Monday, March 31, 2008

Ruth in the Fields Ruth 2

Ruth 7:7 "And she said I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house."

Ruth asked Naomi if she could go glean in the fields. Naomi told her to go. Ruth did not know she had went to work in a kinsman's field (that of Boaz).

It was the command that reapers leave the gleanings for the poor so that they could have food for their table. It was a humbling task. The fact that Ruth was a foreigner added to her humbled position.

As often happens in the plan of the LORD, Ruth was given favor with the owner of the property. He commanded his reapers to let her glean in places where she would find the most food.

v9 "Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athrist, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn."

Boaz notice her and enquired of her. He found out that she was Naomi's daughter in law which made him her kinsman.

It is as the LORD found us as Gentiles in the world. Although Israel is His chosen people, he instructed Israel to care for strangers and so he does as well. Ruth was a foreigner but because of her relationship to Naomi, she was accepted as one of Israel. Christ did not cast away his people. His hands are large enough to hold all of us. Romans tells us how it works:

Romans 11:26-28 "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion (Zion) the Deliverer, (Isaiah 59:20-21) and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sakes but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes."

We find Ruth, in the lowest of states, without family or means of support, but she has found her redeemer and does not yet know it. Boaz has shown her favor even before we found out that they are to be married.

v23 "So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean, unto the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest and dwelt with her mother in law."

Ruth did not know the outcome as we do by reading ahead. She was just a good person who provided for herself and her mother in law. She was a hard worker and she did as she was told by the lord of the harvest. Her reward would come but she was not aware of that at the time.

It is a great chapter and should be read in its entirety. For example there is verse 16 where Ruth was left handfuls on purpose which would make a complete lesson on the grace of God towards his children.

Boaz is a type and picture of Christ and Ruth is a type and picture of the church.

It seems a good place to put Matthew 25:25"For I was an hungred and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in. v40 And the King shall answer and say unto the, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Psalms 12:6 "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."

keywords: Bible study, Old Testament, Ruth, Boaz, Naomi, Milton Southerland

Friday, March 28, 2008

Naomi Goes Home Book of Ruth 1 b

Ruth 1:7 "Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah."

Naomi must have got to thinking about the future of her daughters-in-law. For she began to talk to them about going back to their homeland instead of going on to Judah. Naomi's argument was that there was nothing else for them with her. They should go back and find a husband and live a happy life.

v14 "And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Oprah kissed her mother in law, but Ruth clave unto her."

So Oprah returns to her people but Ruth refuses to leave Naomi. It was then that she made the famous statement concerning her commitment to her. It has been used widely in wedding ceremonies.

v16 "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:"

The phrase 'whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge' has often been quoted but I think the most important thing Ruth said was 'thy God my God'. Naomi in her distress had told them to return to their people and their gods but Ruth made the most important decision of her life by turning to the one true God.

v19 "So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all they city was moved about them, and they said Is this Naomi?"

Naomi received a warm welcome home and Ruth was accepted with her. It was the beginning of barley harvest and they had to eat.

Special note should be taken that they came to Bethlehem since Ruth will marry Boaz who is in the line of Christ as well as David the earthly king.

I would like to address something that has bothered me for years. I've heard it preached that Naomi came home ashamed for leaving and that she paid the price of a backslider Christian. I disagree. Naomi was exactly where she was suppose to be. She was with her husband and family. Her husband did what his forefathers did before him, he left a famine looking for food for his family. Abraham did it. Jacob did it. Joseph and Mary also took Jesus to Egypt to escape the killing of the newborns. I find the story of their departure and return to be a beautiful story and with several applications. One of which is similar to Israel's escape from bondage and entering into the promised land. It could also have taken place to protect the bloodline of Christ.

Psalms 101:2 "I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come untome? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart."

key words: Bible Study, Old Testament, Ruth, Naomi, Ruth, Israel, Milton Southerland

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book of Ruth Beginning

Ruth 1:1 "Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons."

The Book of Ruth is a love story but more. We know from past studies that Boaz, the soon to be husband of Ruth was the great-grandson of Rahab, the harlot who saved the two spies.

