Judges Chapter 14

Samson was born and raised as a Nazarite. He was a man of covenant with the Lord, who had been blessed with spiritual gifts in order to begin the deliverance of Israel from the Philistines. The story of Samson continues in this chapter as follows:

1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines.
2 And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.
4 But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord, that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

Samson had grown up and at one point traveled to Timnath, where he saw one of the Philistine women, who he wanted for a wife. His parents pleaded with him to choose a wife from the Israelites, who were the covenant people, but Samson wanted her. According to verse 4, the Lord had allowed Samson to become interested in the daughter of the Philistines, in order to use it against the Philistines. I think this verse could also be interpreted that Samson felt it was his duty to become closer to the Philistines which ruled over the Israelites, in order to fulfill the purposes of the Lord. Up to this point, there is nothing to go against the idea that Samson was living according to his covenants and that indeed, the spirit was persuading him to choose this woman for his wife because it would mean the eventual deliverance of Israel. The only issue, is that in seeking after a Philistine woman, he was preparing to go against his own covenants as a Nazarite.

5 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
6 And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.
7 And he went down, and talked with the woman; and she pleased Samson well.

Samson and his parents, traveled to Timnath, where a young lion came against Samson. Samson was blessed by the spirit, with great strength to kill the lion with his bare hands. He told his parents what had happened. Then, he went and talked to the woman whom he desired to marry.

I don’t think I have ever thought of physical strength as a gift of the spirit, but in this case it was. Gifts of the spirit can be either of a physical nature or a spiritual nature. For example, a physical gift of the spirit is a talent to play beautiful music, where a gift of the spirit would be something like the gift of discernment. His gift needed to be a physical strength, so that he would be able to help deliver Israel from a physical bondage.

8 And after a time he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and, behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.
9 And he took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.

Some time passed, and he returned to Timnath to take her to be his wife. He went to see the carcass of the lion he had previously killed, and saw a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass. Samson ate of the honey and took some to his parents to eat. He did not tell his parents where the honey had come from. This was another example of Samson going against the covenants of a nazarite. They were not to touch any carcass, not even if it was a member of his own family. He broke his covenant with this choice.

10 So his father went down unto the woman: and Samson made there a feast; for so used the young men to do.
11 And it came to pass, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Manoah, the father of Samson, went to get the woman. Samson had a feast, which was the tradition. 30 men of the philistines, were brought to him, to be companions of Samson.

12 And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments:
13 But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.
14 And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samson’s wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy father’s house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?
16 And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told it me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?
17 And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.
18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.

Samson told the men a riddle and challenged them, that if they could answer it correctly in seven days of the feast, he would give them garments. If they could not answer it, he told them they were to give him garments. I think this was like placing a bet with these men. He gave them his riddle and after three days they had not been able to answer it. By the seventh day, they went to Samson’s new wife and threatened her to use her power of persuasion with him to learn the answer, or they would burn her home and her father’s home. She went to Samsom and cried to him, that if he loved her he would have told her the answer to his riddle. Samson told her that he had told no one the answer, not even his own parents. She begged him for the remainder of the days of feasting, and he eventually gave in and told her the answer. She told the men the answer. Then just before the challenge was lost by the Philistines, they answered the riddle, and Samson knew it was because he had been deceived by his wife.

19 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.
20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his friend.

Because he was deceived, Samson used the gift of strength that came upon him by the spirit, went to the placed called Ashkelon, and killed 30 Philistines, taking spoil from them. He gave the garments to those that had answered the riddle. He was angry and left to return to his father’s house. His wife was then given to his companion and friend.

Again, Samson broke his covenant as a Nazarite, by seeking revenge against those who had wronged him. He was not using his God-given gift of strength to do good. When we are blessed with gifts from the spirit, in the form of physical or spiritual gifts, we are being given the opportunity to do greater things. These gifts can help us to further the work of the Lord on the earth, if we choose to develop and use them in this way. Samson may have been blessed by God with his strength, but he was not following the counsel of the angel who visited his parents before they conceived him. His choices would not lead to good things for him. Likewise, if we fail to use our own gifts for good, they will not bring us blessings. If we use and develop them as God would want us to, we will be able to bless our own lives, as well as the lives of those around us.

Judges Chapter 13

During the time of judges in Israel, men were chosen and raised up to deliver the people and lead them in their battles with other nations. The Israelites repeatedly returned to idolatry and wickedness when these judges died. Consistently, the result was that the Lord allowed them to fall into the hands of their enemies. This cycle would eventually lead them to remember the Lord and repent of their wickedness. When they had repented and turned back to God, He would deliver them from their enemies by raising another judge. This cycle continues in this chapter, which begins:

1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

This time, the Israelites were in bondage to the Philistines for 40 years, because they returned to wickedness.

