Bible Ministries International

Bible Studies

A series of verse by verse studies by Gunther von Harringa Sr

Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

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Judges 9 - Part 1

June 19, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 1 and today’s date is June 19, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. {3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


As I mentioned in one of our prior studies this chapter is the only one (besides Judges 8:31) that deals with the son of a concubine in Shechem (which exemplifies the world) that he named Abimelech.


Abimelech [’Abiymelek:H40]


You might recall that Abimelech’s name is made up of two Hebrews words, Ab (H1), or father which is comprised of the first two letters in the Hebrew alphabet - the aleph and the bet (corresponding to the Greek alpha and beta, and our English “a” and “b,” from which our English word, alphabet is derived. The second Hebrew expression is  melek (H4428), or king, or “father of the king.” 


There are two important factors that we want to bear in mind as we are introduced to Abimelech and his plans to become king of Shechem by murdering his 70 half-brothers. The first is the spiritual condition of Israel as described in the closing verses of Judges 8:33-35, and secondly, Gideon’s significant declaration to Israel concerning Who should reign over them in Judges 8:22-23 respectively: 


And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. {34} And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: {35} Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, [namely], Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel.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. {23} And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.



The first thing that we learn about Abimelech in Judges 9:1 is that he went to Shechem. We have also understood that Shechem can denote something positive as well as something negative, as was mentioned in some of our earlier studies in Chapter 8. For example Shechem was the place where Joseph’s bones were buried, as well as one of the cities of refuge according to these next citations:


Joshua 24:32 records: And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, [Shekem:H7927] in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem [Shekem:H7927] for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.


And Joshua 21:20-21maintain: And the families of the children of Kohath, the Levites which remained of the children of Kohath, even they had the cities of their lot out of the tribe of Ephraim. {21} For they gave them Shechem [Shekem:H7927] with her suburbs in mount Ephraim, [to be] a city of refuge for the slayer; and Gezer with her suburbs,


The following passage is an illustration of how God utilizes this word in a negative manner:


In verse 9 of Hosea 6:4-11 Shechem is rendered as by consent, as God indicts both Israel and Judah with the sin of spiritual adultery or idolatry: {4} O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness [is] as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. {5} Therefore have I hewed [them] by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments [are as] the light [that] goeth forth. {6} For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. {7} But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. {8} Gilead [is] a city of them that work iniquity, [and is] polluted with blood. {9} And as troops of robbers wait for a man, [so] the company of priests murder in the way by consent [(Shekem:7927) (shekem:H7926)]: for they commit lewdness. {10} I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there [is] the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled. {11} Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.


Went [yalak:H3212] To Shechem [Shekem:H7927]


These two words only appear together in this chapter along with two other accounts. The first one has to do with Jacob’s command to Joseph to check on his brothers who were feeding Jacob’s flocks in Shechem; the second with the crowning of King Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) in Shechem as well. Additionally, Shechem can also refer to the world. 


Genesis 37:12-14 is the account in which Jacob sends Joseph to Shechem, in which these two terms, went and to Shechem appear together: And his brethren went [yalak:H3212]to feed their father's flock in Shechem. [Shekem:H7927] {13} And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed [the flock] in Shechem? [Shekem:H7927] Come [yalak:H3212], and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here [am I]. {14} And he said to him, Go [yalak:H3212], I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. [Shekem:H7927]


We will also encounter these two expressions again, Lord willing, in Judges 9:6-7 and 49:


And all the men of Shechem [Shekem:H7927] gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went [yalak:H3212], and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem. [Shekem:H7927] {7} And when they told [it] to Jotham, he went [yalak:H3212]and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem [Shekem:H7927], that God may hearken unto you. ... {49} And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed [yalak:H3212] Abimelech, and put [them] to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem [Shekem:H7927] died also, about a thousand men and women. 


His Mother’s [’em:H517] Brethren [’ach:H251]


The next two words in Judges 9:1 are: his mother’s and brethren, which is where Abimelech went in order to garner support for the wickedness that he would eventually commit. Again we see the sinfulness of man in plain view as Jeremiah 17:9 and so many other Scriptures confirm:


The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately [“incurably”] wicked: who can know it?

This is further emphasized in Mark 7:20-23 which addresses man’s heart or mind: And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. {21} For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, {22} Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: {23} All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.


Actually we ran across these two words, his mother’s and brethren in verse 19 of  Judges 8:18-19,


Then said he [Gideon] unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men [were they] whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou [art], so [were] they; each one resembled the children of a king. {19} And he said, They [were] my brethren [’ach:H251], [even] the sons of my mother: [’em:H517] [as] the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.


These terms are also found in verse 20 of Psalm 50:16-22 with respect to the non-elect: But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or [that] thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? {17} Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. {18} When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. {19} Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. {20} Thou sittest [and] speakest against thy brother [’ach:H251]; thou slanderest thine own mother's [’em:H517]  son. {21} These [things] hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether [such an one] as thyself: [but] I will reprove thee, and set [them] in order before thine eyes. {22} Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear [you] in pieces, and [there be] none to deliver.


And Communed [dabar:H1696] & Family [mishpachah:H4940]


We now want to turn our attention to the terms, and communed along with family, recognizing that this is Abimelech’s mother’s family that are being consulted with regard to Abimelech’s sinful desires, as 1 John 2:15-17 testifies, keeping in mind that Shechem can represent the world:


Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. {17} And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 


The following citations illustrate God’s usage of these two terms together:


1 Samuel 9:21 states: And Saul answered and said, [Am] not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family [mishpachah:H4940]

 the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest [dabar:H1696] thou so to me?


Jeremiah 33:24 also reveal: Considerest thou not what this people have spoken [dabar:H1696], saying, The two families [mishpachah:H4940] which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.


Verse 1 of Amos 3:1-8 further acknowledges: Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken [dabar:H1696] against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family [mishpachah:H4940] which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, {2} You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. {3} Can two walk together, except they be agreed? {4} Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? {5} Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin [is] for him? shall [one] take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? {6} Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it]? {7} Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. {8} The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy? 


Of The House [bayith:H1004] Of His Mother’s [’em:H517] Father [’ab:H1]


The last phrase in verse 1 consists of three words, of the house, of his mother’s, and father. They surface together in five other references and we will consider two of them:


Verse 18 of Joshua 2 recounts part of the agreement that Rahab made with the two spies: Behold, [when] we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother [’em:H517], and thy brethren, and all thy father's [’ab:H1]  household [bayith:H1004], home [bayith:H1004] unto thee.


Verse 6 of Micah 7:1-7 declares: Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: [there is] no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit. {2} The good [man] is perished out of the earth: and [there is] none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. {3] That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge [asketh] for a reward; and the great [man], he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up. {4} The best of them [is] as a brier: the most upright [is sharper] than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen [and] thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity. {5} Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. {6} For the son dishonoureth the father [’ab:H1], the daughter riseth up against her mother [’em:H517], the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies [are] the men of his own house. [bayith:H1004] {7} Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.


We will have to stop here for today. Lord willing, we will pick this up in our next study as we move on to verse two.

Judges 9 - Part 2

June 22, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 2 and today’s date is June 22, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. {3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


In verse 2 we find Abimelech speaking to his mother’s family in Shechem in which he tries to persuade them to act as a middle man as it were to ask the men of Shechem if they want to be governed by the 70 sons of Gideon his father, or to just have Abimelech rule over them. He also reminds them that he is one of their own, namely from Shechem. As we go through this unique chapter, let us be praying that God will open our spiritual eyes and ears to see the spiritual dimension in this historical parable. 


Speak [dabar:H1696] & In The Ears [’ozen:H241] 


The first two expressions in verse 2 are: speak and in the ears. We find these two terms together in a number of passages, and we will consider a few of them:


These two words are also found in Judges 9:3 as spake and him in the ears: And his mother's brethren spake [dabar:H1696] of him in the ears [’ozen:H241] of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother.


Verse 2 of Exodus 11:1-2 declares God’s decree to the Israelites prior to the exodus, as they spoiled the Egyptians: And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague [more] upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let [you] go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.{2} Speak [dabar:H1696] now in the ears [’ozen:H241] of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.


Also in 24 of 1 Samuel 25:23-35 we find Abigail (David’s future wife) pleading with David; these two terms are translated, speak and in thine audience: And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, {24} And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, [upon] me [let this] iniquity [be]: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak [dabar:H1696] in thine audience [’ozen:H241], and hear the words of thine handmaid. {25} Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, [even] Nabal: for as his name [is], so [is] he; Nabal [is] his name, and folly [is] with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. {26} Now therefore, my lord, [as] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to [shed] blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. {27} And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord. {28} I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee [all] thy days. {29} Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, [as out] of the middle of a sling. {30} And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; {31} That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid. {32} And David said to Abigail, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: {33} And blessed [be] thy advice, and blessed [be] thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to [shed] blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand. {34} For in very deed, [as] the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall. {35} So David received of her hand [that] which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.


Proverbs 23:9 further warns: Speak [dabar:H1696] not in the ears [’ozen:H241] of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.


These two expressions in verse 10 of Jeremiah 6:6-10 are set in the context of God’s judgment beginning at His own house first:  For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this [is] the city to be visited; she [is] wholly oppression in the midst of her. {7} As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually [is] grief and wounds. {8} Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited. {9} Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets. {10} To whom shall I speak [dabar:H1696], and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear [’ozen:H241]  [is] uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. 