Satan knows there is a plan to redeem mankind because it was promised by God. Israel is to be the instrument used to produce this salvation. I believe that this man went down to Moab to protect the bloodline of the Messiah from the efforts of the evil one to destory it.

We know from our study of Judges that this period was a bloody time in Israel. Scholars say that Ruth falls in the first part of Judges.

The immediate reason for the family's departure was the famine in the area where they lived. It was probably a man made famine since the invaders came in when the crops were young and trampled them with their camels.

Judges 6:5 "For they came up with their cattle and their tents and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number and they entered into the land to destroy it."

So, under these conditions Elimelech took Naomi to Moab. Moab was the son of Lot. Moab was across the river Jordan, east of Canaan.

Bethlehem-judah - house of bread and praise
Elimelech - my God is king
Naomi - Pleasant
Mahlon - sick
Chilion - Pining
Oprah - Hind or Fawn
Ruth - Friendship or Beauty

v3-5 "And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.

So we will say that the book of Ruth covers about ten years in Moab plus those spent when Naomi returned to Canaan. The year is 1322 BC.

Proverbs 1:24 "Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;"

keywords: Bible study, Old Testament, Ruth, Naomi, Israel, Moab, Boaz "Whether thou goest, I will Go",Milton Southerland

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Benjamin Tribe's Wives Judges 21

Judges 21:1 "Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife."

A couple of things have come up since the civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of Israel. Benjamin has been defeated and virtually destroyed. There are no women for the remaining 600 to marry and continue the bloodline. Also, there was one area that did not send support for the fight. It was Jabesh-gilead. The decision was made to destroy Jabesh-gilead and take the virgins for wives of the remaining 600 Benjamites. They found only 400 virgins so the number was not sufficient. There was a feast where the damsels danced. The Benjamites were told to go there and capture a wife and take her away.

v17 "And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel."

v23 "And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number of them that danced, whom they caught and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them."

The people had gone to God to ask what to do but received no reply. They had no acknowledgement of their transgressions nor showed any humility. So there was no guidance. They did what they thought best.

v25 "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

With this gruesome tale, we end the book of Judges. There is much more to be gleaned from its pages. We have covered only the highlights.

It is a worrisome time for Israel. I cannot explain why they acted so unappreciative toward the LORD except to say what Paul said in Romans 3:11 "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. v12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

In this turmoil, Israel will soon send up the cry 'give us a king to rule over us'. Perhaps, these events have been allowed to bring about the longing for a leader and the conditions in the heart of Israel to follow that king. About 305 years have past since Joshua's death. How long does it take a people to forget God? Our nation is closing on that mark of time. Will we forget?

If you remember, in previous chapters, the ark and the Levites were the center of activity. Here it has been the judges that were pointed out. In the following studies, it will be the prophets and the kings.

Remember my statement in several previous studies that I thought Israel was like a pregnant lady carrying the promise of Abraham that in his seed all nations would be blessed. It is the promise of Messiah coming and a sacrifice for sin. Travail is definitely going on.

Psalms 44:1 "We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old."

keywords: Bible Study, Bible, Old Testament, Israel, Judges, Benjamin,civil war,Milton Southerland

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Civil War Judges 20

Judges 20:2 "And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword."

Angry over the doings of Gibeah and the house of Benjamin, the rest of Israel goes to clean up the mess. They know that without God their land is lost. Joshua told them as much in his last address to them.

They asked the Levite what happened and he tells the story of how the men of Gibreah compassed the house where he was and did harm to him and his concubine.

v11 "So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man."

But the men of Benjamin came out to fight against Israel. A great battle followed and the tribe of Benjamin was destroyed except about 600 men.

v35 "And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjaminites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these dew the sword."

They also set the city on fire. Those who remained hid themselves.

In all this sadness, we can learn a lesson. The sin that these men of Gibeah did was not just their business. It cost the people their dwelling place. It cost the lives of many men. It caused Israel to fight amongst themselves. The actions of one can hurt all those around him or her. Sin is not a private matter and will be answered for before God.

