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The First Judges

Scripture Passage: 
Judges 3:5-31

INTRODUCTION: Chapter two of Judges sets the pattern for the time of the judges. It is a time of disobedience, destruction and deliverance. Israel will continue to spiral downward away from their God, but He will continue to hear their pleas for help and send them deliverers.

  1. DELIVERANCE FROM MESOPOTAMIA (Judges 3:5-11)
    1. God’s Anger against Israel (Judges 3:5-8)
      1. Israel intermarried with the Canaanites (Judges 3:5-6).
      2. Israel rebelled against the Lord (Judges 3:7).
        1. They did evil in God’s sight.
        2. They forgot the Lord their God.
        3. They served Baal and the groves.
      3. The Lord was angry with Israel (Judges 3:8).
    2. The Oppression of Mesopotamia (Judges 3:8)
      1. Israel was conquered by the king of Mesopotamia.
      2. They served Chushan-rishathaim for eight years.
      3. Mesopotamia refers to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This oppression came from outside their God-given boundaries.
    3. The Deliverance of Israel through Othniel (Judges 3:9-10)
      1. The Israelites cried unto the Lord (Judges 3:9).
      2. The Lord raised up Othniel as a deliverer (Judges 3:9).
        1. Othniel was the son of Kenaz; the nephew of Caleb.
        2. Othniel was the one who married Achsah, the daughter of Caleb (Joshua 15:17).
      3. The Spirit of the Lord came on Othniel (Judges 3:10).
        1. NOTE:  All believers were not indwelled by the Spirit of God in the Old Testament. However, the Spirit of the Lord came upon men for special tasks at special times (Judges 6:34; Judges 11:29; Judges 13:25; Judges 14:6, 19; 1 Samuel 11:6; 1 Samuel 16:13). The Spirit of the Lord left Saul (1 Samuel 16:14), and David was fearful that the same thing would happen to him when he sinned (Psalm 51:11).
      4. Othniel defeated the king of Mesopotamia (Judges 3:10).
    4. The Time of Rest under Othniel (Judges 3:11)
      1. The land had rest for forty years – this can mean that the land was not harvested or that the land saw no war. In this case, it most certainly means the latter.
      2. Othniel died.
  2. DELIVERANCE FROM MOAB (Judges 3:12-31)
    1. Oppression under the King of Moab (Judges 3:12-14)
      1. The disobedience of Israel after Othniel’s death (Judges 3:12)
      2. The strengthening of Eglon, king of Moab (Judges 3:12)
        1. The Lord strengthened Eglon.
        2. He strengthened Eglon specifically against Israel.
        3. This was God’s chastening for sin.
      3. The defeat of the Israelites by Eglon (Judges 3:13)
        1. Eglon united with Ammon and Amalek.
        2. They smote Israel.
        3. They possessed the city of palm trees.
      4. Israel served Moab for 18 years (Judges 3:14).
        1. Note the connections to the second coming.
        2. Three main enemies united against Israel as will the satanic trinity.
        3. The number 18 is connected to the king of Moab as it will be connected to the beast (Revelation 13:18).
          1. The Israelites served 18 years.
          2. The phrase “Eglon the king of Moab” has 18 letters.
        4. The deliverer destroyed Eglon with a sword as will Christ destroy His enemies at His coming (Revelation 19:15).
    2. The Assassination of Eglon by Ehud (Judges 3:15-26)
      1. God raised up Ehud to deliver Israel (Judges 3:15).
        1. He was a Benjamite.
        2. He was left-handed.
      2. Ehud brought a present to Eglon (Judges 3:16-18).
        1. He made the dagger (Judges 3:16).
        2. He hid a cubit-long dagger in his raiment (Judges 3:16).
        3. He brought the present to Eglon (Judges 3:17-18).
          1. Eglon was a very fat man (Judges 3:17).
          2. Ehud presented the present to Eglon (Judges 3:18).
      3. Ehud told Eglon of a special message (Judges 3:19-20).
        1. He spoke to Eglon of a secret errand (Judges 3:19).
        2. Eglon sent all his servants out (Judges 3:19).
        3. Ehud approached unto Eglon (Judges 3:20).
          1. Eglon was seated in his summer parlour, a place of relaxation.
          2. Ehud declared that he had a message from God for Eglon.
          3. Eglon arose to receive the message.
      4. Ehud killed Eglon with his dagger (Judges 3:21-22).
        1. Ehud thrust his dagger in Eglon’s belly (Judges 3:21).
          1. He took the dagger from his right thigh with his left hand.
          2. He thrust the dagger into Eglon’s belly.
        2. Ehud could not draw his dagger out (Judges 3:22).
          1. The haft also went in after the blade.
          2. Eglon’s fat closed upon the blade.
          3. Ehud could not draw out the dagger.
          4. Dirt came out of Eglon’s wound.
      5. Ehud escaped and returned to Israel (Judges 3:23-26).
        1. Ehud escaped by way of the porch (Judges 3:23).
        2. Eglon’s servants assumed he was sleeping (Judges 3:24).
          1. This confirms the earlier thoughts about this being a place designed for relaxation.
          2. This reminds us of verses like Amos 6:1, where the Bible says, “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion.”
        3. Ehud escaped while they tarried (Judges 3:25-26).
          1. The servants waited to the point they were ashamed (Judges 3:25).
          2. While they waited, Ehud escaped unto Seirath (Judges 3:26).
    3. The Defeat of the Moabites (Judges 3:27-29)
      1. Ehud gathered the Israelites to battle (Judges 3:27).
      2. Ehud took the fords over the Jordan (Judges 3:28).
      3. They slayed about ten thousand men (Judges 3:29).
        1. All who were lusty men
        2. All who were men of valour
    4. The Time of Rest for Israel (Judges 3:30-31)
      1. The land had rest for 80 years (Judges 3:30).
      2. Shamgar delivered Israel from the Philistines (Judges 3:31).
        1. Apparently this was after another time of rebellion.
        2. Shamgar slew six hundred men with an ox goad.
        3. He delivered Israel from the hand of the Philistines.
        4. Deborah and Barak sang of this time (Judges 5:6).

CONCLUSION: The Israelites were caught in an awful cycle of defeat and degradation. God kept helping them but they continued to get further and further away from Him. How about you? Is your life caught in any self-defeating cycles? What can you do to break the cycle and get your life right with the Lord?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 25:22

For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.