Judges 1-4

Highlights for the
Week of January 19-25, 2015
Judges 1-4
PLEASE NOTE - The references below are taken from
the 86-14 Index. Many verses have additional references
that have not been included due to time & space. We are
encouraged to do additional personal research.
Jg 1:2,4 - *** w05 1/15 p. 24 par. 5 Highlights From the
Book of Judges ***
(Judges 1:2-4) 2 Jehovah replied: “Judah will go up. Look!
I am giving the land into his hand.” 3 Then Judah said to his
brother Simʹe·on: “Come up with me into my assigned
territory to fight against the Caʹnaan·ites. Then I will go with
you into your assigned territory.” So Simʹe·on went with
him. 4 When Judah went up, Jehovah gave the
Caʹnaan·ites and the Perʹiz·zites into their hands, and they
defeated 10,000 men in Beʹzek.
1:2, 4—Why is Judah designated to be the first tribe
to take possession of the land allotted to it? Normally,
this privilege would go to the tribe of Reuben, Jacob’s
firstborn. But in his deathbed prophecy, Jacob foretold that
Reuben was not to excel, having forfeited his right as the
firstborn. Simeon and Levi, who had acted with cruelty,
were to be scattered in Israel. (Genesis 49:3-5, 7) Hence,
the next in line was Judah, the fourth son of Jacob.
Simeon, who went up with Judah, received small areas of
land scattered throughout the large territory of Judah.—
Joshua 19:9.
Jerusalem, burning it with fire. (Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:8)
Hundreds of years later, however, David is also recorded
as conquering Jerusalem.—2 Samuel 5:5-9.
At first glance, all of this might appear confusing, but
there are in reality no contradictions. In fact, the boundary
between Benjamin’s inheritance and Judah’s ran along the
Valley of Hinnom, right through the ancient city of
Jerusalem. What later came to be called the City of David
actually lay in the territory of Benjamin, just as Joshua
18:28 says. But it is likely that the Jebusite city of
Jerusalem spilled across the Valley of Hinnom and thus
overlapped into Judah’s territory, so that Judah, too, had to
war against its Canaanite inhabitants.
Benjamin was unable to conquer the city. On one
occasion, Judah did conquer Jerusalem and burn it.
(Judges 1:8, 9) But Judah’s forces evidently moved on,
and some of the original inhabitants regained possession
of the city. Later, they formed a pocket of resistance that
neither Judah nor Benjamin could remove. Thus, the
Jebusites continued in Jerusalem until David conquered
the city hundreds of years later.
Jg 2:3 - *** si p. 47 par. 9 Bible Book Number 7—Judges
(Judges 2:3) 3 That is why I also said, ‘I will not drive them
away from before you, and they will ensnare you, and their
gods will lure you away.’”
Jg 1:6,7 - *** w05 1/15 p. 24 par. 6 Highlights From the
Book of Judges ***
(Judges 1:6, 7) 6 When A·doʹni-beʹzek fled, they chased
him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big
toes. 7 Then A·doʹni-beʹzek said: “There are 70 kings
whose thumbs and big toes were cut off and who are
picking up food under my table. Just as I have done, so
God has repaid me.” After that they brought him to
Jerusalem, and he died there.
1:6, 7—Why were the thumbs and the big toes of
defeated kings cut off? A person who lost his thumbs and
big toes apparently was incapacitated for military action.
Without the thumbs, how could a soldier handle a sword or
a spear? And the loss of the big toes would result in
inability to maintain one’s balance properly.
Jg 1:8 - *** gm chap. 7 pp. 95-96 pars. 19-21 Does the
Bible Contradict Itself? ***
(Judges 1:8) 8 Furthermore, the men of Judah fought
against Jerusalem and captured it; they struck it with the
sword and set the city on fire.
Sometimes, all that is needed to resolve apparent
contradictions is to read the account carefully and reason
on the information provided. This is the case when we
consider the conquest of Jerusalem by the Israelites.
Jerusalem was listed as part of the inheritance of
Benjamin, but we read that Benjamin’s tribe was unable to
conquer it. (Joshua 18:28; Judges 1:21) We also read that
Judah was unable to conquer Jerusalem—as if it were part
of that tribe’s inheritance. Eventually, Judah defeated
Conditions in Israel at the time of the judges (1:1–
2:23). The tribes of Israel are described as they spread out
to settle in their assigned territories. However, instead of
completely driving out the Canaanites, they put many of
them to forced labor, permitting them to dwell among the
Israelites. Therefore Jehovah’s angel declares, “They must
become snares to you, and their gods will serve as a lure
to you.” (2:3) Thus, when a new generation arises that
does not know Jehovah or his works, the people soon
abandon him to serve the Baals and other gods. Because
Jehovah’s hand is against them for calamity, they get “in
very sore straits.” Because of their stubbornness and
refusal to listen even to the judges, Jehovah does not drive
out a single one of the nations he has left to test Israel.
Jg 2:11 - *** si p. 50 par. 26 Bible Book Number 7—
Judges ***
(Judges 2:11) 11 So the Israelites did what was bad in the
eyes of Jehovah and served the Baʹals.
Judges is most beneficial in its forthright advocacy of
Jehovah’s worship and its powerful warnings concerning
the folly of demon religion, interfaith, and immoral
associations. Jehovah’s severe condemnation of Baal
worship should impel us to stand clear of the modern-day
equivalents of materialism, nationalism, and sexual
Page 1 of 4
Highlights for the
Week of January 19-25, 2015
Judges 1-4
Jg 2:16 - *** w86 6/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
(Judges 2:16) So Jehovah would raise up judges who
would save them from the hand of their plunderers.
After Joshua’s death, Israel fell away from true worship
and came to be afflicted by other peoples. Judges 2:16
says: “So Jehovah would raise up judges, and they would
save them out of the hand of their pillagers.” Jehovah first
raised up as a judge, or ‘savior,’ the man named Othniel.
(Judges 3:9) After that came Ehud, Shamgar, Barak,
Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and
Aside from these 12, the Bible mentions Deborah, Eli,
and Samuel in connection with judging. (Judges 4:4;
1 Samuel 4:16-18; 7:15, 16) However, Deborah is called
first a prophetess, and she is linked with Judge Barak, who
particularly took the lead in delivering the people from
Jg 3:1,2 - *** it-1 p. 404 Canaan ***
Judges 3:1, 2 states that Jehovah let some of the
Canaanite nations stay “so as by them to test Israel, that is,
all those who had not experienced any of the wars of
Canaan; it was only in order for the generations of the sons
of Israel to have the experience, so as to teach them war,
that is, only those who before that had not experienced
such things.” This does not contradict the earlier statement
(Jg 2:20-22) that Jehovah allowed these nations to remain
because of Israel’s unfaithfulness and in order to “test
Israel, whether they will be keepers of Jehovah’s way.”
Rather, it harmonizes with that reason and shows that later
generations of Israelites would thereby be faced with the
opportunity to demonstrate obedience to God’s commands
concerning the Canaanites, putting their faith to the test to
the point of endangering their lives in war in order to prove
Jg 3:13 - *** w97 3/15 p. 29 Ehud—A Man of Faith and
Courage ***
(Judges 3:13) 13 Furthermore, he brought against them the
Amʹmon·ites and the A·malʹek·ites. They attacked Israel
and captured the city of palm trees.
With the help of Ammon and Amalek, Eglon attacked
Israel and set up his palace in Jericho, “the city of palm
trees.” How ironic that the first Canaanite city to be
conquered by Israel now housed the headquarters of one
who worshiped the false god Chemosh!—Judges 3:12, 13,
Whether he had ever performed that duty before is not
stated. However, the way that Ehud carefully prepared for
the meeting and the tactics he used suggest that he may
have had a certain familiarity with Eglon’s palace and what
he could expect there. In all of this, his being left-handed
was significant.
A Disabled Man or a Warrior?
Literally, the term “left-handed” means ‘shut, lamed, or
bound in the right hand.’ Does this mean that Ehud was
disabled, perhaps with a deformed right hand? Consider
what the Bible says about the left-handed “seven hundred
chosen men” out of the tribe of Benjamin. “Every one of
these was a slinger of stones to a hairbreadth and would
not miss,” states Judges 20:16. Very likely they were
selected for their prowess in battle. According to some
Bible scholars, “left-handed” denotes one “who used the
left hand as well as the right,” that is, an ambidextrous
person.—Judges 3:15, The Douay Version.
The tribe of Benjamin, in fact, was renowned for its lefthanded men. First Chronicles 12:1, 2 tells of Benjamite
“mighty men, the helpers in the warfare, armed with the
bow, using the right hand and using the left hand with
stones or with arrows in the bow.” This ability could have
been achieved, says one reference work, “by binding the
right arms of young children—hence ‘bound as to his right
hand’—and inculcating dexterity with the left.” Israel’s foes
would normally be trained to meet right-handed warriors.
Hence, much of an enemy’s training could be nullified if he
unexpectedly met a left-handed soldier.
Jg 3:16,17 - *** w04 3/15 p. 30 Ehud Breaks the
Oppressor’s Yoke ***
(Judges 3:16, 17) 16 Meanwhile, Eʹhud made for himself a
two-edged sword, a cubit long, and he strapped it
underneath his garment on his right thigh. 17 He then
presented the tribute to Egʹlon the king of Moʹab. Now
Egʹlon was a very fat man.
Ehud’s first step was to prepare “a sword for himself”—
a doubled-edged sword that was short enough to be
concealed under his clothes. He may have expected to be
searched. Swords were normally worn on the left side of
the body, where right-handers could quickly draw them.
Being left-handed, Ehud hid his weapon “underneath his
garment upon his right thigh,” where the king’s guards
were less likely to search. Without hindrance, therefore,
“he proceeded to present the tribute to Eglon the king of
Moab.”—Judges 3:16, 17.
Jg 3:15 - *** w04 3/15 pp. 29-30 Ehud Breaks the
Oppressor’s Yoke ***
The record states: “The sons of Israel began to call to
Jehovah for aid. So Jehovah raised up for them a savior,
Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a left-handed man. In
time the sons of Israel sent tribute by his hand to Eglon the
king of Moab.” (Judges 3:15) Jehovah must have made
certain that Ehud was selected to present the tribute.
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Highlights for the
Week of January 19-25, 2015
Judges 1-4
Jg 3:18 - *** w04 3/15 p. 30 Ehud Breaks the
Jg 4:4 - *** w86 6/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Oppressor’s Yoke ***
(Judges 4:4) 4 Now Debʹo·rah, a prophetess, the wife of
Lapʹpi·doth, was judging Israel at that time.
The details of the initial events in Eglon’s court are not
provided. The Bible simply says: “It came about that when
[Ehud] had finished presenting the tribute, he at once sent
the people away, the bearers of the tribute.” (Judges 3:18)
Ehud presented the tribute, accompanied the bearers of
the tribute to a safe distance from Eglon’s residence, and
returned after dismissing them. Why? Did he have those
men with him for protection, because of mere protocol, or
perhaps simply as porters for the tribute? And did he want
them out of the way for safety before carrying out his plan?
Whatever his thinking was, Ehud bravely retraced his steps
Jg 3:19 - *** w04 3/15 p. 30 Ehud Breaks the
Oppressor’s Yoke ***
“[Ehud] turned back at the quarries that were at Gilgal,
and he proceeded to say: ‘I have a secret word for you,
O king.’” How he managed to regain entry to Eglon’s
presence is not explained in the Scriptures. Should not the
guards have been suspicious? Did they think that a single
Israelite presented no threat to their lord? Did Ehud’s
coming alone create the impression that he was betraying
his countrymen? Whatever the case, Ehud sought a private
audience with the king, and he got it.—Judges 3:19.
Jg 3:20 - *** w04 3/15 p. 30 Ehud Breaks the
Oppressor’s Yoke ***
The inspired account continues: “Ehud came to [Eglon]
as he was sitting in his cool roof chamber that he had to
himself. And Ehud went on to say: ‘A word of God I have
for you.’” Ehud was not referring to a verbal message from
God. What Ehud had in mind was using his sword.
Perhaps expecting to hear some message from his god
Chemosh, the king “rose up from his throne.”
Jg 3:21 - *** w05 1/15 p. 26 par. 3 Highlights From the
Book of Judges ***
(Judges 3:21) 21 Then Eʹhud drew the sword from his right
thigh with his left hand and plunged it into his belly.
Jehovah first raised up as a judge, or ‘savior,’ the man
named Othniel. (Judges 3:9) After that came Ehud,
Shamgar, Barak, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon,
Abdon, and Samson.
Aside from these 12, the Bible mentions Deborah, Eli,
and Samuel in connection with judging. (Judges 4:4;
1 Samuel 4:16-18; 7:15, 16) However, Deborah is called
first a prophetess, and she is linked with Judge Barak, who
particularly took the lead in delivering the people from
oppression. Similarly, Eli was principally a high priest, not a
‘savior’ who led Israel to freedom through battle.
(Nehemiah 9:27) Hence, while Deborah and Eli had a role
in judging Israel, there is reason not to list them with the 12
men who clearly and primarily were especially ‘raised up’
as judges.