Psalms 123:3 "Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Israel, Gibeah, Benjamin, Milton Southerland

Monday, March 24, 2008

Levite and Concubine Judges 19

Judges 19:1 "And it came to pass in those days when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of Mount Ephraim who took to him a concubine out of Beth-lehem-judah."

Here in this chapter there is a story very much like in the story of Lot when the angels came to take him out of the city. Ironically, it is found in chapter 19 of Genesis. In spite of the fact that many women are available to the men they desire other men.

This is the story of a wandering Levite in a very depressing time, at least in this area of Canaan.
Certainly in the city of Gibeah. Events are such that it causes Israel to split and civil war erupts. Regardless of the political correctness of our day, the Bible still condemns same sex relations and so there is a great battle between Israel against the tribe of Benjamin where this trespass occurred. It would be useless to study the Bible and not adhere to its teachings:

Romans 1:25-27 "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever, Amen For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and Likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

This Bible is consistent concerning this matter.

Concerning the Levites, any city was suppose to take them in, for their position was not to receive inheritance but to be equal with the prosperity of those who possessed the land. It does not seem to be happening for this Levite planned to sleep in the street until an old man begged him to come into his house. v19-21.

v21 "So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink."

The men of the city came and demanded that the old man release the Levite to them so that they might abuse him. The old man offered his daughter instead and the Levite's concubine. The men of Gibeah declined the offer and continued to demand the man. (Genesis 19)The old man put out the concubine and she was abused all night. She was released at daybreak and she struggled back to the door of the old man's house.

(Note: I saw some parallel in this story and the condition of the nation Israel, due to space restraints, I did not go into it. You can see that Israel left God and went after other Gods as the woman left her husband)

v24 "Behold here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing."

I must look back to the glory days here. Israel was brought to this land through the parting of the Red Sea and Jordan. There were many victories in battle. Now in this land of milk and honey they have left God and succumbed to acts he finds repulsive.

We should note that these last chapters of Judges mentions that there was no king. Which leaves me to think that a king will soon come into the picture. As for now, the nation is torn apart internally.

The Levite sent a strong message v29 to the corners of Israel which brought them out to battle against the city of Gibeah but the city was protected by the tribe of Benjamin.

v30 "And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds."

Psalms 111:10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever."

Keyword: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Israel, civil war, Levite, Milton Southerland

Friday, March 21, 2008

Danites, Micah and the Levite Judges 18

Judges 18:1 "In those days there was no king in Israel: and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel."

The tribe of Dan has decided to claim their inheritance. Their first move was to send out five spies who came upon the Levite at Micah's house and asked his insight into their journey.

"v6 "And the priest said unto them, Go in peace: before the LORD is your way wherein ye go."

The spies went on to check out the land and found a people they called secure. In other words, the people were not expecting an invasion. They then returned to tell the Danites. The Danites also came to the house of Micah and took away the Levite priest. They also took the images.

v16 "And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, the epod, and the teraphim and the molten image. Then said the priest unto the, what do ye?"

I was wondering the same thing. Why would they want to take the images?

Micah went after his priest and images but the Danites threatened him and so he returned to his house.

v27 "And they took the things which Micah had made and the priest which he had and came unto Laish unto a people that were at quiet and secure and they smote them with the edge of the sword and burnt the city with fire."

Then the Danites built them a city and set up the images.

It is truly a sad time. On the one hand the people claim the LORD God and on the other they have set up the images.

v21 "And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh."

Psalms 106:21 "They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt: Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. v22"

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Micah, Levites, Milton Southerland

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Micah, Confusion Judges 17

Judges 17:6 "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

After Samson's death, the time of the judges pretty much was over. A time of confusion lasted probably until the first king, Saul, was anointed.

The one thing Israel seemed to have an ongoing problem with was trying to hang on to God with one hand and worshipping the gods of the local population with the other. Images were always popping up. This period is no exception. The priest, Levites, seemed to have no purpose. Here we find one wondering in the hills.

Look at Exodus 20:2-3 and Israel knew these words: "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."

v5 "And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest."

Micah found the young Levite wondering about and asked him to join him in his house.

v11 "And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. v12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest and was in the house of Micah."

