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Judges 18:5: Consulting at the Mouth of the Devilish Oracle

Verse 5:[1] And they said unto him, (1 Kings 22:5; Is. 30:1; Hos. 4:12) Ask counsel, we pray thee, (Judg. 17:5; 18:14) of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.

Paraphrase by Rabbi Salomon Jarchi

[To consult the Lord, שְׁאַל־נָ֣א בֵאלֹהִ֑ים] Ask, or entreat, now in God (Septuagint, Piscator, Montanus), or, in the word of the Lord (Jonathan). Consult God (Munster, Pagnine, similarly the Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), that is, the False god (Lyra), the idol (Bonfrerius). Or, gods, or thine images. They were supposing that these idols were made for the honor of God (Vatablus). To the most ancient Hebrews the name אֱלֹהִים/Elohim appears נִמְחָל or חוּל, that is, profane. But Kimchi maintains that it is קדשׁ/holy (Drusius). The Danites had seen that that Ephod was made according to the form of the lawful Ephod, and so they were supposing that an oracles was to be given from it to them; especially since Teraphim were present, from an inspection of which future things were sometimes made know by the revelation of a Demon; although they believed that these things were made known either through the influence of the stars, or by Divine revelation (Munster).

How Degrading to God's Image-Bearer!

Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, to wit, by thine ephod, or teraphim, or images, which they knew he had, Judges 18:14.

[So that they might know whether they might proceed to journey prosperously, הֲתַצְלִ֣יחַ דַּרְכֵּ֔נוּ] Whether our way shall be caused to prosper (Montanus, Septuagint); whether God shall prosper our way (Jonathan, Pagnine); whether our journey is going to be prosperous (Munster, similarly Tigurinus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֥אמְרוּ ל֖וֹ שְׁאַל־נָ֣א בֵאלֹהִ֑ים וְנֵ֣דְעָ֔ה הֲתַצְלִ֣יחַ דַּרְכֵּ֔נוּ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנַ֖חְנוּ הֹלְכִ֥ים עָלֶֽיהָ׃

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