Jeremiah 26:15 includes these words as well: But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak [dabar:H1696] all these words in your ears. [’ozen:H241]


Likewise verse 10  Ezekiel 3:1-10 records God's message to Ezekiel: Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. {2} So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. {3} And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat [it]; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. {4} And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. {5} For thou [art] not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, [but] to the house of Israel; {6} Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. {7} But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel [are] impudent and hardhearted. {8} Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. {9} As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house. {10} Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak [dabar:H1696] unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. [’ozen:H241]

 

The Men [ba`al:H1167] Of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927]


The phrase the men and of Shechem consists of two words, which are only found together in this chapter, and curiously appear 13 times (including verse 2) as the following Scriptures reveal:


I’ll read Judges 9:3, 6-7, 18, 20, 23-26, 39, and 46-47, And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927] all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. ... {6} And all the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927] gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem. [Sh@kem:H7927] {7} And when they told [it] to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927], that God may hearken unto you. ... {18} And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927], because he [is] your brother;) ... {20} But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927], and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927], and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. ... {23} Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927]; and the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927] dealt treacherously with Abimelech: {24} That the cruelty [done] to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927], which aided him in the killing of his brethren. {25} And the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927] set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech. {26} And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927] put their confidence in him. ... {39} And Gaal went out before the men [ba`al:H1167] of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927], and fought with Abimelech. ... {46} And when all the men [ba`al:H1167] of the tower of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927] heard [that], they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith. {47} And it was told Abimelech, that all the men [ba`al:H1167]  of the tower of Shechem [Sh@kem:H7927] were gathered together.


The term that is rendered the men (ba`al:H1167) is not the usual word for men as the more common names such as adam, or ’enowsh or ’iysh. This is also the same word for the false god, Baal or Baalim, or Baalberith as we learned from Judges 8:33, and even going back to Judges 6, when Gideon was commanded by God to throw down the altar and grove of Baal that his father and the other Abiezerites worshipped:


And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. 


We also want to keep in mind that Israel is in the first stage of rebellion once again in the familiar cycle of rebellion>oppression>deliverance>rest.


Is Better [towb:H2896] & The Sons [ben:H1121]


The next phrase in verse 2 which Abimelech presents to his mother’s family to relay to the men of Shekem is: ...Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons... Essentially, he is asking the men of Shekem if they want one ruler (which would be himself) over them or 70 rulers? We also see this same kind of contrast in the following references:




Verse 39 of Deuteronomy 1:34-39 records:  And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, {35} Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, {36} Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD. {37} Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither. {38} [But] Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. {39} Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children [ben:H1121], which in that day had no knowledge between good [towb:H2896] and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.


Ruth 4:15 also affirms: And he shall be unto thee a restorer of [thy] life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better [towb:H2896] to thee than seven sons [ben:H1121], hath born him.


Verse 8 of 1 Samuel 1:4-8 includes these two terms as better and sons:  And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: {5} But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb. {6} And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. {7} And [as] he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. {8} Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? [am] not I better [towb:H2896] to thee than ten sons [ben:H1121]


I think we’ll stop here for today. Lord willing in our next study we will consider the remaining words in verse 2.  

Judges 9 - Part 3

June 24, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 3 and today’s date is June 24, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. {3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


We are continuing our examination of Judges 9:2 as Abimemech seeks to persuade his family to reach out to the men of Shechem with the idea of installing him as their king, instead of the 70 sons of Jerubbaal. Perhaps you might recollect that the compound name Jerubbaal (Yeruba`al:H3378) that Joash gave to Gideon, according to Judges 6:31-32, after Gideon had thrown down the altar of Baal:


And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead [riyb:H7378] for Baal [Ba`al:H1168]? will ye save him? he that will plead [riyb:H7378]  for him, let him be put to death whilst [it is yet] morning: if he [be] a god, let him plead [riyb:H7378]  for himself, because [one] hath cast down his altar. {32} Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead [riyb:H7378] against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.


Baal (ba`al:H1168), is identically spelled to the men in the phrase the men (ba`al:H1167) of Shechem, as was discussed in Judges 9 - Part 2.


Threescore And Ten [shib`iym:H7657]


We encountered the number threescore and ten in Judges 8 - Part 29, but it might be helpful to review that information as it pertains to Gideon’s 70 sons that are about to be murdered by Abimelech and his accomplices. The number threescore and ten (70) is featured prominently in the Bible. It is made up of the factors 7 (pointing to perfection) X 10 (highlighting the completeness of whatever is in view). 


In Exodus 1:5 we read this statement concerning the beginning of the nation of Israel: And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy [shib`iym:H7657] souls: for Joseph was in Egypt [already].


After the 430 years in Egypt they grew into a nation that perhaps numbered a million and a half up to 2 million strong as Deuteronomy 10:22 affirms: Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten [shib`iym:H7657] persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.


When Moses told God of his inability to lead such a large number of people in the wilderness, God provided 70 elders to share the burden of leadership with him, as Numbers 11:16, and 24-25 reveal: And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy [shib`iym:H7657] men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. ... {24} And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy [shib`iym:H7657] men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. {25} And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that [was] upon him, and gave [it] unto the seventy [shib`iym:H7657] elders: and it came to pass, [that], when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.


Exodus 15:27 includes this number as well as the number 12 (typifying each of the 12 tribes); palm trees are also used to represent God’s elect: And they came to Elim, where [were] twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten [shib`iym:H7657] palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.


Another unique account which is the only other one that includes 70 sons is found in 2 Kings 10:1-31 with regard to the progeny of Ahab, in which this same word, seventy surfaces in verses 1, 6 and 7:


And Ahab had seventy [shib`iym:H7657] sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's [children], saying, {2} Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master's sons [are] with you, and [there are] with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armour; {3} Look even out the best and meetest of your master's sons, and set [him] on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house. {4} But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand? {5} And he that [was] over the house, and he that [was] over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up [of the children], sent to Jehu, saying, We [are] thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou [that which is] good in thine eyes. {6} Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye [be] mine, and [if] ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king's sons, [being] seventy [shib`iym:H7657] persons, [were] with the great men of the city, which brought them up. {7} And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king's sons, and slew seventy [shib`iym:H7657]  persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him [them] to Jezreel. {8} And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. {9} And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye [be] righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these? {10} Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done [that] which he spake by his servant Elijah. {11} So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining. {12} And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. [And] as he [was] at the shearing house in the way, {13} Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who [are] ye? And they answered, We [are] the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen. {14} And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, [even] two and forty men; neither left he any of them. {15} And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab [coming] to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart [is] with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give [me] thine hand. And he gave [him] his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot. {16} And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot. {17} And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, which he spake to Elijah. {18} And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; [but] Jehu shall serve him much. {19} Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice [to do] to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did [it] in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal. {20} And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed [it]. {21} And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another. {22} And he said unto him that [was] over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. {23} And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but the worshippers of Baal only. {24} And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, [If] any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, [he that letteth him go], his life [shall be] for the life of him. {25} And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, [and] slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast [them] out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. {26} And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. {27} And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. {28} Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. {29} Howbeit [from] the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, [to wit], the golden calves that [were] in Bethel, and that [were] in Dan. {30} And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing [that which is] right in mine eyes, [and] hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that [was] in mine heart, thy children of the fourth [generation] shall sit on the throne of Israel. {31} But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.


“Seventy” [hebdomekonta:G1440] In The New Testament


The number seventy also crops up in verses 1 and 17 in Luke 10:1-2, and 17-20:


After these things the Lord appointed other seventy [hebdomekonta:G1440]  also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. {2} Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly [is] great, but the labourers [are] few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. ... {17} And the seventy [hebdomekonta:G1440]  returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. {18} And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. {19} Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. {20} Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.


Reign [mashal:4910]


Abimelech’s proposition to the men of Shechem involves a choice regarding whether they want him to rule over them or the 70 sons of Gideon to rule over them. Actually we have seen this word before in Judges 8:22-23 which presents a stark contrast between Abimelech’s lust for power, and Gideon’s declaration of God’s perfect rule: 


Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule [mashal:H4910] thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. {23} And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule [mashal:H4910] over you, neither shall my son rule [mashal:H4910] over you: the LORD shall rule [mashal:H4910] over you.


The fact that this word rule is used four times points to universality, and reminds one of the situation during the time when Samuel was judge, in which the Israeliltes foolishly clamored for an earthly king so they could be like all the other nations as we read in 1 Samuel 8:1-9,


And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. {2} Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: [they were] judges in Beersheba. {3} And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. {4} Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, {5} And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. {6} But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. {7} And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. {8} According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. {9} Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.


This is also expressed in the parable of the talents in Luke 19:11-27, 


And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. {12} He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. {13} And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. {14} But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this [man] to reign over us. {15} And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. {16} Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. {17} And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. {18} And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. {19} And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. {20} And another came, saying, Lord, behold, [here is] thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: {21} For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. {22} And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, [thou] wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: {23} Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? {24} And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give [it] to him that hath ten pounds. {25} (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) {26} For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. {27} But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me.


We are at the end of our program. Lord willing, in our next study we will take a look at some identically spelled words as this term reign (mashal:G4910) and see what insights God might give us.

Judges 9 - Part 4

June 29, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 4 and today’s date is June 29, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. {3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


We have arrived at the latter part of verse 3 which is part of Abimelech’s proposal aimed at the men of Shechem, which he wanted his mother’s family to convey to them, with the objective of crowning him king, instead of the 70 sons of Gideon.

The last few words in verse 3 are a reminder to the men of Shechem that he is indeed one of their own by the two terms, I [am] your bone and your flesh, so let’s begin by examining these expressions - remember, along with  I [am] your bone and your flesh.  We also want to bear in mind that our objective, as God wills, is to uncover the spiritual dimension in this historical parable.