2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.
3 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

Manoah, of the tribe of Dan, could not have any children because his wife was barren. An angel came to his wife and told here that even though she could not have any children, she would be blessed to have a son. She was commanded to abstain from drinking wine or eating those things that were considered unclean. Then, when her son was born, she was to raise him wholly dedicated to the Lord. Her son was to be a Nazarite, or a consecrated man, who would never drink wine or cut his hair. The angel promised that her son would deliver Israel from the Philistines.

6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:
7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

She told Manoah of the angel and what he had told her would happen to her.

8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.
9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.
10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.
11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.
12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?
13 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.
14 She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.

Manoah prayed to the Lord, that the man would come again to teach them how to raise the child they were to have. This showed his faith in the words of his wife, and his willingness to accept this calling from the Lord. The angel came again to his wife as she was in the field. She ran to get Manoah, and together they went to the angel. Manoah accepted the calling and asked what they should do for the child. The angel told them to do as his wife had already been commanded.

15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.
16 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the Lord. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord.
17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18 And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.
20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
21 But the angel of the Lord did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord.
22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
23 But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

Manoah asked the man, not knowing he was an angel, to stay with them until he could prepare a meal for him, or possibly to make a sacrifice in his name. The angel told him that he would stay, but would not eat. He told him to make his offering to the Lord. Manoah asked the angel of his name, so that they could honor him when the promise to them was fulfilled. The angel would not tell them his name and told them it was secret. Manoah made the offering to the Lord, and as they watched the flame rise, the angel ascended in the flame. Then Manoah and his wife realized that he was more than man, but was an angel of the Lord, and they fell down to worship the Lord. Monoah expected that they should die for seeing the Lord, but his wife told him that the Lord had accepted their offering and made them these promises, so she knew they would not die for seeing what they had seen.

24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

The wife of Manoah had the child and called him Samson. He was blessed by the Lord and was moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord. The manual I am reading along with my study, says that this was a reference to spiritual gifts being given to Samson, not that he had the spirit with him. Gifts of the spirit are given to every man. In Doctrine and Covenants 46:11, we read, “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.” At times, gifts of the spirit were bestowed upon Samson, which probably put him in a better position to become the man of strength which he would later need to be.

What a huge blessing it would have been for the wife of Manoah, to be allowed to have a child, knowing that she was not able to have any. This experience of being visited by an angel to deliver this message is beyond my imagination. While, I could not fully understand the glory of this experience, I think it should cause us to reflect on the story of the Savior, who like Samson, was to be conceived and raised as a child wholly dedicated to God, so that he could deliver others from bondage. While Samson was to begin the deliverance of Israel at that time, the Savior, Jesus the Christ, was to make possible the deliverance of all mankind, in all the history of the world. What a blessing it must have been to be the parents of Samson, who were privileged to raise a child that had the potential to be completely devoted to the Lord and become a great blessing for the house of Israel.

Judges Chapter 12

Jephthah was a mighty man, who was raised to be a judge in Israel. He had led the Israelites to victory over the children of Ammon. He recognized the Lord’s hand in causing them to be victorious in battle. The story of Jephthah continues in this chapter.

1 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.
2 And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands.
3 And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the Lord delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?
4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.
5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;
6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.
7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

The men of the tribe of Ephraim, were offended by Jephthah because he had not gathered them to fight against the Ammonites. They threatened to destroy his house. Jephthah reminded the men of Ephraim, that they had not given them aid when the Ammonites had been causing them strife. Instead, he had to take control and fight the battle without their help. The men of Gilead gathered with Jephthah, to fight against the men of Ephraim. Gilead struck at the Ephraimites, which called them fugitives of the people of Ephram and Manasseh. Then the men of Gilead went on to the passages of Jordan and blocked the path. If an Ephramite came, they asked if he was an Ephramite. If he said no, they told him to say the word or language of Shibboleth. He would not speak correctly, so they would kill him. They killed 42,000 men of Ephraim in this manner. Jephthah was the judge over Israel for six years before he died.

8 And after him Ibzan of Beth-lehem judged Israel.
9 And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.
10 Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Beth-lehem.
11 And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.
12 And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.

Following the death of Jephthah, Ibzan judged Isreal. He had 30 sons and 30 daughters. He sent his 30 daughters off to be married, and took in 30 women for his sons. He was the judge for seven years. Then, a man named Elon judged Israel for ten years.

13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel.
14 And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.
15 And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites.

A Pirathonite, of Ephraim, called Abdon, was the next judge of Israel for eight years. He had 40 sons and according to the footnote, 30 grandsons, who, it would seem, ruled with him in Israel.

