For the first time in Russian!
The Book of Judges with commentary RaSHI and MaLbIM
Judges covers the period after the death of Yebshua and elders, who came to replace the generation who did not know the Lord, and then act, deed that he Yisrael [2, 10]. This period extends to anointing of Saul, first king. The rulers of the people, judges, were carriers of power in the political, military, legal and spiritual. From the autocratic monarch Judge postpones only legislative function, because the only legislator for the people of Yisrael was Gd who wrote the will of his people through prophets.
The rulers, which tells Judges are distinguished by the fact that they have a variety of circumstances driven by a sense of the Lord God, and they elected to perform some special mission. Sometimes it is preceded by the birth of the future election of judges, as in the case of Shimshon and Shmuel, and sometimes elect becomes the established people like Gid'on or Iftah. Whatever it was, the judge assigned to people, but gets its dedication to God, like the first rulers of the people, Moses and Yebshua. On this basis, we understand that Abimelech, the son of Gid'ona, crime had taken possession of power, the judge in fact did not.
The election of judges, like the election of a prophet is not always life. The judges ruled not by the end of his days, and until the completion of the mission entrusted to them, time limits or territorial. With the exception of the prophet Shmuel none of the judges did not rule the people on earth Yisrael.
As a judge was not hereditary, and was not a priority right knee or the community. Judges are sharply distinguished by their origin, position in society and its spiritual level. For example, Deborah was a prophetess, Nazarite Samson, Eli the high priest and the prophet Shmuel Levite. The other judges are far from perfect, as if nothing were no signs of a possible election. Gid'on was a simple farmer, and Iftah, the son of a concubine, commanded a detachment of "empty of people." However, common to all was their mission. God chose a man capable to fulfill the mission of saving a particular generation in specific circumstances, but not flawless legendary hero. His high dignity of the judge took on for the sake of the mission entrusted to them, and themselves have experienced the ups and downs, depending on the spiritual level of people, from its ups and downs.
So, in many respects similar to the prophets of later times, the judges differed from them that were endowed with all the powers of government over time. With the establishment of the kingdom there will distinguish political and spiritual spheres, will be ruled by kings and prophets proclaim the Lord's will, at times coming into conflict with the kings, and subjected to persecution. However, during the period of the judges a man connected to a judge, governor and military leader, driven by the prophetic spirit of the Lord in the performance of their mission in public or spiritual.
As we have said, during the period of the judges changed Yebshua and elders, differing greatly from it. "And they served the people, Lord (of) all the days Yebshua and (in) all the days of the elders ... and got another generation after them, (they) did not know the Lord, and also that the act that the deed he Yisrael. And the sons of Yisrael did evil in the eyes of the Lord ... " [2, 7-11]. Yebshua headed people, who won the joint efforts of the promised land of the forefathers. Later the situation changed. People faced with the harsh and contradictory reality in the land Canaan. Rather, the reality was different in different parts of the earth. Each tribe had its own special problems and risks, and each had to find a way out of this situation. This is increasingly leading to fragmentation. For example, Yarden, as it were naturally became the boundary between the majority of the children of Yisrael, and among the tribes of Gad, Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh. They fought with other people, lived in the neighborhood with other tribes, trying to imagine their impact. It is no accident, the victim Iftaha [11, 34-39] reminds the king of Moab prey [II Book. Of Kings 3, 27].
Thus, the desire to adapt to new conditions of life in the unity of the people have tried Yisrael. Each tribe has lived in his inheritance, and defended himself. Somebody won, somebody failed. Some assimilated customs knaaneev (for example, Abimelech and the inhabitants of Shechem, or the inhabitants of Giv'at-Bin'yamin), others have shown resistance. One followed the paths of Ammon and Moab (eg Iftah), another faithful to the heritage of the fathers (such as Deborah or Gid'on). At the same time was great disunity: it was not easy to convince one of the tribes of Yisrael to join the battle, which did not concern him personally, but endanger the lives and property, mined hard work. If in the days Yebshua joint efforts carried out an offensive in the period of the judges was necessary to protect the gains and reflect the threat of military and spiritual.
