jebus was about six short miles from Bethlehem, and as many from Gabaa. It had not yet fallen into the hands of Juda (Calmet) and Benjamin, (Haydock) or they had been expelled again, so that the old inhabitants held possession of it at this time, (Calmet) as they did of the citadel till the reign of David. See Judges 1:6, 21. (Haydock) --- Concubine. She was his lawful wife: but even lawful wives are frequently in Scripture called concubines. See above, Judges 8:31. (Challoner) --- Ver. 2.
Judges 19:11 And now they were come near Jebus, and the day was far spent: and the servant said to his master: Come, I beseech thee, let us turn into the city of the Jebusites, and lodge there.

Judges 19:12 His master answered him: I will not go into the town of another nation, who are not of the children of Israel, but I will pass over to Gabaa:

Judges 19:13 And when I shall come thither, we will lodge there, or at least in the city of Rama.

Rama was not so far as Gabaa; so that, if they could not travel to the latter place, they might turn to the former, and lodge all night. They held on their journey, however, till they came not very late, to Gabaa.
Judges 19:14 So they passed by Jebus, and went on their journey, and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gabaa, which is in the tribe of Benjamin:

Judges 19:15 And they turned into it to lodge there. And when they were come in, they sat in the street of the city, for no man would receive them to lodge.

Lodge. No one invited them in. How much had these people degenerated from the manners of Abraham and of Lot, to imitate those of the men of Sodom! (Haydock) --- There was no inn it seems at Gabaa, though we read of some at Jericho, Gaza, etc., Judges 16:1., Josue 2:1., and Genesis 42:27. (Calmet)
Judges 19:16 And behold they saw an old man, returning out of the field and from his work in the evening, and he also was of Mount Ephraim, and dwelt as a stranger in Gabaa; but the men of that country were the children of Jemini.

Jemini. That is, Benjamin. (Challoner) --- Judges 3:15.
Judges 19:17 And the old man lifting up his eyes, saw the man sitting with his bundles in the street of the city, and said to him: Whence comest thou? and whither goest thou?

Bundles. Hebrew, "saw a traveller in," etc.
Judges 19:18 He answered him: We came out from Bethlehem Juda, and we are going to our home, which is on the side of Mount Ephraim, from whence we went to Bethlehem: and now we go to the house of God, and none will receive us under his roof:

Of God. Septuagint, "to my house I return in haste; and no one brings me into his house." The tabernacle was fixed at Silo in Ephraim. (Haydock) --- Chaldean, "the house of the sanctuary of God." (Menochius) (Ver. 1.)
Judges 19:19 We have straw and hay for provender of the asses, and bread and wine for the use of myself and of thy handmaid, and of the servant that is with me: we want nothing but lodging.

Straw. It used to be cut small, as hay was very scarce. (St. Jerome in Isaias xxv.) Hebrew, "straw and provender."
Judges 19:20 And the old man answered him: Peace be with thee: I will furnish all things that are necessary: only I beseech thee, stay not in the street.

I will. Hebrew, "all thy wants be upon me." I will furnish all that may be requisite. In this wicked city, there was at least, one generous soul, like Lot in Sodom, Genesis xviii., and xix.
Judges 19:21 And he brought him into his house, and gave provender to his asses: and after they had washed their feet, he entertained them with a feast.

Judges 19:22 While they were making merry, and refreshing their bodies with meat and drink, after the labour of the journey, the men of that city, sons of Belial (that is, without yoke), came and beset the old man's house, and began to knock at the door, calling to the master of the house, and saying: *Bring forth the man that came into thy house, that we may abuse him.

Genesis 19:5.
That is, etc. An interpretation of the Vulgate. Belial is sometimes rendered "devilish, apostate," etc. Septuagint, "lawless, or transgressors." (Menochius) --- Aquila, "rebels." Symmachus, "libertines," without education or restraint. (Calmet) --- Josephus lays the blame on some young men, who had been captivated with the charms of the Levite's wife, whom they had seen in the street. But they seem to have had designs still more criminal, though they were prevailed upon to desist, when she was abandoned to them. (Haydock) --- The demanded the Levite himself. (Calmet)
Judges 19:23 And the old man went out to them, and said: Do not so, my brethren, do not so wickedly: because this man is come into my lodging, and cease I pray you from this folly.

Judges 19:24 I have a maiden daughter, and this man hath a concubine, I will bring them out to you, and you may humble them, and satisfy your lust: only, I beseech you, commit not this crime against nature on the man.