If you remember from our study, the Levites belong to the LORD. They were his portion and he theirs. So ends this chapter. I wonder myself if this is but an example of what was going on all over since our text verse says "every man did what was right in his own eyes."

The next chapter continues the story.

Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Samson and Deliah Judges 16

If you see a lesson you like, please feel free to forward it to a friend.

Judges 16:4 "And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Deliah."

It is sad that Samson never had the opportunity to be a family man. His first love was given to another. Although he loved Deliah, she does not return his love but used his love for her to defeat him.

Samson did little if anything to actually change Israel. He was a force that Israel's enemies had to recognize and could not defeat in battle. He was a witness when Israel had rebelled against God and the enemy surrounded them. He had faith, great faith and is mentioned in Hebrews 11:32.
The great chapter of faith.

v32 "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon(Gideon), and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets v33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions."

He is mentioned in good company.

Now we come to his betrayal by Deliah. His last love.

v5 "And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her and said unto, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver."

Several times Samson lied to her and she told the Philistines. They attempted to bind him and he broke the bonds. Finally, she used his desire to be loved against him and questioned his love for her.

v16-17"And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb; if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me and I shall become weak, and be like any other man."

The deed was done. Samson's head was shaven and they took him away to make sport of him. The Philistines put out his eyes and set him to grinding in prison. He was brought before a great assembly of the Philistines which included lords and their leaders. His hair had begun to grow and his strength to return. He asked the boy who helped him to place his hands on the pillars which held up the building where they were assembled. Then....

v30 "And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life."

Notice though the sincere prayer Samson prayed before his death. He still had his faith.

v28 "And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord God remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."

He said Remember me and Strengthen me. How many times has our soul groaned with that prayer?

They thought to use Samson to bring praise to their god Dagon v23, 24 but the LORD did not allow Samson to be used in that fashion. Even though Samson made some mistakes and suffered the mark of a servant of God by his Nazarite vow, disrespect from the masses. He was in the end a man of faith and demonstrated that his God still held power over any gods that could be thought up by others.

Romans 4:5 "But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

Psalms 112:4 "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious and full of compassion and righteous."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Samson, Deliah, Philistines, Israel, Milton Southerland

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Samson's Revenge Judges 15

Judges 15:1a-2 "But it came to pass within a while after, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife...And her father said, I verily thought that thou hadst utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to thy companion: is not her younger sister fairer than she? take her, I pray thee, instead of her."

Samson's wife has been given to one he counted as a friend. Samson became very angry. He tied the tails of foxes together and placed a firebrand between them and turned them loose in the corn of the Philistines.

v5 "And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives."

Judah of Israel became worried because the Philistines were over them at this time. They apparently were thinking the Philistines would take out reprisals on them. So they sent 3000 to bind Samson so they could turn him over to the Philistines. Samson agreed to let them bind him if they would not kill him.

v13 "And they spake unto him, saying No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock."

It is a sad time for Israel. They have succumbed to their taskmasters so much that they are now turning over one of their own to them. It was a way, however, for Samson to get among the Philistines and slay them.

v15 "And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith."

After this battle, Samson became very thirsty and thought he would die but he prayed to the LORD and water came from the bone he used to slay the Philistines.

v19 "But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout, and when he had drunk his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof En-hakkore*, which is Lehi unto this day." *(The well of him that cried.)

v20 "And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years."

Psalms 63:1 "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;"

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Samson, Israel, Philistines, Milton Southerland

Monday, March 17, 2008

Samson's Wife Judges 14

Judges 14:16 "And Samson's wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?"

Samson saw a woman of the Philistines that he liked very much and wanted for his wife. His parents tried to discourage him marrying one not of his own people. v3 Samson went to Timnath to see her and was confronted by a young lion. He slew the lion by ripping it apart. v6

After his first visit to the woman, he came back later and found honey in the carcase of the lion. v8. He ate of it and gave some to his parents but did not tell them of the kill or where he got it. v9

It was the custom to have a feast when a wedding was made and so Samson's family arranged the feast.

Samson made a riddle concerning the honey and the lion and placed a wager that no one could answer it. His wife, however, was a Philistine still. She wept before Samson for seven days. Finally, he told her the answer and she went straight to her people. They therefore won the bet and Samson had to pay.

v20 "But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend."

Psalms 102:11 "My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Samson, Philistines, Milton Southerland

Friday, March 14, 2008

Samson's Birth 13th Judge Judges 13

Judges 13:24 "And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew and the LORD blessed him."

I noticed that Samson the 13th judge appears in the 13th chapter of the book.

The Bible takes special note of Samson's birth. An angel came to a barren woman and her husband to announce that they would have a child. She was cautioned to drink no wine, nor strong drink or eat any unclean thing.

Samson was to be a Nazarite from his birth and all his life. His hair was not to be cut.

The husband and wife wanted to make a meal but the angel refused to eat. Further, the angel told them to offer any burnt offering to the LORD and not to him.

As this part of the story ends. The burnt offering is made and the angel ascended up flame of the altar. The couple asked the angel his name to which the angel replied.

v18 "And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?"

So Samson is born as promised and his time of being judge soon begins.

v25 "And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Psalms 119:81 "My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Samson, Milton Southerland

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ephraim's Second Jealousy Judges 12

Judges 12:2 "And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands."

Ephraim got upset with Gideon after the battle was won. Chapter 8. Now, Jephthah has defeated the Ammonites and Ephraim has come to him complaining that he was not in the fight. He was reminded that he did nothing when the Gileadites were being confronted by the Ammonites.

It seems like an argument took place and Ephraim called Japhthah v4 'fugitives of Ephraim'.

Japhthah fought with Ephraim and destroyed them. 42,000 Ephraimites died.

Japhthah judged Israel six years. v7.

Three other judges are mentioned in the chapter taking up 25 years together.

Ibean the tenth. v9 "And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. ..."

Elon the eleventh. v11 "And after him Elon, a Zeulonite, judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years."

Abdon the twelfth. v14 "And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that road on three score and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years."

Proverbs 31:30 "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Ephraim, Israel, Milton Southerland

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jephthah -Ninth Judge -Judges 11

Judges 11:1 "Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah."

To clip the obvious thought at the beginning, that he was the son of a harlot, remember Rahab was a harlot and she rescued the two spies and is in the blood line of Christ.

Jephthah had brothers who were born of Gilead's wife. They cast out Jephthah because he was the son of a harlot and did not want him to share in their inheritance. He fled to Tob.

The children of Ammon attacked Gilead and were getting the upper hand so the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah, because of his fighting ability, to lead them into battle. They promised him that he would be their captain after the victory. v10.

Jephthah tried diplomacy first. Ammon claimed Israel had taken their land. Jephthah gave them a brief history of Israel's entry into Canaan and how no one would help them. Then, the LORD gave Israel victory over those he chose, Ammon being one of them. So, Ammon is questioning the LORD's decision and Jephthah points it out to them.

v27 "Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me; the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon."

Jephthah was the son of a harlot but he knew the history and the law of Israel.

Just before Jephthah went off to battle he made an awful vow to the Lord. See Numbers 30:2. He could not take it back or fail to do the thing. He made a promise to the LORD if he would give him the victory over Ammon.

v31 "Then it shall be that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's and I will offer it up for a burntoffering."

It must have been unbearable when he came home and his daughter, his only child, came running out to meet him.

v36 "And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth, forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon."

I cannot begin to explain why this was necessary except to point back to Numbers 30:2. I am reminded though of another Father who sacrificed his innocent child, his only son. It too was to defeat the enemy. John 3:16. God's ways are not our ways. Somewhere in the Psalms it says 'Thy ways are to wondrous for me'. Down through the Old Testament the LORD made a vow and on Calvary He kept his vow. He is true to his own words.

Psalms 22:1-3 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my god, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."

keywords: Bible study, Israel, Old Testament, Judges, Jephthah, Gilead, Milton Southerland

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sixth Apostasy-Two Judges - Judges 10

Judges 10:1 "And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola, the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. He judges Israel twenty and three years and died and was buried in Shamir. v2

v3 "And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years. v4 And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havoth-jair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead. v5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon."

Forty-five years just went by in a flash and we come to the sixth apostasy. Israel has gone back to serving Baalim and Ashtaroth. They also served the gods of Syria, Zidon, Moab and those of the Ammons and Philistines. The conclusion is that they forsook the LORD. v6

Often, people complain that the LORD left them and they have fallen into trouble. It would be good to remember that it was them who left the LORD. He in turn may leave them to their devices for a time until they realize their mistake.

War has again broken out on both sides of Jordan. v9. Israel as usual, cries unto the LORD for help. It is not so quick to come this time.

v14 "Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation." Was the Lord's response to them at first.

Israel starts to look for a leader.

v18 "And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another. What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

That is where the chapter ends. We have seen the cycle continue. Israel honors God and there is peace. They serve other gods and trouble comes. Then they repent and beg God to help them. Then another judge emerges to lead Israel. The LORD shows a lot of patience and grace.

Psalms 7:11 "God judgeth the righteous and God is angry with the wicked every day."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Israel, Tola, Jair, apostasy,Baalim, Ashtaroth, Milton Southerland

Monday, March 10, 2008

Abimelech's Demise Judges 9 b

Judges 9:53 "And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull. v54 Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer and said unto him, Draw thy sword and slay me that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through and he died."

Abimelech's story started with his conspiracy to kill his brothers and assume leadership over Israel. He was king for three years but he was not God's anointed king. That comes later.

Gaal got drunk and decided he did not like Abimelech's leadership and talked of what he would do to Abimelech if he were leader of the people. Gaal was not well like, apparently, by a man named Zebul the ruler of the city of Shechem. Zebul sent word to Abimelech, who had reigned for 3 years, that Gaal was fortifying the city against him.

Abimelech went up against Gaal and managed to defeat him. He also destroyed the city and salted it. Then he goes off to fight against another city and is killed.

After Zebul's plan to pit Abimelech against Gaal was in play, Zebul made a little fun of Gaal.

v38 "Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them."

Gideon had many wives and 70 sons. He went off to a woman who was not his wife and they had Abimelech. Abimelech grew and rose up and killed the 70 sons. He died the way he gained power by a conspiracy.

Psalms 71:17 "O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Israel, Abimelech, Gideon sons, Milton Southerland

Friday, March 07, 2008

Abimelech's Conspiracy Judges 9 a

Judges 9:1,2 "And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren and communed with them, and with all the family of thehouse of his mother's father, saying, Speak I pray you, in the ears of all the menof Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerrubbaal, which are threescore and ten person, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh."

Have you noticed that often when there is a plan for some dirty work, the leader raises a question that really seems to be everyone's question? Then he'll get people to help him in his dirty work. So did Abimelech.

He got people to spread the word and stirred up the people against the sons of Gideon or Jerrubbaal. It was not enough to just convince the people. Abimelech had to remove future threats by killing the other sons.

v5 "And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten (70) persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerrubbaal was left, for he hid himself."

Now the conspiracy has blossomed from a speech into the murder of seventy of his brother's.

It states that all 70 were killed but Jotham hid himself. There seems to be a conflict but I submit this argument with a question? Which is better to die or watch ones whole family slaughtered while hiding instead of defending them? I think Jotham died just as sure as his brothers. He was dead inside from regret and fear.

Abimelech is made king. v6

Jotham heard of it and presented a speech about trees. It is a good one and one that puts Abimelech in his place in history.

He tells of different kinds of trees v8 from the most valuable down to the bramble. All the trees had enough integrity to refuse the kingship except the bramble, so Jotham tells us is the case with Abimelech.

v19 "If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: v20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem and the huose of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem and from the house of Millo, and devour Ablimelech."

Psalms 36:1 "The transgression of the wicked saith, within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Israel, Abimelech, Judges, Milton Southerland

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Gideon Asked to be Leader Judges 8 c

Judges 8:22 "Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also; for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. v23 "And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you."

First the people wanted to kill Gideon for tearing down the altar of Baal and cutting down the grove, now he is a hero and they want him for a ruler. He refused the offer and rightfully so giving God the glory.

