Matthew Henry's Commentary
Judges
Judges Introduction:
The book of Judges is the history of Israel during the government of the Judges, who were occasional deliverers, raised up by God to rescue Israel from their oppressors, to reform the state of religion, and to administer justice to the people. The state of God's people does not appear in this book so prosperous, nor their character so religious, as might have been expected; but there were many believers among them, and the tabernacle service was attended to. The history exemplifies the frequent warnings and predictions of Moses, and should have close attention. The whole is full of important instruction.

Chapter 1 Introduction:
Proceedings of the tribes of Judah and Simeon. (1-8) Hebron and other cities taken. (9-20) The proceedings of other tribes. (21-36)

Chapter 2 Introduction:
The angel of the Lord rebukes the people. (1-5) The wickedness of the new generation after Joshua. (6-23)

Chapter 3 Introduction:
The nations left to prove Israel. (1-7) Othniel delivers Israel. (8-11) Ehud delivers Israel from Eglon. (12-30) Shamgar delivers and judges Israel. (31)

Chapter 4 Introduction:
Israel again revolts, and is oppressed by Jabin. (1-3) Deborah concerts their deliverance with Barak. (4-9) Sisera defeated. (10-16) Sisera put to death by Jael. (17-24)

Chapter 5 Introduction:
Praise and glory ascribed to God. (1-5) The distress and deliverance of Israel. (6-11) Some commended, others censured. (12-23) Sisera's mother disappointed. (24-31)

Chapter 6 Introduction:
Israel oppressed by Midianites. (1-6) Israel rebuked by a prophet. (7-10) Gideon set to deliver Israel. (11-24) Gideon destroys Baal's altar. (25-32) Signs given him. (33-40)

Chapter 7 Introduction:
Gideon's army reduced. (1-8) Gideon is encouraged. (9-15) The defeat of the Midianites. (16-22) The Ephraimites take Oreb and Zeeb. (23-25)

Chapter 8 Introduction:
Gideon pacifies the Ephraimites. (1-3) Succoth and Penuel refuse to relieve Gideon. (4-12) Succoth and Penuel punished. (13-17) Gideon avenges his brethren. (18-21) Gideon declines the government, but given occasion for idolatry. (22-28) Gideon's death, Israel's ingratitude. (29-35)

Chapter 9 Introduction:
Abimelech murders his brethren, and is made king. (1-6) Jotham rebukes the Shechemites. (7-21) The Shechemites conspire against Abimelech. (22-29) Abimelech destroys Shechem. (30-49) Abimelech slain. (50-57)

Chapter 10 Introduction:
Tola and Jair judge Israel. (1-5) The Philistines and Ammonites oppress Israel. (6-9) Israel's repentance. (10-18)

Chapter 11 Introduction:
Jephtah and the Gileadites. (1-11) He attempts to make peace. (12-28) Jephthah's vow. He vanquishes the Ammonites. (29-40)

Chapter 12 Introduction:
Ephraimites quarrel with Jephthah. (1-7) Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon judge Israel. (8-15)

Chapter 13 Introduction:
The Philistines, Samson announced. (1-7) The angel appears to Manoah. (8-14) Manoah's sacrifice. (15-23) Birth of Samson. (24,25)

Chapter 14 Introduction:
Samson desires a wife of the Philistines. (1-4) Samson kills a lion. (5-9) Samson's riddle. (10-20)

Chapter 15 Introduction:
Samson is denied his wife, He smites the Philistines. (1-8) Samson kills a thousand of the Philistines with a jaw-bone. (9-17) His distress from thirst. (18-20)

Chapter 16 Introduction:
Samson's escape from Gaza. (1-3) Samson enticed to declare his strength lay. (4-17) The Philistines take Samson, and put out his eyes. (18-21) Samson's strength is renewed. (22-24) He destroys many of the Philistines. (25-31)

Chapter 17 Introduction:
The beginning of idolatry in Israel, Micah and his mother. (1-6) Micah hires a Levite to be his priest. (7-13)

Chapter 18 Introduction:
The Danites seek to enlarge their inheritance, and rob Micah. - The Danites determined to take Micah's gods with them. Oh the folly of these Danites! How could they imagine those gods should protect them, that could not keep themselves from being stolen! To take them for their own use, was a double crime; it showed they neither feared God, nor regarded man, but were lost both to godliness and honesty. What a folly was it for Micah to call those his gods, which he had made, when He only is to be worshipped by us as God, that made us! That is put in God's place, which we are concerned about, as if our all were bound up in it. If people will walk in the name of their false gods, much more should we love and serve the true God!

Chapter 19 Introduction:
The wickedness of the men of Gibeah. - The three remaining chapters of this book contain a very sad history of the wickedness of the men of Gibeah, in Benjamin. The righteous Lord permits sinners to execute just vengeance on one another, and if the scene here described is horrible, what will the discoveries of the day of judgment be! Let each of us consider how to escape from the wrath to come, how to mortify the sins of our own hearts, to resist Satan's temptations, and to avoid the pollutions there are in the world.

Chapter 20 Introduction:
The tribe of Benjamin nearly extirpated. - The Israelites' abhorrence of the crime committed at Gibeah, and their resolution to punish the criminals, were right; but they formed their resolves with too much haste and self-confidence. The eternal ruin of souls will be worse, and more fearful, than these desolations of a tribe.

Chapter 21 Introduction:
The Israelites lament for the Benjamites. - Israel lamented for the Benjamites, and were perplexed by the oath they had taken, not to give their daughters to them in marriage. Men are more zealous to support their own authority than that of God. They would have acted better if they had repented of their rash oaths, brought sin-offerings, and sought forgiveness in the appointed way, rather than attempt to avoid the guilt of perjury by actions quite as wrong. That men can advise others to acts of treachery or violence, out of a sense of duty, forms a strong proof of the blindness of the human mind when left to itself, and of the fatal effects of a conscience under ignorance and error.



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