I have, etc. A similar proposal was made by Lot; (Genesis 19:8,) and hence the old man, who was brought up to hard labour, and the young Levite might, through ignorance, suppose it lawful for them to do the like. (Menochius) --- It is lawful to advise a man, who is about to commit two crimes, to be satisfied with the less: but we cannot persuade any one to do even the smallest offence, that good may ensue, Romans 3:8. The ignorance or good intention of these people might extenuate, but could hardly excuse their conduct, as it was unjust to the woman, whom the people of Gabaa did not ask for; and they ought rather to have encountered the utmost fury of the populace. Had the latter even come to the extremity proposed, if the Levite had made all possible resistance, his virtue could not have been injured. (Calmet) --- His crown would have been doubled, as St. Lucy observed when the judge threatened to have her prostituted. Castitas mihi duplicabitur ad coronam. (Dec. xiii.) (Haydock) --- Perhaps in the agitation of mind, caused by such a brutal proposal, the old man might have been so disturbed, as scarcely to know what he was saying, and he did not afterwards expose his daughter. (Calmet) --- But the Levite, seeing him in such a dilemma, on his account (Haydock) took his wife by force. (Hebrew, etc.) See Tostat; Bonfrere. (Estius) (Calmet) --- Against nature. Hebrew, "unto this man do not so vile a thing."
Judges 19:25 They would not be satisfied with his words; which the man seeing, brought out his concubine to them, and abandoned her to their wickedness: and when they had abused her all the night, they let her go in the morning.

And abandoned. Hebrew, "and they knew her and abused her." (Haydock) --- Interpreters say in the most unnatural manner. (Calmet)
Judges 19:26 But the woman, at the dawning of the day, came to the door of the house, where her lord lodged, and there fell down.

Lord. So wives styled their husbands, 1 Peter 3:5. --- Down dead through fatigue, (Menochius) shame, and grief. (Josephus) --- She had not power to knock. (Calmet) --- Though the former misconduct of this unhappy woman might call for punishment, yet, after she was reconciled to her husband, we cannot but think he used her ill, though he acted through a sort of constraint and ignorance. (Haydock) --- Instances of women dying under a similar treatment, may be found in Herodotus, and in the Russian and Turkish historians. (Calmet)
Judges 19:27 And in the morning the man arose, and opened the door, that he might end the journey he had begun: and behold his concubine lay before the door with her hands spread on the threshold.

Judges 19:28 He thinking she was taking her rest, said to her: Arise, and let us be going. But as she made no answer, perceiving she was dead, he took her up, and laid her upon his ass, and returned to his house.

Judges 19:29 And when he was come home, he took a sword, and divided the dead body of his wife with her bones into twelve parts, and sent the pieces into all the borders of Israel.

Israel. One part, like an epistle, written with blood, to every tribe. (Salien) --- Some, without reason, think that Benjamin was neglected: but they were to be summoned, to bring their guilty brethren (Calmet) to condign punishment, or to share in their fate, as accomplices of the crime. (Haydock) --- The state of the republic authorized the Levite to take this extraordinary method of rousing all to a sense of horror for what had been done. (Calmet) --- His brethren, dispersed through the country, would no doubt take part in his grief.
Judges 19:30 And when every one had seen this, they all cried out: There was never such a thing done in Israel, from the day that our fathers came up out of Egypt, until this day: give sentence, and decree in common what ought to be done.

Egypt, that is for the space of eighty years. (Salien) --- Indeed the annals of all past ages could hardly furnish an instance of such barbarous lust. --- Done. In every city, people gathered together to consult how the crime was to be expiated; (Haydock) and all agreed to assemble before the Lord. (Calmet) --- Grabe's Septuagint observes, that the Levite "gave order to the men, to whom he sent, saying, these things shall you speak to every Israelite. If such a word (or thing) has come to pass, from the day of the coming up of the sons of Israel out of Egypt, till the present day? Take ye advice concerning it, and speak." (Haydock)
Judges 20:0 The Israelites warring against Benjamin are twice defeated; but in the third battle the Benjaminites are all slain, saving six hundred men.

Judges 20:1 Then all the children of Israel went out, and gathered together as one man, *from Dan to Bersabee, with the land of Galaad, to the Lord in Maspha:

Osee 9:9.
Bersabee, from the northern to the southern extremity of the land, (Calmet) west of the Jordan, as Galaad denotes that on the east, belonging to Israel. Only the Benjamites and the town of Jabes declined attending. (Haydock) --- Maspha, on the confines of the tribes of Juda and Benjamin. Here the people frequently assembled; and it was a place of prayer, 1 Machabees 3:46. It is thought that an altar of the Lord had been erected. (Calmet) --- Maspha denotes, "a height or watch-tower," (Haydock) near Silo. (Mas.[Massius?] in Josue 18:26.)
Judges 20:2 And all the chiefs of the people, and all the tribes of Israel, met together in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand foot-men fit for war.

Chiefs. Literally, "angles or corner-stones," whose business it was to keep the people in order; or, all the different ranks of men may be designated. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "the climate," or country. (Haydock) --- Syriac and Arabic, "the families of all the people." (1 Kings 14:38.) (Calmet)
Judges 20:3 (Nor were the children of Benjamin ignorant that the children of Israel were come up to Maspha). And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was killed, being asked, how so great a wickedness had been committed,

Levite. Hebrew and Septuagint do not say that the discourse was addressed to him; but he was the most interested, and capable of giving a true account. Hebrew, "They said the children of Israel, Relate (Septuagint, ye) how this wickedness happened, (4) And the Levite," etc., answered.
Judges 20:4 Answered: I came into Gabaa, of Benjamin, with my wife, and there I lodged:

Judges 20:5 And behold the men of that city, in the night beset the house wherein I was, intending to kill me, and abused my wife with an incredible fury of lust, so that at last she died.