Remember [zakar:H2142]


Actually, we ran across this word remember in Judges 8:34 in which it was recorded as remembered, as the cycle of rebellion>oppression>deliverance<rest sadly starts all over again: 


And the children of Israel remembered [zakar:H2142] not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side:


This expression is used in a variety of different ways that include God remembering His people or their sin corporately, or the elect remembering God and and all His benefits, or from one human to another, as the following passages illustrate:


In verses 14 and 23 of Genesis 40:14-15 Joseph asks the butler to speak to Pharaoh about him, in which this word is expressed as think and me and make mention, and remember:  But think [zakar:H2142] on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention [zakar:H2142] of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: {15} For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. ... {23} Yet did not the chief butler remember [zakar:H2142] Joseph, but forgat him.


Numbers 15:39-40 translates this word as remember: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember [zakar:H2142] all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: {40} That ye may remember, [zakar:H2142] and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.



Nehemiah 9:17 renders this word as were mindful: And refused to obey, neither were mindful [zakar:H2142] of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou [art] a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.


The term, remember, also appears three times in Psalm 119 in verses 49, 52, and 55 under the section ZAIN, which is the 7th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm 119 contains all 22 letters of the Hebew alphabet, and under each alphabet letter heading, there are 8 verses that in Hebrew all begin with the letter ZAIN זָ:


ZAIN. Remember [zakar:H2142] the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope… {52} I remembered [zakar:H2142] thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself. ... {55} I have remembered [zakar:H2142] thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.


Now let’s turn our attention to the two expressions, [am] your bone along with and your flesh which appear together in 19 citations, and we’ll look at some of the ways in which God employs these two words.


[Am] Your Bone [`etsem:H6106] And Your Flesh [basar:H1320]


Spiritually these two words refer to the union of the Lord Jesus Christ and His elect bride, as typified by the union of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, in which these two terms surface in verse 23 of Genesis 2:20-24, as bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: 


And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. {21} And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; {22} And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. {23} And Adam said, This [is] now bone [`etsem:H6106] of my bones [`etsem:H6106], and flesh [basar:H1320] of my flesh [basar:H1320]: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. {24}Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.


In verse 14 of Genesis 29:1-14 these terms are articulated by Laban as he declared to Jacob under divine inspiration: Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. {2} And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there [were] three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone [was] upon the well's mouth. {3} And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place. {4} And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence [be] ye? And they said, Of Haran [are] we. {5} And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know [him]. {6} And he said unto them, [Is] he well? And they said, [He is] well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. {7} And he said, Lo, [it is] yet high day, neither [is it] time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go [and] feed [them]. {8} And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and [till] they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep. {9} And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. {10} And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. {11} And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. {12} And Jacob told Rachel that he [was] her father's brother, and that he [was] Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father. {13} And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. {14} And Laban said to him, Surely thou [art] my bone [`etsem:H6106] and my flesh. [basar:H1320] And he abode with him the space of a month. 


This phrase is also used in connection with David’s coronation as King, as He is a  great representation of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of Kings as well as that Great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20) in verse 1 of 1 Chronicles 11:1-3,


Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we [are] thy bone [`etsem:H6106] and thy flesh. [basar:H1320]   {2} And moreover in time past, even when Saul was king, thou [wast] he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD thy God said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be ruler over my people Israel. {3} Therefore came all the elders of Israel to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel.


This also seen when David returned to Jerusalem after the death of Absalom who had staged a coup to oust his father from the throne in verses 8-15 of 2 Samuel 19; this phrase is found in verses 12 and 13, Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent. {9} And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom. {10} And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back? {11} And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, [even] to his house. {12} Ye [are] my brethren, ye [are] my bones [`etsem:H6106] and my flesh [basar:H1320]: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king? {13} And say ye to Amasa, [Art] thou not of my bone [`etsem:H6106], and of my flesh [basar:H1320] ? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab. {14} And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as [the heart of] one man; so that they sent [this word] unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants. {15} So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.


In Job 2:1-6 we read this account of the trials of Job (who typifies the Savior), in which these two expressions arise in verse 5:  Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. {2} And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. {3} And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. {4} And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. {5} But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone [`etsem:H6106] and his flesh [basar:H1320], and he will curse thee to thy face. {6} And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he [is] in thine hand; but save his life.


Verse 10 of Job 10:5-11 also includes these two expressions, notice also the word remember in verse 9, which is the same word we considered earlier: [Are] thy days as the days of man? [are] thy years as man's days, {6} That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin? {7} Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and [there is] none that can deliver out of thine hand. {8} Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. {9} Remember [zakar:H2142], I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? {10} Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? {11} Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh [basar:H1320], and hast fenced me with bones [`etsem:H6106] and sinews. 


Verse 4 of Lamentations 3:1-23 pictures the Lord Jesus under the wrath of God at the foundation of the world, and the subsequent demonstration on the Cross in 33 AD: I [am] the man [that] hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. {2} He hath led me, and brought [me into] darkness, but not [into] light. {3} Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand [against me] all the day. {4} My flesh [basar:H1320] and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. [`etsem:H6106] {5} He hath builded against me, and compassed [me] with gall and travail. {6} He hath set me in dark places, as [they that be] dead of old. {7} He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. {8} Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. {9} He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. {10} He [was] unto me [as] a bear lying in wait, [and as] a lion in secret places. {11} He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate. {12} He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. {13} He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins. {14} I was a derision to all my people; [and] their song all the day. {15} He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. {16} He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. {17} And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. {18} And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: {19} Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. {20} My soul hath [them] still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. {21} This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. {22} [It is of] the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. {23} [They are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness.


Verse 3 of Psalm 38:1-18 contains these two expressions as well. Please note again the same word to bring to remembrance in the title: [A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. (zakar:H2142)] O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. {2} For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. {3} [There is] no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither [is there any] rest in my bones because of my sin. {4} For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. {5} My wounds stink [and] are corrupt because of my foolishness. {6} I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. {7} For my loins are filled with a loathsome [disease]: and [there is] no soundness in my flesh. {8} I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. {9} Lord, all my desire [is] before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. {10} My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. {11} My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. {12} They also that seek after my life lay snares [for me]: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. {13} But I, as a deaf [man], heard not; and [I was] as a dumb man [that] openeth not his mouth. {14} Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth [are] no reproofs. {15} For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. {16} For I said, [Hear me], lest [otherwise] they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify [themselves] against me. {17} For I [am] ready to halt, and my sorrow [is] continually before me. {18} For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.


I think we’ll stop here today. Lord willing, in our next study we will move on to verse 3 and see the response of the men of Shechem.

Judges 9 - Part 5

July 1, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 5 and today’s date is July 1, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. {3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


In today’s study we want to consider the response of the men of Shechem to Abimelech’s proposal in verse 3. We have already considered the words in the first half of this verse, so let’s start by looking at the second half, beginning with the phrase, 


And Their Hearts [leb:H3820] Inclined [natah:H5186] To Follow [’achar:H310]


This phrase is made up of three terms that only appear again in Job 31:7, as and mine heart, hath turned out, and after: 

If my step hath turned out [natah:H5186] of the way, and mine heart [leb:H3820] walked after  [’achar:H310] mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; 


Let’s take a closer look at each of these three expressions:


And Their Hearts [leb:H3820]


This particular word for heart is leb, and is used the most frequently in the Old Testament. Here are some examples of its usage:


Genesis 8:21 records God’s promise to not bring a judgment of water upon the earth again; notice the contrast between God’s heart as opposed to unsaved man’s: And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, [leb:H3820] I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart [leb:H3820] [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.


Psalm 28:7 acknowledges the new heart or mind that the child of God was given during the day of salvation: The LORD [is] my strength and my shield; my heart [leb:H3820] trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart [leb:H3820] greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.


Jeremiah 17:5 declares: Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart [leb:H3820] departeth from the LORD.


Inclined [natah:H5186] To Follow [’achar:H310]


The two expressions inclined and to follow appear together in the vast majority of citations in a negative context as the following passages indicate:

God gives this admonition in Exodus 23:2, in which these terms are translated as follow and to decline along with to wrest:  Thou shalt not follow [’achar:H310] a multitude to [do] evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline [natah:H5186] after many to wrest [natah:H5186]  [judgment]:


1 Samuel 8:3 recounts the sad commentary concerning Samuel’s sons: And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside [natah:H5186] after [’achar:H310] lucre, and took bribes, and perverted [natah:H5186] judgment.


Likewise Jeremiah 35:15 affirms: I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending [them], saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after [’achar:H310] other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined [natah:H5186] your ear, nor hearkened unto me.


Lastly, verses 2 and 4 of  1 Kings 11:1-4 render both of these words as turn away and after; additionally the term heart (lebab, which is the identically spelled root word of leb) is also employed in this poignant commentary on King Solomon historically. Spiritually the imagery pictures the union between Christ and His elect Bride who hail from many diverse people groups around the globe: 


But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, [and] Hittites; {2} Of the nations [concerning] which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: [for] surely they will turn away [natah:H5186] your heart [lebab:H3824] after [’achar:H310] their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. {3} And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. {4} For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, [that] his wives turned away [natah:H5186] his heart [lebab:H3824]  after other gods: and his heart [lebab:H3824] was not perfect with the LORD his God, as [was] the heart [lebab:H3824] of David his father.


They Said [’amar:H559] & [Is] Our Brother [’ach:H251]


We note the men of Shechem’s response to Abimelech’s proposal by saying ...he is our brother, echoing his words to them that he was one of them. We also want to bear in mind that as we have learned the men of Shechem can refer to the end-time institutional churches and denominations that came under God’s wrath or the world, which in our present day of judgment are synonymous. We have already touched upon these two terms in Judges 8:19 and 9:1 respectively:


Judges 8:19 records Gideon’s response to Zebah and Zalmunna: And he said [’amar:H559], They [were] my brethren [’ach:H251], [even] the sons of my mother: [as] the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.


