Why is this book so called ? Ans. From its containing the history of the several Judges, or occasional Deliverers, whom God raised up from time to time to rescue, reform, and govern his people during the period that elapsed from the death of Joshua to that of Samson.
By whom is it supposed to have been written? Ans. By Samuel, the last of the Judges, ch. 17. 6.
Of how many principal parts does it consist? Ans. Of two; the first extending from ch. I. to XVI; the second from ch. XVI. to the end of the book, and containing the history of certain detached events which properly belong to the first part, but in order to preserve the narrative unbroken, not inserted in their appropriate place.
How long a period of time is embraced in the history? Ans. About three hundred years, which brings the sacred story down very near or quite to the priesthood of Eli.
Is this book quoted or referred to in the New Testament? Acts 13. 20. Heb. 11. 32.
What is the general scope of the two first chapters of this book? Ans. To shew how grossly the children of Israel failed, after the death of Joshua, to carry on the work of expelling the remaining natives of Caanan.
Did Joshua, like Moses, leave a successor?
What came to pass after his death ?
How was this enquiry probably made ? Num.27. 21.
What answer did they obtain ?
Why was the precedency assigned to Judah, rather than to any of the other tribes ? Gen.49. 8—10.
Whose aid did he solicit in this expedition, and on what terms?
Why did he apply to Simeon seeing his was the smallest of all the tribes? Josh. 19. 1.
What was their success, and where did they achieve a signal slaughter of the enemy?N. B. It is probable that Caleb had command of the forces employed in this enterprise.
What king did they here encounter and overcome, and finally take prisoner, and how did they deal with him?
What confession did they extort from him?
Does the punishment of sinners often bear a striking analogy to their sins? N. B. Pharoah, who ordered the Hebrew male children to be drowned, perished himself in the Red Sea, Nadab and Abihu, who sinned by strange fire, were consumed by a strange fire. Abimelech, son of Gideon, having slain his seventy brethren "on one stone,"was finally killed himself by a stone falling upon his head. Many other instances of the same kind might be mentioned. If men will transgress in ways not expressly forbidden, they should know that God can take vengeance in modes not expressly threatened, for the stores of his wrath are inexhaustible.
Where did he die?
Had Jerusalem been taken before this, and by whom?
Against what territories of the Canaanites did Judah next advance?
What is said of Caleb, and is this account found elsewhere? Josh. 15, 16—19.
Does this appear to have been the time when he obtained full possession of his inheritance? V. 20.
Who were the Kenites, and what is here said of their removal? Num. 10.29—32.
What place is meant by the "City of Palm Trees? Deut. 34. 3.
What other places did Judah and Simeon obtain possession of?
Did the Philistines afterwards recover these cities, and prove a great annoyance to the Israelites? 1 Sam. 6. 17.
What inhabitants did Judah drive out, and what ones did he fail to expel, and why?
Was the inability here spoken of, of the moral kind, and therefore such as to render their conduct in this business highly criminal? Joshua 17. 18. Mat. 17. 19, 20. Deut. 7.17—21.
What is said of the children of Benjamin?
What success had the house of Joseph in their attempts, and what circumstance is related V. 22—26?
When were the Jebusites finally dislodged from Jerusalem? 2 Sam. 5. 6—8.
What progress made Manasseh in the same work?
In what manner did the Israelites exercise their power over the Canaanites instead of utterly destroying them?
Was this contrary to the express command of Jehovah? Deut. 20. 16.
Are not the professed people of God in like manner, and with like consequences, often satisfied with a partial mastery over their lusts, instead of aiming at the complete extirpation of them?
What is said of the tribes of Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali?
Which of the tribes fared the worst in their struggles, and how were they assisted?
Did the encroachments of the Amorites and Philistines soon after compel the Danites to seek a possession in a distant part of the country? ch. 18.
What is the practical lesson to be gathered from this whole chapter? Ans. That all men professing godliness are to be assiduously employed in the spiritual warfare ; in subduing and crucifying the evil propensities of their nature ; in mortifying their remaining corruptions ; and that it is at the peril of our peace, nay, of our souls, if we suspend this combat, or fail to practise all manner of self-denial.
What remarkable visitant came up from Gilgal to where the people were assembled ? N. B. It is probable that the nation were now convened at Shiloh, where the Tabernacle was stationed, but the name Bochim, or the Weepers, was given to the spot from the bitter penitent weepings, which took place among the people.
Why is the angel represented as coming up from Gilgal? Josh. 5. 9. 13, 14.
What did he say to the people, and whom does his language prove him to have been?
What impression did this rebuke make upon the people, and what did it prompt them to do?