Kill me. He expressed an abominable crime by another less horrible. (Salien) --- But he does not say that he brought out his wife. He might conclude, that if he had been exposed to their fury, he would have experienced a similar fate. (Haydock) --- So determined was he to resist to the last extremity. The outrage would have been more hateful to him than death. (Calmet) --- We may reasonably conclude that his wife had the same sentiments, and that she died a martyr to her conjugal fidelity, resisting even unto death, and thus making some atonement for her past misconduct.
Judges 20:6 And I took her and cut her in pieces, and sent the parts into all the borders of your possession: because there never was so heinous a crime, and so great an abomination committed in Israel.

Because, etc. Hebrew and Septuagint, "for they have wrought (zimma, a word which the Septuagint (Alexandrian and Vatican) leave untranslated, others render dishonesty) lewdness and folly," or a most impious act of lust. (Haydock) --- They do not compare this crime with every other that had been committed, as idolatry, and other sins, which directly attack God, are greater. But this was the most atrocious injustice which could be done to a fellow creature. (Salien)
Judges 20:7 You are all here, O children of Israel, determine what you ought to do.

Judges 20:8 And all the people standing, answered as by the voice of one man: We will not return to our tents, neither shall any one of us go into his own house:

Judges 20:9 But this we will do in common against Gabaa:

In common. Hebrew, "by lot." (Calmet) --- They chose one man out of ten to procure provisions, selecting 40,000 for that purpose, or the 10th part of the forces. (Haydock)
Judges 20:10 We will take ten men of a hundred out of all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred out of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to bring victuals for the army, that we might fight against Gabaa of Benjamin, and render to it for its wickedness, what it deserveth.

Judges 20:11 And all Israel were gathered together against the city, as one man, with one mind, and one counsel:

With, etc. This is added to explain. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "united as one man." (Haydock)
Judges 20:12 And they sent messengers to all the tribe of Benjamin, to say to them: Why hath so great an abomination been found among you?

Sent. The law of nations requires that satisfaction be demanded, (Calmet) before a war commence. (Menochius) --- The former resolution (ver. 9,) was only conditional, if the Benjamites should prefer defending their brethren of Gabaa, before punishing them, as they deserved. (Calmet) --- Indeed their absenting themselves from this general assembly, implied as much, and the Israelites were determined, at any rate, to see that the guilty were duly punished. (Haydock) --- Tribe. Hebrew, "tribes," denoting the great families of Benjamin, Genesis 46:21., and Numbers 26:38.
Judges 20:13 Deliver up the men of Gabaa, that have committed this heinous crime, that they may die, and the evil may be taken away out of Israel. But they would not hearken to the proposition of their brethren the children of Israel:

Judges 20:14 But out of all the cities which were of their lot, they gathered themselves together into Gabaa, to aid them, and to fight against the whole people of Israel.

Judges 20:15 And there were found of Benjamin five and twenty thousand men that drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gabaa,

Men. This number is verified, ver. 35. The Benjamites had 25,700 in all, of whom they lost 25,100; so that 600 remained. Hebrew reads here 26,000; and some pretend (Calmet) that 1000 fell in the two victories which they obtained. (Grotius, etc.) --- But this is without proof, and the Vulgate is confirmed by Josephus, and by most of the copies of the Septuagint, though the Vatican copy has only 23,000. (Calmet) --- Gabaa. Hebrew and Septuagint add, "which were numbered 700 chosen men." Grabe repeats in the following verse with the Hebrew, "Among all this people, 700 chosen men," which seems to insinuate that these expert archers were selected out of all the army. (Haydock) --- But the other copies of the Septuagint agree with the Vulgate, that they were all of Gabaa, (Calmet) as if they were trained at this city with more particular care, to hit a mark how small soever.
Judges 20:16 Who were seven hundred most valiant men, fighting with the left hand as well as with the right: and slinging stones so sure that they could hit even a hair, and not miss by the stone's going on either side.

Right. Septuagint, "ambidextrous." Moderns generally translate the Hebrew, "left-handed." But we have seen that such a meaning is improbable, Judges 3:15. --- Side. The inhabitants of Palestine formerly applied themselves very much to this exercise, and by them it was propagated over other parts of the world. (Pliny, [Natural History?] 7:56.) Strabo (iii.) observes that the people of the Balearic islands became famous for slinging, only after the Phoenicians had taken possession of their country, which is the present Majorca and Minorca. They could hit the mark without failing, and penetrate every sort of armour. (Florus iii.) Their bullets of lead were sent with such violence, as sometimes to melt in the air, according to Ovid and Seneca, q. 2. 56. The slingers commonly stood 600 paces from the mark of white, which they seldom missed. (Veget. 2:23.) The stones which they used weighted a pound among the Romans. The sling would frequently carry farther than a bow. (Xenophon, Anab. v.) Yet the exploits of bowmen are not less extraordinary than what is here recorded. Philostorgius (II. 12,) assures us that the Indians, after they have been drinking, will shoot at a child, and only touch the ends of his hair. Domitian would shoot from a great distance, and make the arrow pass between the extended fingers of a child, and at other times would divest himself with piercing an animal with two arrows, so that they would stick out like horns. (Suetonius) Soranus could send an arrow into the air, and pierce it with another as it fell. The emperor Hadrian writes of him, "Emissumque arcu dum pendet in aere telum, Ac redit ex alto, fixi fregique sagitta." (Calmet)
Judges 20:17 Of the men of Israel also, beside the children of Benjamin, were found four hundred thousand that drew swords and were prepared to fight.