We were introduced to Judges 9 by this verse: And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren [’ach:H251], and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, [’amar:H559]


Let’s proceed on to verse 4,


Verse 4: And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.


In this verse we learn in the historical context that the men of Shechem (symbolizing either the apostate churches and denominations worldwide and without exception or the world) gave Abimelech 70 (pointing to perfection - 7 X completeness - 10 of whatever is in view, which amounts to “blood money”) pieces of silver out of the house of their false god, Baalberith, by which he could hire men who would help him accomplish the murder of his 70 (pointing once again to perfection - 7 X completeness - 10) half-brothers.


Him Threescore And Ten [shib`iym:H7657] [Pieces] Of Silver [keceph:H3701]


The two expressions, threescore and ten (70) and [pieces] of silver only surface again exactly in Numbers 7 which is a chapter that deals with the completion of the Tabernacle, in which we read in verses 1-6,


And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them; {2} That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who [were] the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered: {3} And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle. {4} And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {5} Take [it] of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service. {6} And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.


The specific offering that each of the heads of the tribes presented to the Lord is recorded in verses 13, 19, 25, 31, 37, 43, 49, 55, 61, 67, 73, 79, and 85. Each offering was the same, and included one silver charger that weighed 130 shekels, one silver bowl of 70 shekels (as in our verse). Additionally we learn that both the charger and the bowl were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, pointing to wheat or grain which typifies the Word of God, and the oil is representative of the Holy Spirit: 


And his offering [was] one silver charger, the weight thereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them [were] full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {19} He offered [for] his offering one silver charger, the weight whereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {25} His offering [was] one silver charger, the weight whereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {31} His offering [was] one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {37} His offering [was] one silver charger, the weight whereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {43} His offering [was] one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty [shekels], a silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {49} His offering [was] one silver charger, the weight whereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {55} His offering [was] one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {61} His offering [was] one silver charger, the weight whereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {67} His offering [was] one silver charger, the weight whereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {73} His offering [was] one silver charger, the weight whereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {79} His offering [was] one silver charger, the weight whereof [was] an hundred and thirty [shekels], one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering: ... {85} Each charger of silver [weighing] an hundred and thirty [shekels], each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels [weighed] two thousand and four hundred [shekels], after the shekel of the sanctuary:


The number 12 symbolizing each of the 12 tribes that offered is important as spiritually that numbers conveys the “fullness” of whatever is in view; in this case it would be the 12 identical offerings (by each of the12 tribes) in which the same word for silver as well as seventy is used.   The number 130 is significant because 13 or 130 or 13,000 points to the end of the world as 1988 was the 13,000th anniversary of the Creation of our world and universe. I’m not sure how this would relate to Judges 9:4 other than the fact the offering that we find in Numbers 7 was given to the LORD, and points to both the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, and somehow relates to the end of the world spiritually. With regards to Judges 9:4 an offering of 70 pieces of silver was taken from the temple of Baalberith (a false god), and was used for the purpose of hiring certain individuals who would participate in the murder of Gideon’s 70 sons, thereby allowing Abimelech a clear path to the throne. We have understood that Gideon was a Judge or Deliverer, and as such is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus his sons could possibly represent God’s elect. However, I am not in a position at this point to be able to connect all the dots here in order to understand how both of these chapters relate spiritually to each other. Hopefully, by God’s grace, He will give wisdom to discern this as we make our way through Chapter 9.  So let’s proceed to the next phrase in verse 4,


Out Of The House [bayith:H1004] Of Baalberith [Ba`alBeriyth:H1170]


This phrase, out of the house of BaalBerith consists of the main word for house, which is how it is translated most often, and to a much lesser degree as temple, prison or dungeon, etc. For example we find this word mentioned in connection with another false god, Dagon in verse 10 of 1 Chronicles 10:8-10, in which it is rendered as in the temple:


And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa. {9} And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people. {10} And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple [bayith:H1004] of Dagon.


Of Baalberith [Ba`alBeriyth:H1170]


We have encountered the name, Baalberith before in Judges 8:33, which sadly records:


And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith [Ba`alBeriyth:H1170] their god. [elohiym:H430]


BaalBerith is a compound name consisting of Baal (Ba`al:H1168) and Beriyth (Beriyth:H1285). Beriyth is a term that is rendered predominantly as covenant or league. A prime example is found in the incident regarding Joshua and the Gibeonites who sued for peace in Judges 9:6-7, 11, 15-16, and who symbolize God’s elect:


And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league [beriyth:H1285] with us. {7} And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league [beriyth:H1285] with you? ... {11} Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We [are] your servants: therefore now make ye a league [beriyth:H1285] with us. ... {15} And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league [beriyth:H1285] with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. {16} And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league [beriyth:H1285] with them, that they heard that they [were] their neighbours, and [that] they dwelt among them.


Just as God had made a covenant with the Israelites, so had the heathen nations done so with this god Baal, and the Israelites had fallen into the same trap themselves.


I think we’ll have to stop here today. Lord willing, in our next study we will continue our examination of verse 4.

Judges 9 - Part 6

July 8, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 6 and today’s date is July 8, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. {3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


Today we want to consider the rest of verse 4 which states:


...wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.


We have encountered the term persons (’enowsh:H582) in some of our earlier studies, and it is not the most common form used for men or persons, such as ’iysh (H376) or ’adam(H120). Curiously, it stems from a root word (’anash:H605) which surfaces in the following nine citations, and is predominantly translated as incurable, and once as desperately, desperately wicked, woeful, and sick. Perhaps this is why God chose this particular word to characterize these men who were hired by Abimelech and described as light and vain persons: 


Persons [’enowsh:H582]


Perhaps when you heard the term desperately wicked, you were reminded of Jeremiah 17:9, which is a profound declaration concerning the condition of the human heart, apart from salvation, and really would have been better translated as incurably wicked, which is really one’s spiritual status apart from the saving Work and Faith of the Lord Jesus Christ at the foundation of the world:


The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: [’anash:H605] who can know it?


Verse 16 of Jeremiah 17 renders this word as the woeful: As for me, I have not hastened from [being] a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful [’anash:H605] day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was [right] before thee.


Jeremiah 15:18 also utilizes this expression as incurable once again: Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable,[’anash:H605] [which] refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, [and as] waters [that] fail?


On the other hand, 2 Samuel 12:15 expresses this word as and it was very sick: And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. [’anash:H605]


Job 34:6 poses this question:  Should I lie against my right? my wound [is] incurable [’anash:H605] without transgression.


Isaiah 17:11 translates it and of desperate: In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: [but] the harvest [shall be] a heap in the day of grief and of desperate [’anash:H605] sorrow.


Jeremiah 30:12 and 15 reveal God’s judgment against His own house first, in which this term is rendered [is] incurable twice: For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise [is] incurable,[’anash:H605] [and] thy wound [is] grievous. ... {15} Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow [is] incurable [’anash:H605] for the multitude of thine iniquity: [because] thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.


Similarly, Verse 9 of Micah 1:1-9 affirm: The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. {2} Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. {3} For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. {4} And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, [and] as the waters [that are] poured down a steep place. {5} For the transgression of Jacob [is] all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What [is] the transgression of Jacob? [is it] not Samaria? and what [are] the high places of Judah? [are they] not Jerusalem? {6} Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, [and] as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof. {7} And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered [it] of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot. {8} Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls. {9} For her wound [is] incurable;[’anash:H605] for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, [even] to Jerusalem.


Vain [reyq:H7386] And Light [pachaz:H6348]

The terms vain and light referring to the men that Abimelech hired are only found together in Judges 9:4, so we will have to examine them individually:


Vain [reyq:H7386] 


The subsequent references illustrate some of the ways that God employs this word. Actually we have run across this expression when we were working through Judges 7 as it surfaces in verse 16 as with empty with respect to the empty pitchers that Gideon and his men were holding:


And he divided the three hundred men [into] three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty [reyq:H7386] pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.


We also find this expression in Genesis 41:27 as empty modifying the ears of grain: And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them [are] seven years; and the seven empty [reyq:H7386] ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.


We will also see this term again, Lord willing, in Judges 11:3 in the account of Jephthah, in which is is translated as vain: Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain [reyq:H7386] men to Jephthah, and went out with him.


2 Samuel 6:20 expresses this word as of the vain fellows: Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows [reyq:H7386] shamelessly uncovereth himself!


Verse 7 of 2 Chronicles 13:1-17 translates this word as him vain as this chapter records the battle between King Abijah of Judah and King Jeroboam of Israel:  


Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. {2} He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also [was] Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. {3} And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, [even] four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, [being] mighty men of valour. {4} And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which [is] in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel; {5} Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, [even] to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? {6} Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord. {7} And there are gathered unto him vain [reyq:H7386] men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them. {8} And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye [be] a great multitude, and [there are] with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods. {9} Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of [other] lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, [the same] may be a priest of [them that are] no gods. {10} But as for us, the LORD [is] our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, [are] the sons of Aaron, and the Levites [wait] upon [their] business: {11} And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also [set they in order] upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him. {12} And, behold, God himself [is] with us for [our] captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper. {13} But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment [was] behind them. {14} And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle [was] before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets. {15} Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. {16} And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand. {17} And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men. 


Proverbs 12:11 teaches: He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain [reyq:H7386] [persons is] void of understanding.


Likewise Proverbs 28:19 warns: He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain [reyq:H7386] [persons] shall have poverty enough.


