The following commentary covers Chapters 9, 10, 11, and 12.
After Gideon's death we
see the results of this distance from God in the internal
struggles which took place between the children of Israel.
They are ungrateful to the house of Gideon, and war
breaks out amongst them through the leader whom they set
up, and who, instead of fighting with the enemies of God,
only seeks dominion over the people who are now at peace
followed by idolatry and chastisement
The overthrow of the men
of Shechem and of Abimelech is followed by temporary
peace, after which the people fall again into their
idolatrous iniquity, and Jehovah sells them into the
hands of the nations whose gods they serve. Sorely
distressed by their enemies, the children of Israel cry
unto Jehovah, who reproaches them for their past conduct,
and sends them back to the gods they had been worshipping.
Then the people put away the strange gods from among them.
Jehovah is moved with compassion (chap. 10).
Jephthah as God's
Israel, without a leader,
have recourse to the captain of a troop of "vain men,"
and promise to obey him if he will put himself at their
head. Jephthah consents. But although this was a
deliverance, yet we see in it all how deeply Israel had
fallen. Jephthah himself suffers cruelly from his rash
vow; and, moreover, when the pride of the Ephraimites led
them to complain that they had not been treated with due
respect, the calmness and wisdom of one who knew Jehovah
as Gideon did, were not found in Jephthah. What a
difference between these days and those of Joshua! God
multiplies His deliverances; but this has no effect on
the unbelief of the people, and their condition continues
to grow worse and worse (chaps. 11, 12).
Israel's return to
sin: new and bitter enemies, the Philistines
After Jephthah, Israel
again enjoys an interval of peace under the guidance of
several judges whom God raises up. But they soon return
to their former course of sin, and Jehovah delivers them
into the hand of the Philistines. Samson's history gives
us the commencement of Israel's relationship with these
bitter enemies, which only ceased when David had subdued
them. The Philistines at this period were at the height
of their power. But the important thing here is the
history of Samson (chaps. 13-16).