Thousand. Their numbers had decreased since they came out of Egypt, (Numbers 1., and 26.) when they were 600,000 fighting men. (Menochius) --- But we must reflect, that some would be left to garrison the cities, etc. The Benjamites must surely have been infatuated to encounter so great a force in such a cause. (Haydock)
Judges 20:18 And they arose and came to the house of God, that is, to Silo: and they consulted God, and said: Who shall be in our army the first to go to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord answered them: Let Juda be your leader.

Silo. Hebrew simply "to Bethel," which the Septuagint, Syriac, Josephus, and others, explain of the city: but others generally understand "the house of God," at Silo, for which Bethel is placed, Judges 21:2, 9, and 12. Phinees resided near the tabernacle, and was desired to consult God. --- Juda is not the name of a man, but of the tribe; (Calmet) and probably Othoniel would have the chief command. (Salien) --- The Israelites do not ask whether they ought to make war on their brethren, etc., but only desire to know which tribe shall begin the attack, Judges 1:1., and 10:18. They manifest a degree of presumption, which God soon chastised, (Calmet) as well as the idolatry of Dan, etc., which they had neglected to punish, though they had an express command to do it, Deuteronomy 13:12. (Salien) --- They were full of pride, and only concerned to revenge their own wrongs. (Haydock)
Judges 20:19 And forthwith the children of Israel rising in the morning, camped by Gabaa:

Judges 20:20 And going out from thence to fight against Benjamin, began to assault the city.

Judges 20:21 And the children of Benjamin coming out of Gabaa, slew of the children of Israel that day two and twenty thousand men.

Judges 20:22 Again Israel, trusting in their strength and their number, set their army in array in the same place, where they had fought before:

Trusting in their strength. The Lord suffered them to be overthrown, and many of them to be slain, though their cause was just; partly in punishment of the idolatry which they exercised or tolerated in the tribe of Dan, and elsewhere: and partly because they trusted in their own strength: and therefore, though he bid them fight, he would not give them the victory, till they were thoroughly humbled, and had learned to trust in him alone. (Challoner) --- God's thoughts are often very different from ours; and he frequently delays to crown with success the most holy enterprises, that man may learn to be more humble, and to trust wholly in his mercy. (Calmet)
Judges 20:23 Yet so that they first went up and wept before the Lord until night: and consulted him, and said: Shall I go out any more to fight against the children of Benjamin my brethren or not? And he answered them: Go up against them, and join battle.

And join battle. This is an explanation of Hebrew, "against him." (Haydock) --- The Israelites still neglected to sue for the divine protection, trusting in their numbers. God sends them again to battle, and suffers them to be routed. Did he deceive them? By no means. He wished them to learn the important lesson of self-diffidence, and he had not promised them the victory. (Haydock) --- But after they had humbled themselves, He acts like a master. I will deliver, etc., ver. 28. (Calmet)
Judges 20:24 And when the children of Israel went out the next day to fight against the children of Benjamin,

Judges 20:25 The children of Benjamin sallied forth out of the gates of Gabaa: and meeting them, made so great a slaughter of them, as to kill eighteen thousand men that drew the sword.

Sword. In each battle the Benjamites kill almost as many as their whole army, in all 40,000 Israelites, without losing a man, ver. 15. (Haydock)
Judges 20:26 Wherefore all the children of Israel came to the house of God, and sat and wept before the Lord: and they fasted that day till the evening, and offered to him holocausts, and victims of peace-offerings,

Evening. Till then the Jews never eat on fasting days. The Turks still do the like: but they only change day into night, as they sleep till sunset, and then begin to feast and to make merry. (Calmet)
Judges 20:27 And inquired of him concerning their state. At that time the ark of the covenant of the Lord was there,

Judges 20:28 And Phinees, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was over the house. So they consulted the Lord, and said: Shall we go out any more to fight against the children of Benjamin, our brethren, or shall we cease? And the Lord said to them: Go up, for to-morrow I will deliver them into your hands.

Was over. Hebrew, "stood before it at that time," (Haydock) in the camp, (Calmet) or perhaps at Silo, which was not so remote; but some, if not the whole army, might go thither to weep, and to consult the Lord. Phinees had formerly displayed his zeal against the impiety of Beelphegor, Numbers 25:7. He was contemporary with Jonathan, the priest of Michas. (Kennicott) --- Hence it appears that this took place not long after the death of Eleazar, Josue xxiv. (Worthington)
Judges 20:29 And the children of Israel set ambushes round about the city of Gabaa:

Judges 20:30 And they drew up their army against Benjamin the third time, as they had done the first and second.