Verse 11 of Ezekiel 24:1-14 is another indictment against God’s corporate people (Israel in the first instance, and secondly, the end-time institutional churches and denominations) and leads into the historical parable of the death of Ezekiel’s wife (in verses 15-27 which I won’t read) that dramatically illustrates this same theme: 


Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth [day] of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, {2} Son of man, write thee the name of the day, [even] of this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day. {3} And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Set on a pot, set [it] on, and also pour water into it: {4} Gather the pieces thereof into it, [even] every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder; fill [it] with the choice bones. {5} Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it, [and] make it boil well, and let them seethe the bones of it therein. {6} Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum [is] therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it. {7} For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust; {8} That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance; I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered. {9} Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great. {10} Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned. {11} Then set it empty [reyq:H7386] upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and [that] the filthiness of it may be molten in it, [that] the scum of it may be consumed. {12} She hath wearied [herself] with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum [shall be] in the fire. {13} In thy filthiness [is] lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. {14} I the LORD have spoken [it]: it shall come to pass, and I will do [it]; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.


And Light [pachaz:H6348]


Let’s now turn our attention to this expression light which only arises again in verse 4 of Zephaniah 3:1-8, which is another denunciation against the two outward expressions of the Kingdom of God on earth: Israel first, and the churches and denominations second


Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! {2} She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God. {3} Her princes within her [are] roaring lions; her judges [are] evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. {4} Her prophets [are] light [pachaz:H6348] [and] treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. {5} The just LORD [is] in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame. {6} I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant. {7} I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, [and] corrupted all their doings. {8} Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination [is] to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, [even] all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.


Did you notice the four-fold accusation that God levels against both of these formerly divine institutions in verse 2 highlighting their universal rebellion? 


  1. She obeyed not the voice
  2. She received not correction
  3. She trusted not in the LORD
  4. She drew not near to her God. 


Which Followed [yalak:H3212] Him [’achar:H310]


The last two words in verse 4 are which followed and him and like so many words that we have looked at they can convey either a positive nuance or a negative connotation as these next two passages demonstrate respectively:


Ruth 1:16 acknowledges what God had done in Ruth’s life as she wonderfully affirms to her mother-in-law Naomi: And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, [or] to return from following after [’achar:H310]

 thee: for whither thou goest [yalak:H3212], I will go [yalak:H3212]; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people [shall be] my people, and thy God my God:


By contrast, Deuteronomy 6:14 presents this serious warning: Ye shall not go [yalak:H3212] after [’achar:H310] other gods, of the gods of the people which [are] round about you;


Well on that solemn note we will have to bring today’s study to a close. Lord willing, in our next study we will move on to verse 5, 

Judges 9 - Part 7

July 13, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 7 and today’s date is July 13, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. {3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


Our study today will focus on verse 5. We’ll begin with the first phrase which consists of three Hebrew words: 


And He Went [bow’:H935] Unto His Father's [’ab:H1] House [bayith:H1004]


These three terms appear in 26 other verses, and we will consider some of them.


One of the most horrific accounts that parallels what Abimelech did is found in verse 11 of 1 Samuel 22:9-19, Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. {10} And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. {11} Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's [’ab:H1] house [bayith:H1004], the priests that [were] in Nob: and they came [bow’:H935] all of them to the king. {12} And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I [am], my lord. {13} And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? {14} Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who [is so] faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house? {15} Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute [any] thing unto his servant, [nor] to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. {16} And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house. {17} And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also [is] with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD. {18} And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. {19} And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.


1 Samuel 2:27-31 recounts God’s judgment that first began at His own house (according to 1 Peter 4:17 and Jeremiah 25:29), and is part of a larger historical parable that spans chapters 2-5:  And there came [bow’:H935] a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house [bayith:H1004] of thy father [’ab:H1], when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? {28} And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel [to be] my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? {29} Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded [in my] habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? {30} Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed [that] thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. {31} Behold, the days come [bow’:H935], that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's [’ab:H1] house [bayith:H1004], that there shall not be an old man in thine house.


2 Kings 20:17 (and its parallel verse in Isaiah 39:6) records God’s declaration of His judgment on Judah (who typifies the end-time institutional churches and denominations): 


Behold, the days come [bow’:H935], that all that [is] in thine house [bayith:H1004], and that which thy fathers [’ab:H1] have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.


Joshua 2:18 declares: Behold, [when] we come [bow’:H935] into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father [’ab:H1], and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's [’ab:H1] household [bayith:H1004], home [bayith:H1004] unto thee.


We have already discussed the words in the phrase, ...at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons… so let’s move on to the next phrase,


Upon One [’echad:H259] Stone [’eben:H68]

These two Hebrew expressions surface in 11 other citations, and we will consider a some of them: 


We will find these same two terms again in verse 18 of this chapter in which Gideon’s youngest son Jotham (who escaped the massacre), addresses the men of Shechem: And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one [’echad:H259]   stone [’eben:H68], and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he [is] your brother;)

 

These two expressions are also found in Exodus 17:12 in the battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites:  But Moses' hands [were] heavy; and they took a stone [’eben:H68], and put [it] under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one [’echad:H259] on the one side [’echad:H259], and the other [’echad:H259] on the other side [’echad:H259]; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.


Verse 10 of Exodus 28:9-12 explain God’s command concerning the gemstones in Aaron’s breastplate: And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: {10} Six of their names on one stone [’eben:H68], and [the other] six names of the rest on the other stone [’eben:H68], according to their birth. {11} With the work of an engraver in stone, [like] the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. {12} And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod [for] stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.


Verse 12 of 1 Samuel 7:2-13 acknowledges: And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. {3} And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, [then] put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. {4} Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only. {5} And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD. {6} And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured [it] out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. {7} And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard [it], they were afraid of the Philistines. {8} And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. {9} And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered [it for] a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. {10} And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. {11} And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until [they came] under Bethcar. {12} Then Samuel took a [’echad:H259] stone [’eben:H68], and set [it] between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer [’Eben-ha`ezer:H72], saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. {13} So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.


The Hebrew term for stone is ‘eben, which is part of the name Ebenezer, which is a compound word, signifying “stone of help.” 


Verse 19 of Ezekiel 11:19-20 highlights God’s salvation program that was in effect throughout the day of salvation: And I will give them one [’echad:H259]  heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony [’eben:H68] heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:


The rest of verse 5 concerns Jotham, Gideon’s youngest son who was left about whom we learn that he had hid himself, and thus managed to escape from Abimelech. So let’s turn our attention to these three terms, starting with the words, the youngest and was left:


The Youngest [qatan:H6996] & Was Left [yathar:H3498]


These two expressions are only found together again in verse 20 of Genesis 44:20-34, as Judah makes his plea to Joseph (who he did not recognize) on behalf of  their youngest brother Benjamin; these terms are rendered a little one and is left:


And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one [qatan:H6996]; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left [yathar:H3498]of his mother, and his father loveth him. {21} And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. {22} And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for [if] he should leave his father, [his father] would die. {23} And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. {24} And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. {25} And our father said, Go again, [and] buy us a little food. {26} And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother [be] with us. {27} And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two [sons]: {28} And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since: {29} And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. {30} Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad [be] not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; {31} It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad [is] not [with us], that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. {32} For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. {33} Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. {34} For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad [be] not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father. 


He Hid Himself [chaba’:H2244]


The last expression that we find in verse 5 is he hid himself. The following passages illustrate some of the ways that God employs this term:


In verses 8 and 10 of  Genesis 3:8-10 we learn what Adam and Eve did following their disobedience to God’s  command: And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves [chaba’:H2244] from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. {9} And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou? {10} And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself. [chaba’:H2244]


This word is also used in connection with Rahab hiding the two spies in Joshua 6:17 and 25: And the city shall be accursed, [even] it, and all that [are] therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that [are] with her in the house, because she hid [chaba’:H2244] the messengers that we sent. ... {25} And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel [even] unto this day; because she hid [chaba’:H2244] the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.


Verse 21 of Job 5:17-27 renders this word as thou shalt be hid: Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: {18} For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. {19} He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. {20} In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. {21] Thou shalt be hid [chaba’:H2244] from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. {22} At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. {23} For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. {24} And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle [shall be] in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin. {25} Thou shalt know also that thy seed [shall be] great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. {26} Thou shalt come to [thy] grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. {27} Lo this, we have searched it, so it [is]; hear it, and know thou [it] for thy good.


On that encouraging note, we will have to stop here, as we have run out of time. Lord willing in our next study we will proceed to verse 6.

Judges 9 - Part 8

July 15, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 8 and today’s date is July 15, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. {3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


We have arrived at Judges 9:6 in our verse-by-verse examination of this book. We have already concluded that the men of Shechem can either picture the end-time institutional churches and denominations or the world which in our present day of judgment have become one and the same. So let us investigate the word gathered together which the men of Shechem did for the purpose of crowning Abimelech king.


 Gathered Together [’acaph:H622]


This expression, gathered together, is predominantly rendered as together, gather, assemble, and in other miscellaneous ways, making it quite pregnant with many different nuances:


For example, we encountered this term back in Judges 6:33, in which it is expressed as were gathered: Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered [’acaph:H622] together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.


In verse 19 of 1 Samuel 14:15-23 this word is translate as withdraw in this particular battle between the Philistines and the Israelites: And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. {16} And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down [one another]. {17} Then said Saul unto the people that [were] with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer [were] not [there]. {8} And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. {19} And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that [was] in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw [’acaph:H622]  thine hand. {20} And Saul and all the people that [were] with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, [and there was] a very great discomfiture. {21} Moreover the Hebrews [that] were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp [from the country] round about, even they also [turned] to be with the Israelites that [were] with Saul and Jonathan. {22} Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, [when] they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle. {23} So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.


In verses 16 and 20 we note that the Philistines were fighting against each other even as we saw this same scenario, and you might recall that the phrase, every man's sword was against his fellow in verse 20 is the identical phrase that we witnessed in Judges 7:22,


And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, [and] to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.


