Judges 3, 4
1 Now these are the nations the Lord left so that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who did not experience firsthand any of the wars in Canaan 2 (only for the sake of the generations of Israel, to teach them warfare; only those who did not previously experience it): 3 the five provinces of the foreign nations, and every Canaanite, and the Sidonites, and the Hivites who dwelt in Lebanon, from Mount Hermon to Laboemath. 4 And it was so that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would hear the commandments of the Lord which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. 5 Thus the sons of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods.
7 In this way the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and the sacred groves. 8 Therefore the Lord was enraged with anger at Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Syria of the rivers; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim for eight years. 9 When the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a savior for Israel and saved them, that is, Othniel the son of Kenaz, the younger brother of Caleb. 10 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war against Cushan-Rishathaim, and the Lord delivered Cushan-Rishathaim king of Syria of the rivers into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Cushan-Rishathaim. 11 Then the land remained at peace for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
12 And the sons of Israel again did evil before the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 Then he gathered to himself all the sons of Ammon and Amalek, and went and struck Israel, and took possession of the City of Palms. 14 So the sons of Israel served Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.
15 But when the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a savior for them, that is, Ehud the son of Gera, the son of Benjamin, a man equally adept with both of his hands. By his hand, the sons of Israel sent gifts to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud made himself a double-edged dagger, a cubit in length, and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh. 17 So he went forth and brought the gifts to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a fat man. 18 When Ehud had finished presenting the gifts, he sent away the people who had carried the gifts. 19 But he himself turned back from the carved images near Gilgal, and Ehud said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And Eglon said to him, “Keep silence!” And he sent away all his attendants.
20 And Ehud went with him to the upper summer chamber, where he could sit by himself. Then Ehud said, “I have the word of God for you, O king.” So Eglon arose from his throne near him. 21 At the moment he arose, Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly, 22 driving it in so the handle went in after the blade, until the fat closed over the blade. He did not draw the dagger out of his belly. 23 And Ehud left the porch and passed by the guards stationed there, having shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them. 24 After he was gone, the king’s servants went in and noticed the doors of the upper room were locked. So they said, “He is probably relieving himself in the summer chamber.” 25 So they waited till they were embarrassed, and he had still not opened the doors of the upper room. They took the key and entered, and there was their master, fallen dead on the floor.
26 But Ehud had escaped while they were in confusion, and thus no one paid any attention to him. So he passed beyond the carved images and escaped to Seirah. 27 And when Ehud came into the land of Israel, he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the sons of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and he stood before them. 28 And he said to them, “Come down after me, for the Lord God has delivered our enemies the Moabites into our hand.” So they followed him and seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over. 29 At that time they struck about ten thousand men of Moab, all men of strength; not a man escaped. 30 So Moab was put to shame that day under the hand of Israel. Indeed, the land remained at peace for eighty years. And Ehud judged them until he died.
31 After him, Shamgar the son of Dinach rose up, and he struck six hundred men of the Philistines with the ploughshare of the oxen. He too delivered Israel.
Deborah and Barak
1 The sons of Israel continued to do evil before the Lord, and Ehud was dead, 2 so the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. 3 And the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred iron chariots with him, and for twenty years he oppressed Israel with his power.
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judge of Israel at that time. 5 And Deborah would sit under the palm tree between Ramah and Bethel on Mount Ephraim. And the sons of Israel came up to her for justice. 6 Then Deborah sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go to Mount Tabor and take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun. 7 and I will bring to you, at the brook of Kishon, the captain of the army of Jabin, with his chariots and his multitude, and I will deliver them into your hands’?” 8 And Barak said to her, “If you go with me, then I will go; but if you do not go with me, I will remain here, for I am unable to discern the day when the Angel of the Lord will help me.” 9 She said, “Certainly I will go with you; but know this: there will be no honor gained by you on the journey you are undertaking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.”
Then Deborah arose and went with Barak from Kedesh. 10 Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali from Kedesh, and went from there with ten thousand men following him. Deborah went up with him. 11 Now Heber the Kenite, of the sons of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses, moved away from the Kenites and pitched his tent upon arriving at the oak tree of coveting, which is near Kedesh. 12 And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 So Sisera called all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles to the brook of Kishon.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Rise up. For this is the day the Lord will deliver Sisera into your hand, because the Lord has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots behind the camp as far as Harosheth of the Gentiles, and the whole camp of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.
17 But Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, his friend; for there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear.” And when he had turned aside with her, entering into the tent, she covered him with a blanket. 19 Then Sisera said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him. 20 And Sisera said to her, “Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes to you and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there a man here?’ you shall say, ‘There is not.’ ”
21 Then Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and a hammer in her hand, and went quietly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground. He was asleep, lost consciousness, and died. 22 And then as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, I will show you the man whom you seek.” And when he went in with her, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple. 23 So on that day God routed Jabin king of Canaan before the sons of Israel. 24 And the hand of the sons of Israel proceeded and hardened against Jabin king of Canaan, until they had utterly destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
15 If I should speak, I would describe it thus:
Behold, I am breaking covenant with the generation of your children.
16 And I sought to understand this;
It was difficult in my sight,
17 Until I came into God’s holy place
And understood their end.
18 Surely, for their deceits You appointed deceits for them;
You cast them down in their exaltation.
19 Oh, how they came into desolation suddenly!
They ceased to be; they perished in their lawlessness.
20 Like a dream to one who is awakened,
So, O Lord, You shall despise their image in Your city.
21 For my heart was kindled,
And my reins were changed,
22 And I was despised, and did not know;
I became like a beast before You.
23 And I am continually with You;
You hold fast my right hand;
24 With Your counsel You guide me,
And with glory You take hold of me.
25 For what is there in heaven for me but You,
And what do I desire on earth besides You?
26 My heart and my flesh fail,
O God of my heart; and God is my portion forever.
27 For behold, those who keep themselves far away from You shall perish;
You destroy away from You all who act unfaithfully.
28 But as for me, it is good to cling to God,
To put my hope in the Lord,
That I may proclaim all Your praises
In the gates of the daughter of Zion.
6 In abundant righteousness there is much strength,
But the ungodly shall utterly perish from the earth.
7 In the houses of the righteous there is much strength,
But the fruits of the ungodly shall perish.
8 The lips of the wise are bound by perception,
But the hearts of those without discernment are not safe.
9 The sacrifices of the ungodly are an abomination to the Lord,
But the prayers of the upright are acceptable with Him.
10 The ways of the ungodly are an abomination to the Lord,
But He loves those who pursue righteousness.
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,
28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against
35 “(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer
36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity;
37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
The Family Returns to Nazareth
39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
The Boy Jesus Amazes the Scholars
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.
42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.
43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;
44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.
45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.
46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Jesus Advances in Wisdom and Favor
51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
One Reply to “Day 84 – Judges 3, 4; Psalm 72:15–28; Proverbs 15:6–10; Luke 2:25–52”
Father: Thank you for illuminating how time and salvation work together in God’s plan for salvation. My default impulses are to desire quick fixes (or at least solutions that I can see) and ease (or at least suffering on my terms). At Vespers last evening, a young woman who appeared to have autism (like my younger son), approached me (while I was lighting a candle in front of the icon of the Theotokos), told me that she had read the story of the Annunciation before coming to church, smiled broadly and walked away. Her joyous faith, and your words, have much to teach me.