Judges 20:31 And the children of Benjamin boldly issued out of the city, and seeing their enemies flee, pursued them a long way, so as to wound and kill some of them, as they had done the first and second day, whilst they fled by two highways, whereof one goeth up to Bethel, and the other to Gabaa, and they slew about thirty men:

To Gabaa, from some other city. (Haydock) --- This body of men consisted of 10,000, who were designed to draw off the Benjamites from the city into the midst of the forces of Israel, at Baalthamar; while another division, in ambush, on the west of Gabaa, had to enter the city, and having set it on fire, were to prevent the inhabitants from re-entering. (Calmet) --- They use a similar stratagem to that which Josue (Josue viii.) had employed against Hai. (Salien)
Judges 20:32 For they thought to cut them off as they did before. But they artfully feigning a flight, designed to draw them away from the city, and by their seeming to flee, to bring them to the highways aforesaid.

Judges 20:33 Then all the children of Israel rising up out of the places where they were, set their army in battle array, in the place which is called Baalthamar. The ambushes also, which were about the city, began by little and little to come forth,

Baalthamar, the plain of Jericho; (Chaldean) or rather a village in the vicinity of Gabaa, which Eusebius calls Besthamar.
Judges 20:34 And to march from the west side of the city. And other ten thousand men chosen out of all Israel, attacked the inhabitants of the city. And the battle grew hot against the children of Benjamin: and they understood not that present death threatened them on every side.

West side. Hebrew máre, "a cavern," (Calmet) "a plain," (Chaldean) "the thickets." (Vat.[Vatable?] etc.) But the Septuagint have read márbe, "the west," with the Vulgate. (Calmet) --- The Vatican copy leaves Maraagabe. (Menochius) --- Gabaa was situated on a hill, and the ambuscade might be concealed in a cavern, some of which in Palestine are very spacious. (Calmet)
Judges 20:35 And the Lord defeated them before the children of Israel, and they slew of them in that day five and twenty thousand, and one hundred, all fighting men, and that drew the sword.

The sword. It seems the slingers also used the sword, ver. 16.
Judges 20:36 But the children of Benjamin, when they saw themselves to be too weak, began to flee. Which the children of Israel seeing, gave them place to flee, that they might come to the ambushes that were prepared, which they had set near the city.

Flee; some towards the city, others to the wilderness, and to Remmon, ver. 45. (Haydock) --- That. Hebrew, "because they confided in those whom they had placed in ambush, near Gabaa." Hence they were not so eager to prevent their flight, by surrounding them.
Judges 20:37 And they that were in ambush arose on a sudden out of their coverts, and whilst Benjamin turned their backs to the slayers, went into the city, and smote it with the edge of the sword.

Arose. Hebrew, "drew along (advanced or sounded the trumpet a long time,") perhaps for a signal, (Calmet) though the firing of the city seems to have been designed for this purpose, ver. 40. (Haydock)
Judges 20:38 Now the children of Israel had given a sign to them, whom they had laid in ambushes, that after they had taken the city, they should make a fire: that by the smoke rising on high, they might shew that the city was taken.

Judges 20:39 And when the children of Israel saw this in the battle, (for the children of Benjamin thought they fled, and pursued them vigorously, killing thirty men of their army)

Saw. Hebrew, "retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and to kill....about thirty men; for they said, surely they are destroyed before us, (or flee) as in the first battle." It is wonderful that they should thus so easily fall into the very snare laid formerly for the men of Hai, Josue 8:5.
Judges 20:40 And perceived, as it were, a pillar of smoke rise up from the city; and Benjamin looking back, saw that the city was taken, and that the flames ascended on high:

Judges 20:41 They that before had made as if they fled, turning their faces, stood bravely against them. Which the children of Benjamin seeing, turned their backs,

Judges 20:42 And began to go towards the way of the desert, the enemy pursuing them thither also. And they that fired the city came also out to meet them.

Them. Hebrew, "and those who came out of the cities, (of Benjamin) they (destroyed, (Haydock) or the other Israelites) destroyed them who fled in the midst of them."
Judges 20:43 And so it was, that they were slain on both sides by the enemies, and there was no rest of their men dying. They fell and were beaten down on the east side of the city of Gabaa.

Rest. Hebrew, "with ease, or at leisure they crushed them," etc. Others translate, (Calmet) Monvée, from Nucha, Noua, (Septuagint Roman; Haydock) Menucha," etc. We read of a place in the tribe of Juda, called Menuchta, 1 Paralipomenon 2:52. (Calmet) --- The same word may be taken as a proper name, or may signify rest. (Menochius)
Judges 20:44 And they that were slain in the same place, were eighteen thousand men, all most valiant soldiers.

Judges 20:45 And when they that remained of Benjamin saw this, they fled into the wilderness, and made towards the rock that is called Remmon. In that flight also, as they were straggling and going different ways, they slew of them five thousand men. And as they went farther, they still pursued them, and slew also other two thousand.

In that. Hebrew, "and they gleaned of them in the highways 5000 men, and pursued them close to Giddom," of which the Vulgate takes no notice. The Roman Septuagint reads "Gedan;" the rest have "Galaad."
Judges 20:46 And so it came to pass, that all that were slain of Benjamin, in divers places, were five and twenty thousand fighting men, most valiant for war.

