Bondage and Deliverances: Seven Cycles
Judges 3:8 – 16:31
O U T L I N E
Cycles #1, #2, and #3: Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar
Cycle #1: Oppressed by Mesopotamia – Delivered by Othniel (3:8-11)
8 And the anger of Jehovah was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years. 9 And the children of Israel cried to Jehovah; and Jehovah raised up a saviour to the children of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. v.9 Earlier we read of Othniel’s individual faithfulness (ch.1). Now we read of him being used by God in a public way. Before a believer can be publicly used he must have made individual progress in the Christian path.
10 And the Spirit of Jehovah was upon him, and he judged Israel; and he went out to war, and Jehovah gave Chushan-rishathaim king of Syria into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. 11 And the land had rest forty years; and Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
Cycle #2: Oppressed by Moab – Delivered by Ehud (3:12-30)
12 And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of Jehovah; and Jehovah strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they did evil in the sight of Jehovah. 13 And he gathered to him the children of Ammon and Amalek and went and smote Israel, and they took possession of the city of palm-trees. 14 And the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. 15 And the children of Israel cried to Jehovah, and Jehovah raised them up a saviour, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a man left-handed. And by him the children of Israel sent a gift to Eglon king of Moab. v.15 Each Judge had some sort of natural weakness: whether they were a younger brother (v.9) or left-handed, etc. Israel was sending presents to the King of Moab (serving Satan). God takes the vessel of service to darkness and changed him to be used for great deliverance (see Ephesians 4:8).
16 And Ehud made him a sword having two edges, it was of a cubit length; and he girded it under his raiment upon his right hip. v.16 The short sword was concealed “under his raiment”; not a boastful outward spirituality, but rather holding the Word of God close to himself in reality. This was a weapon suited to him. Compare David with Saul’s armor to the sling and shepherd’s bag. We need to be personally familiar with the Word of God to use it effectively in battle!
17 And he brought the gift to Eglon king of Moab; now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 And it came to pass when he had ended offering the gift, he sent away the people that had borne the gift. 19 But he turned from the graven images that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret word unto thee, O king. And he said, Be silent! And all that stood by him went out from him. v.19 This was a great victory, but it was not a public victory. The greatest battles are won in secret.
20 And Ehud came to him; now he was sitting in the cool upper-chamber, which was for him alone. And Ehud said, I have a word from God unto thee. And he arose from the seat. 21 Then Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the sword from his right hip, and thrust it into his belly; 22 and the haft also went in after the blade, and the fat closed upon the blade; for he did not draw the sword out of his belly, and it came out between the legs. 23 And Ehud went out into the portico, and shut the doors of the upper-chamber upon him, and bolted them. 24 And when he was gone out, the servants of the king came and saw, and behold, the doors of the upper-chamber were bolted. And they said, Surely he is covering his feet in the summer chamber. 25 And they waited till they were ashamed; and behold, he opened not the doors of the upper-chamber, and they took the key, and opened them, and behold, their lord lay dead on the earth. 26 And Ehud had escaped while they lingered, and passed beyond the graven images, and escaped to Seirah. 27 And it came to pass when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the hill-country of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the hill-country, and he before them. 28 And he said to them, Follow after me, for Jehovah has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of the Jordan toward Moab, and suffered no one to pass over. 29 And they slew the Moabites at that time, about ten thousand men, all fat, and all men of valour, and not a man escaped. 30 And Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest eighty years.
Cycle #3: Oppressed by Philistia – Delivered by Shamgar (3:31)
31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath; and he smote the Philistines, six hundred men, with an ox-goad. And he also delivered Israel.