This story of Jephthah and the people of Ephraim is an example which shows that Israel was not one united nation. They were twelve tribes who descended from the same family, but who were separated at this point. They refused to help one another in times of great need, which led them to fight each other. The nation of Israel would not be a strong nation, if they continued to live like this. If they had chosen to follow the Lord with all their hearts, the Lord could have brought them together as the strongest nation. This principle applies to people today, and it can be easily seen in the family unit. When we unite as a family, strong in the gospel of Christ, we can have the strength to get through any trial and face any temptation. If we are not united and choose to focus on our personal needs and desires rather than the needs of other family members, we can become weak as a whole and will likely be effected badly when difficulties arise. Our families need the strength that comes from gathering together in righteousness and love. This is the blessing that comes to those who strive to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

Judges Chapter 11

The Ammonites gathered against the people of Israel and had been oppressing the people in Gilead about 18 years. The people of Israel had repented and returned to the Lord with a plea for deliverance from their enemy. The people of Gilead tried to decide who could lead them in their fight against the Ammonites. This chapter begins:

1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
2 And Gilead’s wife bare him sons; and his wife’s sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.
3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.

Jephthah was the son of Gilead and a harlot. The other sons of Gilead, born of his wife, had cast Jephthah out from among them. They did not want him to gain any part of their inheritance, because of his mother. Jephtah fled to the land of Tob. Men of the world gathered together with him.

4 And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.
5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:
6 And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.
7 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?
8 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.
9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head?
10 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The Lord be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.
11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh.

When the Ammonites came against the Israelites, the elders of Gilead went to find Jephtah in Tob. They asked him to be the captain of their army, I am thinking because he is described of being a mighty man of valor, or great courage. Knowing they had cast him out, he asked why they came to him now in their distress. They needed him, so they offered him the position to lead the army and then to become their leader in Gilead. He made an agreement with them, that if the Lord did indeed deliver the Ammonites into their hands through his leadership, he was to be their leader. The elders made an oath with him, with the Lord as their witness, so Jephtah agreed and became their leader. I think that if the men of Ammon were delivered by the hand of the Lord, that would have been proof to the people of Gilead, that Jephtah was chosen by the Lord to lead the Israelites.

Just as the men of Gilead had done to Jephthah, sometimes we cast out the Lord from our lives, and we return to Him only when we are also in distress. The Lord also expects that He will then be our leader, as He is the one who delivers us from our own bondage. The Lord would lead Jehpthah to help His people, Israel.

12 And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?
13 And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably.
14 And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon:
15 And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:
16 But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh;
17 Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh.
18 Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab.
19 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place.
20 But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
21 And the Lord God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.
22 And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan.
23 So now the Lord God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?
24 Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the Lord our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.
25 And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them,
26 While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time?
27 Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me: the Lord the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.
28 Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.

Jephthah sent messengers to ask the king of the Ammonites why they had come against them. The king said that his land had been taken by the Israelites when they came from Egypt, and he wanted them back. He told Jephthah to return the land peacefully. Jephthah told the king that the Israelites had not taken any of the land from them, but that when they had tried to pass through the land in the wanderings, the kings of Edom and Moab would not allow them to pass through in peace. The Israelites had been forced to go around the land instead, and when they came to the land of Arnon in Moab, they tried again to pass peaceably through the land of the Amorites, but the king raised up an army against Israel. Jephthah told them that the Lord delivered Sihon and his people into the hands of the Israelites, and they then gained possession of the land of the Amorites. It was the Lord who had given them the land for their possession, which the men of Ammon now wanted to possess. He asked them if their god, Chemosh, had given them a land of possession, wouldn’t they have possessed it. Whatever land was given to the Israelites by the Lord, they would take that land as their possession. Jephthah asked the king if he thought they were better off than Balak, the king of Moab, who had fought against Israel, and whose people had not been able to gain the land. Jephthah told him that the Israelites were innocent against them and the Lord would judge between the Ammonites, if their king would not listen to the words he sent him.

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

Jephthah and his men, came up against the Ammonites through Gilead. Jephthah made a vow with the Lord, that if the Lord would deliver the Ammonites into his hand, that he would sacrifice to the Lord, whatever came out of his own house to meet him when he returned home. I don’t know why he felt the need to make such a strong vow to the Lord, no knowing what would come out to meet him when he returned. My only thought was that in other nations at the time, many people sacrificed people and things to their false gods, for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps this line of reasoning had influenced him. According to these verses, he was already being blessed with the spirit of the Lord. Sometimes we do and say things without thinking them through first, allowing the spirit to help us discern properly, and in this case, I don’t think that this was going to work out well.

32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

Jephthah went forward in faith, to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord delivered them into his hands. He defeated Ammon with a very great slaughter.

34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.
36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.
37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.
38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.
39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,
40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

When Jephthah returned to his own home, his only daughter, which was his only child, came out to welcome him home. He rent his clothing when he realized what had been done. He could not go back on the vow he had made with the Lord. She told him to keep his vow with the Lord, because the Lord had destroyed their enemy. She asked him first, to allow her two months to go into the mountains to mourn her virginity, which he did. She returned after two months of mourning, and he sacrificed her, as he had promised. After that, the women of Israel lamented for her for four days of the year.