War. The Scripture, and other authors of the greatest exactitude, sometimes use round numbers. (Calmet) --- An odd hundred (ver. 35, and 15.; Haydock) is here neglected. (Calmet)
Judges 20:47 And there remained of all the number of Benjamin only six hundred men that were able to escape, and flee to the wilderness: and they abode in the rock Remmon four months.

Escape. Mercy was shewn to these, as the tribe had been already treated with sufficient severity. St. Jerome says, they were "reserved for the sake of the apostle Paul," (epit. Paul. M.[Menochius?]) who was descended from some of them. (Haydock) --- Remmon, near Gabaa, Zacharias 14:10. Eusebius places it fourteen miles north of Jerusalem. (Calmet)
Judges 20:48 But the children of Israel returning, put all the remains of the city to the sword, both men and beasts, and all the cities and villages of Benjamin were consumed with devouring flames.

And villages, is not expressed in Hebrew, etc. But as both cities, and all the inhabitants were destroyed, the villages would share the same fate, (Haydock) as being under a curse. The Israelites concluded, from the exemplary vengeance which had been taken of Sodom and Gomorra, that they were authorized to treat their brethren in guilt with the utmost severity. (Calmet)
Judges 21:0 The tribe of Benjamin is saved from being utterly extinct, by providing wives for the six hundred that remained.

Judges 21:1 Now the children of Israel had also sworn in Maspha, saying: None of us shall give of his daughters to the children of Benjamin to wife.

Sworn, (juraverunt.) The mention of Maspha, seems to determine that this oath was taken before the battle; though it would otherwise appear, that the Israelites engaged themselves to extirpate the tribe in the heat of their fury, and after they destroyed the women of Benjamin. If they could lawfully slay their brethren indiscriminately, as connected in the same wicked cause, (Haydock) they might surely refuse their daughters to any of those (Menochius) who might chance to make their escape. (Haydock) --- But they ought first to have consulted the Lord, as this was a matter of as great consequence as to know who was first to go to battle. They seem to have discovered the rashness of their proceedings, and to have repented when it was too late; and they ridiculously attempt to elude the obligation of the oath, which lay heavy on their consciences. (Salien) --- They think it sufficient to adhere to the letter, while they neglect the spirit of their oath. (Haydock) --- The ancients had a scrupulous regard for oaths, and did not allow themselves the liberty of interpreting them away, Genesis 24:5., Josue 9:15., and 1 Kings 14:24. (Calmet) --- But here the Israelites wish to keep and to evade the oath at the same time. (Haydock) --- Serarius, etc., declare that their oath was lawful, as they did not consider the inconveniences which would attend its execution. As soon as they perceived them, the obligation ceased; though, if their erroneous conscience dictated the contrary to them, they were obliged to follow it, (Tirinus) if they could not receive a more certain information. (Haydock) --- Tostat and others maintain that the oath was null, as being illegal, and consequently of no force. Grotius (Jur. 2:2, 21,) lays it down as the right of nature, for people to marry with their neighbours, (Calmet) though any individual may refuse such connexions; (Haydock) and St. Augustine (de C.[City of God?] 2:17.) allows, that the Romans had "a right, perhaps, to seize the Sabine women, in a war declared on account of the unjust refusal." We can excuse the Benjamites for taking the women of Silo, by force, on no other plea, (Calmet) unless the consent of the parents and of the virgins intervened. (Haydock) (Ver. 22.) --- If, therefore, the Israelites could not lawfully deny their daughters in marriage to the Benjamites, their oath was unjust, and nowise obligatory. (Calmet) --- They had not right to punish the innocent with the guilty, as they had received no order from God; (Salien) and therefore they ought not to have slain the unoffending females of Benjamin, or of Jabes, ver. 11. It is not necessary for us to defend the rash oaths or conduct of the Israelites in exterminating their fellow creatures, who were innocent; nor in the rape, etc.
Judges 21:2 And they all came to the house of God in Silo, and sitting before him till the evening, lifted up their voices, and began to lament and weep, saying:

Silo. Hebrew simply, "to Bethel," as Judges 20:18. Septuagint Alexandrian, "to Maspha and Bethel." (Haydock)
Judges 21:3 O Lord God of Israel, why is so great an evil come to pass in thy people, that this day one tribe should be taken away from among us?

Evil. Thus they style their own cruelty, in destroying the women and children, and in taking an oath to prevent the remaining Benjamites from having any posterity, unless they married with strangers, which the law forbade, (Calmet) though it would hardly bind in cases of such necessity. (Haydock) --- Hence the sons of Noemi are excused from entering into such marriages, Ruth 1:4. (Tirinus) --- Hebrew and Septuagint do not mention, so great an evil, but only this. The context however shews, that the people considered the extermination of a whole tribe, as a dreadful misfortune; and, as it was going to take place in consequence of their oath, unless some expedient could be discovered to prevent it, without the guilt of perjury, they were moved with repentance, and endeavoured to appease God's wrath by a multiplicity of victims. How much better would it have been not to have made a vow, than after making it, to strive to render it ineffectual! (Ecclesiastes 5:3, 4.) It does not appear that God gave them any answer in all this affair; and the concluding verse seems to indicate, that their conduct was displeasing to him. Perhaps he punished this, as well as the other faults of his people, by delivering them over to Chusan for eight years, as Salien and Usher place the first year of servitude immediately after the close of this unfortunate war, which would enable the Chanaanites to gain fresh strength, and to rejoice at the civil broils of Israel, Judges 3:8. Aod, who slew Eglon, about 94 years afterwards, was not yet born. (Haydock)
Judges 21:4 And rising early the next day, they built an altar: and offered there holocausts, and victims of peace, and they said:

Altar, within the tabernacle, to suffice for the number of victims as Solomon did; (3 Kings 8:64.; Tirinus) or out of the court, by God's dispensation, as they were defiled with blood; (Numbers 31:24.; Calmet) though this is not certain, as four months elapsed between the battle and the reconciliation of the remaining Israelites with their brethren: (chap. 20:47.) so that during that interval, they might have committed the massacres in the different cities, and still have had time to be purified seven days, as the law required, before they could be allowed to enter the camp or the tabernacle. (Haydock) --- Some think that one altar was prescribed only during the sojournment in the desert. See Serarius. (Menochius)
Judges 21:5 Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the army of the Lord? for they had bound themselves with a great oath, when they were in Maspha, that whosoever were wanting should be slain.

Slain. Why then did they deem it lawful to reserve the virgins? or if they meant only those who were fit for war, why were the married women, etc., involved in the common ruin? The people of Jabes deserved chastisement, for seeming to connive at the wickedness of Gabaa, and by separating themselves from the religious sacrifices of the rest. But it does not appear that they were legally summoned, nor had the majority of the people a right to execute such summary justice upon a few, who perhaps might not have been acquainted with their vows and new made laws. (Haydock)
Judges 21:6 And the children of Israel being moved with repentance for their brother Benjamin, began to say: One tribe is taken away from Israel.

Say. Governors should use great discretion, and correct with justice and mercy. (St. Gregory 1. ep. 24.) (Worthington)
Judges 21:7 Whence shall they take wives? For we have all in general sworn, not to give our daughters to them.

In general. Hebrew, "by the Lord," with an imprecation, ver. 18. (Menochius)
Judges 21:8 Therefore they said: Who is there of all the tribes of Israel, that came not up to the Lord to Maspha. And, behold, the inhabitants of Jabes Galaad were found not to have been in that army.

Jabes was between Pella and Gerasa, upon a mountain, east of the Jordan. It was after its destruction rebuilt, (Calmet) and became very famous, (1 Kings xi.; Menochius) if it was indeed ever demolished. We know not what prevented the inhabitants from joining in the common cause. (Haydock)
Judges 21:9 (At that time also when they were in Silo, no one of them was found there,)

Judges 21:10 So they sent ten thousand of the most valiant men, and commanded them, saying: Go and put the inhabitants of Jabes Galaad to the sword, with their wives and their children.

Ten. Hebrew, Chaldean, Septuagint, and Josephus read, twelve. The refusal to serve in the national army was punished like a sort of rebellion, with death, no less than to desert. Debora curses the inhabitants of Meros, on this account, Judges 5:23.
Judges 21:11 And this is what you shall observe: *Every male, and all women that have known men, you shall kill, but the virgins you shall save.

Numbers 31:17-18.
But, etc. This is not expressed in the Hebrew or the Septuagint, though it be sufficiently implied, (Calmet) as the males and married women only are ordered to be slain. (Haydock) --- It is doubted whether the virgins, who were not fit for marriage, were reserved or butchered. But probably all the younger children were saved (Calmet) of that sex, though the order was to kill the wives and children; and the reason for sparing any was, that the Benjamites might be supplied with wives immediately. (Haydock) --- Hebrew and Septuagint intimate, that the citizens were to be treated as those who were under an anathema: "ye shall utterly destroy;" anathematize. Yet the house and cattle were spared. (Menochius)
Judges 21:12 And there were found of Jabes Galaad four hundred virgins, that had not known the bed of a man, and they brought them to the camp in Silo, into the land of Chanaan.

Judges 21:13 And they sent messengers to the children of Benjamin, that were in the rock Remmon, and commanded them to receive them in peace.

Them, the messengers to, etc. Hebrew, "and to make unto them a proclamation of peace." (Haydock)
Judges 21:14 And the children of Benjamin came at that time, and wives were given them of Jabes Galaad: but they found no others, whom they might give in like manner.

Judges 21:15 And all Israel was very sorry, and repented for the destroying of one tribe out of Israel.

Sorry, and. Hebrew, "for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a breach in Israel." (Calmet)
Judges 21:16 And the ancients said: What shall we do with the rest, that have not received wives? for all the women in Benjamin are dead.

Judges 21:17 And we must use all care, and provide with great diligence, that one tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.

And we, etc. Hebrew, "and they said: an inheritance for those Benjamites who have escaped, that a tribe," etc. They wished to repair the breach as fast as possible, so that each of the 600 may have a wife.
Judges 21:18 For as to our own daughters we cannot give them, being bound with an oath and a curse, whereby we said: Cursed be he that shall give Benjamin any of his daughters to wife.

