2020-1-10

士师记Judges 20:1-48   (Scroll down for English edition)

“煮豆燃豆箕”是《三国演义》中兄弟相煎的故事,犹太民族也不缺兄弟相煎。
虽然《三国演义》与《圣经》中的兄弟相煎诱因不一,但至终都可以追索到同一毒根──罪。
从创世记到玛拉基书,圣经的作者们毫不为尊者讳,大言不惭“为尊”的选民离弃神的苦果,目的是“教训,督责,使人归正,教导人学义”,所以士师记中一系列以色列民离弃神、效法世界的记载,读来每教人扼腕太息,其实对于圣经学生们“都是有益”的(提后3:16)。
主耶稣教导门徒:“不要效法他们”(法利赛人,太23:3)。法利赛人的假冒为善,是属灵钟摆的一侧极端,而士师记的以色列人效法世界,是另一侧的极端,如果后者是罪恶,前者便是过犯。所以,主耶稣对门徒的教导,对前后者俱各适用,对我们足以为鉴。

不解这位无名氏利未人为何纳妾,除非如19章起首所言:“当以色列中没有王的时候……”。
连贵为祭司的利未人也“没有王”,飘飘然张罗“后宫”去了,神的教训,也可以让祭司置之脑后,以色列的腐败,不难想象。
查纳妾决不是神创造婚姻的原意。“人要离开父母,与妻子连合”,“人”与“妻子”,都是单数,于是有“二人成为一体”的无上美好。
再加个妾什么的,顿作“对映成三人”,婚姻何止画蛇添足,实质是与神所设立背道而驰,是外邦人习俗。

19章分尸之惨,20章以色列人空群而出与手足便雅悯人同室操戈之痛,21章便雅悯支派无妻之患,皆因为祭司的悖反离弃神。
这正是19-21章的精心铺陈。
順便提到,在19章中,便雅憫基比亞的惡棍們之所作所爲,令人想起创世记中一个“罪大恶极”的城。不想由于离弃神,便雅悯支派堕落若所多玛。

分尸十二块,吹皱一池春水。于是“从但到别是巴”(即从南到北),以色列集合四十万精锐,同仇敌忾,向基比亚进发,要亮家伙跟便雅悯人讨个说法。
注意第一节:“众人都出来,如同一人,聚集在米斯巴耶和华面前。” 神要使用这十一个支派所组成的军队,去惩罚作奸犯科的便雅悯支派。
但是,人要被炼净,才能要成为神手中的器皿,而被炼净往往是不好受的经历,下面我们可以看到这过程。

便雅悯人也不是吃干饭的,乃祖雅各的临终祝福:“便雅悯是个撕掠的狼,早晨要吃他所抓的,晚上要分他所夺的”(创49:27),
此刻,这“撕掠的狼”精英尽出,特别撞人眼球的,是便雅悯七百精兵。
现代军队有高科技神枪手,那时的七百便雅悯精兵虽无高科技,却可“用机弦甩石打人,毫发不差。”(20:16)。
厉害了我的国,使用相同的战斗技巧,后来人少年大卫立毙巨人歌利亚,可谓百万军中取上将之首如探囊取物。交战结果,撕掠的狼便雅悯连败以色列大军两阵,以色列折兵共四万,灰头土脸。

或者有人问:“两次败仗之先,以色列不都求问神的旨意并且得到神的指点和首肯么?何竟求问之下,依然损兵折将,铩羽而回?莫非神……?”(20:18-25)

问得好(good question)。

求问神,有求必应,是人本的期盼。这样的神,是假神,是人的奴才,如此求问,其实心术不正。
以色列人与便雅悯人对阵,三次求问神。圣经没有明说,但仔细读来,前两次“求问”,是心术不正的求问。
迦南地风行多神主义,每逢有战争冲突,对阵双方的认知,是双方所敬奉的神的较量,所以开战之前,双方例必拜神,祈求假神大展拳脚,相助得胜。
以色列人离弃神,效法迦南原居民的生活方式,第一、二次求问,与第三次有本质的不同如下:

第一次,但见四十万刀兵,烽烟滚滚来天半,杀气腾腾是有了,但对全民族从上而下的灵性堕落,没有丝毫悔改之意。看第一次求问,以色列大军牛气冲天,洋洋自得地问神说:谁当先上?四十万对便雅悯的二万六千!
中国那个孙子有兵法云,“十则围之”,现在以色列大军人数占优差不多二十倍,胜仗岂非手到拿来?
求问神,不过如同迦南土著般例行公事拜神罢了。仗着势力和才能来到掌管万有的神的面前,神就给你先来谦卑一课:犹大先上,结果惨败。

吃败仗后,以色列人果然谦卑了些。
翌日再战,“未摆阵之先,以色列人上去,在耶和华面前哭号,直到晚上”(23)吃了败仗,放下趾高气扬,现在会号哭了。
不过这只是蒙羞之哭,因为大军四十万纵横驰奔,却在便雅悯的区区二万六千面前大败。
自损精兵二万二(20:21),就是说便雅悯军队几乎人均撂倒对手一个。
对于罪,犹不见以色列人丝毫悔意。昨日之败,或是无心之失?
这第二次求问,虽有了些儿人性和谦卑:“我们再去与我们弟兄便雅悯人打仗可以不可以?“
两阵对圆去厮杀的,是“弟兄”,“可以不可以?”
不过这里又有一句话,说明以色列骄横未去:“以色列人彼此奋勇”(20:22)。我们的神有“交给”的脾气。
罗马书1:24-28中,保罗三次论及神的“任凭”(中文),原文其实是更加彰显神主权的“交给”。以色列人第二次本着血气求问,神把以色列人再次“交给”他们自己的勇武,回答求问说:可以。结果再吃一次败仗。

伯特利是先祖雅各梦见天梯、命名为“神殿”(创28:19)之地,两次兵败后的第三次求问,与趾高气扬的前两次完全不同。
以色列民除了“哭号”,还有“禁食直到晚上(而非第二次的“号哭直到晚上”,20:23),又在耶和华面前献燔祭和平安祭”(27-28),有“祭司非尼哈伺立在约柜前”(20:28)。
这次号哭,是认罪的号哭,怎知道呢?看他们
a)  禁食,这是整本圣经第一次禁食的记录,出现在以色列人两次败绩之后;
b)  献祭,燔祭首次记录是大洪水之后,挪亚“拿各类洁净的牲畜,飞鸟献在坛上为燔祭”(创8:20),平安祭则在出埃及后开始。燔祭和平安祭,“都要在你们的神面前作为纪念。我是耶和华你们的神”(民10:10);
c)  以色列人没有勉强献上,献祭由祭司主持。以色列民从失败中学到功课,知道自己偏行己路,而重新纪念神与先祖立的约,重新归向立约的神(即耶和华)。神子民的胜利因悔改而来。这次,神的应许毫不拖泥带水:“你们当上去,因为明日我必将他们交在你们手中。”(20:27)悔改的以色列人蒙神怜悯,现在他们是神手中的惩治的鞭子而非血气的刀枪。

主耶稣教导我们敬拜的真理:“那真正拜父的,要在灵和真理中拜他,因为父一直在寻找这样的人拜他。”(约4:23根据原文翻译)
血气方刚、人多势众的以色列人的第一、二次求问,不是在灵和真理里的敬拜。例行迦南人风行的公事,当然不能得到神的喜悦。
第三次以痛悔的心来到神面前认罪,那是真正的寻求神。以色列人终于得胜,但却是惨胜。
“煮豆燃豆箕”,他们损失了四万多勇士,而他们的兄弟撕掠的狼便雅悯则几乎灭种,偌大个支派,唯余光棍六百,必须演出抢女人的狼狈闹剧方得子嗣,不题。“罪从一人入了世界”,信焉。

