Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures – Judges (Vol. 1)》



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TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

1 Judges 2:17.—Dr. Cassel has denn, “for.” “But” is better. On כִּי after a negative, cf. Ges. Gr. p272, at top.—Tr.]

2 Judges 2:17.—That Isaiah, as often as a Judge had succeeded in bringing them back to the way of their fathers, they quickly left it again. So Bachmann.—Tr.]

3 Judges 2:17.—לִשְׁמֹע: “in that they obeyed.” On this less regular, but by no means rare (cf. Judges 2:19, Psalm 78:18; 1 Samuel 20:20; etc.) use of the infin. with לְ, cf. Ew280 d.—Tr.]

4 Judges 2:18.—דָּחַק, only here and in Joel 2:8. If the clause were rendered: “before those that crowded (לָחַץ, cf. on Judges 1:34) and pressed upon them,” its metaphorical character would be preserved as nearly as possible.—Tr.]

5 Judges 2:19.—The E. V. is correct as to sense; but the Hebrew phrase, filled out, would be, “they corrupted their way,” cf. Genesis 6:12.—Tr.]

6 Judges 2:19.—לֹא הִפִּילוּ מִן: lit. “they caused not (sc. their conduct, course of action) to fall away from their (evil) deeds.”—Tr.]

7 Judges 2:12.—לְמַעַן נַסּוֹת. Grammatically this infin. of design may be connected either with לא֗ אוֹסיף, Judges 2:21, וַיּא֗מֵר, Judges 2:20, or עָזַב The first construction (adopted by E. V.) is inadmissible, because, 1. It supposes that Jehovah himself continues to speak in Judges 2:22, in which case we should expect אֶת־דַּרְכִּי, first per, rather than אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ יְהוָֹה. 2. It supposes that the purpose to prove Israel is now first formed, whereas it is clear from Judges 3:1; Judges 3:4, that it was already operative in the time of Joshua. This objection is also fatal to the construction with וַיֹּאמֶר, adopted by Keil. (That Dr. Cassel adopts one of these two appears from the fact that he reads: “whether they will (instead of would, see farther on) keep the way of Jehovah,” but which of the two is not clear.) It remains, therefore, to connect with צָוַב, against which there is no objection, either grammatical or logical. “For in such loosely added infinitives of design, in which the subject is not definitely determined, the person of the infin. goes back to the preceding principal word only when no other relation is more obvious, see Ew337 b (cf. Exodus 9:16). But that here, as in the perfectly analogous parallel passage, Judges 3:4, the design expressed by the infin. is not Joshua’s nor that of the nations, but Jehovah’s, is self-evident, and is besides expressly declared in Judges 2:23 and Judges 3:1. So rightly LXX. It. Pesh. Ar. Aug. (ques17), Ser. Stud. and many others” (Bachmann). The connection from Judges 2:21 onward is therefore as follows: In Judges 2:21 Jehovah is represented (cf. foot-note 3 on p62) as saying, “I will not go on to drive out the nations which Joshua left when he died.” To this the author of the Book himself adds the purpose for which they were left, namely, to prove Israel, whether they would (not, will) keep the way (אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ) of Jehovah to walk therein (כָּם, plur. “in them,” constr. ad sensum, the way of Jehovah consisting of the מִצוֹת יְהוָֹה, Deuteronomy 8:2.—Keil), as their fathers kept it, or not. “And Song of Solomon,” he continues, i.e. in consequence of this purpose, “Jehovah (not merely Joshua) left these nations (חָאֵלֶה, these, pointing forward to Judges 3:1 ff, where they are enumerated,) at rest, in order that they should not speedily (for that would have been inconsistent with the design of proving Israel by them, but yet ultimately) be driven out, and did not give them into the hand of Joshua.” But the “not speedily” of Joshua’s time had by Israel’s faithless apostasy been changed into “never.”—Tr.]



EXEGETICAL AND DOCTRINAL

The first two chapters indicate, by way of introduction, the laws of historical cause and effect whose operation explains the occurrences about to be related in the succeeding pages. They are designed to give information concerning that most important of all subjects in Israel,—the relation of the will of God to his chosen people. Since prosperity and calamity were both referred to God, it was necessary to explain the moral grounds of the same in the favor or wrath of God. It was most important, in view of the peculiar histories which were to be narrated, that the doubts which might be raised against the doctrine of God’s all-powerful and world-controlling direction, should be obviated. The connection between the national fortunes, as about to be related, and the declarations of the Mosaic law, was to be pointed out. The reader was to be informed why the purposes of God concerning the glory of Israel in Canaan, as unfolded to Moses, had been so imperfectly fulfilled. In Judges 1 a historical survey of the conquests of the tribes had been given, in order in connection therewith, to state how little heed had been given to the behest of the law to expel the nations. In that disobedience the germ of all subsequent misfortunes was contained. For by mingling with the heathen nations, the chosen people fell into sin. With Israel to fall from God was actually to fall back into bondage. In their distress and anguish, God ( Judges 2:15; Judges 2:18) mercifully heard their crying, as he had heard it in Egypt ( Exodus 2:24; Exodus 6:5). Now, as then, He raised them up heroes, who through his might smote the enemy, and delivered the people from both internal and external bondage ( Judges 2:16). This, however, did not remove the evil in its germ. Since the judgeship was not hereditary, the death of each individual Judge brought back the same state of things which followed the departure of Joshua and his contemporaries. The nation continually fell back into its old sin ( Judges 2:18-19). The history of events under the Judges, is the history of ever recurring exhibitions of divine compassion and human weakness. Hence, the great question in Israel must be one inquiring into the cause of these relations. If, the people might say, present relations owed their existence to the temptations occasioned by the remaining Canaanites, he on whom the first blame for not expelling them must fall, would be none other than Joshua! Why did not that hero of God drive them all out of the land? Why did he not secure the whole land, in all its extended boundaries, for a possession to Israel? If only sea and desert had bounded their territories, Israel would have had no temptation to meddle with the superstitions of neighbors. Left to themselves, they would have thought of nothing else than to serve their God. To this Judges 2:21 ff. reply: God is certainly the Helper and Guide of Israel, its Libera and Conqueror; but not to serve the sinfulness and sloth of Israel. The Spirit of God is with Israel, when the freewill of Israel chooses obedience to God. But the freedom of this choice demonstrates itself only under temptation. Abraham became Father of the Faithful because, though tempted ( Genesis 22:1), he nevertheless stood firm. Fidelity and faith approve themselves only in resistance to seductive influences. God in his omnipotence might no doubt remove every temptation from the path of believers; but He would not thereby bestow a boon on man. The opportunity for sinning would indeed be rendered difficult; but the evidence of victorious conflict with sin would be made impossible. Had God suffered Joshua to remove out of the way all nations who might tempt Israel, the people's inward sinful inclinations would have been no less, it would have cherished no greater love for God its benefactor, it would have forgotten that He was its liberator ( Judges 2:10); and the faith, the fidelity, the enthusiasm, which come to light amid the assaults of temptation, would have had no opportunity to win the approval of God or to secure the impartation of his strength. Unfaithfulness, to be sure, must suffer for its sins; but faithfulness is the mother of heroes. The Book of Judges tells of the trials by which God suffered Israel to be tried through the Canaanites, of the punishments which they endured whenever they failed to stand the tests,—but also of the heroes whom God raised up because they preserved some faith in Him. The closing verses do not therefore contradict the opening of the chapter. The pious elders weep when from the words of the “messenger from Gilgal” they perceive the temptation. The unfaithful younger generation must suffer the penalty because they yielded to the seduction. Joshua would doubtless have expelled all the nations; but God did not permit it. He died; but in his place God raised up other heroes, who liberated Israel when, in distress, it breathed penitential sighs. Such, in outline, are the author’s thoughts as to the causes which underlie his history. He uses them to introduce his narrative, and in the various catastrophes of the history constantly refers to them.