The first part of the Book of Judges [1.1 2.5] that the majority of the tribes have neglected the commandment of the conquest of the land Yisrael, an alliance with the remnants of knaaneev, turning some of them tributaries, but not expelled them from their land. Although the book is also listed Yebshua knaaneyskie enclave among the children of Yisrael, connected with this important difference: now knaaneev forsaketh not, not because they could not (as it was when Joshua), but because he did not aspire to it. Neglecting the implementation of the commandments, not paying attention and the associated warning: "... and renounce the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you this land to own it ... And if you do not renounce inhabiting the land on behalf of, the will be: who will leave are to be needles in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and the crowd will be on your land which you inhabit, "[In the desert, 33, 53-55]. The oblivion of the truth led to the tragedy, which ends with a description of the first part of the Book [2, 1-5].
The second part of the Book [2, 6, 16, 31] covers the period from the end of days Yebshua to death Shimshon. This part is a continuation of the first and has its own timeframes. We have before us a series of historical events, united by a common idea: for what they did evil in the eyes of the Lord, ye sons of Yisrael became the servants of the enemy before the messenger of God, the judge, who was carrying relief. "The evil in the eyes of the Lord" a second serious offense of this period: Idolatry [2, 11-12].
The third part contains the story of the Book of Micah's idol, showing a pagan way of "serving" the Lord, and related life and customs. The second story of the concubine in the Giv'e, tells the story of a wild outburst of passion, which the children Bin'yamina learned from their neighbors, the pagans, and the fratricidal war caused them to act.
Both the story of how the children of Yisrael were losing their distinctive features as the people elected are, according to the classical commentators and modern scholars, to the beginning of the period of the judges. However, because of their importance they placed on the end of the book, thus pointing to the lowest point of incidence of the people in his likening the pagan environment.
Judges have repeatedly stressed that the fate of the people of Yisrael is not a chain of coincidences. It is determined by the providence of the Lord. In the history of Yisrael main act did not cause and effect in relations between nations, rulers and nations, but especially the relationship between people and Gd. The story of the enslavement and the woes of the people of the Book of Judges often preceded by a reminder of "the children of Yisrael, and did evil in the eyes of the Lord" or "children of Yisrael, and continued to do evil in the eyes of the Lord." On the other hand, getting consistently associated with treatment of the children of Yisrael to the Lord and through His messenger, a judge.
According to the Book of Judges, enslavers and oppressors Yisrael were not messengers of God. When the children of Yisrael have done evil in the eyes of the Lord, as if they violate their affiliation, and subjection to Him. Gd hides His face from them, and they fall into the hands of enemies, who are guided in this by personal considerations and interests. Typically, the objectives pursued by enemies, not specified, but the true cause of war and disaster called crime in the eyes of the Lord. Only in one case indicated the historical and political reason for the war: what prompted the king of the children of Ammon to go to war against the people of Yisrael. It is true that sin is called Yisrael cause distress and remorse cause of salvation. Of course, other oppressors and the oppressors were their ideas and goals. However, in all other cases, the conquest of the land for the children of Yisrael was the fulfillment of the commandments, and, conversely, the failure of the conquest was a sin. It was necessary only to refute sound seemed to claim the king of the children of Ammon: the heritage of the children of Lot, ie Ammon and Moab, given to them by the Lord, can not belong to the children of Yisrael. So the answer Iftaha reads: "Do not take the land of Moab, and Yisrael land of the children of Ammon" [11, 15], it was conquered from Emory, but not the children of Lot.
Judges can be seen as prophetic book exposures. If the basic principle of the Book was obvious to his contemporaries, if they understood that the trouble caused by the crime and redemption comes through repentance, the error would not occur with such an annoying periolichnostyu, and did not have to be so hard to go back to the same. For each generation at the time of their own troubles with the imaginary and the surface causes a variety of clouds and hid the true cause.