The Lord had commanded the Israelites, not to make thoughtless oaths. Vows are not to be taken lightly, especially with the Lord. God will keep promises and will justly expect us to keep them as well. Jephthah knew he had to keep his vow since the Lord had fulfilled His end of it. His daughter was a woman of faith, who recognized the importance of keeping promises with the Lord, and valued that more than her own life. I am sure that the realization of what he had done, remained with Jephthah from that time on. We do not want to have such regrets in our own lives. We should make the promises to the Lord, which we have been asked to make, and never swear by the heavens for other things. God will bless us for our faith and courage, without thoughtless promises.

Judges Chapter 10

This period in the Israelites history, was a time when judges were raised to lead Israel. The last judge was Gideon, who led the Israelites to peace from the enemies. Gideon mistakenly led the people to the path of idolatry, through the creation of some kind of idol. At his death, one of his sons desired to become ruler of Israel. Through secret combinations and persuasion, he was made king of Israel. He ruled in wickedness for around three years and then was killed in a fight with his own people. This chapter begins:

1 And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.
2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.

For 23 years, a man named Tola, judged Israel. Nothing more is said here, so it would seem that they lived in some amount of peace, at least from external enemies.

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

The next judge was Jair. He led them for 22 years. His 30 sons lived an elevated lifestyle among the Israelites in Gilead.

6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the Lord, and served not him.
7 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon.
8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.
9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.

Once again, the Israelites returned to the wickedness of idolatry. They turned from the Lord, which would teach us that during the time of the previous judge, Jair, they were living a life where they worshiped the Lord. The consequence for turning from the Lord, was that he allowed them to fall into the hands of the Philistines and Ammonites. For 18 years, the eastern Israelites were oppressed by their enemies. Eventually, the Ammonites crossed over the Jordan, and began to fight the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim as well.

10 And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.
11 And the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?
12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand.
13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

The Israelites remembered that the Lord had helped them in the past. They recognized that they had forsaken, or abandoned God and had served other gods. Because of their desire to worship the gods of other nations, the Lord was not quick to hear their cries and deliver them this time. Rather, they were also forsaken and told to ask the gods they worshipped to save them. They had been warned of this by prophets before this time.

15 And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.
16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.

The Israelites recognized that they had sinned and pleaded that God would deliver them and give them punishment some other way. They repented, gave up their idolatry and began to serve the Lord once again. Their enemy, the Ammonites, gathered against them to fight. The Israelites in Gilead asked one another who would start the fight against the people of Ammon. Whoever did this, would be the leader in Gilead.

At this point, I think that the Israelites recognized that the Lord was not with them because of their wickedness. There may have been fear among them because of this, and they needed someone to stand forth with courage, if they were going to be successful in battle against the Ammonites.

Time and time again, the Lord was there waiting, while the people had forsaken Him and turned to false gods. God continued to deliver them every time they remembered him, which seemed to fall at times of trials and tribulation. There comes a point, when God must allow greater trials to come upon His people, in order to recommit them to living righteously. In Helaman 12:3 “And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.” The promises remain for us in our time as well. When we live righteously and strive to follow the commandments of God, he will bless us with deliverance from our enemies and the adversary. The Lord will bless us with prosperity and with an abundance of His spirit. But, if we turn from him until we are faced with adversity and trials, He may be slow to hear our own cries. We may need to be chastened through great difficulties and suffering, before He will fight our battles, so that we can learn true repentance and humility. As the doctrine of the gospel teaches us, it is better for us to choose to remember the Lord and live righteously, especially in the better times of our lives, so that the Lord will be there for us in the harder parts of life.

Judges Chapter 9

After the death of Joshua, the prophet, the children of Israel lived in a period of judges. The judges were their leaders, chosen by the Lord. Gideon had been one of these judges and had led the Israelites into a time of peace. His leadership had not remained true to the Lord, and the people of Israel, with his influence, had returned to wickedness by the time of his death.

1 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 Baal-berith, 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.

Jerubbaal, was another name for Gideon, which he received when he casted down the altars of Baal (see Judges 6:32). He had had many wives and at least one concubine, all of which bore him a total of 70 sons. One of those sons was Abimelech, born of the concubine Shechem. He decided to go to the family of Shechem, his mother, and told them to ask the people if they would be better ruled by the entire family of Gideon, or by only one of them, reminding them that he was family to them. They went to the rest of the people of Shechem and it was decided that it would be better to be led by Abimelech alone. They gave him money and he hired people to follow him. He went to the house of Jerubbaal, or Gideon, and killed all but one of his brothers. The youngest, Jotham, hid himself. The men of Shechem made Abimelech their king.

