This morning in our class on Joshua, Judges and Ruth we covered Judges chapter 3. Guess how many judges are covered in chapter 3?
The first judge is Othniel who was the nephew of Caleb.
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. (Judges 3:7-8, ESV)
Othniel was raised up by God to deliver the people of Israel and defeated Cushan-rishathaim. Rishathaim means ‘Doubly Wicked’ so Cushan-rishatheim would be Cushan the doubly wicked. Also interesting is that Mesopotamia is to the northeast of Israel and Othniel would have been in the far southwest corner.
The second judge in chapter 3 is Ehud. This is one of my favorite accounts in Judges.
Eglon the king of Moab had teamed up with the Ammonites and the Amalekites, defeated Israel and taken possession of the city of palms. The city of palms was in the area around the ruined city of Jericho. There were a large number of palm trees around the spring there.
From the city of palms, Eglon oppressed the people of Israel and again a deliverer was raised up. Here we have an unlikely choice. A left-handed Benjaminite named Ehud. In a special operation attached to the delivery of tribute, Ehud was able to free Israel from the king of Moab. Ehud had made himself a small sword and hid it on his right leg. After delivering the tribute he turned back from the men who had carried the tribute and went back to talk to the king in private.
But he himself turned back at the idols near Gilgal and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he commanded, “Silence.” And all his attendants went out from his presence. And Ehud came to him as he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out. Then Ehud went out into the porch and closed the doors of the roof chamber behind him and locked them.When he had gone, the servants came, and when they saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought, “Surely he is relieving himself in the closet of the cool chamber.” And they waited till they were embarrassed. But when he still did not open the doors of the roof chamber, they took the key and opened them, and there lay their lord dead on the floor. (Judges 3:19-25, ESV)
Here we have shepherds watching a flock on a hill in Ephraim. The people of Israel went down the fords of the Jordan and seized them to keep the Moabites from passing back over to their own country. They killed 10,000 Moabites and had rest for 80 years.
The third judge only gets one verse. We only know that his name was Shamgar the son of Anath, that he killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad and that he saved Israel.
We are not told where he killed the Philistines, but perhaps it was at Gath (Tell es-Safi) where I took this picture. These are also probably soldiers who are representative of a later time. However, I really like this picture and this was a good chance to share it :-).
Next week we will be skipping to the end of the book of Judges to talk about events that happened earlier in the time period. The book of Judges is not entirely chronological.
If you would like to catch up with the class, here are the previous posts:
To view links to the entire class series click on Walls of Jericho.