Ought divine admonition always to produce similar effects?
Was this reformation lasting?
What facts are mentioned v. 6—10, and with what design are they introduced here ? Ans. To show the reason for the severe reproof just before given.
What was the general character of the people of Israel during the days of Joshua, and of the Elders that survived him?
What was Joshua's age when he died, and where was he buried?
In what peculiar manner did the children of Israel do evil in the sight of the Lord? v. 11.12.
Of what are Baalim and Ashtaroth the names? N. B. These terms, the one masculine and the other feminine, appear to be employed as the general names of the Gods and Goddesses of the surrounding heathen nations.
In what method did the Lord see fit to punish their idolatry? v, 14, 15.
Did he, notwithstanding, interpose from time to time, for their deliverance, and how ?
By what was he moved to afford them relief? v. 18.
Did they groan mainly under the burden of sin, or under that of affliction?
Did their deliverance restrain the people from their wickedness, or did they after a temporary amendment again relapse into idolatry and rebellion? v. 17—19.
What sentence was God at length provoked to pronounce against them? v. 20—22.
How do we find this feature of the Divine government expressed by the Prophet? Is. 66. 4,
Was the threatened purpose accordingly executed? N. B. From Hos. 2. 16, 17. it seems probable that the idolatry of the children of Israel did not altogether consist in formally denying the being, or renouncing the worship of the true God. It was rather practical, than verbal; and lay in a great measure in the course of their conduct, in backsliding from God, neglecting their duty, and falling in with the iniquities of the Canaanites. Thus viewed, their idolatry forms not merely a type, but a correct specimen of that into which the Lord's professed people in all ages are liable to fall, by relaxing the strictness of their walk, and becoming conformed to this present evil world.
Specify some of the principal nations spared by God for the trial of Israel?
Was this a measure not only of retributive justice,but of wisdom also, and how?
Is it a result of the same infinite wisdom that the saints are sanctified in this world but in part? Gal. 6. 16—26.
Why are heresies permitted to spring up in the church? 1 Cor. 11. 19.
What was the consequence of the Israelites dwelling in the midst of these idolatrous nations? v. 6, 7.
To what king were they brought into subjection, and for how long a time?
To what had they recourse under their oppressions, and what deliverer did the Lord raise up in answer to their cries?
How was he enabled to overcome their enemies, and to judge the people, and how long a term of rest did he secure for them? N.B. It was not far from the time of Othniel that the events took place which are related in the three last chapters of this book, as Phineas, the son of Elieazer, and grandson of Aaron, was living when they occurred, ch. 20. 28.
Subsequent to this what kings and people did the Lord judicially suffer to prevail against Israel?
What nations did he draw into alliance with him, and of what city did they obtain possession?
For how long a period did the children of Israel serve Eglon?
Relate the circumstances to which their deliverance was owing? v. 15-26.
On what ground is the deed to be justified?
How did he follow up this bold stroke, and what was the result? v. 27—29.
What Judge succeeded Ehud, and what was the condition of the country in his days? ch. 5. 6. N. B. From the first verse of the next chapter it is conjectured that Ehud might have been alive at this time, though perhaps superannuated.
How many of the Philistines did he slay, and with what instrument? N.B. He might have been following his plough at the time these Philistines made their inroad upon the country, and under a divine impulse have been strengthened, like Samson afterwards, to withstand and slay them with the first weapon that came to hand.
Into whose hands did Israel next fall as a punishment for their continued transgressions? N.B There was a particular nation of Canaanites dwelling in the Northern borders of the land who are here intended.
Who was Jabin's general, and what made his power so much to be dreaded?
How long were they oppressed by him?
Who judged Israel at that time, and where did she dwell?
What was her character as a ruler? ch. 5. 7.
In planning the deliverance of her people, for whom did she send, and what, in the name of the Lord, did she command and promise him? V. 6. 7. N. B. As Hazor and Harosheth lay within the tribe of Naphtaili, near perhaps to the lot of Barak, he had probably distinguished himself on former occasions in some engagements with the forces of the oppressor.
By what means, and in what place was he to meet with the enemy, and what was it said should be the issue of the battle?
What reply did Barak make to Deborah, and what did she answer him?
Did her words imply that she herself would take the honor of the victory? v. 22.
Did he soon collect his quota of men?
Did not some from the other tribes come in and join them? ch. 5. 14—18.
What descendant of Moses' father-in-law dwelt at Kadesh at this time, and why is this circumstance mentioned here?
Where did Sisera draw together his forces?
How did Deborah animate Barak to the contest?
Did he accordingly quit his vantage ground on the mountain, and descend into the valley?