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.
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.

Jotham stood on the mount and told a story of trees who chose a king, to the people of Shechem. In his story, the olive tree was asked to rule, but refused because he would not put himself give up what he had to put himself above the other trees. Next, they went to the fig tree, but he refused as well. Then, they asked the vine to rule over them, who also refused. Finally, they turned to the bramble, which is a prickly shrubbery. The bramble said he would rule if they showed their trust in his shadow. If they did not truly want him as the king, he would destroy the cedars with fire. Jotham called the men of Shechem out for how they had treated his family in making Abimelech their king. He cursed them saying, if they were right by what they did, they should rejoice that day, but if they had not done what was right, they would be destroyed by Abimelech and they would destroy Abimelech. Then, Jotham fled and hid from his brother Abimelech.

22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,
23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem 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 of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.
25 And the men of Shechem 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 of Shechem put their confidence in him.
27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.
28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him?
29 And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.

Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. God allowed the spirit of contention to come between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. The Shechemites began to be treacherous with Abimelech, because it seems, they were afraid to be punished for their helping Abimelech kill his brothers. They became robbers of anyone who traveled in the mountains. Abimelech was told what was happening. The Shechemite men ruined the crops and cursed Abimelech in the face of Gaal of Ebed, who began to question why they should follow Abimelech of Shechem or their family. He called Abimelech to fight.

30 And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled.
31 And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against thee.
32 Now therefore up by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lie in wait in the field:
33 And it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt rise early, and set upon the city: and, behold, when he and the people that is with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion.

Zebul, who was master of the city, became angered and warned Abimelech the threats of Gaal. Zebul told him to surround the city in the night, and when morning came, to do with the men of Gaal as he wished.

34 And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, from lying in wait.
36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.
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 of Meonenim.
38 Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them.
39 And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown and wounded, even unto the entering of the gate.
41 And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem.
42 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech.
43 And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them.
44 And Abimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and the two other companies ran upon all the people that were in the fields, and slew them.
45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.

Gaal saw the men of Abimelech, which surrounded the city. He told Zebul what he saw. Zebul spoke of Abimelech and his people, as a shadow of the mountains, much like the shadow of the bramble that Jotham spoke of earlier. He pointed out all of the companies that stood against Gaal, and told him to fight as he had threatened to before. It seems that Zebul may have been attempting to get the men out of the city to fight, so that he would be spared, seeing as how he knew Abimelech would come against them. Gaal fought Abimelech and fled. Many of the men were wounded, and the men of Gaal were cast out of Shechem by Zebul. Abimelech heard what was happening and when they were leaving the city, he killed them, and then turned against the city and killed the people there and destroyed the ground with salt.

46 And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith.
47 And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.
48 And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.
49 And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed 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 died also, about a thousand men and women.

The men of the tower in Shechem gathered together, once they had learned that Abimelech had destroyed the city. When Abimelech heard that they gathered, he took his men into the mountain and cut down a tree bough and carried it on his shoulders. He commanded his men to do the same. They took these branches and placed them on the hold in Shechem and set them on fire. The people, about 1,000 men and women in the gathering, died from the fire.

50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.
51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower.
52 And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.
53 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull.
54 Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.
55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place.

Abimelech encamped in Thebez. He took control of the city, and when the people fled to the top of their tower. Abimelech tried to burn the tower, but a woman threw down a millstone and cracked his skull. He did not want to be shamed by being killed by a woman, so he commanded one of his men to kill him. Abimelech was killed by the man and seeing this, the men of Israel returned to their own homes.

56 Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:
57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

The curse of Jotham was fulfilled, as the men of Shechem and Abimelech destroyed one another.

Why is this story in the Bible? Perhaps, it is to teach us that good does not come from evil actions. Eventually, even if years may go by, the consequences of evil, will be destruction. Works of darkness and secret combinations set up to get gain, are results of weak men giving in to the temptations of the adversary. There is great power in the influence of our peers, as with the men of Shechem. One man can persuade many to do the wrong thing. One way to know if what a person wants you to do, is the right choice, is to learn of their motives. Abimelech wanted to have the power of ruling for himself, without the barrier of his brothers. He, much like the adversary does, convinced the people to help him, by telling them he had a better way. We should be continually watchful for those who would lead us astray, as the prickly bramble would lead the trees of the forest in the comfort of its shadow. If the works of those who would lead us, are not good works, we have the potential of destruction to our souls. It is so important for us to seek the kind of leaders who will strive to do good.

Judges Chapter 8

Gideon was called by the Lord, to lead Israel to victory against the army of the Midianites. He had shown his faith and reliance on the Lord, which led to their being able to frighten and destroy the enemy soldiers. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.
2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abi-ezer?
3 God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.