Jg 4:8 - *** w05 1/15 p. 25 par. 4 Highlights From the
Book of Judges ***
(Judges 4:8) 8 At this Baʹrak said to her: “If you go with
me, I will go, but if you do not go with me, I will not go.”
4:8—Why did Barak insist that the prophetess
Deborah go with him to the battlefield? Evidently, Barak
felt inadequate to go up against Sisera’s army by himself.
Having the prophetess with him would reassure him and
his men that they had God’s guidance and would give them
confidence. Barak’s insistence that Deborah accompany
him, then, was not a sign of weakness but of strong faith.
Jg 4:9 - *** w03 11/15 p. 29 Through Faith, Barak
Routed a Mighty Army ***
And what can be said of Deborah’s attitude? She did
not attempt to take over. Rather, she remained a modest
servant of Jehovah. “Without fail I shall go with you,” she
told Barak. (Judges 4:9) She was willing to leave home—a
place of greater security—to join Barak for the impending
battle. Deborah too exemplifies faith and courage.
3:21. Ehud wielded his sword proficiently and with
courage. We must acquire skill in using “the sword of the
spirit, that is, God’s word.” This means that we must use
the Scriptures courageously in our ministry.—Ephesians
6:17; 2 Timothy 2:15.
Jg 3:20-22 - *** w04 3/15 p. 30 Ehud Breaks the
Oppressor’s Yoke ***
The sword apparently had no crosspiece. Hence, “the
handle kept going in also after the blade so that the fat
closed in over the blade, . . . and the fecal matter began to
come out,” either through the wound or because of an
involuntary discharge from Eglon’s bowels.—Judges 3:2022.
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Highlights for the
Week of January 19-25, 2015
Judges 1-4
Jg 4:13 - *** w90 5/1 pp. 16-17 On From Tabor to
Jg 4:14 - *** w98 12/15 p. 12 par. 9 Salvation Belongs to
Victory! ***
(Judges 4:13) 13 At once Sisʹe·ra assembled all his war
chariots—900 chariots with iron scythes—and all the
troops that were with him from Ha·roʹsheth of the nations to
go to the stream of Kiʹshon.
Jehovah ***
(Judges 4:14) 14 Debʹo·rah now said to Baʹrak: “Rise up,
for this is the day that Jehovah will give Sisʹe·ra into your
hand. Is Jehovah not going out before you?” And Baʹrak
descended from Mount Taʹbor with 10,000 men following
An awesome military machine came against them.
Jabin’s general Sisera brought heavily armed Canaanite
warriors to the Valley of Jezreel. They must have looked
somewhat like the armed men shown in the wall carving
from Egypt illustrated on the next page, top right. The war
equipment of Egypt influenced that used in Canaan,
including the most terrifying part of Sisera’s weaponry—
900 war chariots!
But a torrential downpour swells the Kishon with
overwhelming floodwaters. As Barak and his men march
down Mount Tabor under cover of the storm, they witness
the havoc wrought by Jehovah’s unleashed fury. Barak’s
men pick off the terrified, fleeing Canaanites, and none
escape. What a warning for our oppressors who presume
to fight against God!—Judges 4:3-16; 5:19-22.
Those Canaanite chariots would have been veritable
mobile firing platforms. The driver might have wrapped the
reins around his waist so that his hands were free for
handling weapons. Or he might have concentrated on his
charging horses while a companion employed the
weaponry. The chariots had iron scythes extending from
the wheel hubs. To Barak’s men looking down from Tabor,
the massed chariots must have seemed frighteningly
unstoppable, invincible.
Yet, Jehovah had promised Barak: “I shall certainly
draw to you at the torrent valley of Kishon Sisera . . . and
his war chariots and his crowd.” At the right moment, the
valiant Israelites poured down the side of Tabor.—Judges
Of more value than the mere advantage of surprise was
the help Israel received from their powerful God in heaven.
Deborah later sang: “From heaven did the stars fight, from
their orbits they fought against Sisera. The torrent of
Kishon washed them away . . . You went treading down
strength, O my soul.” (Judges 5:20, 21) Yes, though the
lightly equipped but courageous Israelites put the armed
Canaanites to flight, God determined the real outcome. He
caused a sudden overwhelming torrent in the dry riverbed,
immobilizing the frightful chariots.
Below you see part of the river Kishon. In the rainy
season, it can overflow its banks and turn the area into a
marsh. Picture the Canaanite war chariots trying to escape
through such mud. The raging waters carried off some
fleeing soldiers or chariots, or both. Israel’s victory even
overtook General Sisera, who had abandoned his chariot,
escaping on foot from the scene of battle.
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