What was the result?
What was the fate of Sisera?
How did Barak become acquainted with it?
Was Jael probably prompted to this bold and hazardous deed by a divine impulse?
What was the subsequent state of the children of Israel?
How was this victory celebrated, and what precedent was there for it? Ex. 15.
How does Deborah commence the song or ode?
What former displays of divine power and glory does she allude to and compare with that she is now celebrating?
What circumstances does she mention to shew the distress of the country, and to what does she attribute it?
What was the state of the people as to weapons of war, and to what was it probably owing?1 Sam. 13. 19—22.
Towards whom are her warmest commendations and gratitude drawn forth, and whom does she specially call upon to utter the praises of the Most High? N.B. Riding upon white asses in those days, and among a people that made little use of horses, was a mark of honorable distinction, ch. 12. 14.
Which of the tribes are commended for their promptness in offering themselves? N. B. The import of v. 14, 15. seems to be—That the tribe of Ephraim, the root and origin of whose victories and greatness was in the conquest of Amalek under Joshua, followed that of Benjamin who took the lead among the volunteers—that the principal men of Machir or Manasseh, the half tribe on the west of Jordan, came down to join the forces—that "out of Zebulun came those that levied conscripts as if means of the numbering rod"(See note on Levit. 27. 32.)—and that the chief men of Issachar, the flower of the tribe, rallied themselves promptly under the standard of Deborah and Barak, and when he was sent down into the valley (ch. 4. 10.) they accompanied him with as much alacrity as though all their feet had belonged to his body, which is the true meaning of the clause—"he was sent on foot into the valley."
Which of the tribes does she reflect upon for their supineness? N. B. As to Reuben, this tribe was divided from their brethren by the river Jordan ; divided from them also in counsel in regard to the war; and perhaps divided among themselves:—they remained therefore tranquil at home, listening to the shepherd's pipe rather than the martial trumpet, though their failure disappointed expectation,and gave rise to deep conjectures resentments, and criminations among their brethren.—By Gilead is meant the tribe of Gad and the other half-tribe of Manasseh, which also consulted their ease, and remained on the other side of Jordan.—Dan was too much engaged in commerce ; and Asher's excuse was that he must stay at home and repair the breaches which the sea was making upon the coasts of his inheritance,as he inhabited a maritime region.
Which of all the tribes rendered themselves the most conspicuous in the engagement?
Did the elements seem to aid Israel in discomfiting their enemies? v. 20,21.
The inhabitants of what place refused to come up to the help of the Lord, and how was their treachery punished?
What is said of Jael, and how is her heroical act described? v, 24—2S.
What poetical imagery is employed to represent the anxiety of Sisera's mother as to the fate of her son? v. 28—30.
How long had the land rest after this victory?
What is said, in the commencement of this chapter, of the conduct of the Israelites, and what was the consequence? N. B. "The familiarity of the Israelites with idolaters taints them with sin; their sin draws on judgments; the smart of the judgments moves them to repentance ; upon their repentance speedy deliverance follows; and upon their deliverance they again relapse into sin'." BP. Hall. By whose hand were they now oppressed and impoverished, and in what way?
Did their calamities remarkably correspond with the previous denunciations uttered from God by the mouth of Moses2 Deut. 28. 48.
Did it aggravate their wretchedness, that this very people had formerly been subdued by themselves? Num. 31. 7—18.
To what refuge did they betake themselves in their extremities? v.2.
What did their sufferings prompt them to do, and did the Lord at once grant their requests? V. 7—10.
Is it often the case that the first cries and prayers of sinners for mercy are answered in such a way as rather to increase their distress than to relieve it? Mat. 15. 21—28.
What was the burden of the Prophet's message to the people?
By what peculiar manifestations of the divine presence was this visit of the prophet followed, and under what circumstances?
Of what tribe was Gideon, and where was he dwelling at this time?
Who was this angel? v. 14,
What conversation took place between him and Gideon? v. 12—16.
What did Gideon request of him before he departed, and what was the angel's reply?
What offering did he bring forth, and what was the result? v. 19—21.
What was Gideon's exclamation in view of the miracle?
How was he comforted and encouraged, and in what way did he testify his sense of the divine goodness? N. B. Jehovah Shalom signifies Lord, send peace.
What was done the same night?
What effect had this bold step upon the people of the place?
What did Joash answer them? N. B. Joash had probably before this been a favorer of Baal's worship, but now from parental affection or honest conviction, or both, espoused the cause of God, and stood up in defence of his son.
What new name did Gideon hereby acquire, and what does it mean? Ans. Let Baal plead.