The armies of the tribe of Ephraim, were angry and wondered why they had not been called to fight when the army went against the Midianites. Gideon reminded them to be grateful that Lord had delivered the princes of Midian into their hands, and they had done well with that. They were no longer angry with him.

4 And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.
5 And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.

Gideon led his three hundred men to pursue the Midianites over the Jordan. He asked the people of Succoth, on that side of the Jordan, to give food to his men.

6 And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?
7 And Gideon said, Therefore when the Lord hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

The request was denied by the people of Succoth, and Gideon promised that after they had destroy the Midianites, they would destroy the people of Succoth for their refusal to assist them. It seems that the people of Succoth did not believe that the army of Gideon was going to be successful in their attempt.

8 And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them likewise: and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him.
9 And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.

Gideon went to the place of Penuel, also requesting aid for his men who needed food. They also refused, and Gidoen made another promise to them that when they returned in peace, they would actually bring down the tower of Penuel.

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east: for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword.

15,000 men of the children of the east, were remaining in the army in Karkor.

11 And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure.
12 And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host.

Gideon and his army approached the host of Midianites from the east and destroyed them. The kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, ran away and Gideon pursued after them and took them.

13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up,
14 And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men.
15 And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary?
16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.
17 And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.

Gideon returned that day, to the people of Succoth, and found the leaders and destroyed them with thorns of the wilderness, just as he had promised. He made them an example to their people. Then he returned to Penuel and destroyed the tower and killed the men of the city.

18 Then said he 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, even the sons of my mother: as the Lord liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.
20 And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth.
21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.

Gideon asked the Midianite kings who they had killed at Tabor. They admitted to killing his family, and Gideon said that if they had left them living, he would not kill them. Gideon commanded his son Jether to kill the kings. He was a young man and afraid to kill them, but the kings recognized to their defeat and told him to go ahead and kill them. Gideon killed the kings of Midian.

22 Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.
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.

After receiving their freedom from the Midianites, the children of Israel desired for Gideon to become their king. He refused and would not have his family rule over them. He told them that the Lord would be their ruler.

24 And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)
25 And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey.
26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks.
27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.

Gideon asked instead, for the golden earrings of their prey and made a garment or medallion of gold, which the people began to seek after. This was a temptation for the household of Gideon. The call for the people to bring their gold, was much like the people being told to bring their treasures for the work of building the tabernacle. I think it was customary in those days to pay this kind of tribute to those who were the rulers and leaders. However, it would have been the duty of Gideon to use it for good, which it seems he did not.

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

The Midianites had been subdued and they had peace for 40 years.

29 And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.
30 And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.
31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.

Jerubbaal, which was another name for Gidoen (see Judges 7:1), went to his home. He had many wives, and 70 sons. One of his sons was named Abimelech, son of the concubine Shechem.

32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.
33 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 Baal-berith 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.

Gideon died, and the Israelites returned again to the worship of Baal, or idolatry. They forgot the Lord and his deliverance once again. They no longer showed any kindness towards the family of Jerubbaal (Gideon).

Gideon was truly led by the hand of the Lord, in delivering the Israelites from their enemies. Yet, once again, the people could not retain a remembrance of the power of the Lord if they would only follow His commandments. The ways of the world were once again, too strong for them them to avoid on their own. The treasures of their victory, were a temptation for the people of Gideon, and they returned to their wicked ways. This is yet another lesson to us, of how simple it is to forget the Lord and turn to those things that will bring us down into bondage. If we can remember to follow the commandments of the Lord, we will be blessed with the strength to avoid temptations in our lives.

Judges Chapter 7

The Israelites were up against an army of Midianites, because the Lord had allowed them to fall into oppression for their wickedness. Gideon, had been called by the Lord, to lead the Israelites to victory. After having a confirmation of his calling, Gideon was prepared to answer the call. This chapter begins:

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, in the valley.
2 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.
4 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
7 And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

The Lord instructed Gideon to reduce the number in the Israelite army, because they needed to know that the Lord was the reason they were preserved in this battle. He told him to tell the men that anyone who was fearful or afraid could leave. The Lord needed men of courage to stand against their enemy. 22,000 of the men went home and 10,000 were left. Again, the Lord said they had too many men in the army. The Lord told him to take the men to the water and they would be tested and the Lord would reveal who should remain there to fight. Gideon brought them to the water. Those who lapped the water like a dog were separated from those who bowed down to drink. Those who lapped from their hands were only 300 in number and they were those who would remain to fight. Everyone else returned home. The Lord told Gideon that Israel would be saved by these 300 men.

9 And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.
10 But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
11 And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.
12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
13 And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.
14 And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

When it was time, the Lord told Gideon he had delivered the Midianites into their hands. He said if Gideon was afraid, he was to go with his servant and hear what the enemy said. The Lord promised that by doing this, he would be strengthened, or have greater courage. Gideon went down and saw the great number of their army. He heard a man talking of his dream. It was that a small loaf of bread fell among the army of the Midianites and into a tent, which it caused to fall. He had interpreted to mean that God would deliver the Midianites into the hands of Gideon’s army.