Judges 2:16-19. And Jehovah raised them up Judges, שֹׁכִּטים, Shophetim. This word occurs here for the first time in the special sense which it has in this period of Israelitish history, and which it does not appear to have had previously. שָׁפַט is to Judges, to decide and to proceed according to the decision, in disputes between fellow-country-men and citizens. Originally, Moses, deeming it his duty to exercise all judicial functions himself, was the only judge in Israel ( Exodus 18:16). But when this proved impracticable, he committed the lesser causes to trustworthy men from among the people, just as at the outset the Spartan ephors had authority only in unimportant matters. These he charged ( Exodus 18:21; Deuteronomy 1:16) to “judge righteously between every man and his brother.” For the future, he enjoins the appointment of judges in every city ( Deuteronomy 16:18). Their jurisdiction extends to cases of life and death, to matters of idolatry as all other causes ( Deuteronomy 17:1-12; Deuteronomy 25:2); and although the words are “thou shalt make thee Judges,” the judges are nevertheless clothed with such authority as renders their decisions completely and finally valid. Whoever resists them, must die ( Deuteronomy 17:12). The emblem of this authority, in Israel as elsewhere, was the staff or rod, as we see it carried by Moses. The root שָׁפַט is therefore to be connected with שֵׁבֶמ, staff, σκῆπτρον, scipio. שֹׁפֵט is a staff-man, a judge. In the Homeric poems, when the elders are to sit in judgment, the heralds reach them their staves (Il. xviii506); “but now (says Achilles, Il. i237), the judges carry in their hands the staff.”[FN37] Judicial authority is the chief attribute of the royal dignity. Hence, God, the highest king, is also “the Judge of all the earth” ( Genesis 18:25). He judges concerning right and wrong, and makes his awards accordingly. When law and sin had ceased to be distinguished in Israel, compassion induced Him to appoint judges again. If these are gifted with heroic qualities, to vanquish the oppressors of Israel, it is nevertheless not this heroism that forms their principal characteristic. That consists in “judging.” They restore, as was foreseen, Deuteronomy 17:7; Deuteronomy 17:12, the authority of law. They enforce the penalties of law against the sin of disobedience towards God. It is the spirit of this law living in them, that makes them strong. The normal condition of Israel is not one of victory simply; it is a condition in which חֹק וּמִשְׁפָּט law and right,[FN38] are kept. For this reason, God raises up Shophetim, Judges, not princes (nesiim, sarim). The title sets forth both their work and the occasion of their appointment. Israel is free and powerful when its law is observed throughout the land.[FN39] Henceforth, (as appears from Deuteronomy 17:14,) except shophetim, only kings, melakim, can rule in Israel. The difference between them lies chiefly in the hereditariness of the royal office—a difference, it is true, of great significance in Israel, and closely related to the national destiny. The Judge has only a personal commission. His work is to Revelation -inspire Israel with divine enthusiasm, and thus to make it victorious. He restores things to the condition in which they were on the death of Joshua. No successor were necessary, if without a Judges, the nation itself maintained the law, and resisted temptation. Israel has enough in its divinely-given law. Rallying about this and the priesthood, it could be free; for God is its King. But it is weak. The Judge is scarcely dead, before the authority of law is shaken. Unity is lost, and the enemy takes advantage of the masterless disorder. Therefore, Judges, raised up by God, and girded with fresh strength, succeed each other,—vigorous rulers, full of personal energy, but called to exercise judgment only in the Spirit of God. It has been customary, in speaking of the Punic suffetes, to compare them with the Israelitish shophetim. And it is really more correct to regard the suffetes as consules than as kings. Among the Phœnicians also the idea of king included that of hereditariness.[FN40] The suffetes were an elected magistracy, whose name, like that of the Judges, was doubtless derived from the fact that they also constituted the highest judicial authority. They sat in judgment (ad jus dicendum) when the designs of Aristo came to light (Livy, xxxiv61). It Isaiah, in general, by no means uncommon for the magistracy of a city (summus magistratus), as in the Spanish Gades (Livy, xxviii37), to be styled Judges, i.e. suffetes. As late as the Middle Ages, the title of Spanish magistrates was judices. The highest officer of Sardinia was termed judex.[FN41] The Israelitish Judges differ from the suffetes, not so much by the nature of their official activity, as by the source, purpose, and extent of their power. In Israel also common shophetim existed everywhere; but the persons whom God selected as deliverers were in a peculiar sense men of divine law and order. They were not regular but extraordinary authorities. Hence, they were not, like the suffetes, chosen by the people. God himself appointed them. The spirit of the national faith placed them at the head of the people.