Something happened then that he did not intend to happen. He asked of the people a token from the enemy. Just the earrings and fixtures for a reward perhaps. The people willingly gave them and Gideon made them into one piece, I'd say for a trophy. This action had a bad result though, as the people came to see the trophy and it turned into worship.

v27 "And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it; which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house."

Remember Gideon is Jerubbaal, the second name because he or his father told Israel to not defend Baal and that if he was a god, let him defend himself. There is no record that he did so. :)

Next, we have a brief summary of the rest of Gideon's life. He had many wives and a concubine. The concubine was in Shechem and we should remember that. His name was Abimelech.
Besides Abimelech, Gideon had 70 sons by his many wives. v30 And Gideon died in a good old age and was buried.

v28 "Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon."

Once Gideon was dead Israel again went into apostasy, the fifth. They showed no kindness to the house of Gideon (Jerubbaal) or his sons. v35

Psalms 51:7 "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Israel, Judges, Gideon, Milton Southerland

Gideon Pursues the Enemy Judges 8 b

Judges 8:4 "And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them."

I cannot help but think of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders when I read the verse. I can almost see Gideon splashing through the waters of Jordan chasing after the enemy.

They have been fighting long though and have no provisions with them. Gideon ask of the princes of Succoth for some bread for his troops but is refused. He then asked of the men of Penuel and they refused to give them bread. Gideon becomes angry with them and told them he would be back.

v7 "And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

v9 "And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower."

So Gideon continues his pursuit and overcomes the enemy but he remembered those who refused to help his small army. I expect he was thinking of his men's hunger as they faithfully followed him. So, he returned and made good his promise.

v16 "And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them he taught the men of Succoth. v17 And he beat down the tower of Penuel and slew the men of the city."

Gideon again turns to those he pursued and captured and ask what the people looked like they had slain. The reply was that they looked like Gideon and v18 "...each one resembled the children of a king." Gideon told them that they were his brethren and carried out the punishment.

Psalms 36:11 "Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me."

Keywords: Bible Study, Gideon, Old Testament, Succoth, Penuel, Judges, Milton Southerland

Gideon and Ephraim's Jealousy Judges 8 a

Judges 8:1 'And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply."

Most of the fighting is over. It was the LORD who reduced the number to 300. Ephraim is offended because he was not in on the fight. Actually, he is the kind of soldier you'd want with you. Ready for a fight. It was not the LORD's plan though.

Gideon handles the situation like a real problem solver. He expressed to Ephraim that what he, Gideon, did was nothing compared to what Ephraim did.

v3 "God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that."

We know from the story that it was "The sword of the LORD and of Gideon" that routed the camp and set them on the run. Gideon's words to Ephraim served well to calm the man down. It was the sign of a leader to give credit to those under him.

Psalms 69:5 "O God, thou knowest my foolishness, and my sins are not hid from thee."

keywords: Gideon, Ephraim, Judges, Old Testament, Bible Study, Midian, Milton Southerland

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gideon's Victory Judges 7b

Judges 7:21 "And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled."

Gideon's army of 300 has surrounded the host of Midian. 100 to a group. Their weapons are an empty pitcher, lamps, and a trumpet. Total confusion happened in the enemy camp. They took up their swords and in the confusion slew each other. Gideon and his men stood in their place.

v19 "So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch, and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands."

Suddenly in the quiet of night. A lot of commotion sets in.

The result was a ring of light around the enemy and 300 trumpets blowing at the same time. The Midianites must have thought they were surrounded by a great army and they could not see them. Perhaps they thought some were already in their camp, as it would be assumed that with all the trumpets blowing there would be an onslaught. The 300 cried: The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

Then, those remaining fled v22. At this time Gideon called upon other tribes in Israel to come down off the mountain and pursue the enemy which they did. Finally, the two princes Oreb and Zeeb were caught at the river Jordan and slain by Ephraim. Naphtali and Asher were also involved in the pursuit.

It was a great victory. Gideon has become the hero. Unfortunately, Israel seems to have forgotten to give God the glory for the victory, although Gideon tries to direct them to the LORD in a later chapter.