15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.
16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
17 And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.
18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.

Gideon was strengthened by the mention of this dream and the interpretation of it. He returned to his army and called them to arise, because the Lord had delivered the Midianites into their hands. The 300 men were divided into companies and given trumpets and pitchers. When he blew his trumpet, they were to blow their own trumpets and say “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon”.

19 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
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 Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.
23 And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.

At his signal, all the army, which were outside the Midianite camp, blew trumpets, broke pitches, held lights and yelled as Gideon had commanded. The host of Midian, were afraid, and ran away, started to fight one another, and were then pursued by Israel.

24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.
25 And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.

The Midianites were destroyed by Israel, and their two princes were slain.

I love this bible story, because it is a great example of the strength of the Lord. The Midianites were so great in number that they were like grasshoppers. More than double the number of Israelites had returned home because they were afraid to face them. On the other side, was Gideon with only 300 courageous men of the host of Israel. The Lord prepared for their victory, by allowing dreams to bring fear to the camp of Midianites. Then, in that moment of fear, the small band was able to scare the Midianites away and they did not even raise a sword to fight. The wisdom of men, would have laughed at this idea for winning a battle against such a great enemy, but the Lord is more wise and powerful than men. I am sure that the 300 men, had to go on complete faith in the Lord, just as Gideon did in order to lead them.

One of the signs of the last days, and the coming of the Savior again, is that their will be wars and rumors of wars. I’ve thought this phrase was interesting in the past, but with this story it has a greater impact. A man had a dream, and I imagine that his personal interpretation of the dream spread through the camp and brought fear into the hearts of many. Then, the army of Gideon needed only to pretend to be large and frightening. The already fearful hearts of the Midianites, had lost the courage necessary to win the fight. I think that this is something that rumors of wars can do to people. Just the idea that someone stronger might be preparing to fight, can bring paralyzing fear. That fear, could be the tool used to destroy enemies.

Greater still, is the power of fear that Satan will use to bring down our own personal courage to do what is right. We are in a war with the adversary, every day. It is becoming increasingly important to take a stand with God on our side, so that the evil voices of our common enemy, will not cause us to retreat and be destroyed. We do not want to be like the Midianites, who allowed fear to destroy their army. We should, however, desire to be like Gideon and his small army, who chose to listen to the Lord and had their courage strengthened because they continued in faith.

Judges Chapter 6

The Israelites had peace in the land, so long as they were drawn to the Lord and kept his commandments. In the last chapter, they had been delivered from Canaanite bondage and had peace for forty years. Their peace would not last, as time passed. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.
3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.
6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.

Again, the Israelites returned to wickedness. The Lord allowed them to fall into the hands of the Midianites, for seven years. Their enemies destroyed their crops, so they had nothing for themselves or their animals. Great numbers of Midianites entered the land and made the Israelites a poor people. They began again, to remember the Lord, and pray for deliverance.

7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites,
8 That the Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;
10 And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.

A prophet was sent to Israel, by the Lord. He reminded the people that the Lord had been their deliverer in times past. He told them to obey the Lord and put away the gods of the Amorites.

11 And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
12 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
14 And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.
16 And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
17 And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.

An angel appeared to Gideon, as he worked to gather wheat in secret. The angel said that the Lord was with Gideon. Gideon asked why the Lord allowed them to suffer as they did. He was then called by the Lord to serve Him and deliver Israel from the Midianites. Gideon asked how this was possible, because he was so poor and not the strongest. The Lord promised that he would be with Gideon and he alone would be able to smite their enemy. Gideon asked for a sign that he had found the favor of the Lord. He asked the angel to stay so that he could bring a present out to him and the angel said he would remain there until he returned.

Gideon considered himself to be “least” in his house. The Lord does not strictly choose people for their outward appearance, physical strength or material belongings. In His perfect wisdom, he chooses those whom will show the strength, beauty, and goodness of the Lord. This is an example of what is more eternally significant to God, which is not the things that the world generally values in people. We may often feel that we are not qualified for the callings we receive in this life, but the Lord will strengthen the weak who choose to serve Him.

19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.
20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.

Gideon prepared meat, bread and broth for the angel. The angel had Gideon lay the meat and bread on a rock. I think this was meant to seem as a sacrifice being laid upon an altar.

21 Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.
22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.
23 And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

The angel touched the meat and bread with his staff, and a fire consumed it. Then, the angel left. Gideon was amazed and possibly scared to have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. The Lord spoke peace to his heart. Gideon built and altar to the Lord.

25 And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
26 And build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.
27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.