Judges 2:20, etc.[FN42]I will not go on to drive out a man of the nations which Joshua left when he died. The purport of this important sentence, which connects chapters1,3historically and geographically, is as follows: The whole land, from the wilderness of Edom to Mount Casius and the “road to Hamath,” and from Jordan to the sea, was intended for Israel. But it had not been given to Joshua to clear this whole territory. A group of nations, enumerated Judges 3:3, had remained in their seats. Nor did the individual tribes, when they took possession of their allotments, make progress against them (cf. Judges 1:19; Judges 1:34). Especially does this explain what is said above, Judges 1:31, of the tribe of Asher. Israel, therefore, was still surrounded by a circle of heathen nations, living within its promised borders, to say nothing of those who with their idolatry were tolerated in the territory actually subjugated (cf. Judges 1:21; Judges 1:27; Judges 1:30). These were the nations by whom temptations and conflicts were prepared for Israel, and against whom, led by divinely-inspired heroes, it rose in warlike and successful resistance With their enumeration, briefly made in Judges 3:1-5, the author closes his introduction to the narration of subsequent events. The historical and moral background on which these arise, is now clear. Not only the scene and the combatants, but also the causes of conflict and victory have been indicated.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The judgments of God are indescribable—his compassion is indefatigable. Whatever God had promised in the law, must come to pass, be it prosperity or distress. Apostasy is followed by ruin; the loss of character by that of courage. Heroes become cowards; conquerors take to flight. Shame and scorn came upon the name of Israel. The nation could no longer protect its cities, nor individuals their homes. In distress, the people returned to the altars which in presumptuous pride they had left. Old Israel wept when it heard the preaching of repentance; new Israel weeps only when it feels the sword of the enemy. And God's compassion is untiring. He gave them deliverers, choosing them from among Israel’s Judges, making them strong for victory and salvation. But in his mercy He chastened them. For Israel must be trained and educated by means of judgment and mercy. The time to save them by a king had not yet come. Judah had formerly led the van; but neither was the education of this tribe completed. Judges arose in Israel; but their office was not hereditary. When the Judge died a condition of national affairs ensued like that which followed the death of Joshua: the old remained faithful, the young apostatized. The Judges for the most part exercised authority in single tribes. The heathen were not expelled from the borders assigned to Israel; Israel must submit to ever-renewed trials; and when it failed to stand, then came the judgment. But in this discipline, compassion constantly manifested itself anew. The word of God continued to manifest its power. It quietly reared up heroes and champions. The contents of these verses form the substance of the whole Book. Israel must contend,—1, with sin, and2, with enemies; it experiences.—1, the discipline of judgment, and2, the discipline of compassion; but in contest and in discipline that which approves itself Isaiah,—1, the victory of repentance, and2, the obedience of faith.

Thus the contents of the Book of Judges afford a look into the history of Christian nations. They have found by experience what even in a modern novel the author almost involuntarily puts into the mouth of one of his characters (B. Abeken, Greifensee, i43): “Truly, when once the granite rock on which the church is reared has crumbled away, all other foundations crumble after it, and nothing remains but a nation of cowards and voluptuaries.” A glance into the spiritual life shows the same process of chastisement and compassion. The Apostle says ( 2 Corinthians 12:7): “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the Revelation, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” A recent philosopher (Fischer, Gesch. der neueren Philos., i11) defines philosophy to be, not so much universal science, as self-knowledge. If this be correct, repentance is the true philosophy; for in repentance man learns to know himself in all the various conditions of apostasy and ruin, reflection and return, pride and penitence, heart-quickening and longing after divine compassion.

Starke: Fathers, by a bad example, make their children worse than themselves; for from old sins, new ones are continually growing, The same: Although God knows and might immediately punish all that is hidden in men, his wisdom employs temptation and other means to bring it to the light, that his justice may be manifest to his creatures. The same: Through tribulation and the cross to the exercise of faith and obedience, prayer and hope. And all this tends to our good; for God tempts no one to evil. The same: Though God permit, He does not approve, the unrighteous oppressor of the unrighteous, but punishes his unrighteousness when his help is invoked. Lisco: God’s judgment on Israel is the non-destruction of the heathen. Gerlach: From the fact that the whole history does at the same time, through scattered hints, point to the flourishing period of Israel under the kings, we learn that these constantly-recurring events do not constitute a fruitless circle, ever returning whence it started, but that through them all, God’s providence conducted his people, by a road wonderfully involved, to a glorious goal.



Footnotes:

FN#20 - Judges 2:17.—Dr. Cassel has denn, “for.” “But” is better. On כִּי after a negative, cf. Ges. Gr. p272, at top.—Tr.]

FN#21 - Judges 2:17.—כְּי זָנוּ, etc, cf. Deuteronomy 31:16.

FN#22 - Judges 2:17.—סָרוּ מַחֵר, cf. Exodus 32:8; Deuteronomy 9:12.

FN#23 - Judges 2:17.—That Isaiah, as often as a Judge had succeeded in bringing them back to the way of their fathers, they quickly left it again. So Bachmann.—Tr.]

FN#24 - Judges 2:17.—לִשְׁמֹע: “in that they obeyed.” On this less regular, but by no means rare (cf. Judges 2:19, Psalm 78:18; 1 Samuel 20:20; etc.) use of the infin. with לְ, cf. Ew280 d.—Tr.]

FN#25 - Judges 2:18.—נַאֲקָתָם, from נָאַק, cf. Exodus 2:24; Exodus 6:5.

FN#26 - Judges 2:18.—לָחַץ, cf. Exodus 3:9.

FN#27 - Judges 2:18.—דָּתַק appears here for the first time. Cf. the Greek διώκω.

FN#28 - Judges 2:18.—דָּחַק, only here and in Joel 2:8. If the clause were rendered: “before those that crowded (לָחַץ, cf. on Judges 1:34) and pressed upon them,” its metaphorical character would be preserved as nearly as possible.—Tr.]

FN#29 - Judges 2:19.—The E. V. is correct as to sense; but the Hebrew phrase, filled out, would be, “they corrupted their way,” cf. Genesis 6:12.—Tr.]

FN#30 - Judges 2:19.—לֹא הִפִּילוּ מִן: lit. “they caused not (sc. their conduct, course of action) to fall away from their (evil) deeds.”—Tr.]