Where did the Midianitish forces assemble, what steps were taken to oppose them, and with what success? v. 33—35.
When Gideon beheld the formidable power arrayed against him, what signs did he ask of the Lord to confirm his faith, and were they granted?
Does this fleece afford a striking emblem of the past and present condition of the Jewish nation?
Did Gideon and his men immediately commence hostile preparations, and where did they and the enemy severally pitch their camps?
What directions did God give to Gideon for reducing his army, and why?
How many remained, and how was this number still further reduced? N. B. Those who bowed down and put their mouths to the water, and gave themselves a full draught, discovered thereby a sensual self-indulgent disposition, which shewed them unfit for the hard service before them, and they were accordingly discharged; while those who merely stepped to the water's edge, and hastily took up a little in their hand, lapping it like a dog, as if only to cool their parched lips and tongues, evinced a hardihood and self-denial, prepared for any fatigues, privations, or perils ; they were therefore retained.
Is there a similar difference of spirit among those professedly enlisted under Christ, which will hereafter be detected, and rewarded accordingly?
What design did the Lord declare in respect to the three hundred, and how did they furnish themselves?
What command came to Gideon that night, and with what permission was it accompanied?
Did he accordingly go down, and what did he there see and hear?
Did both the dream and the interpretation evidently come from God? Job 33. 14—16.
What was the effect of this incident upon Gideon and what did he do when he returned to the camp?
How did he proceed to arrange and equip his forces, and to give his orders? v. 16-—18.
At what time and in what manner did they make the attack, and what was the result?
Does this afford an emblem of the manner inwhich God often makes the enemies of his church the instruments of destroying one another?
How was this signal victory followed up? v.23—25.
How were the men of Ephraim affected by the success of Gideon, and what answer did he make to their expostulation?
Do we find these Ephraimites acting a similar part on another occasion ? ch. 12. 1.
From what principle did their conduct spring? Eccl. 4. 4.
What occurred when Gideon and his men had passed over Jordan, and came to Succoth? V.4—6.
How did Gideon threaten to avenge this barbarous treatment?
What proverb did his conduct exemplify on this occasion? Prov. 19. 11.
What answer did he receive to a like request at Penuel, and what did he utter against them?
What was the number of the enemy slain, and what the remnant now abiding in Karkor?
What success had Gideon in the pursuit? v.11—13.
What did he do, on returning to Succoth, with the elders of the city?
What with the men of Penuel ?
What was the fate of the two kings, and the, circumstances of it? v. 18—21.
Is the destruction of these leaders of the Midianites pleaded by the Psalmist as a precedent for the ruin of the church's enemies? Ps. 83.11.
How did the children of Israel propose to honor their deliverer, and what reply did he make to them?
What did he declare himself willing to receive, and what use did he make of the donations?
Was his conduct in this matter somewhat censurable, and what was the consequence? N.B. As Gideon had been commanded in an extraordinary manner at his first calling to offer a sacrifice, which was ordinarily done by those wearing an ephod, he may have thought himself authorised from that fact to officiate in the same way occasionally at his own house; but this was manifestly improper, as it was invading the province of the Priests whom God had expressly set apart for that purpose. The origin of Gideon's error, appears to have been, his looking with too wishful an eye upon the golden earrings of the prey.
Do the consequences of this step shew the pernicious influence of a good man's had example? Eccl. 10. 1.
What is said of Gideon's residence, and of his family? v. 29, 30.
What was the name of his son by the concubine in Shechem?
Where was he buried and what came to pass after his death? v. 32—35.
Is honorable mention made of Gideon in the New Testament? Heb. 11. 32.
What ambitious steps are said to have been taken by Abimelech? v. 1. 2.
Was not his insinuation against his brethren entirely groundless?
What success had he in his aspiring projects? V.3—6.
Was not this measure contrary to the known will of God, as well as to that of Gideon declared before his death? Deut. 17. 14, 15.
Were not the children of Israel grossly ungrateful to the memory of Gideon in not avenging the death of his sons? ch.8.35. Eccl. 9. 14, 15, N. B. Millo, or the house of fullness, is supposed to have been a kind of city-hall, or council-house, in which the elders and people met for business.
What course did Jotham adopt when informed of what had happened?
What practical lesson do we learn from his preface? Prov. 28. 9.
By what means did Jotham administer reproof to his people? N. B. This fable, parable, or apologue is the most ancient extant, and one of the most ingenious, pertinent, and striking any where to be found.
State the parable.
Does the subsequent history contain one somewhat similar? 2 Kings 14. 9.
In what points was it peculiarly applicable to the case in hand ?
