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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.
And Jephthah judged Israel six years : then died Jephthah, the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Jephthah belonged to the tribe of Manasseh, with whom Ephraim claimed kindred; it was on this account that the Ephraimites were enraged with jealousy ; for though they had not shared the danger, they were desirous of partaking the honour of the victory, and of dividing the spoils. As the Ephraimites began the quarrel, they had none to blame for the consequences of it but themselves; their displeasure against Jephthah was extremely unreasonable, it proceeded from pride and envy; besides, there was impiety mixt with their crime; for Jephthah assured them, that it was the LORD who had given the victory, they should therefore have been thankful for the general deliverance of Israel, and ready to pay respect to that commander whom the Lord so highly honoured.
It must doubtless be very mortifying to Jephthah to be insulted in such opprobrious terms, by those from whom as a kindred tribe he might naturally expect pe- . culiar congratulations.
Jephthah certainly carried his resentment to a great extreme; but though it is said that the Spirit of the Lord came on him, that is, strengthened him for the employment he was appointed to, we are not to suppose that he was a perfect character, or in all respects in.
fluenced by God; on the contrary, we lately read of a shocking instance of his precipitation. The quality for which he was eminently distinguished was valour. He appears to have had strong, but mistaken notions of piety; and as he was unacquainted with the law of God in one particular, it is likely he was deficient in all; if therefore he was led by the corrupt notions he had taken up from the heathens, to the intention of of. fering a human sacrifice to the God of Israel, he might from the same ignorance or false principles, pursue the Ephraimites with too great inveteracy, therefore his example is unfit for the imitation of Christians. Had Jephthah lived when the law of Moses was the rule of life, we may reasonably suppose he would have been a faithful observer of it. He gives a striking instance of the degeneracy of Israel in his time.
It is most likely, that though badly educated, Jephthah was well inclined ; and that God, who knoweth the secret dispositions of every heart, selected him as the most proper person to have the supreme authority, , and as we read of no more blameable actions, in all probability he spent the remainder of his life in reforming his own heart, and restoring the true worship of Gov.
Only six years Jephthah judged Israel; perhaps grief for the loss of his daughter, which must have been severely felt when the return of peace gave leisure for the indulgence of domestic pleasures, shortened his days.
The meaning of the word shibboleth is river or stream. Though all Israel spoke lebrew, each tribe might have a particular dialect, as the different counties have amongst us, so that persons who lived at a distance were often in a great measure unintelligible to each other, as is frequently the case in England, Let us remember that the crimes for which such se
vere punishment was suffered to fall on the Ephrainites, were, impiety, envy, pride, arrogance, and a spirit of ingratitude.
Jephthah was succeeded by Ibzan of Bethlehem : he had a very numerous issue, thirty sons and thirty daughters, whom he lived to see married, and settled in different places : he judged Israel seven years. After Ibzan, Elon a Zebulonite was judge for ten years, when he died, and Abdon governed Israel, who was famous for the number of his offspring, which were forty sons. and thirty grandsons. There is reason to suppose
that Abdon had contests with the Philistines; but we do not find that there was any war or internal commotions during the lives of these three last judges : the swords: of Gideon and Jephthah had probably intimidated their enemies, and the Israelites did not provoke the LORD by idolatrous practices.
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD APPEARETH TO MANOAH
AND HIS WIFE-THE BIRTH OF SAMSON FORETOLD..
From Judges, Chap. xiii.. And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the band of the Philistines forty years.
And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah, and his wife: had no children.
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Beware, I pray thee, drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing. For 10, thou shalt bear a song
no razor shall come
on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from his birth : and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines.
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.
Then Manoah intreated 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.
And Gop hearkened unto 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.
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.
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. .
And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass : How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?
And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, of all that I said unto the woman, let her beware.- All that I commanded her let her observe.
And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made Deady a kid for thee.
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.
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 ?
And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret!
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. For it came to pass, when the flame went
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.
(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.
And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. 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.
And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson : and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The Philistines were descended partly from Casluhiin, and partly from Caphtorim, two sons of Misraim the