The book of Judges highlights the time that Israel was led by men and women who were God’s living representatives on the Earth.They are on the Biblical Timeline starting at 1446 BC The people who were chosen by God were usually prophets and prophetesses. They also were usually selected by God to be a deliverer of the Israeli people from their enemies.
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One of the reasons why God put the Israelis into captivity to their enemies and to godless nations was to punish them for their sins. The Israeli people constantly worshipped other God’s and followed other people’s abominable practices. These two reasons help to explain why the Israelites were held in captivity at various times all throughout the 150 years that the judges ruled the land.
When the people crossed over into the Promise Land, God purposely didn’t remove all of their enemies. Judges 2:23 states that God left some of the pagan peoples in the land to test Israel’s faithfulness to him. This is another reason why Israel had to constantly contend with cruel nations. Judges 3:8-10 tells about how Israel was placed into servitude of Cushan-Rishathaim the king of Aram-Naharam. His kingdom was established in or near ancient Mesopotamia.
Back in Judges 3:5-7 the Israeli people were intermarrying with various pagan nations. Since they were forming unions with these people, they also started to worship their gods. This is when God had enough and delivered his people over to Cushan-Rishathaim for eight years. Once they were in captivity to this king they cried out to God to free them. The Bible doesn’t go into a lot of detail about how this king treated the people, but it must not have been too pleasant since they were literally crying out to the Lord to saved them. He answered their cry and sent Othniel. God’s spirit came upon Othniel and he became the first judge in the land of Israel.
Othniel was the younger brother of Caleb who fought alongside Moses and Joshua as the people were entering into the Promised Land. Othniel was previously used by Caleb to defeat the people that lived in Kiriath-Sepher. He did this in order to marry Caleb’s daughter Aksah. Othniel went out to battle and proved to be victorious.
Caleb had given him his daughter in marriage. This incident took place in Judges 1:12-13. God generally chooses people who worship him to lead his people. Judging from what little the Bible has to say about Otheniel’s life and past accomplishments he was the perfect choice to lead the people of Israel from captivity. Othniel gathered an army and went to war against Cushan-Rishathaim and defeated him. God had given him the victory by delivering Cushan-Rishathaim into his hands. After Othniel defeated Cushan-Rishathaim Israel experienced peace for at least 40 years until he died.
- Biblical References to Cushan Rishathaim Judges 3:5-7 Israel disappoints God by intermarrying with heathen nations.
- Judges 3:8 God uses Cushan-Rishathaim to oppress his people for about eight years.
- Judges 3:9 the people cry out for freedom from this oppression.
- Judges 3:10 Othniel was chosen by God to deliver his people from Cushan-Rishathaim.
- Judges 3:10 Othniel is given the victory by God over Cushan-Rishathaim.
- Judges 3:11 the land has peace for 40 years up until the time that Rishathaim dies.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+3&version=NIV http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/judges5.htm http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1701-aram-naharaim http://topicalbible.org/c/cushanrishathaim.htm http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Figures_The_Israelites%27_Cruel_Bondage_in_Egypt.jpg