Why does the olive say that God and man is honored by its fatness? Ex. 35. 14. Lev. 2. 1. 1 Sam. 10. 1.
What does the vine say of itself and why? Num. 15. 5—7. Prov. 31. 6.
What is the pointed application which Jotham makes in the conclusion ? N. B. The ensuing history shews the fulfillment of this in a wonderful manner?
Whither did he then betake himself?
How long did Abimelech reign without disturbance, and what occurred at the end of that time?
With what design on the part of God was this state of things brought about ? N. B. "When men's sin is made their punishment, though God is not the author of the sin, yet the punishment comes from him." Henry.
What measures did the men of Shechem, or a considerable party of them, adopt, and under whose conduct did they put themselves?
Did they attempt the life of Abimelech?
How did Gaal's party behave in the time of the vintage, and what vain boasting language did he make use of? N. B. As Ebed means slave, it is supposed by some that this Gaal was a native Canaanite, or the son of a slave, and that by this bravado style, he designs not only to cast contempt on Abimelech and Gideon, but also to win the Shechemites into subjection to the men, or to himself, the descendant of Hamor, who was the ancient lord of this city in Jacob's time. Heated with wine, and puffed up with arrogance, he addresses and defies Abimelech as though actually present. This speech in some way comes to the ears of Zebul, who communicates it to his master.
How was Zebul affected by the speech, and what message did he send to his master? v.30—33.
What steps did Abimelech take accordingly, and how did Gaal become apprised of his movements? N. B. He seems not to have gone out with any expectation of the approach of Abimelech's party, and as Zebul and he were yet on speaking terms, the former aims to detain him, and hold him in talk, in order to gain time and advantage for Abimelech.
What was the conversation that ensued between Gaal and Zebul? v. 36—38.
Was Gaal induced to go out, and what was the result of the skirmish?
What became of Gaal, and what followed upon his expulsion? v. 42—45. N. B. Salt was an emblem of perpetuity, and this act was expressive of his hope and intention as far as in him lay, that the ruin of the place should be perpetual.
Was it not however afterwards rebuilt, and made a considerable place? 1 Kings 12. 1.
Whither did the remnant of the people retire for safety, and what befel them there ?
Did this catastrophe as well as that of Abimelech afterwards strikingly verify the prediction of Jotham?
How did Abimelech at length come to his end?
Was the circumstance in his death which he was so anxious to conceal remembered notwithstanding ages afterwards to his disgrace? 2 Sam. 11.21.
Who were the two next Judges raised up after Abimelech, and how long a peace altogether did Israel enjoy under their government?
What remarkable fact is noticed relative to the sons of the latter? N. B. As this was a mark of peculiar honor, they were probably itinerant judges, riding from place to place as deputies of their father; a circumstance which redounded greatly to his credit as a good man, and a good father.
What new sins of the people are here mentioned, and what new troubles did they bring upon them?
Are their sufferings strikingly portrayed by the Psalmist? Ps. 106. 41-55.
How long a time were they oppressed by these nations? N. B. The invasion of both of them began in one and the same year, but was of unequal continuance.
Were they assailed on both sides of the Jordan?
What humble confession did their distress extort from them, and how did the Lord answer their cry? v. 10. 14.
Did this lead them to renewed repentance and reformation, and how was it evinced? N. B. "This return to the worship of God seems to have been permanent; for we do not find that they relapsed into idolatry under the subsequent judges." Scott.
Where did the Ammonites assemble and encamp?
Where did the children of Israel come together and what was their enquiry, and their resolve?
What is the character and parentage given of Jepthah?
What treatment did he receive from his brethren, where did he flee to, and what class of men resorted to him?
Was he case of David somewhat similar? 1 Sam. 22. 2.
How was he called out from his exile? v. 5, 6.
What did he reply to the message?
What further treating on the matter took place between them before he consented to go?
Did they comply with their agreement, and what did Jepthah do on the occasion? N.B. By his 'uttering all his words before the Lord' is probably meant that he immediately retired to his devotions, and in prayer spread the whole matter before the Lord, imploring his sanction -of the past, and his blessing on the future—an example ever worthy of imitation.
What was Jepthah's first step in prosecuting the enterprise in which he had embarked?
Was this according to the requirements of the Law? Deut. 20. 10—12.
What reply was made by the Ammonites ?
How does Jepthah refute their claims? v. 15—27. N. B. Some of the country claimed by Ammon had indeed once belonged to them, but the Amorites had taken it from them,afterwards the Israelites wrested it from the Amorites and God who gave the victory had assigned it to his people as their inheritance.
Did the Ammonites listen to these representations, and desist from their demand ?
What is next said of Jepthah? v. 29.