FN#31 - Judges 2:19.—Cf. Deuteronomy 28:20.

FN#32 - Judges 2:19.—קָשָׁה, with reference to Exodus 33:5 etc, where already Israel is called קְשֵׁה־עֹרֶף.

FN#33 - Judges 2:20.—Cf. Joshua 7:11.

FN#34 - Judges 2:22.—Cf. Exodus 16:4; Exodus 20:20; Deuteronomy 8:2; Deuteronomy 8:16; Deuteronomy 13:4 (3)).

FN#35 - Judges 2:12.—לְמַעַן נַסּוֹת. Grammatically this infin. of design may be connected either with לא֗ אוֹסיף, Judges 2:21, וַיּא֗מֵר, Judges 2:20, or עָזַב The first construction (adopted by E. V.) is inadmissible, because, 1. It supposes that Jehovah himself continues to speak in Judges 2:22, in which case we should expect אֶת־דַּרְכִּי, first per, rather than אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ יְהוָֹה. 2. It supposes that the purpose to prove Israel is now first formed, whereas it is clear from Judges 3:1; Judges 3:4, that it was already operative in the time of Joshua. This objection is also fatal to the construction with וַיֹּאמֶר, adopted by Keil. (That Dr. Cassel adopts one of these two appears from the fact that he reads: “whether they will (instead of would, see farther on) keep the way of Jehovah,” but which of the two is not clear.) It remains, therefore, to connect with צָוַב, against which there is no objection, either grammatical or logical. “For in such loosely added infinitives of design, in which the subject is not definitely determined, the person of the infin. goes back to the preceding principal word only when no other relation is more obvious, see Ew337 b (cf. Exodus 9:16). But that here, as in the perfectly analogous parallel passage, Judges 3:4, the design expressed by the infin. is not Joshua’s nor that of the nations, but Jehovah’s, is self-evident, and is besides expressly declared in Judges 2:23 and Judges 3:1. So rightly LXX. It. Pesh. Ar. Aug. (ques17), Ser. Stud. and many others” (Bachmann). The connection from Judges 2:21 onward is therefore as follows: In Judges 2:21 Jehovah is represented (cf. foot-note 3 on p62) as saying, “I will not go on to drive out the nations which Joshua left when he died.” To this the author of the Book himself adds the purpose for which they were left, namely, to prove Israel, whether they would (not, will) keep the way (אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ) of Jehovah to walk therein (כָּם, plur. “in them,” constr. ad sensum, the way of Jehovah consisting of the מִצוֹת יְהוָֹה, Deuteronomy 8:2.—Keil), as their fathers kept it, or not. “And Song of Solomon,” he continues, i.e. in consequence of this purpose, “Jehovah (not merely Joshua) left these nations (חָאֵלֶה, these, pointing forward to Judges 3:1 ff, where they are enumerated,) at rest, in order that they should not speedily (for that would have been inconsistent with the design of proving Israel by them, but yet ultimately) be driven out, and did not give them into the hand of Joshua.” But the “not speedily” of Joshua’s time had by Israel’s faithless apostasy been changed into “never.”—Tr.]

FN#36 - Judges 2:23.—Cf. Numbers 32:15.

FN#37 - A similarly formed title is that of Batonnier, given by the French to the chief of the barristers, and yet very different from the mediæval bastonerius.

FN#38 - Dr. Cassel’s words are: Gesetz und Recht. For the latter term, as technically used, the English language has no equivalent. It is Right as determined by law.—Tr.]

FN#39 - Dr. Bachmann (with many others) reaches an entirely different definition of the “Judges.” The Judge as such, he contends, acts in an external direction, in behalf of, not on, the people. A Judges, in the special sense of our Book, is first of all a Deliverer, a Savior. He may, or he may not, exercise judicial functions, properly speaking, but he is Judge because he delivers. This view he supports by an extended review of the usus loquendi of the word, and especially by insisting that Judges 2:16; Judges 2:18 admits of no other definition. “Why,” he asks, quoting Dr. Cassel, “if a Judge is first of all a restorer of law and right, does not Judges 2:11-19, which gives such prominence to the fact that the forsaking of the divine law is the cause of all the hostile oppressions endured by Israel, lay similar stress, when it comes to speak of the Shophetim, on the restoration of the authority of law, but, on the contrary, speaks of the deliverance of the people from its oppressors?” To which it were enough to reply, first, that Judges 2:16 intends only to show how Israel was delivered from the previously mentioned consequences of its lawless condition, not how it was rescued from the lawless condition itself; and, secondly, that Judges 2:18-19 clearly imply, that while military activity may (and from the nature of the case usually did) occupy a part of the Judge’s career, efforts, more or less successful, to restore the supremacy of the divine law within the nation engage the whole. Hence, the Deliverer was rightly called Shophet, whereas in his military character he would have been more properly called מוֹשִׁיעַ, cf. Judges 3:9. Dr Bachmann, it is true, explains the title Judge (as derived from the second of the three meanings of שָׁפַט, 1. to Judges 2. to save, namely, by affording justice; 3. to rule) by the fact that the O. T. views the assistance sent by Jehovah to his oppressed people as an act of retributive justice towards both oppressed and oppressor, cf. Genesis 15:14; Exodus 6:6; Exodus 7:4; but in such cases Jehovah, and not the human organ through whom He Acts, is the Judge.—Tr.]

FN#40 - Which Movers (Phönizier, ii1, 536) has improperly overlooked. As those who exercised governmental functions, properly symbolized by the sceptre, the Greek language could scarcely call them anything else than βασιλεῖς. Some good remarks against Heeren’s view of this matter were made by J. G. Schlosser (Aristoteles’ Politik, i195, 196).

FN#41 - It is only necessary to refer to Du Cange, under Judices. Similar relations occur in the early political and judicial history of all nations. Cf. Grimm, Rechtsalterthümer, p750, etc.

