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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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It does seem clear from the text, and from Poole's sources, that the Danite visitors were ignorant of God and His ways. This makes me think about our culture today and how many false ideas are out there about Who God is. Good Hebrew lesson today... I was struck by the rhythm of the text, especially with the plural endings of ים .

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Mar 22, 2019


Thomas Boston's "A Rich Reward to Diligence in Religion": 'You must make religion your great end. As every man who pursues has something in view, so your great design must be to know the Lord: "Not," says Paul, "as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." There was a prospect which misgave at first with Adam, because Satan laid the measures for it, Genesis 3:5. But you must take it up again, as the Lord himself will have you, Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect." When once grace touche…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Mar 22, 2019


Matthew Henry: 'The acquaintance which their spies got with Micah's priest, and the use they made of that acquaintance. It seems, they had know this Levite formerly, he having in his rambles been sometimes in their country; and, though his countenance might be altered, they knew him again by his voice, Judges 18:3. They were surprised to find him so far off, enquired what brought him thither, and he told them (Judges 18:4) what business he had there, and what encouragement. They, understanding that he had an oracle in his custody, desired he would tell them whether they should prosper in their present undertaking, Judges 18:5. See their carelessness and regardlessness of God and his providence; they would not hav…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Mar 22, 2019


Hebrew Highlights:


1. Note the lexical flexibility of Elohim.


2. It is a good time to get familiar with tsalach.

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