What remarkable vow did he make on that occasion ?
Was the obligation of a vow peculiarly sacred and binding? Num. 30. 2.
Was Jepthah guilty of a culpable rashness in uttering this vow ? N. B. Several kinds of animals, had they met him, it would have been utterly unlawful for him to offer, much more a human being.
What was the result of his engagement with the enemy? v. 32, 33.
Who met him on his return home, and how was he affected thereby ?
What did she say in reply, and what spirit was evinced by her language? v. 36, 37.
Did he comply with her request and what ensued ?
What custom did this give rise to? N. B. Jepthah appears to have been ignorant of the law relative to singular vows, Num. 27,3. or he might, in all probability have redeemed his daughter by paying the estimation of thirty shekels, and the state of religion must have been deplorably low, or the Priests would have enlightened him on this subject.
Did the Ephraimites again evince an envious spirit, and enter their complaints against Jepthah?
What did he answer them ?
What insult did the Ephraimites cast upon the Gileadites, and what was implied in it? N.B. If our translation be correct, it would seem to imply that the Gileadites were the mere remnant, refuse, and off-scouring of the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, and that any pretensions to rank or eminence, notwithstanding the recent victory, was the height of arrogance and insolence. So blind is envy to the clearest demonstration of merit!
Is the "envy of Ephraim" expressly alluded to by the prophet? Is. 11. 13.
What was the unhappy consequence of the broil?
What did the men of Gilead do to prevent the return of the Ephraimites over Jordan, and how did they detect those that belonged to that tribe?
How many of them fell on that occasion?
For how long a period did Jepthah judge Israel and where was he buried?
Has he obtained a place among the worthies mentioned by Paul? Heb. 11. 32.
How long a period is embraced in the united judgeship of the other judges mentioned in this chapter?
Into whose hands did the Lord next deliver his backsliding people, and for how long a time ?
What remarkable circumstance happened to the wife of Manoah ? v. 3—5.
What was implied in the child's being a Nazarite? N. B. A Nazarite, or one separated,was one who was in a special manner dedicated by his parents, or by his own act, to God, to walk before Him, either for a specified time, or during life, in peculiar and pre-eminent holiness; being by a solemn vow separated and consecrated to this purpose, of which abstinence from wine, and the hair left unshorn, were visible badges. Persons thus distinguished under the O. T. were types of Christ, the great Nazarite, who was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners," Of these Samson was the principal, though the language of Jacob respecting his son Joseph, points him out also as eminently bearing that character. See Gen. 49. 26.
How did she speak of it to her husband?
What impression did this make upon Manoah, and how did God regard his request?
Under what circumstances did the second appearance take place, and what conversation ensued? v. 9—14.
How did Manoah propose to honor his visitor, and how did the angel reply?
What further enquiry did Manoah make, and how was he answered? N. B. The word here rendered "secret" is in the original the same with that rendered "wonderful" in the prophet's prediction of Christ, Is. 9. 6. So that in apparently declining to impart his name, he does in reality make known one of his most august and glorious titles.-The Angel, therefore, who so often appeared to the fathers, here assumes to himself a name unquestionably belonging to the promised Messiah, and consequently puts it beyond a doubt who is the real Person intended by the appellation Angela or Angel of the Lord, so frequently spoken of.
What offering did Manoah present and what occurred thereupon?
What did Manoah say when he ascertained the true character of the messenger, and how did his wife encourage him?
What was the name given to the child, and where and how did he begin to distinguish himself?
Why was this place so called? ch. 18. 12.
What is related of Samson in the first part of this chapter? v.l—3.
What was there in this conduct that had an "appearance of evil," and what that was commendable? Deut. 7. 3. Eph. 6.1 N. B.Timnath was not in the country of the Philistines, but in the inheritance of Judah. The Philistines however had made gradual encroachments till they at length introduced themselves into the interior of the country, and occupied numerous important stations from which they controlled the Israelites and held them under tribute, though there was still something of a pacific intercourse kept up between the two people.
What considerations at length induced his parents to consent?
Did they go down with him to Timnath, and what occurred on the way?
How was he enabled to perform this feat, and of what was it a pledge?
Did any thing, in David's history resemble this? 1 Sam. 17. 35.
What is said of him as he went on his second journey to Timnath?
How did he celebrate his nuptials, and what company was present on the occasion?
What was probably the design of the attendance of these thirty Philistines? N. B. No doubt they had either heard something of his prowess, or observed something in his stature, aspect, &c. which induced them to place these men as spies over his movement?.
What did he propose in order to entertain the company?
What was the riddle, and what means did they take in order to obtain a solution of it?