FN#42 - Dr. Cassel, in striving after brevity, has here left a point of considerable interest in obscurity. Judges 2:20 reads as follows: “And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he said, Because this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened to my voice, I also will not,” etc. How is this verse connected with the preceding? Judges 2:11-19 have given a bird’s-eye view of the whole period of the Judges. They have described it as a period of constantly renewed backsliding, calling down God’s anger on Israel, and not permanently cured even by the efforts of the Judges. Thereupon Judges 2:20 proceeds as above; and the question arises, to what point of time in the whole period it is to be referred. Dr. Bachmann argues that in Judges 2:20 the narrative goes back to the “sentence” pronounced at Bochim (see Judges 2:3). “ Judges 2:20, ” he says, “adds [to the survey in Judges 2:11-19] that, before God’s anger attained its complete expression in delivering Israel into the hands of strange nations ( Judges 2:14), it had already manifested itself in the determination not to drive those nations out; and with this the narrative returns to the judgment of Bochim.” Accordingly, he interprets the ןיֹּאמֶר, “and he said,” of Judges 2:20, as introducing an actual divine utterance, namely, the one delivered at Bochim. Without following the whole course of Dr. Bachmann’s argument, it is enough here to say that his conclusion is surely wrong, and that the source of his error lies in the view he takes of the words spoken at Bochim, which are not a “sentence” or “judgment,” but a warning, designed to obviate the necessity for denouncing judgment. The true connection, in my judgment (and as I think Dr. Cassel also conceives it), is as follows: When Joshua ceased from war, there were still many nations left in possession of territory intended for Israel, cf. Joshua 13:1 ff. They were left temporarily, and for the good of Israel, cf. Judges 2:22-23; Judges 3:1-2. At the same time Israel was warned against the danger that thus arose, and distinctly told that if they entered into close and friendly relations with the people thus left, Jehovah would not drive them out at all, but would leave them to become a scourge to them, Joshua 23:12 f. Nevertheless, Israel soon adopted a line of conduct towards them such as rendered it inevitable that the prohibited relations must soon be established, cf. Judges 1. Then came the warning of Bochim. It proved unavailing. Israel entered into the closest connections with the heathen, forsook Jehovah, and served Baal and Ashtaroth, Judges 3:6; Judges 2:11 ff. The contingency of Joshua 23:12-13 had actually occurred, and its conditional threat passed over into irrevocable determination on the part of Jehovah. The time of the determination falls therefore in the earlier part of the period of the Judges; but as the moment at which it went into force was not signalized by any public announcement, and as each successive apostasy added, so to speak, to its finality, the author of the Book of Judges makes express mention of it (allusion to it there is already in Judges 2:14 b, 15 a,) only at the close of his survey, where, moreover, it furnished an answer to the question which the review itself could not fail to suggest, Why did God leave these nations to be a constant snare to Israel? why was it, that even the most heroic Judges, men full of faith in God and zeal for Israel, did not exterminate them? The וַיֹּאמֶר of Judges 2:20, therefore, does not introduce an actual divine utterance. The author derives his knowledge of God’s determination, first, from Joshua 23:13, and secondly, from the course of the history; but in order to give impressiveness and force to his statement, he “clothes it in the form of a sentence pronounced by God” (Keil). The ו in וַיִּחַר denotes logical, not temporal, sequence. On the connection of Judges 2:22 ff. with Judges 2:21, see note7 under the text.—Tr.]
03 Chapter 3
Verses 1-4

Enumeration of the heathen nations left to prove Israel

Judges 3:1-4

1Now these are the nations which the Lord [Jehovah] left [at rest], to prove Israel by them, (even as many of Israel as had not known [by experience] all the wars of Canaan; 2Only that the generations of the children [sons] of Israel might know to teach them 3 war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;)[FN1] Namely, five lords [principalities] of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt [dwell] in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of4[lit. unto the coming i.e. the road to] Hamath. And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord [Jehovah], which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.



TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

1 Judges 3:2—Dr. Cassel renders this verse freely: “Only that to give experience to the generations of the sons of Israel, they might teach them war which they did not formerly learn to know.” He supplies a second לִמַעַן before ללַמְּדָם (see the exposition below), and in a note (which we transfer from the foot of the page), remarks: “ Judges 3:2 contains two subordinate clauses dependent on the subject of the principal sentence in Judges 3:1, which is ‘Jehovah.’ In the first of these clauses (each of which is introduced by לְמַעַן), the subject is ‘Israel’ (fully, דֹּרוֹת בִּנֵי־ישׂ׳); in the second, ‘the nations.’ The first expresses the result of the second; that which Israel experiences Isaiah, that the nations teach it war.” Keil (who follows Bertheau) explains as follows: “only (רַק, with no other view than) to know the subsequent generations (דֹּרוֹת, the generations after Joshua and his contemporaries) of the sons of Israel, that He (Jehovah) might teach them war, only those who had not learned to know them (the wars of Canaan).” But, 1, if דֹּרוֹת were in the accus, the author could hardly have failed to remove all ambiguity by prefixing אֶת־ to it2. An infin. of design with לְ, following one with לְמַעַן, without ו to indicate coördination, can only be subordinate to the preceding. Thus in the English sentence: “We eat in order to live to work,” “to work,” would be at once interpreted as subordinate to “to live.” A second לְמַעַן might indicate coördination even without the assistance of ו, cf. in English: “We eat in order to live, in order to work;” where we feel at once that “to live” and “to work” are coördinate so far as their relation to the principal verb is concerned. Hence, Dr. Cassel inserts a second לְמַעַן; but this is an expedient too much like cutting the Gordian knot to be satisfactory. Bachmann, who in the main agrees with our author, avoids this by treating לְלַמְּדָם as a gerundive adverbial phrase. As for דַּעַת it is not indeed impossible that, remembering what he said in Judges 2:10 (לֹא יָדְעוּ, etc.), and just now substantially repeated in Judges 3:1 b, the writer of Judges uses it here absolutely, to indicate briefly the opposite of the condition there described, in which case Dr. Cassel’s rendering would be sufficiently justified. But since בְּנֵי ישׂ׳ דֹּרוֹת ( Judges 3:2 a) clearly represents the אֵת כָּל־אְשֶׁר לֹא of Judges 3:1 b, it seems obvious that the דַּעַת of Judges 3:2 in like manner resumes the יָדְעוּ אֵת כָּל־מִלְחֲמוֹת כְּנָעַן of Judges 3:1. We may suppose, therefore, that the pronoun “them” is here, as frequently, omitted after דַּעַת, and translate, freely, thus: “And these are the nations which Jehovah left to prove Israel by them—all that Israel which did not know all the wars of Canaan, in order that the after generations of Israel (they also) might know (understand and appreciate) them (i.e. those wars), in that he (i.e. Jehovah, or they, the nations) taught them war, (not war in general, however, but) only the wars which (or, such wars as) they did not formerly know.” The first רַק, as Bachmann remarks, limits the design of Jehovah, the second the thing to be taught. As to the last clause of Judges 3:2, if the accents be disregarded, the only difficulty in the way of the rendering here given is the plural suffix ם; but this probably arises from the fact that the writer’s mind at once recurs to the “wars of Canaan.” The לְפָנִים, of old, is used from the point of time occupied by the “after generations,” as was natural to a writer who lived so late as the period of kings, and not from that in which the הִנִיחַ of Judges 3:1, and its design, took place. The masculine ם to represent a fem. plur. is not very unfrequent, cf. 2 Samuel 20:3; 2 Kings 18:13. Dr. Bachmann connects the last clause with דּעַת, respects the accents (which join לְפָנִים with אֲשֶׁר, not with לאֹ יְדָעוּם), and renders: “that Israel might learn to know …. war, namely, only those (wars) which were formerly, they did not know them = only the former wars which they did not know.” The sense is not materially affected by this change.—Tr.]