Spiritually this points to our present day of judgment in which Satan’s kingdom is being systematically dismantled and the unsaved are taking sides against each other in the various endeavors of politics, sports, the media, and the entertainment industry, etc. as Mark 3:24-26 affirms, in which the Greek word be divided is mentioned three times (The number three expresses the “purpose of God.”):


And if a kingdom be divided [merizo:G3307] against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. {25} And if a house be divided [merizo:G3307] against itself, that house cannot stand. {26} And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided [merizo:G3307], he cannot stand, but hath an end. 


This same theme of the day of judgment is also emphasized in the next four citations in connection with our word, gathered together:


Joel 2:10 makes this declaration which is reminiscent of Matthew 24:29, and about a dozen other passages in both the Old and New Testament highlighting the end of God’s salvation program, since all the elect would have been saved; here this word is translated as shall withdraw: 


The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw [’acaph:H622] their shining:


Notice the similarity to Matthew 24:29,  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:


Joel 3:15 is practically identical: The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw [’acaph:H622] their shining.


In Zephaniah 3:8 this word is translated as to gather: Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination [is] to gather [’acaph:H622] the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, [even] all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.


Verse 13 of Jeremiah 8:1-15 records God’s judgment against His own house first (typified by Judah and Jerusalem), in which this term appears as I will surely: At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves: {2} And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. {3} And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts. {4} Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? {5} Why [then] is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. {6} I hearkened and heard, [but] they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. {7} Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. {8} How do ye say, We [are] wise, and the law of the LORD [is] with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he [it]; the pen of the scribes [is] in vain. {9} The wise [men] are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom [is] in them? {10} Therefore will I give their wives unto others, [and] their fields to them that shall inherit [them]: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. {11} For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace. {12} Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. {13} I will surely [’acaph:H622] consume them, saith the LORD: [there shall be] no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and [the things that] I have given them shall pass away from them. {14} Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. {15} We looked for peace, but no good [came; and] for a time of health, and behold trouble!


Verse 12 of Isaiah 11:10-12 translates this word as and shall assemble in this chapter that toggles between the church age, the Great Tribulation and our present day of judgment: And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. {11} And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.{12} And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble [’acaph:H622] the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.


The House [bayith:H1004] Of Millo [millow’:H4407]


We learn from Judges 9:6  that all the men of Shechem and the house of Millo were intent on making Abimelech king. The two words that make up the expression the house and of Millo are only found together (as they relate to Shechem) in Judges 9:20, even though there are four other references that have to do with a rampart or fortification apparently connected to the palace at Jerusalem during the reigns of King David, King Solomon, and King Joash.


Judges 9:20 records: But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house [bayith:H1004] of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house [bayith:H1004] of Millo [millow’:H4407], and devour Abimelech.


And Went [yalak:H3212] And Made [malak:H4427]


The next two expressions that we want to consider are: and went along with and made, as the rulers of Shechem proceed to make Abimelech king. These two words are also used in other similar passages in which a king was crowned, such as the following illustrations:


In 1 Samuel 8:22 God tells Samuel to make the Israelites a king (as they desired sinfully), instead of having God rule over them; these words are expressed as and make, them a king, along with go: And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make [malak:H4427] them a king. [malak:H4427] [melek:H4428] And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go [yalak:H3212]  ye every man unto his city.


1 Samuel 11:15 records the crowning of King Saul, Israel’s first king: And all the people went [yalak:H3212] to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king [malak:H4427] before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.


There are also three other verses in Judges 9 which Jotham, Gideon’s youngest son repeats as he (under divine inspiration) presents this historical parable to the men of Shechem in Judges 9:10, 12, and 14 respectively, in which these two terms are rendered as come along with and reign, which I will wait to develop until we reach those verses: 


And the trees said to the fig tree, Come [yalak:H3212] thou, [and] reign [malak:H4427] over us…{12} Then said the trees unto the vine, Come [yalak:H3212] thou, [and] reign [malak:H4427] over us… {14} Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come  [yalak:H3212] thou, [and] reign [malak:H4427] over us.


Abimelech [’Abiymelek:H40] King [melek:H4428]


We learned in some of our earlier studies that Abimelech’s name signifies “my father is king” and is also a title that kings assumed as we see with regard to a king from Gerar who had this title during the days of Abraham and Sarah, as well as Isaac and Rebekah in the subsequent citations:


Genesis 20:2 reveals: And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She [is] my sister: and Abimelech [’Abiymelek:H40] king [melek:H4428]

 of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.


Likewise Genesis 26:1 records: And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech  [’Abiymelek:H40] king [melek:H4428] of the Philistines unto Gerar.


Lastly, Genesis 26:8 acknowledges: And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech [’Abiymelek:H40] king [melek:H4428]  of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac [was] sporting with Rebekah his wife.


The Plain [’elown:H436] Of The Pillar [natsab:H4324]


The last two words in verse 6 are the plain and of the pillar, both of which were located in Shechem and marked the spot where Abimelech was crowned king. These two terms only appear here together in this verse, so we will have to consider them individually, but that will have to be for our next study.

Judges 9 - Part 9

July 17, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 9 and today’s date is July 17, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh.

{3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


We are down to the last few words in verse 6, which as I stated at the close of our last lesson that we would examine separately today.


The Plain [’elown:H436] Of The Pillar [natsab:H4324]


The Plain [’elown:H436] 


The expression the plain is found in eight other references, all of which are rendered as the plain. I wanted to spend a little extra time on this word which according to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament [which is a helpful resource for understanding many Hebrew root words (excluding proper names) that pertain to a “family” of Hebrew words] should not be translated as plain, but rather as oak or terebinth.  So we want to see if the statement of the TWOT has any merit to it.

As a matter of fact, H436 is derived from ’ayil (H352), which is primarily translated as ram(s), and to a lesser degree as post(s), mighty men, trees, lintel, and oaks. Indeed, the grandparent root word, `uwl (H193) is rendered as and the mighty  and but their strength respectively in the following verses:


2 Kings 24:15 declares: And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty [`uwl:H193] of the land, [those] carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.


Likewise Psalm 73:4 affirms this with regard to the wicked: For [there are] no bands in their death: but their strength [`uwl:H193] [is] firm.


I will also mention the places that the term plain modify which are also very important as they underscore various aspects of  God’s salvation program.


One of the examples of H436 we have encountered already is in Judges 4:11,


Now Heber the Kenite, [which was] of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain [’elown:H436] of Zaanaim [Tsa`ananiym:H:6815] which [is] by Kedesh.


Zaanaim is the plural form of tsa`an (H6813) which is only found in Isaiah 33:20 as be taken down, which is speaking about the heavenly Jerusalem (or Jerusalem above) or the eternal Kingdom of God, comprised of all the elect, and also typified by the spiritual Tabernacle, Who is Christ Himself:


 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle [that] shall not be taken down;[tsa`an:H6813] not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken.


We will also run into this word again in Judges 9:37, And Gaal spake again and said, See there come people down by the middle of the land, and another company come along by the plain [’elown:H436] of Meonenim. [`anan:H6049]


Meonenim has to do with witchcraft or sorcery in the main, which God strictly prohibits, although it is used once in a positive light in Genesis 9:14, in which it is rendered three times as a cloud, or when I bring, which is quite significant, as clouds have to do with the Word of God spiritually:


And it shall come to pass, when I bring [`anan:H6049] a cloud [`anan:H6049]  over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: [`anan:H6049] 


Genesis 12:6 records: And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain [’elown:H436] of Moreh. [Mowreh:H4176] And the Canaanite [was] then in the land.


Mowreh (H4176) is identical to mowreh (H4175) and is also an extremely relevant term since it denotes  the former rain in Joel 2:23 (and one other time as rain in Psalm 84:6), which has everything to do with the Gospel being poured out on Pentecost on May 22, 33 AD and the start of the New Testament churches:


Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former [“early”] rain [mowreh:H4175] moderately [“righteously”], and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, [mowreh:H4175] and the latter rain [from 1994-2011] in the first [month].

In Joel 2:23, the former rain moderately should be translated as the “early righteous rain” (pointing to the Messiah). Then you have two other periods of rain -  the former rain (which occurred on the Day of Pentecost) and the start of the New Testament churches and their era, and then the latter rain which took place from September 6, 1994 - May 21, 2011.


Deuteronomy 11:30 also mentions Mowreh: [Are] they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains [’elown:H436] of Moreh?  [Mowreh:H4176]


Perhaps you recall the hill of Moreh that we discovered in Judges 7:1, Then Jerubbaal, who [is] Gideon, and all the people that [were] with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, [Mowreh:H4176] in the valley.


Incidentally, the grandparent word for Moreh is yarah (H3384), which is predominantly translated as teach, as we find for instance in Exodus 24:12, in which is is expressed as that thou mayest teach: 


And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach [yarah:H3384] them. 

  

The next reference for plain is in Genesis 13:18 which maintains: Then Abram removed [his] tent, and came and dwelt in the plain [’elown:H436] of Mamre [Mamre:H4471], which [is] in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.


Mamre, in turn was the place where Abram stayed after he separated from Lot, and where he purchased the cave in which he buried Sarah from Ephron the Hittite, and where he had made a league with Aner, Eschol, and Mamre, with whom he joined forces with along with the 5 kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Zoar against the 4 other kings in order to rescue Lot. This was also the location when God told him that Isaac would be born to him and Sarah, and foretold him of the destruction of those cities, except for little Zoar, which typifies the elect, as we read in these next two passages: 


Genesis 14:13 records: And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain [’elown:H436] of Mamre [Mamre:H4471] the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these [were] confederate with Abram.