Was this a mean and inhuman conduct? How did they expound the riddle, and what did Samson say to them?
How was he enabled to pay the wager he had promised them?
What did he do when he found himself thus abusively treated, and what became of his wife? N. B. From the following chapter it appears that Samson was ignorant of the disposal made of her till his next visit.
Under what circumstances did Samson afterwards visit his wife, and what reception did he meet with? N. B, The kid was probably brought in token of reconciliation; for there is no evidence that he had before designed to repudiate his wife.
Why did he not consent to take the second daughter? Lev. 18. 18.
What did Samson say on this occasion? N.B. He no doubt meant that this was a just occasion for the commencement of public hostilities against the Philistines.
What singular method did he adopt to executehis purpose? N. B. It appears from other passages that foxes were very numerous in Judea, and there is no necessity for us to suppose that Samson caught them all unassisted. Their tails being fastened together would hinder them from escaping from each other, leaping over fences, and running into the woods ; and would also cause them to go slower, by which means the fire would be the more destructive. He might indeed have fired their cornfields with his own hand, but the meanness and weakness of the instrument employed, put a signal contempt upon the enemies he fought against, and shewed them how completely he could overmatch their own foxlike cunning, and hold it up to ridicule, at the same time that he avenged his wrongs.
How did the Philistines retaliate this injury?
Did his wife thus bring upon herself the very doom which she sought to escape by treachery? ch. 14. 15.
Did Samson, notwithstanding this, threaten to punish the Philistines, and how did he do it?
What was the consequence? N. B. This place is here called Lehi by anticipation, for that name was not given it until after the slaughter which occurred there.
What base and ignoble part did the men of Judah act on this occasion, and what stipulation did Samson make with them?
Was this circumstance typical of one somewhat similar in the history of Christ? John 18. 1—9.
What did they do with him, and what took place when he came into the camp of the Philistines?
What did he do hereupon, and what was his language in reference to the exploit? N.B. Ramiith-Lehi, the name thence given to the place signifies either, the lifting up, or the casting away, of the jaw-bone.
What did he say under the pressure of extreme thirst, and how was it relieved? N. B. It has been suggested, not improbaably, that his distress on this occasion may have been designed as a rebuke for his not having so directly ascribed his recent victory to the hand of God, as to his own. As Lehi means yaw, there is no good reason to believe that the “hollow place” was cloven jn the bone, but some cavity m the earth on the spot called Lehi, was miraculously opened and sent forth a refreshing stream of water, which thence forward continued to flow, and the spring was called En Hakkor, the well of him that cried or prayed.
In what capacity did Samson act after this, and for how long a time?
Does the hitherto excellent character of Samson appear sullied by the facts related in this chapter?
Does Solomon seem to allude to the case of Samson in Prov. 7. 26?
Is he notwithstanding to be considered as a pious man? Heb. 11. 32.
Into what danger did he fall at Gaza, and how did he escape?
Who became the next object of his affection, and where did she dwell?
What scheme was here laid to compass his ruin?
What did Samson answer her, and what was the result of the experiment?
What was his second reply to her importunity and what followed?
What did he again answer to her solicitation, and what was the result?
What was evidently Samson's duty in these circumstances? Prov. 6. 6.
What was the consequence of her continued entreaties?
What saying of the wise man applies to his case in this crisis? Eccl. 7. 26.
Was his strength, properly speaking, in his hair? Num. 6. 5.
What advantage was then treacherously taken of his weakness?
Is the melancholy fall of Samson full of instruction? Cor. 10. 6—12.
What ensued soon after his imprisonment? N. B. It is reasonable to infer that this was soon after, as he was brought out at the time of their general thanksgiving to Dagon for delivering their enemy into their hands, which we cannot suppose was long deferred.
Is it probable that in this short time he was brought to deep and heart-rending repentance for his sins? N. B. The growth of his hair was not the cause nor the sign of his returning strength any farther than as it was a sign also of his profound penitence and of God's having thereupon again accepted him as a Nazarite.
Should the falls of Christians be followed by speedy repentance? Ps. 119. 59. 60.
What idolatrous festival were the Philistines celebrating when he was brought out, and why did they call for him?
Have gross instances of idolatry frequently been followed by sudden judgments? Dan 5.4,5. Acts 12.22,23.
Relate the circumstances of Samson's death.
Is not the charge of self-murder very improperly brought against Samson? See note on Ex. 20. 13.
By whom and where was he buried?
At what time did the events related in this and the subsequent chapters take place? N. B, Probably at a very early period of the days of the Judges.