Psalms 119:169 "Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word."

keywords: Gideon's victory, Gideon, Israel, Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Israel, Milton Southerland

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gideon's Battle Preps Judges 7 a

Judges 7:2 "And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me."

In case you missed it, Gideon was called Jerubbaal by his father c6v31, after he told the people to let Baal plead for himself which is what the name means.

That's too much. The people numbered in the thousands, 32,000 to be exact that came out to fight with Gideon. The purpose here is for the people to have a victory with the LORD's help so that they give him the glory and not themselves. So a smaller number is needed. Gideon, as instructed by the LORD, let those go home who were fearful and afraid which turned out to be 22,000. Still the 10,000 was too many for it to be clear that the LORD had won the battle.

v5 "So he brought down the people unto the water; and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself, likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink."

Those who lapped like a dog were chosen for battle. They were 300. It seems that the most unlikely were chosen for battle.

That night the 300 went down to the valley as they had just changed the guard. First though, Gideon received further confirmation from a man who told a story of a man who had a dream that a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian and came unto a tent and smote it that it fall down. v13

v14 "And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian and all the host."

Gideon had the victory with the idol of Baal, he laid out his fleece, he talked to an angel under and oak tree, he sends away 31,700 soldiers, heard about a dream and is about to go to battle with 300 men who drink like a dog against the thousands of Midian. But the LORD is with him.

Psalms 35:28 "And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long."

Keywords: Bible study, Old Testament, Judges, Gideon,lap like a dog, battle,Gideon's sword,Israel,Canaan,Milton Southerland

Monday, March 03, 2008

Gideon's Calling 4th Judge - Judges 6 b

"Judges 6:11 "And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that partained unto Joash the Abi-exrite: and his son was Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites."

It is a beautiful picture. An angel sitting under an oak tree.

Gideon seems to have been working away until the angel made himself visible to him. Then Gideon turned to talk. The angel addressed Gideon in what must have seemed an unusual way to Gideon.

v12 "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour."

Gideon's response was appropriate, I think. He asked the angel to wait while he prepared some food. The angel agreed and Gideon soon returned with a small feast of kid, unleavened bread and broth. The method by which the angel received it was to consume it by fire.

There was some give and take before this meal though. Gideon wanted to know why they were in such trouble if the LORD was with them. The angel got right to the point of the visit. We also leave in this verse that it is the LORD who talked with Gideon.

v14 "And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites; have not I sent thee?"

Finally, upon seeing the food consumed, Gideon is fully convinced that he has received a visit from heaven.

v22 "And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD GOD for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face."

Apparently, Gideon thought he was going to die because of seeing the angel or the LORD. The
words of Jesus himself ring out: v23 "...Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die."

Gideon's first act was to tear down Baal and build and altar. It did not make the neighborhood happy and they complained to Gideon's father. His father told the neighbors to let Baal defend himself if he was really a god. I thought that was pretty funny.

We next find the Midianites getting ready for battle v33 and Gideon blowing the trumpet and also raising a grand assembly. v35.

Then just to make sure the LORD was with him Gideon did the fleece test which many of us are familiar with. We'd say 'Lord, if you want me to do this or that, give me so-and-so sign.' That is what Gideon did. He put out a fleece of wool, first he wanted only the wool to be wet with dew and it happened, second he wanted the fleece to be dry and everything around it wet and it was. He had his answer.

Next Gideon prepares for battle.

Psalms 34:7 "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Gideon, Israel, Milton Southerland, fleece

Fourth Apostasy Judges 6a

Judges 6:1 "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years."

v2"...and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves and strong holds."

It was a rough seven years for Israel. They planted their crops but did not get to reap them. The Midianites brought their herds in and ruined the crops. V5 says they were as grasshoppers for multitude. They did not come to live but to destroy the land.

v7 "And it came to pass when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, v8 That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel..."

This prophet reminded them of their deliverance from Egypt and the gift of Canaan. Then the reason for their trouble. We should remember here (although it is no excuse for doing evil) that years are passing quickly in our study. New generations seem to forget the trouble evil causes them.

v10 "And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice."

Psalms 127:1 "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Judges, Israel, Apostasy,Milton Southerland