Judges 21:19 So they took counsel, and said: Behold, there is a yearly solemnity of the Lord in Silo, which is situate on the north of the city of Bethel, and on the east side of the way, that goeth from Bethel to Sichem, and on the south of the town of Lebona.

Counsel, among themselves. (Haydock) --- Solemnity. It is not known which is meant, as all the three great festivals occurred during the time that the vines were covered with leaves; (ver. 20) or this feast might be one peculiar to the city of Silo, in memory of the ark being transported thither. Vatable thinks that the description here given, regards the place where the dance was to be, as all must have known the situation of the city. Silo rather lies to the west than to the east, (Calmet) if we draw a line from Bethel to Sichem, but the road might be circuitous. (Haydock) --- St. Jerome places Silo ten miles west of Sichem. --- Lebona may be Chan Lebna, four miles to the south of it. (Calmet)
Judges 21:20 And they commanded the children of Benjamin, and said: Go, and lie hid in the vineyards,

Judges 21:21 And when you shall see the daughters of Silo come out, as the custom is, to dance, come ye on a sudden out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife among them, and go into the land of Benjamin.

To dance; not in a lascivious manner, as a certain heretical interpreter would have it, but out of a religious motive. (Menochius) --- Such dances were formerly very common among all nations. The Therapeuts, who are supposed to have been the first Jewish converts to the Christian faith, in Egypt, and were remarkable for their modesty and serious deportment, danced nevertheless in their religious assemblies, first in two separate bands, and afterwards men and women together. (Philo, contemplat.) The women still dance round the tombs of their relatives, in Palestine, with solemn lamentations. (Roger, and Le Brun's Voyages) --- Come. Josephus insinuates, that the women were to be seized as they came from different parts to the solemnity. But it hence appears that they were coming out of the city; (Calmet) though it is very probable that the virgins did not all belong to it, but came from all Israel: for why should the people of Silo be forced to supply wives for these surviving Benjamites, against whose character they might reasonably entertain such strong objections? But, if all the assembly agreed that the Benjamites should select from among their daughters whomsoever they could lay their hands on, they could not complain that they were treated with peculiar severity. (Haydock) --- But did not the Israelites offend by giving this counsel, so contrary to the import of their vow? And were not the Benjamites equally guilty in following such advice? It is answered that, in odious matters words must be taken in all their rigour, and the person who vows not to give, does not engage himself to reclaim if the thing be taken. Those who gave the advice are not perhaps deserving of excuse, on account of the artifice which they employ to get rid of their oath; but the rest, who were not apprised of it till after the execution, were surely without blame; and the Benjamites, who followed the counsel of respectable men, in such circumstances, cannot be considered as guilty of a rape, etc. (Grotius, Jur. 2:13.; Cornelius a Lapide) (Calmet) --- St. Ambrose (ep. 6,) seems to be of this opinion. Tostat and others cannot, however, approve of these arguments. "As they erroneously supposed that they were bound by their oath, they prudently turned aside to advise the rape." (Tirinus) --- So Liranus, etc. --- But this was only a human prudence. (Haydock) --- The ancients gave counsel to the Benjamites, to ask the people of Silo to give them their daughters in marriage, knowing they would not grant the request, that they might afterwards have recourse to the expedient of taking them by force. "No doubt they were not without blame. For as they believed that their oath was binding, they ought neither to have done nor to have advised any thing, by which it might be violated." (Salien, in the year of the world 2622.) --- The rape at Silo preceded that of the Sabines, at Rome, about 700 years, and both probably happened in September. (Tirinus)
Judges 21:22 And when their fathers and their brethren shall come, and shall begin to complain against you, and to chide, we will say to them: Have pity on them: for they took them not away as by the right of war or conquest, but when they asked to have them, you gave them not, and the fault was committed on your part.

Part. Hebrew is variously translated; but the Septuagint and Arabic agree with the Vulgate. By your refusal, and by your oath, you have constrained them to take what you would not, (Calmet) or could not grant. Protestants, "Be favourable to them for our sakes, because we reserved not to each man his wife, in the war; for ye did not give unto them, at that time, that ye should be guilty." (Haydock) --- You have not to answer for the infraction of the oath, since you did not give your daughters. (Calmet) --- They had no objections to the Benjamites on any other head, and the young women were not very reluctant. (Tirinus) --- It is wonderful that the high priest, Phinees, appears so little on this occasion. If he had spoken in the name of God, the rest would have been under no perplexity.
Judges 21:23 And the children of Benjamin did as they had been commanded: and according to their number, they carried off for themselves every man his wife of them that were dancing: and they went into their possession, and built up their cities, and dwelt in them.

Judges 21:24 The children of Israel also returned by their tribes, and families, to their dwellings. In those days there was no king in Israel: but every one did that which seemed right to himself.

Himself. This remark has been made twice before, respecting the conduct of Michas and of Dan, both which deserved reprehension. It seems to be added here for the same purpose, that we might not be so much startled at the relation of such strange proceedings. Soon after this event, the angel came to upbraid the Israelites, Judges 2:1. (Haydock) --- There was no judge perhaps, but anarchy then prevailed. (Du Hamel) --- At least the people were under more restraint when they had kings, (Worthington) or judges divinely appointed at their head. (Haydock)