Likewise Genesis 18:1 acknowledges: And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains [’elown:H436] of Mamre: [Mamre:H4471] and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;


Lastly, 1 Samuel 10:3 contains the last entry of this expression the plain:  Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain [’elown:H436] of Tabor [Tabowr:H8396], and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:


Of Tabor [Tabowr:H8396]


Tabor is related to the Aramaic word, tebar (H8406), which only surfaces in Daniel 2:42 as broken: And [as] the toes of the feet [were] part of iron, and part of clay, [so] the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. [tebar:H8406]


We have actually discussed this term, Tabor, in some of our earlier studies in Judges as these next citations illustrate in Judges 4 and 8.


Judges 4:6 states: And she [Deborah] sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, [saying], Go and draw toward mount Tabor, [Tabowr:H8396] and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?


Judges 4:12 adds: And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. [Tabowr:H8396]


Likewise Judges 4:14 proclaims: And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this [is] the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, [Tabowr:H8396] and ten thousand men after him.


Judges 8:18 records the conversation with Gideon and the two Midianite kings: Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men [were they] whom ye slew at Tabor?[Tabowr:H8396] And they answered, As thou [art], so [were] they; each one resembled the children of a king.


The Aramaic word, tebar (H8406) is derived from Tabor (H8396) and in turn, is also related to the Hebrew expression shabar (H7665) which is translated generally as break:


Genesis 19:9 reveals the motivation of the men of Sodom with regards to Lot: And they said, Stand back. And they said [again], This one [fellow] came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, [even] Lot, and came near to break [shabar:H7665] the door.


Exodus 12:46 points out one of the stipulations that God mandated for the eating of the Passover lamb, and which was fulfilled in the demonstration on the Cross: In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break [shabar:H7665] a bone thereof.


Exodus 32:19 recalls what Moses did when he came down from the mount as God commanded: And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake [shabar:H7665] them beneath the mount.


And Exodus 34:13 outlines God’s instructions to the Israelites when they went in to occupy the land of Canaan - a picture of the kingdom of God and of plundering Satan’s prison house - But ye shall destroy their altars, break [shabar:H7665] their images, and cut down their groves:


Lord willing, in our next study I will try to tie all of this together.

Judges 9 - Part 10

July 20, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 10 and today’s date is July 20, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:1-6,


And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, {2} Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh.

{3} And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. {4} And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. {5} And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. {6} And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem.


We are down to the last word that we have not discussed in verse 6, which is: of the pillar, which is predominantly translated as stand or set:


Of The Pillar [natsab:H5324]


We do find, however, a number of references in which pillar is utilized, as these next citations illustrate:


In verse 20 of  Genesis 33:17-20 we read what Jacob did, in which this term pillar is rendered And he erected:  And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth. {18} And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which [is] in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. {19} And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. {20} And he erected [natsab:H5324] there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel. [i.e., The Mighty Elohiym of Israel]


Likewise in verse 14 of Genesis 35:9-15 this word is expressed as set up: And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. {10} And God said unto him, Thy name [is] Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. {11} And God said unto him, I [am] God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; {12} And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. {13} And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. {14} And Jacob set up [natsab:H5324] a pillar in the place where he talked with him, [even] a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. {15} And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel. [or The House of God]


Reading further in verse 20 of Genesis 35:16-20, in which this word is rendered set, we learn: And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. {17} And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. {18} And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died ) that she called his name Benoni [or son of my sorrow]: but his father called him Benjamin. [or son of the right hand] {19} And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which [is] Bethlehem. [or the House of Bread] {20}And Jacob set [natsab:H5324] a pillar upon her grave: that [is] the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.


2 Samuel 18:17-18 each contain this expression rendered as and laid along with and reared up: And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid [natsab:H5324] a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent. {18} Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up [natsab:H5324] for himself a pillar, which [is] in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place. 


The Spiritual Implications Of What We Have Learned Thus Far Concerning Abimelech And The Men Of Shechem


Before we move on to discuss Jotham and the rest of this chapter I thought it might be helpful to summarize what we have learned thus far regarding Abimelech and the men of Shechem. The first thing to keep in mind is Gideon’s significant declaration to Israel concerning Who should reign over them in Judges 8:22-23,

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. {23} And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you....

Secondly we don’t want to miss the spiritual condition of Israel at this time as described in the closing verses of Judges 8:33-35, 

And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. {34} And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: {35} Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, [namely], Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel. 

In verse 9 of Hosea 6:4-11 Shechem is rendered as by consent, as God indicts both Israel and Judah with the sin of spiritual adultery or idolatry: 

O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness [is] as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. {5} Therefore have I hewed [them] by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments [are as] the light [that] goeth forth. {6} For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. {7} But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. {8} Gilead [is] a city of them that work iniquity, [and is] polluted with blood. {9} And as troops of robbers wait for a man, [so] the company of priests murder in the way by consent [(Shekem:7927) (shekem:H7926)]: for they commit lewdness. {10} I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there [is] the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled. {11} Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.

There is also another interesting fact regarding the word that is translated the men in the phrase the men of Shechem. This term (ba`al:H1167) is not the usual word for men as the more common names such as adam, or ’enowsh or ’iysh. This is also the same word for the false god, Baal or Baalim, or Baalberith as we learned from Judges 6, when Gideon was commanded by God to throw down the altar and grove of Baal that his father and the other Abiezerites worshipped.

 

Who Do Gideon’s 70 Sons Represent?


The number threescore and ten (70) is featured prominently in the Bible. It is made up of the factors 7 (pointing to perfection) X 10 (highlighting the completeness of whatever is in view). Exodus 15:27 includes this number as well as the number 12 (typifying each of the 12 tribes); palm trees are also used to represent God’s elect: And they came to Elim, where [were] twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten [shib`iym:H7657] palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters. 


Psalm 92:12 associates the righteous (or the elect) with both a palm tree and a cedar: The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.


The number seventy also crops up in verses 1 and 17 in Luke 10:1-2, and 17-20, and it typifies the elect as well:

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy [hebdomekonta:G1440]  also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. {2} Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly [is] great, but the labourers [are] few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. ... {17} And the seventy [hebdomekonta:G1440] returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. {18} And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. {19} Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. {20} Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

The historical context that the men of Shechem (symbolizing either the apostate churches and denominations worldwide and without exception or the world) gave Abimelech 70 (pointing to perfection - 7 X completeness - 10 of whatever is in view, which amounts to “blood money”) pieces of silver out of the house of their false god, Baalberith, by which he could hire vain and light men who would help him accomplish the murder of his 70 half-brothers. 

We have encountered the term persons (’enowsh:H582) in some of our earlier studies, and it is not the most common form used for men or persons, such as ’iysh (H376) or ’adam (H120). Curiously it stems from a root word (’anash:H605) which surfaces in nine citations, and is predominantly translated as incurable, and once as desperately, desperately wicked, woeful, and sick. Perhaps this is why God chose this particular word to characterize these men who were hired by Abimelech and described as light and vain persons. When you heard the term desperately wicked, were you reminded of Jeremiah 17:9? 

Jeremiah 17:9 is a profound declaration concerning the condition of the human heart, apart from salvation, and really would have been better translated as incurably wicked, which is really one’s spiritual status apart from the saving Work and Faith of the Lord Jesus Christ at the foundation of the world:

The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: [’anash:H605] who can know it?

And He Went [bow’:H935] Unto His Father's [’ab:H1] House [bayith:H1004]

One of the most horrific accounts that parallels what Abimelech did is found in  connection with the phrase, And he went unto his father’s house. Verse 11 of 1 Samuel 22:9-19 contains these three words. Spiritually Saul typifies the end-time churches and denominations that were intent on persecuting God’s elect (and by extension the Lord Jesus Christ), represented by David. Doeg (an Edomite and spiritually associated with Saul and who he represents) carried out the genocide of 85 priests of the Lord and their families and all their possessions, reminding us of Satan, according to John 8:44,


Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.  


1 Samuel 22:9-19 records the appalling account: Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. {10} And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. {11} Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's [’ab:H1] house [bayith:H1004], the priests that [were] in Nob: and they came [bow’:H935] all of them to the king. {12} And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I [am], my lord. {13} And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? {14} Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who [is so] faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king's son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house? {15} Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute [any] thing unto his servant, [nor] to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. {16} And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house. {17} And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also [is] with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD. {18} And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. {19} And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

We read further than the men of Shechem were gathered together, to crown Abimelech king. This expression gathered together is predominantly rendered as together, gather, assemble, and in other miscellaneous ways, making it quite pregnant with many different nuances. For example, we encountered this term back in Judges 6:33, in which it is expressed as were gathered: 

Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered [’acaph:H622] together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.

In verse 19 of 1 Samuel 14:15-23 this word is translated as withdraw in this particular battle between the Philistines and the Israelites: And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. {16} And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down [one another]. {17} Then said Saul unto the people that [were] with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer [were] not [there]. {8} And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. {19} And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that [was] in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw [’acaph:H622] thine hand. {20} And Saul and all the people that [were] with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, [and there was] a very great discomfiture. {21} Moreover the Hebrews [that] were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp [from the country] round about, even they also [turned] to be with the Israelites that [were] with Saul and Jonathan. {22} Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, [when] they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle. {23} So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.

In verses 16 and 20 we note that the Philistines were fighting against each other and you might recall that the phrase, every man's sword was against his fellow in verse 20 is the identical phrase that we witnessed in Judges 7:22,

And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, [and] to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.

Spiritually this points to our present day of judgment in which Satan’s kingdom is being systematically dismantled and the unsaved are taking sides against each other in the various endeavors of politics, sports, the media, and the entertainment industry, etc. as Mark 3:24-26 affirm, in which the Greek word be divided is mentioned three times (The number three expresses the “purpose of God.”):

And if a kingdom be divided [merizo:G3307] against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. {25} And if a house be divided [merizo:G3307] against itself, that house cannot stand. {26} And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided [merizo:G3307], he cannot stand, but hath an end. 