The Lord commanded Gideon to thrown down his father’s altar of Baal, and destroy his grove near it. He was instead to build an altar to the Lord and make a burnt offering with the wood from the grove. He was fearful of the consequences of this act, but he did it anyway, in the secret of night.

28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.
29 And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.
30 Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.
31 And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.
32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.

The men of the city saw what had been done and discovered that Gideon had done it. They wanted to kill Gideon, so they asked his father to give him into their hands. Gideon’s father asked who would speak for Baal. Baal should speak for himself if he was truly a god. He called on Baal to call for Gideon himself, for destroying the altar.

33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.
34 But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abi-ezer was gathered after him.
35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

The enemies of Israel were gathered together. The spirit of the Lord rested upon Gideon. He blew a trumpet and sent messengers out into the land of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, to gather the people.

36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

Gideon asked for another sign, that God would indeed cause him to save Israel. He put a fleece on the floor and told God that if the land was dry and the fleece became wet with dew, he would know that the Lord would do this thing. When he rose in the morning, the dew had filled the fleece as he had asked. Then, he asked again, pleading that the Lord would not be angry with him, that the Lord would then make the ground wet with dew and the fleece dry. When he arose, the Lord had allowed the dew to fall on the ground, but the fleece was dry.

We should not ask for signs from God, without entirely pure motives to know and follow what God has in store for us. I think that the Lord knew the heart and intent of Gideon, which I believe was to completely follow the Lord and His commandments. For most of us, signs follow the act of faithful obedience and are for a confirmation or to build testimonies. Those who unrighteously ask God for signs, are asking for the anger of the Lord to be against them. We would not benefit from being shown signs before we are willing to do what God has asked of us, because it is our faith in those things we cannot see, that teaches us truths we will remember forever.

One of the additional things I gather from this chapter, is how easily the adversary lulls people into carnal security. Just a little peace and plenty, can lead us to believe that everything is well with us. In times, when God is allowing us to prove to him that we can be good stewards of the blessings he gives us, Satan convinces us that we can turn to things of the world for our enjoyment and pleasure. The Israelites felt this carnal security when they were at peace with the nations around them. It wasn’t until they had strayed far from the path of God, and their enemies oppressed them greatly, that they remembered the importance of following after the Lord. The same things happen to us today, and this is why we should be striving to keep our feet on the path the Lord wants for us, even when things are going well. Daily prayer, daily scripture study, attending church to partake of the sacrament, and serving in the temple, are some of the simple things that will keep us in remembrance of the Lord.

Judges Chapter 5

The Israelites were blessed to have been delivered from the oppression of the Canaanites. Deborah, the prophetess, and Barak, the leader of their armies, recognized the hand of the Lord in their victory.

1 Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying,
2 Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.
3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.
4 Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.
5 The mountains melted from before the Lord, even that Sinai from before the Lord God of Israel.
6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways.
7 The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.
8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
9 My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the Lord.
10 Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way.
11 They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the Lord go down to the gates.
12 Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.
13 Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the Lord made me have dominion over the mighty.
14 Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.
15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.
16 Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.
17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.
18 Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.
19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.
20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.
21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.
22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones.
23 Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.
27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
28 The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?
29 Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself,
30 Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?
31 So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

They sang a song of praise to the Lord, for their deliverance from bondage. They recognized that in order for their deliverance, the people had to turn back to the Lord. Their idolatry had brought war upon them, but Deborah was chosen by the Lord to be the mother of Israel. They were under the great hand of oppression when Deborah was raised and Barak was chosen to lead Israel in battle. It sounds like some of the leaders had to be brought low, before the people could gather together to fight. Some gathered and some continued in their lives, but Zebulan and Naphtali went to fight their enemy. Meroz and its inhabitants, was cursed for not coming to the aid of Israel. With heaven’s aid, they fought against the army of Sisera. They sang a blessing to Jael, for her role in defending them. They spoke of the mother of Sisera, as she would question what was taking her son so long to return from the fighting, and that possibly his gathering spoils for the Caananites was keeping him. Then Deborah and Barak sang for continued protection of the Lord, for the righteous that loved the Lord, against their enemies. After this time, the Israelites had peace for forty years.

This song of praise, is a record of gratitude to the Lord. They had been delivered from a harsh life without freedom and peace. They were so grateful for the hand of the Lord in their battles. Gratitude is a sign of humility. The Israelites recognized that they could not be free without the help of the Lord. They needed His protection and peace. In our day, we fight many battles as well. Most, I believe, are personal battles with our own temptations and challenges. When we recognize our faults, repent of our sinful ways, and turn our hearts to God, He will deliver us and protect us as well. We need his help to overcome when we are in bondage. I have felt the peace that His deliverance can bring into my life and I am also so grateful for it. When these times of deliverance come in our lives, we can sing, like Deborah and Barak, songs of praise to the Lord. Our own gratitude, will keep us humble in the sight of God, and will bring us greater peace and happiness.

About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.


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Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

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