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And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.
And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.
And all that generation were gathered unto their fatħers : and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: and they forsook tire LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and howed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD
And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them and sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
Whithersoever they we out the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were great!y distressed.
Nevertheless, the LORD raised-up judges, which de-livered them out of the hands of those that spoiled them.
And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD: but they did not so.
And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the ji:dge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for it repented the Lord because of their groanings, hy reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
And it came to pass when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I conimanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice: I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: that through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord, to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily: neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.
Now these are the nations which the Lord left to.. proye Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; only that the genera. tions of the children of Israel might know to teach them war, at the least, such as before knew nothing thereof; namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.
And they were to prove Israel by them, to know, whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hirites, and Jebusites.
And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim, and the groves.
Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim, king of Mesopotamia : and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.
And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenez, Caleb's younger brother.
And the Spirit of the LORD come upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.
And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenez died.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
As their awakened consciences seem to have been so strongly affected with a sense of their ingratitude, when the ANGEL of the LORD appeared unto them at Bochim, one is surprised to read immediately after of the Israelites forsaking the Lord; but we find that there was a new generation, and there is reason to suppose that some time had elapsed before they arrived at such a pitch of wickedness; and that they gave themselves up
to luxury and dissipation, hecame less attentive to the duties of religion, neglecting the worship of God, and 80 were easily drawn aside to the wicked abominations of their impious neighbours. It is said, they worshipped Baalim, which ineans not one, but idols in general. No wonder therefore that the LORD should withdraw His protection, and leave them a prey to their enemies : He did not however forget His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or bis promises by Moses, but as soon as the Israelites came to a sense of their guilt, and called upon Him, the Lord had compassion on them, and raised up a deliverer, who was endued with skill and courage to lead them forth to victory, and obtain the blessings of rest and peace. The armies had not the power to extirpate the nations as Joshua had done, because infinite wisdom thought fit to ordain, that those who made so ill an use of abundance, should not be in a state of security, but suffered them to be tried by a variety of troubles, and to be exposed to many temptations, that they might be humbled for their sins, and reminded of their duty. Though this, appears a hard sentence, it may justly be considered as an instance of the mercy of God towards the Israelites; for it was evident, that adversity was highly necessary to teach them repentance and humility, without which, they could not have the least pretence to God's favour. In the same manner, we may regard those disappoint. ments and vexations which are often so grievous to ourselves as thorns in our sides, intended, by the sufferings they occasion, to make us seek for relief from the goodness of God, or teach us to submit to evils with patience, since we must be conscious of deserving the utmost that is inflicted upoa us.
ABOUT the time of Othniel happened two very remarkable events. “ The tribe of Dan, who dwelt in the mountainous parts, found their territories much too narrow for them; they therefore sent out five spies to survey the country, and bring them intelligence in what part of the regions round about they might most likely extend their bounds. The spies in their journey came to the house of Micah, of mount Ephraim, whose mother, thinking it too much trouble to go to Shiloh to worship and offer sacrifices, had made an ephod and a teraphin ; priestly garments, and a graven image: and had consecrated one of Micah's own sons to be a priest, until a Levite, who had dwelt some time in Bethlehem Judah, travelling from thence to seek a better settlement, happened to call at Micah's house, and by him was hired to execute that office; and the man erroneously persuaded himself, that God's blessing would certainly attend him, now he had engaged a Levite to be his priest. Some of the spies being acquainted with the Levite, and understanding in what capacity he served Micah, desired of him to ask counsel of God for then, whether they might promise themselves success. in their present enterprize. He pretended to do so, and gave them great encouragement: and they proceeded in their search till they came to Laish, a pleasant and fruitful country, whose inhabitants lived in a secure and negligent manner, without any rule or disci. pline. The spies therefore returned, and represented the probability of this place becoming an easy conquest. l'pon this the Danites drew a party of 600 men, and