Deliverance from Discipline Despite Defection
God’s Discipline of Silence
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Judges 3 Handout
Remember, crying does not equal repentance (2:4; 3:9, 15). Israel had not repented of idolatry (3:19, 26). Despite continued idolatry, God provided a deliverer. These details are central to the passage:
Despite Israel’s spiritual defection, the LORD delivers Israel from discipline. This mixes the LORD’s compassion and condemnation. The Ehud story is meant to be humorous in light of horrible oppression.
3:7-11: Othniel vs. Cushan-rishathaim
This short story serves as an example of the cycle (Israel did evil, the LORD disciplines them, Israel cries, the LORD raises up a judge to deliver, ushers in rest) and highlights the literary progression throughout this major section (3:7-16:31). The stories progress both in literary space (lessmore) and morality (goodbad). This increases the reader‘s desire for and approval of the monarchy. Othniel battles Cushan (first name) rishathaim (Lit.: double wickedness) from Mesopotamia (Lit.: double rivers).
The LORD Raises up Nations to Conquer Nations Due to Sin (3:8).
“The world’s great civilizations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again into bondage.” ~Unknown (from 1770?). When nations fail to observe God’s law, He leads them to destruction (3:9, 10,11).
God Can Deliver from Discipline Despite Continued Defection (v.9).
No repentance, but God delivers. Notice God’s compassion and condemnation.
The Cycle of Ehud vs. Eglon and the Moabites (3:12-30)
The story unfolds through the presentation of a tribute (3:15, 18). Ehud is a lefty from Benjamin (Lit: son of my right hand). Ehud makes (so Israel is not advanced militarily) a dagger is 18 inches long. The reader gets a preview of future events in 3:17, (Eglon was a very fat man). Eglon foolishly dismisses all present when Ehud says he has a secret and divine “message” (3:19,20; Lit: thing) and slowly rises to his feet to receive the “thing.”
Ehud’s escaping and the servants delaying occurring simultaneously (compare 3:24, 25 with 3:26). Three “beholds”(3:24,25) help emphasize the servants confusion and amazement.
The servants wait to the point of Eglon’s shame to come out of the bathroom.
Focus on the Application:
Main application: Despite spiritual defection, God delivers His people from discipline. The land was undisturbed 80 years while Israel continued their idolatry. This is God’s discipline of silence. It is frightful for a supposed “Christian” to be relieved from discipline while still in his sins (cf. Heb. 12:5-6).