Where did Micah dwell, and what is said of him and his mother? v. 1—3. N. B. The design of this seems to be, to acquaint us with the first open establishment of idolatry among the nation of Israel, which was introduced by a woman, and was after a time set up in Dan, the very city where Jeroboam afterwards established the worship of one of the golden calves. 1 Kings 12. 28—30.
What did they do in carrying into effect their idolatrous projects, and what emboldened them in it? v. 4—6.
What was the name of the young man that departed out of Bethlehem-Judah? ch. 18. 30.
What was his reason for roving, and where did he come in his travels?
What parley ensued between him and Micah, and what bargain was at length struck up?
What act of presumption was Micah guilty of, and how did he thereupon flatter himself?
Does this strikingly represent the infatuation of men who promise themselves impunity in false ways of worship, and in the mere forms of religion? Prov, 14. 12. Mat 3. 9.
What is related of the Danites in the commencement of this chapter?
What is said in Joshua of the inheritance of this tribe? Josh, ch. 19. 47.
How many men were sent on this expedition?
What old acquaintance did they meet with on their way, and what conversation and request ensued? v. 3—5,
Had they probably neglected their duty in. not enquiring of the Lord by the High Priest at Shiloh before they set out upon their enterprise?
What answer did he presumptuously give them? N. B. As the event corresponded in some measure with the random guess of the Levite, it tended greatly to raise the credit of the oracle with that tribe.
What does the Lord say by Jeremiah of such prophets? Jer. 23. 25—32.
To what place did the men come, in what state did they find it, and what report did they carry back to their tribe? v. 7—10.
How large a party of them embarked in the expedition?
Whom did they plunder on the way, and what were the circumstances? v. 13—21.
How did Micah shew his resentment of the robbery, and with what effect? v. 22-26.
What was the result of the enterprise of the Danites and what did they call their new city?
How long did they keep their idolatry? N. B. The captivity here spoken of, was that of the ark mentioned 1 Sam. 4. it has been suggested that on account of the introduction of idolatry into Israel by the tribe of Dan, that tribe is omitted in the sealing of the tribes in Rev. 7.
What gave rise to the general convention of the tribes at Mizpeh? ch. 20. 1—7.
How large a number of men of arms came together on this occasion?
What resolution did they adopt?
What message did they first send to Benjamin, and what was the effect of it?
How large a force did the Benjamites muster?
With what religious act did the tribes begin their enterprise, and what answer appeared to be returned to them. N. B. As the children of Israel did not engage in this matter by repenting of their own sins, and first enquiring as they ought, whether they should go up at all, this answer is not to be construed as implying the divine approbation of their proceedings. It is rather to be regarded as the sovereign and righteous connivance of God in their rashness, on seeing them determined to rush forward in their work of vengeance, and is equivalent to his saying "Enquiry on this head is useless; for Judah has already been constituted military leader of the tribes." He was thus pleased to " choose their delusions."
What was the result of the first day's contest?
What was probably the procuring cause of this disaster? Compare ch. 18, with Deut. 13. 12—18.
What did they do preparatory to the second day's engagement, and what encouragement did they seem to receive? N. B. The latter clause of the 23d verse is to be interpreted on the same principles with the 18th. "You have a just cause to go up against them"—to which they should have known that no promise of success was annexed unless they went up in a proper spirit, duly humbled and penitent, which the result proved they were not.—This passage illustrates God's permission to Balaam, Num.22.
What was the issue of the second day's battle, and how were the people affected by it?
What allusion does the prophet make to this affair? Hos. 10. 9.
Through whom did thy renew their enquiry of God, and what response did they now obtain?
What precautions did thy take, and how did the third day's engagement terminate? v.29—43.
How many of Benjamin were slain, and how many escaped?
How did they still further prosecute the victory? v. 48.
Is this severity to be justified? N. B. From the subsequent chapter it appears they became sensible that their resentment had carried them to too great lengths.
By what means had the children of Israel brought themselves into a perplexing difficulty?
What does this and similar instances teach us? Eccl. 5. 3—6.
What did the people do in this extremity, and what expedient did they adopt to prevent the extinction of a tribe? v. 2—11.
How many young women did they thus procure, and was the number sufficient?
What amicable message did they send to the refugees in the rock Rimmon?
What did the elders of the congregation say respecting their oath, and what method was proposed in order to provide the two hundred remaining Benjamites with wives? v.16—22.
Was this a mere evasion of the vow? Prov.20. 25.
Was this a dance for mere amusement? Is.22. 12, 13.
Did the children of Benjamin comply with this counsel? N. B. As the whole inheritance allotted to the tribe would fall to the survivors this little remnant no doubt became greatly enriched.
How does the history close?
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