EXEGETICAL AND DOCTRINAL

Judges 3:1. All who had not experienced the wars of Canaan. These are they of whom it was said, Judges 2:10, that they “knew not the works of the Lord.” This younger generation, after the death of Joshua and the elders, enjoyed the fruits of conquest, but did not estimate aright the greatness of the dangers endured by the fathers, and therefore did not sufficiently value the help of God. The horrors of war, to be known, must be experienced. As if the conquest of Canaan had been of easy achievement! It was no light thing to triumph over the warlike nations. Was not the tribe of Judah, although victorious, obliged nevertheless to abandon the valley to the iron chariots? But of that the rising generation no longer wished to know anything. They did not know what “a war with Canaan signified.”

Judges 3:2. Only that to give experience to the generations of the sons of Israel they might teach them war, with which they did not before become acquainted. The construction of the sentence is difficult, and consequently has been frequently misunderstood (among others, by Bertheau). The book which the narrator is about to write, is a Book of Wars; and it is therefore incumbent upon him to state the moral causes in which these originated. God proves Israel for its own good. With this in view, “He left the nations in peace, to prove Israel by them.” How prove Israel? By depriving it of rest through them. They compel Israel to engage in conflict. In defeat the people learn to know the violence of Canaanitish oppression, and, when God sends them heroes, the preciousness of the boon of restored freedom. Only for this; the emphasis of the verse falls on only (רַק), which is introduced twice. Between יִשְׂרָאֵל and לְלַמְּדָם a לְמַעַן[FN2] is to be supplied. The Hebrew usus loquendi places both clauses (לְמַעַן דַּעַת and לְמַעַן לְלַמְּדָם), each beginning with לְמַעַן alongside of each other without any connective, whereby one sets forth the ground of the other. God leaves the nations in peace, “in order that they might teach the Israelites what war with Canaan signified,—in order that those generations might know it who had not yet experienced it.” It is not for technical instruction in military science that He leaves the heathen nations in the land, but that Israel may know what it is to wage war, that without God it can do nothing against Canaan, and that, having in the deeds of contemporary heroes a present counterpart of the experience of their fathers, who beheld the mighty works which God wrought for Israel through Moses and Joshua, it may learn humility and submission to the law. This reason why God did not cause the Canaanites to be driven out, does not, however, contradict that given in Judges 2:22. Israel can apostatize from God, only when it has forgotten Him. The consequence is servitude. In this distress, God sends them Judges. These triumph, in glorious wars, over victorious Canaan. Grateful Israel, being now able to conceive, in their living reality, the wonders by which God formerly raised it to the dignity of nationality, has learned to know the hand of its God. Cf. Judges 3:4.

Judges 3:3. Five principalities of the Philistines. Joshua 13:2, seq., enumerates the nations which were to remain, with still more distinctness. There, however, the reason, given in our passage, why God let them remain, is not stated. The principalities of the Philistines must be treated of elsewhere. The Canaanites and the Zidonians are the inhabitants of the Phœnician coast. The importance of Zidon has already been pointed out in Judges 1:31. The districts not under Zidonian supremacy, are referred to by the general term “Canaanite.” The Hivite, here mentioned as an inhabitant of Mount Lebanon, does not occur under that name in Joshua 13:5. He is there spoken of under the terms, “land of the Giblites (Byblus, etc.) and all Lebanon;” here, a more general designation is employed. The name חִוִּי indicates and explains this in a manner highly interesting. The LXX. render חִוִּי by Εὐαῖος, as for חַוָּה, the mother of all the living, they give Εὔα. The word חָוָה, חָיָה, to live, whence הַוָּה, includes the idea of “roundness, circularity of form,” So the ὠόν, ovum, egg, is round, and at the same time the source of life. Consequently, חַיָּה and חַיָּה came to signify battle-array or encampment (cf. 2 Samuel 23:11) and village ( Numbers 32:41), from the circular form in which camps and villages were disposed. The people called Hivite is the people that resides in round villages. Down to the present day—marvelous tenacity of national custom!—the villages in Syria are so built that the conically-shaped houses form a circular street, inclosing an open space in the centre for the herds and flocks. Modern travellers have found this style of building still in use from the Orontes to the Euphrates (Ritter, xvii1698). It distinguished the Hivite from the other nations. And it Isaiah, in fact, found only beyond the boundary here indicated; on northern Lebanon, above Mount Hermon. This therefore also confirms the remarks made above (at Judges 1:33), on the parallel passage, Joshua 13:5, where we find the definition “from Baal-gad under Mount Hermon,” whereas here we read of a “mount Baal Hermon.” Baal Hermon, according to its signification, corresponds exactly with the present name Jebel esh-Sheikh, since on the one hand Sheikh may stand for Baal, while, on the other, Hermon derived its name from its peculiar form. חֶרְמוֹן is a dialectic equivalent of the Hebrew אַרְמוֹן. אֲרָם is the height, the highlands: אַרְמוֹן the prominent point, the commanding fortress. Hermon, as the southern foot of Anti-Libanus, is its loftiest peak. It towers grandly, like a giant (cf. Ritter, xvii151, 211), above all its surroundings,—like a silver-roofed fortress of God. This is not the only instance in which Hermon is apparently the name of a mountain. It is probable indeed that to the Greeks the Hermæan Promontory (̔Ερμαία ἄκρα, Polyb. I. xxxvi11; cf. Mannert, Geogr., x. ii512) suggested only some reference to Hermes. But the greater the difficulty of seeing why Hermes should give names to mountain peaks, the more readily do we recognize a חֶרְמוֹן, not only in this but also in the promontory of Lemnos, the Hermæan Rock (̔Ερμαῖον λέπας) mentioned by Greek poets (Æschyl. Agam., 283). It accords with this that Ptolemy specifies a Hermæan Promontory in Crete also. It is evident how appropriately Hermon, in its signification of Armon, “a fortress-like, towering eminence,” is used to denote a promontory. The Greek ἄκρα also has the twofold signification of fortress and promontory; and Mount Hermon itself may to a certain extent be considered to be both one and the other.

