Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 11

Judges 12.1-15 tells us about a quarrel between Yiftach and the Ephraimites. The tribe got together and probably was able to muster about 50,000 men (they will lose 42,000). They crossed over the Jordan to the land near Mount Hermon where Yiftach lived and they wanted to know why they were not summoned to help against the Ammonites, very similar to what happened with Gideon. They even threatened to burn his house down. Yiftach told them that there was strife between the Gileadites and Ammon because of a land dispute, and Yiftach says he did call them but they would not help. So, he proceeded without them and defeated the Ammonites. Instead of being grateful the Ephraimites were resentful. We sometimes want the credit without doing the job, too, which was similar to Judges 8.1. It seems this tribe had problem with this attitude.

As a result, Yiftach gathered the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim and defeated them. It seems they could talk a good fight but couldn’t fight a good fight. Yiftach and Gilead took the fords of the river Jordan. If someone attempted to cross over they would ask them to say “Shibbolet.” Yiftach knew that they spoke the same language but Ephraim had trouble saying the “sh” sound because of regional dialects. If their speech gave them away, they were seized and killed at the Jordan. We should not think that this technique is strange because we can do this very thing today by listening to the “shibbolets” of Torah. When someone talks about keeping the Torah we can learn something about them. Do they talk about how much they love bacon? Do they talk about how much they love Christmas, or working on the Sabbath? Do they say they are “free from the law.” Their speech will “give them away” as to whether they know the Lord or not (1 John 2.3-4).

In all, 42,000 Ephraimites were killed. This alludes to the last 42 months of the birth-pains when many will be slain for the same reason. This also alludes to something spiritual. When we “cross over” death (Jordan) what answer will we give to the question, “Is your testimony of Yeshua and do you keep the commandments” (Rev 12.17)? Yiftach judged Israel six years, and then he died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. Then Izban (“illustrious or splendid”) of Bethlehem (“house of bread”) judged Israel after him. He had 30 sons and thirty daughters, which was quite a contrast to Yiftach who only had one daughter. Ibzan judged Israel for seven years, which alludes to perfection and completion.

Now, Elon (“might”) the Zebulonite (“dwelling”) judged Israel for ten years. Ten speaks of God’s judgment and government. After him came Abdon (“servant, working one”) the son of Hillel (“praise”) and he judged Israel for eight years, which speaks of a new beginning. He had forty sons (“testing”) and thirty grandsons (“resurrection”) who rode around on colts. In Scripture, a “colt” speaks of the new birth, while a donkey speaks of the old nature. Riding a colt speaks of having control of the new nature.

Now we come to one of the most important judges of Israel in Scripture, the story of Shimshon Ben Manoach, or Samson the son of Manoach, which covers Judges 13.1 through 16.31. Samson means “sunshine” and Manoach means “rest.” We will see that Samson is a picture of the Messiah in his strengths, and mankind in his weaknesses So, lets begin in Judges 13.1-25.

The sad cycle of evil starts again in Israel and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines (“wallowers”-2 Pet 2.22-symbolic of apostasy) for forty (“testing”) years. This was probably a gradual slide through the years and that is what apostasy does in congregations today. There was a man who lived in Zorah (“she was smitten with leprosy” which alludes to Israel in sin) of the family of the Danites (“judge”) whose name was Manoach (“rest”). His wife was barren and had borne no children, and the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman. This story is very similar to Joseph and Miriam (Luke 1.31). This was no ordinary angel but this was the second person of the Godhead on a mission (Gen 22.11; Judges 2.1-5, 6.11-24). He tells her that she will conceive and bear a son (Gen 3.15).

Now, this son came with special instructions. She was not to eat anything that comes from the vine, drink wine or eat any unclean thing. Her son was to be lifelong Nazarite (Judges 13.5) and devoted to God. He was not to cut his hair, drink no wine or eat grape products and avoid having any contact with the dead (Num 6.1-21). Now, taking a Nazarite vow was not unusual but taking one from the womb was very rare. She came to her husband and told him the story. Not knowing he was the angel of the Lord, she calls him a “man of God.” Manoach will not realize it right away either (v 21). Their son would deliver Israel from the Philistines (v 4-5). So, Manoach asks for confirmation in Judges 13.8, and the angel comes again to his wife and she was in the field. This alludes to Israel in “the world” waiting for the coming of the Messiah, but Manoach was not with her so she ran to get Manoach. He asks the angel if he was the same man who had spoken to his wife, and he says “I am.

He asks the angel about the boy and his mode of life and vocation. Being a Nazarite from birth, he sensed that he would have a special calling. Then the angel went over all the special instructions. Manoach then wants the angel stay while he prepared a kid for him, showing his hospitality. But the angel said he would not eat with him, but if they prepared a Korban Minchah and a Korban Olah and offered it to Yehovah he would stay. Manoach didn’t know this was an angel either (v 16). Spiritually, unbelieving Israel can have no communion with God until Yeshua is accepted. Israel is also ignorant of the fact that Yeshua is the angel of the Lord, but will eventually have that revealed to them.

Then Manoach says, “What is your name?” Jacob did the same thing in Gen 32.29 The angel asks, “Why do you ask my name, seeing that it is hidden?” (meaning incomprehensible). This alludes to Exo 6.3; Rev 19.12; Isa 30.27; Isa 9.6; Rev 21.20; Psa 119.18, 129). So, Manoach took the kid with a grain offering and offered it on the rock to Yehovah, and he performed wonders while Manoach and his wife looked on (bringing fire out of the rock). Flames went up from the altar toward heaven and the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. When they saw this they fell on their faces. This alludes to Yeshua ascending to heaven in Acts 1.9 and being received in a cloud after he had been offered on the “rock” (Golgotha).

Manoach now realizes that that this was no “man of God” but an angel of the Lord and they have seen God, and he feared for their lives. But his wife, being less fearful, said if the Lord wanted to kill them he would not have made the promises he did and accepted their korban. Spiritually, this tells that if God wanted to harm us after showing us our sin we would have never been shown grace and mercy. Justice has been served and we can be assured that the Lord will not kill us and we also await his promises to us. Yeshua is our Korban Olah and Korban Minchah and he has been accepted and why he ascended to heaven in Acts 1.9-11.

So, his wife gave birth to a son and named his Shimshon meaning “sunshine” because of the shining countenance of the angel, and his job of leading Israel out of darkness. This alludes to the Messiah in Psa 19.4-5; Mal 4.2; Gen 32.31; Isa 30.26; Judges 5.31; Psa 84.11; Hab 3.4; Isa 59.19; Luke 1.78; Matt 17.1-2).

The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan (“camp of Dan”), between Zorah (“she was smitten with leprosy”) and Eshtaol (“petition”). This alludes to the fact that Yehovah will be sought out by those who are stirred by the Spirit and judge themselves and repent of leprosy (Zorah/zara’at).

We will pick up in Judges 14.1-20 in Part 12.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *