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Judges 3:1-4

Context

3:1 These were the nations the Lord permitted to remain so he could use them to test Israel – he wanted to test all those who had not experienced battle against the Canaanites. 1  3:2 He left those nations simply because he wanted to teach the subsequent generations of Israelites, who had not experienced the earlier battles, how to conduct holy war. 2  3:3 These were the nations: 3  the five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo-Hamath. 4  3:4 They were left to test Israel, so the Lord would know if his people would obey the commands he gave their ancestors through Moses. 5 

1 tn Heb “did not know the wars of Canaan.”

2 tn The Hebrew syntax of v. 2 is difficult. The Hebrew text reads literally, “only in order that the generations of the Israelites might know, to teach them war – only those who formerly did not know them.”

sn The stated purpose for leaving the nations (to teach the subsequent generations…how to conduct holy war) seems to contradict 2:22 and 3:4, which indicate the nations were left to test Israel’s loyalty to the Lord. However, the two stated purposes can be harmonized. The willingness of later generations to learn and engage in holy war would measure their allegiance to the Lord (see B. G. Webb, Judges [JSOTSup], 114-15).

3 tn The words “These were the nations,” though not present in the Hebrew text, are supplied in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Or “the entrance to Hamath.”

5 tn Heb “to know if they would hear the commands of the Lord which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.”



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