The central theme of the book is the doctrine of the providence of the Lord, the direct relationship between crime and punishment. Often, the outside service of Gd, who took an ugly sometimes pagan form, overshadowed the main thing: the children of Yisrael did not follow the way of the Lord as their fathers kept. Not surprisingly, supporters of the external rites have been deaf to the prophetic teachings. Seeing as the drought nomadic tribes attacking ground Yisrael, they wondered what caused the drought. Seeing as newcomers from overseas countries invaded and forced them to retreat, they did not think about the cause of the event and did not try to understand the will of God, Who gives people inheritance. From time to time appeared the judge was collecting volunteers, and they are risking their lives, were opposed to trained and heavily armed troops and miraculously scored a victory. But what is the cause of disaster? According to the prophets, the reason is the distance from the Lord, in mixing with the neighboring pagans with all the ensuing consequences. According to the so-called realists, the reason for the lack of strong leadership in the division, in the absence of regular troops. The arguments of the past are solid. However, the prophets saw in all this just a reflection or embodiment of the true causes.
In search of an answer to the question, what is the path to salvation and peace, formed two camps. The prophets pointed to a return to the Lord and fulfilling His commandments, and the people demanded: "Just to be king over us". The dispute ended when the last judge, the prophet Shmuel, was born in the early period of the judges, when Gid'onu proposed to establish a dynasty, and he strongly rejected the proposal, stating: "The Lord will rule over you" [8, 23]. Later, in his parable of Jotham ridiculed unreasonable monarchists, ready to worship useless spiny plants, as long as it was called the king.
Both sides in the dispute were firm in their convictions. Some demanded the kingdom, while others return to the Lord. At the same time the supporters of a political solution have not seen the relationship between the spiritual and moral sphere of reality and real-life problems, with its wars and troubles, and the prophets, while not opposed to the royal government, were opposed to what people put in a request to establish an autocracy. Later, when the people will achieve the desired and will last the king, in his farewell speech the prophet Shmuel emphasize that from the standpoint of prophetic truth, nothing has changed: "Only be afraid of the Lord and serve him in truth with all your heart ... If you will do evil, (a) you and your king will disappear "[I Kn. Shmuel 12, 24-25]. In other words, troubles that fell upon you when you were doing evil in the eyes of the Lord come upon you, and now, and the king will not save either you or myself. King is also obliged to follow the ways of the LORD, and still leads the way to salvation through a return to the Lord through the restoration of the lost closeness to Him.
This is, incidentally, is the meaning of the answer Gid'ona judge: "I'm not going to rule you, and my son will rule you. Lord will rule over you" [8, 23]. That is, because I saved you from disaster, you have decided that putting the king of me and my son, you will provide a safety. In fact, the salvation of the Lord sent down, and the main thing here is not in the status of the ruler and his government, and to correct the behavior. It should be remembered that Gid'on and Shmuel were not opposed to the kingdom as such, but against those unrealistic expectations, which tied him against that, like other peoples of the monarchy, see the pledge of salvation, and support.
The period of the judges is the beginning of the trials and tribulations in the land of Yisrael, contrary to expectations, the conquerors of the Promised Land. In such circumstances, the bitterness is understandable question: "But if God is with us, why we come upon it all, and where all his (acts) wonderful .. And now we leave the Lord ..." [6, 13]. Both the questions and answers were generated reality. The events themselves say: "And the children of Yisrael did evil in the eyes of the Lord ... And He gave them into the hands of their enemies around ... And the children of Yisrael cried to the Lord ... And he gave them a deliverer ..."
The prophets gazing into history in search of meaning and the Lord's providence in the course of events. For this, they present in their book is what provides a lesson for future generations. For this purpose, according to legend, the prophet wrote the Book of Shmuel Judges.