13 May. Judges 3:5-11

13 May. Othniel defeats the King of Mesopotamia

“The people of Israel lived with the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. The Israelites began to marry the daughters of those people, and they allowed their daughters to marry the sons of those people. Israel also served their gods.”

“The Israelites did what the LORD said was wrong. They forgot about the LORD their God and served the idols of Baal and Asherah. So the LORD was angry with Israel and allowed Cushan-Rishathaim, king of North West Mesopotamia, to rule over the Israelites for eight years.”

“When Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD sent someone to save them. Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, saved the Israelites. The Spirit of the LORD entered Othniel, and he became Israel’s judge.”

“When he went to war, the LORD handed over to him Cushan-Rishathaim, king of North West Mesopotamia. So the land was at peace for 40 years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.”

          (Judges 3:5-11)



After the ‘conquest’ of Canaan in c.1406-1404BC, the Israelites lived in only some parts of the ‘promised’ land. The Book of Judges makes it quite clear that large parts of Canaan were still the strongholds of earlier inhabitants.

In reality, the Israelites lived for many years amongst the Philistines, Canaanites, Amorites and Hivites – with whom they inter-married against God’s command (see Deuteronomy 7:1-4). As a result, they began to worship foreign gods, and, consequently, were defeated in battle.

After one particularly humiliating defeat, King Cushan-Rishathaim of Mesopotamia ruled over Israel for eight years (see 1 on the map on 10 May).

In their despair, the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and God sent them an outstanding leader or ‘judge’ – Othniel, the young nephew of Caleb (who had spied out the promised land some 50 years earlier) (see Numbers 13:1-6,30).

Othniel was filled with the Spirit of the LORD (the Holy Spirit) and defeated King Cushan-Rishathaim of Mesopotamia in c.1397BC. Under Othniel, the Israelites then lived in peace and prospered for forty years before there was a further setback.

The photo shows a ford across the River Jordan at Kfar Hanasi (by Beivushtang).

You can read more about the Judges @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/28-the-israelites-face-continuing-opposition/israel-under-the-judges-othniel-and-ehud/

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