This same theme of the day of judgment is also emphasized in Zephaniah 3:8 in connection with this expression, gathered together:

Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination [is] to gather [’acaph:H622] the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, [even] all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

With that review of Abimelech and the men of Shechem in mind we are now ready to learn what we can regarding Jotham in verse 7 and his dealings with the men of Shechem in our next study, Lord willing.

Judges 9 - Part 11

July 22, 2020


Good evening, and welcome to Searching The Scriptures! This will be Judges 9 - Part 11 and today’s date is July 22, 2020. I’ll read from Judges 9:7-21,


And when they told [it] to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. {8} The trees went forth [on a time] to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. {9} But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? {10} And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, [and] reign over us. {11} But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? {12} Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, [and] reign over us. {13} And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? {14} Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, [and] reign over us. {15} And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, [then] come [and] put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. {16} Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; {17} (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: {18} And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he [is] your brother;) {19} 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: {20} But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. {21}And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.


Conclusion Regarding The Word “Plain” as Opposed To “Oak” Or “Terebinth”


In Part 9, I mentioned that the word the plain is found in Judges 9:6. I wanted to spend a little extra time on this word which according to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament [which is a helpful resource for understanding many Hebrew root words (excluding proper names) that pertain to a “family” of Hebrew words] should not be translated as plain, but rather as oak or terebinth.  So I wanted to see if the statement of the TWOT had any merit to it. 

 

And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain  [’elown (H436) אַלּוֹן]

 of the pillar that [was] in Shechem. 


Reading from left to right this term is composed of aleph/lamad/vav/nun. These four letters are identical to ’allown (H437) אַלּוֹן - aleph/lamad/vav/nun. H437 is translated in the 8 times it is used as oak, and we’ll look at one example in Genesis 35:8, in which it is rendered as an oak:


But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak:[’allown:H437] and the name of it was called Allonbachuth. [(’allown (H437) and (bekiyth:H1069) - or oak of weeping]


In this poignant Scripture this particular oak has been given a very fitting name - Allon - Bachuth, or oak of weeping.


Additionally as I checked Jay P. Green’s Interlinear Bible, he translates Judges 9:6 this way, and uses the word ’allown (H437), rendering it as the oak:


And all the leaders of Shechem were gathered together, and all the house of Millo. And [they] came and caused Abimelech to reign as king at the oak [’allown:H437] of the outpost which [is] in Shechem.


Each of these words (and their root words)  begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, or aleph.  The aleph corresponds to the Greek alpha, and to our English letter a. But our English letter a has no spiritual meaning attached to it, whereas the aleph as well as the alpha have great spiritual significance attached to it. The aleph  (אַ) has to do with strength or power, and is also one of the words for ox (’eleph:H504) - אֶלֶף - which also begins with aleph, and the ox is likewise characterized for its strength and power. We also know that the Lord Jesus is typified by a burnt bullock, and that the bullock or calf  also appear in the portrait of the four living creatures (typifying the universality of the Godhead) in Revelation 4 as well as in the four faces that typify the likeness of the glory of LORD in Ezekiel 1.


We now want to turn our attention to Jotham and the parable which he announces to the men of Shechem in verse 7:


And when they told [it] to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. 


The Meaning Of Jotham’s [Yowtham:H3147] Name


However, before investigating verse 7, I would like to speak a little bit about Jotham’s name, which I actually had forgotten to mention when he first came on the scene as was discussed in Part 7. His name is a compound word, Yowtham, and derived from Jehovah (Yehovah:H3068) - which is the first syllable JO- in Jotham and the term for perfect, or the second syllable, -TAM: tam (H8535). The following illustrate some of the ways that God employs this expression, which is primarily translated as perfect, and to a lesser degree, plain, undefiled, and upright:


Genesis 25:27 notes this about Jacob: And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob [was] a plain [tam:H8535] man, dwelling in tents.


Job 1:1 and 8 reveal Job’s spiritual status: There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was perfect [tam:H8535] and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil… {8} And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect [tam:H8535] and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?


Likewise Job 2:3 affirms: And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect [tam:H8535] and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.


Job 8:20 reveals:  Behold, God will not cast away a perfect [tam:H8535] [man], neither will he help the evil doers:


Psalm 37:37 maintains: Mark the perfect [tam:H8535] [man], and behold the upright: for the end of [that] man [is] peace.


Song of Solomon 5:2 declares:  I sleep, but my heart waketh: [it is] the voice of my beloved that knocketh, [saying], Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: [tam:H8535] for my head is filled with dew, [and] my locks with the drops of the night.


So at the very least we see that Jotham is identified as a child of God insofar as his name is concerned. We also remember that he is the youngest son of Gideon, and Gideon was a Judge and a Deliverer, and as such pictures the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Thus Gideon’s children would spiritually relate to God’s elect, as we saw when we were researching the term threescore and ten (70) sons, in both the Old and New Testaments. We have already discussed the word he went in some of our earlier lessons, so let’s consider the phrase, ...and he stood in the top of Mount Gerizim… It might be helpful to review the significance of Mount Gerizim in order to understand why Jotham chose that particular mountain, as opposed to Mount Ebal, which was opposite Mount Gerizim.


Of Mount [har:H2022] Gerizim [G@riziym:H1630]


These two expressions only appear together in the subsequent three citations:


Deuteronomy 11:29 records: And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount [har:H2022] Gerizim [G@riziym:H1630], and the curse upon mount Ebal.


Verse 12 of Deuteronomy 27:11-13 gives further details: And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, {12} These shall stand upon mount [har:H2022] Gerizim [G@riziym:H1630] to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: {13} And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.


Joshua 8:33-35 acknowledges: And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount [har:H2022]  Gerizim [G@riziym:H1630], and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. {34} And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. {35} There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.


According to Deuteronomy 27:14 the blessings of obedience as well as the curses of disobedience to God’s Holy Law were pronounced to the entire congregation by the Levites:


 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice,


Deuteronomy 28:1-14 lists the blessings: 


And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe [and] to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: {2} And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. {3}Blessed [shalt] thou [be] in the city, and blessed [shalt] thou [be] in the field. {4} Blessed [shall be] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. {5} Blessed [shall be] thy basket and thy store. {6} Blessed [shalt] thou [be] when thou comest in, and blessed [shalt] thou [be] when thou goest out. {7} The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. {8} The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. {9} The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. {10} And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. {11} And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. {12} The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. {13} And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do [them]: {14} And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, [to] the right hand, or [to] the left, to go after other gods to serve them.


So it’s worth noting that Jotham chose to deliver his parable to the men of Shechem atop Mount Gerizim, which has to do with the blessings of obedience. And we want to bear in mind that his name means “Jehovah is perfect,” and he is identified as a son of Gideon (or Christ), and thus pictures a child of God.  We also learn that Jotham stood in the top of Mount Gerizim, and these two terms appear together in 16 other references, and we will take a look at some of them.


Stood [`amad:H5975] In the Top [ro’sh:H7218]


The expression in the top is also the letter word RESH (the 20th letter of the Hebrew alphabet) as we find in Psalm 119:153-160, in which it is rendered the beginning in verse 160:


Psalm 119:153-160 RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. {154} Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. {155} Salvation [is] far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. {156} Great [are] thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. {157} Many [are] my persecutors and mine enemies; [yet] do I not decline from thy testimonies. {158} I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. {159} Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. {160} Thy word [is] true [from] the beginning [ro’sh:H7218]: and every one of thy righteous judgments [endureth] for ever.



1 Samuel 17:51 is a wonderful example of this term, head (or beginning) in this well-known historical parable of David and Goliath, typifying Christ’s victory over Satan: Therefore David ran, and stood [`amad:H5975] upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head [ro’sh:H7218] therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.


Curiously in verse 13 of 1 Samuel 26:12-21 we find David doing the very same thing that Jotham did as far as speaking from atop a mountain to Saul and his troops who were trying to kill David: So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul's bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw [it], nor knew [it], neither awaked: for they [were] all asleep; because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them. {13}Then David went over to the other side, and stood [`amad:H5975] on the top [ro’sh:H7218] of an hill [har:H2022] afar off; a great space [being] between them: {14} And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who [art] thou [that] criest to the king? {15} And David said to Abner, [Art] not thou a [valiant] man? and who [is] like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord. {16} This thing [is] not good that thou hast done. [As] the LORD liveth, ye [are] worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD'S anointed. And now see where the king's spear [is], and the cruse of water that [was] at his bolster. {17} And Saul knew David's voice, and said, [Is] this thy voice, my son David? And David said, [It is] my voice, my lord, O king. {18} And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil [is] in mine hand? {19} Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if [they be] the children of men, cursed [be] they before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods. {20} Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains. {21} Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. 


I think we only have enough time for two more passages:


Esther 5:2 records this beautiful picture of the elect finding favor in God’s sight: And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing [`amad:H5975] in the court, [that] she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that [was] in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top [ro’sh:H7218]  of the sceptre.


Lastly, verse 25 of Ezekiel 1:25-28 proclaims this vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD: And there was a voice from the firmament that [was] over their heads [ro’sh:H7218], when they stood [`amad:H5975], [and] had let down their wings. {26} And above the firmament that [was] over their heads [was] the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne [was] the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. {27} And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. {28} As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so [was] the appearance of the brightness round about. This [was] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw [it], I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.


Well, on that glorious note, we have to bring today’s study to a close. In our next study, Lord willing, we will continue our examination of Jotham’s parable that he put forth to the men of Shechem.