It is evident that when in Joshua 13:5 the boundary of the hostile nations is defined as running from “Baal-gad under Mount Hermon,” and here as extending “from Baal Hermon” onward, the same sacred locality is meant in both passages, and that Baal Hermon is identified with Baal-gad. This is further confirmed by the following: The Talmud (Chulin, 40 a) speaks of the sinful worship which is rendered לְנָדָא דְחַר, the Goda of the mountain, i.e. as Raschi explains, the angel like unto Michael, who is placed over the mountains of the world. Moses ha-Cohen advances an equally ancient conception, current also among the Arabians, when he states (ap. Ibn Ezra, on Isaiah 65:11), that Baal-gad is the star Zedek, i.e. Zeus. For Zeus is in fact the Hellenic deity of all mountain-peaks,[FN3] the Great Baal Hermon. Hence it was customary among the Hellenes also to prepare sacrificial tables in the service of Zeus; and with Isaiah 65:11 we may profitably compare Paus. ix40, where we learn that in Chæronea, where the sceptre of Zeus was venerated as a palladium, “a table with meat and pastry was daily” prepared. At the birth of a son to her maid, Leah says ( Genesis 30:11): בָּא נָּד; which the Chaldee translators already render by נָּדָא טָבָא (Jerus. Targ.) and מַזָּלָא טָבָא (Jonath.). מַזָּלָה (Cf. 2 Kings 23:5), means, star; מַזּל טוֹב is the good star that appears,—fortune, as the Septuaginta render τύχη. Two planets, Jupiter and Venus, were ἀγαθουργοί (Plutarch, De Is. et Os., cap. xlviii.), bearers of what is good,—fortune-bringers. Hence, Gad, as “Fortune,” could be connected both with Astarte (cf. Movers, Phœn., i636), and with Baal (Jupiter). נָּד is manifestly the same as the Persian חדא (cf. נָּדַד and חָדַד, נָּבַל and חָבַל, etc.), Ghoda, which signifies god and lord, quite in the sense of בַּעַל (cf. Vullers, Lex. Pers. Lat., i660). If there be any connection between this term and the Zendic Khadhâta, it is only that the latter was used to designate the constellations. In heathen views of life, fortune and good coincide. To enjoy the good things of life is to be fortunate. Αγαθὴ τύχη is the Hellenic for happiness. The Syriac and Chaldee versions almost uniformly render the terms אֵשְׁרֵי and μακάριος, blessed, which occur in the Old and New Testaments, by טוֹב, good (cf. my work Irene, Erf1855, p9). In נָּד the ideas God and Fortune coëxist as yet unresolved; subsequently, especially in the Christian age, they were separated in the Germanic dialects as God and Good. For there is no doubt that in Gad (God), the good (fortunate) god and constellation, we find the oldest form, and for that reason a serviceable explanation, of the name God, which, like Elohim, disengaging itself from heathen conceptions, became the sacred name of the Absolute Spirit. At the same time it affords us the philological advantage of perceiving, what has often been contested (cf. Dieffenbach, Goth. Lex. ii416; Grimm. Myth. pp12, 1199, etc.), that God and Good actually belong together. Baal-gad was the God of Fortune, which was held to be the highest good.[FN4]—The meaning of לְבוֹא חֲמָת has been indicated above (p46).

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

[Compare the Homiletical Hints of the preceding section.—Keil: In the wars of Canaan under Joshua, Israel had learned and experienced that the power which subdued its enemies consisted not in the multitude and valor of its warriors but in the might of its God, the putting forth of which however depended upon Israel’s continued faithfulness towards its Possessor. …. Now, in order to impress them with this truth, on which the existence and prosperity of Israel, and the realization of the purpose for which they had been divinely called, depended; in other words, in order to show them by the practical lessons of experience that the People of Jehovah can fight and conquer only in the strength of their God, the Lord had suffered the Canaanites to be left in the land. Necessity teaches prayer. The distress into which Israel fell by means of the remaining Canaanites, was a divine discipline, by which the Lord would bring the faithless back to Himself, admonish them to follow his commands, and prepare them for the fulfillment of his covenant-engagements. Hence, the learning of war, i.e. the learning how the People of the Lord should fight against the enemies of God and his kingdom, was a means ordained by God of tempting or trying Israel, whether they would hearken to the commands of their God and walk in the ways of the Lord. When Israel learned so to war, it learned also to keep the divine commands. Both were necessary to the People of God. For as the realization by the people of the blessings promised in the covenant depended on their giving heed to the voice of the Lord, so also the conflict appointed for them was necessary, as well for their personal purification, as for the continued existence and growth of the kingdom of God on earth.—Bertheau: The historian cannot sufficiently insist on the fact that the remaining of some of the former inhabitants of the land, after the wars of Joshua, is not a punishment but only a trial; a trial designed to afford occasion of showing to the Israelites who lived after Joshua benefits similar to those bestowed on his contemporaries. And it is his firm conviction that these benefits, consisting chiefly of efficient aid and wonderful deliverances in wars against the remaining inhabitants, would assuredly have accrued to the people, if they had followed the commands of Jehovah, especially that on which such stress is laid in the Pentateuch, to make no league with the heathen, but to make war on them as long as a man of them remains.