功课:
·  紧紧跟随神,可以躲避罪的引诱;否则泥足深陷,害人害己
·  不尚行礼如仪,在灵和真理中敬拜神
·  “不要自欺,神是轻慢不得的。人种的是什么,收的也是什么。”(加6:7)         —- David Yip

 

It is unimaginable that the unanimous Levite has concubine. However, this very record starts with such a statement, “In those days Israel had no king.” (19:1) The “no-king” live style is so widespread that even the Levite, who is from the privileged tribe of the LORD’s priesthood, chooses to enrich his live with a concubine. It is very clear that the Canaan folk live style has contaminated God’s chosen people. Observing chapter 19-21 in a macro-scoping view, the miserable story seems to indicate that the spiritual downfall of the people starts with a corruptive priesthood.

Now “from Dan to Beersheba” (20:1) a mighty army of four hundred thousand formed by the 11 tributes is marching towards Gibeah. One should not overlook the adverbial clause “assembled before the LORD in Mizpah.” This army is a whip is the hand of the mighty God to punish the evil doers. We will see later that to be an instrument of the Lord one must first be purified.

Let’s review the blessing to the tribe of Benjamin from Jacob at the last moment of his life: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.” The Benjamite meets the invasion with their own military force. “Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.” (20:16) Employing the skill David the shepherd boy killed Goliath the giant at their confrontation. As a result, the mighty army of the 11 tribes shamefully fails the first two battles and they lost forty thousand men.

Question rises as: the army gathered before the LORD and they asked the Almighty for directions before they launched attacks. Why did they loss these battles still? (20:18-25)

We have shown that the live style of the Canaanite has penetrated the people of Israel. The Canaanite believe that each of their tribes and nations has a god. If conflicts arise, it is their gods who fight against each other, and they mightier one will win. Therefore, they are accustomed to setting up rites to their gods, hopping that would please their gods so that they win the battles. The Israel army engages in three battles against the Benjamite. They make three inquiries to the LORD.

For the first battle, they inquiry God: “Who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites?” This sounds like: look, we overwhelmingly out number them, to win victory should be like a piece of cake. There is no the faintest sense that they realize the entire people of Israel has been in corrupted spiritual live. Their inquiry to the LORD is like what their neighboring Canaanites practice. With such a sinful, arrogant, and boastful heart, their inquiry is in vain. They lost the first battle.

For the second battle. The Israel army decides to fight again. This time “the Israelites went up and wept before the LORD until evening”. Still, they do not show their hearts of repentance for the sins they have committed. The weeping is probably because they lost the first battle. They may evaluate the loss as the first team of troop made strategic mistake. Again, their inquiry to the LORD is: “Shall we go up again to battle against the Benjamites, our brothers?” But, this time they at least realize that their enemy is actually their brothers.

Twice they made fleshly inquiries, they lost the first two confrontations. Jesus declares: “the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) The Israelites first two inquiries show the opposite to the Lord’s teaching.

Now the third battle. Bethel is where Jacob saw the ladder and renamed Luz as the Temple of God (Gen 28:19). Now after losing their battles, before making their third inquiry, they repent. “Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD.” Why do we see that this is a weeping of repentance? This time they a)  “all the people, went up to Bethel”, implying everyone in addition to only the mighty military; b) They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD. This was missing from the first two inquiries. This is the first record of fasting in the Bible. The fact that they fast and present burnt offerings and fellowship offerings represent their repentance and wishes to restore their fellowship with the LORD. c) Their fast and offering presentations are “with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.” Indicating that what they do now is conducted according to the Mosaic requirement of rites. Now God is pleased because of their repentance and offerings. They now make inquiry again. This time the LORD clearly promises: “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.” (20:26-28)

Lessons for us to learn:
·  Stay away from sin. Sin is the root of the miserable record in these three chapters.
·  Worship God in truth and spirit as the Lord teaches us
·  And, last but not the least, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Gal 6:7)        —- David Yip

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