Henry: It was the will of God that Israel should be inured to war,—1. Because their country was exceeding rich and fruitful, and abounded with dainties of all sorts, which if they were not sometimes made to know hardship, would be in danger of sinking them into the utmost degree of luxury and effeminacy,—a state as destructive to ‛everything good as it is to everything great, and therefore to be carefully watched against by all God’s Israel2. Because their country lay very much in the midst of enemies, by whom they must expect to be insulted; for God’s heritage was as a speckled bird; the birds round about were against her. …. Israel was a figure of the church militant, that must fight its way to a triumphant state. The soldiers of Christ must endure hardness. Corruption is therefore left remaining in the hearts even of good Christians, that they may learn war, keep on the whole armor of God, and stand continually on their guard.

Wordsworth: “To teach them war.” So unbelief awakens faith, and teaches it war; it excites it to contend earnestly for the truth. The dissemination of false doctrines has led to clearer assertions of the truth. Heresies have produced the creeds. “There must be heresies,” says the Apostle, “that they who are approved among you may be made manifest” ( 1 Corinthians 11:19).—Tr.]



Footnotes:

FN#1 - Judges 3:2—Dr. Cassel renders this verse freely: “Only that to give experience to the generations of the sons of Israel, they might teach them war which they did not formerly learn to know.” He supplies a second לִמַעַן before ללַמְּדָם (see the exposition below), and in a note (which we transfer from the foot of the page), remarks: “ Judges 3:2 contains two subordinate clauses dependent on the subject of the principal sentence in Judges 3:1, which is ‘Jehovah.’ In the first of these clauses (each of which is introduced by לְמַעַן), the subject is ‘Israel’ (fully, דֹּרוֹת בִּנֵי־ישׂ׳); in the second, ‘the nations.’ The first expresses the result of the second; that which Israel experiences Isaiah, that the nations teach it war.” Keil (who follows Bertheau) explains as follows: “only (רַק, with no other view than) to know the subsequent generations (דֹּרוֹת, the generations after Joshua and his contemporaries) of the sons of Israel, that He (Jehovah) might teach them war, only those who had not learned to know them (the wars of Canaan).” But, 1, if דֹּרוֹת were in the accus, the author could hardly have failed to remove all ambiguity by prefixing אֶת־ to it2. An infin. of design with לְ, following one with לְמַעַן, without ו to indicate coördination, can only be subordinate to the preceding. Thus in the English sentence: “We eat in order to live to work,” “to work,” would be at once interpreted as subordinate to “to live.” A second לְמַעַן might indicate coördination even without the assistance of ו, cf. in English: “We eat in order to live, in order to work;” where we feel at once that “to live” and “to work” are coördinate so far as their relation to the principal verb is concerned. Hence, Dr. Cassel inserts a second לְמַעַן; but this is an expedient too much like cutting the Gordian knot to be satisfactory. Bachmann, who in the main agrees with our author, avoids this by treating לְלַמְּדָם as a gerundive adverbial phrase. As for דַּעַת it is not indeed impossible that, remembering what he said in Judges 2:10 (לֹא יָדְעוּ, etc.), and just now substantially repeated in Judges 3:1 b, the writer of Judges uses it here absolutely, to indicate briefly the opposite of the condition there described, in which case Dr. Cassel’s rendering would be sufficiently justified. But since בְּנֵי ישׂ׳ דֹּרוֹת ( Judges 3:2 a) clearly represents the אֵת כָּל־אְשֶׁר לֹא of Judges 3:1 b, it seems obvious that the דַּעַת of Judges 3:2 in like manner resumes the יָדְעוּ אֵת כָּל־מִלְחֲמוֹת כְּנָעַן of Judges 3:1. We may suppose, therefore, that the pronoun “them” is here, as frequently, omitted after דַּעַת, and translate, freely, thus: “And these are the nations which Jehovah left to prove Israel by them—all that Israel which did not know all the wars of Canaan, in order that the after generations of Israel (they also) might know (understand and appreciate) them (i.e. those wars), in that he (i.e. Jehovah, or they, the nations) taught them war, (not war in general, however, but) only the wars which (or, such wars as) they did not formerly know.” The first רַק, as Bachmann remarks, limits the design of Jehovah, the second the thing to be taught. As to the last clause of Judges 3:2, if the accents be disregarded, the only difficulty in the way of the rendering here given is the plural suffix ם; but this probably arises from the fact that the writer’s mind at once recurs to the “wars of Canaan.” The לְפָנִים, of old, is used from the point of time occupied by the “after generations,” as was natural to a writer who lived so late as the period of kings, and not from that in which the הִנִיחַ of Judges 3:1, and its design, took place. The masculine ם to represent a fem. plur. is not very unfrequent, cf. 2 Samuel 20:3; 2 Kings 18:13. Dr. Bachmann connects the last clause with דּעַת, respects the accents (which join לְפָנִים with אֲשֶׁר, not with לאֹ יְדָעוּם), and renders: “that Israel might learn to know …. war, namely, only those (wars) which were formerly, they did not know them = only the former wars which they did not know.” The sense is not materially affected by this change.—Tr.]

FN#2 - Compare the note under “Textual and Grammatical.”—Tr.]

FN#3 - Cf. Preller, Gr. Mythol., i77. He is such as ἀκραῖος, ἐπάκριος, etc. That ἀπεσάντιος also has no other meaning, Preller shows elsewhere. Mountain temples, says Welcker (Mythologie, i170), were erected to other gods only exceptionally. As for the temple of Hermes on Mount Cellene (Paus. viii17, 1), it could perhaps be made probable that here also the name of the mountain suggested the worship of Hermes.

FN#4 - Movers (Phœn. ii2, 515) thinks that he can explain the name of the Numidian seaport Cirta from רֹאשׁ גָּד, which is doubtful. On the other hand, when the Etymolog Magnum, under Γάδειρα, expresses the opinion that Gades in Spain was so named because “γάδον παῤ αν̓τοῖςτὸ ἐκ μικρῶν ᾠκοδομημένον,” there is evidently no reference to קָטֹן, but to Gad in the sense of Fortune. For the stress is laid not on the small beginnings, but on the good for tune, which from a small city made it great. This on Movers, ii2, 621, not89 a.

Verses 5-11





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