Judges Chapter 17 Tuesday, Feb 21 2017 

17.1 The book of Judges is unique in this section of the remaining chapters. These five chapters are an appendix, a summation, and an overview of the times. They reveal the core of the people in this era, and reveal it’s subsequent consequences. Things start here that take a thousand years to eradicate. The events in this book are difficult to place on a timeline. Some postulate they are in sequence. Another view places them in geographical settings, beginning in the north with Deborah, moving to the center with Gideon, then the east with Jephthah, and finally the west with Samson. None of the judges ruled over the entire 12 tribes, all of them were regional at best. The major theme is there was no king in those days and every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Ultimately this was disastrous. In the mix of failure and idolatry there were those who never compromised. Boaz in the book of Ruth, is an example of a faithful man in the midst of wholesale departure from truth. Spiritual compromise always leads to moral corruption. 

17.2-13 the genesis of idolatry. This introduces us to the DNA of idolatry. How did a people with such a magnificent beginning end up being entangled with idols for a thousand years? The introduction of image worship, and the final story of Israel warring against each other, are the two major points in these last five chapters. Woven into these are the tribe of Dan moving from it’s inheritance in the south to the north. Micah attempts to put a religious spin on his idolatrous image by inviting a Levite to be his priest. This proves to ultimately be the most damning part of Israel’s idolatry. Israel tried to blend her religion with other religions. This is always more reprehensible in the eyes of God. The wandering Levite gets hired as a personal priest to Micah. This is a complete reversal in every way of the purpose of the tribe of Levi. The tribe of Levi was to serve the entire nation as priests, and their inheritance of tithe and offering supported them. The spirit of God is writing for all future generations to see the result of man made religion. The new Testament speaks of pure religion in James 1.27. It uses the term undefiled. The universal failure of man is always manifested in his attempt to improve on what God has set in place. The result? Spoiled, defiled, religion. It reeks of a single drop of poison in a fresh clear glass of water. James says this kind of religion is vain, empty and profitless. This type of religion produces what occurs in the next chapters of Judges. Mayhem, murder and molestation rule the land.

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Judges Chapter 16 Monday, Feb 20 2017 

16.1-3 the harlot and the gates of Gaza. This is one of the moments of Samson’s life that perplexes us. We see his low moments and then quickly he turns and achieves an inhuman feat. He stays with the harlot until midnight, then rips the gates of the city which weigh an incredible weight right off the wall, and carries them 38 miles uphill to Hebron. Our minds struggle with this. How? Why? How can he go from such wrong to such right so quickly? The harlot is the second woman involving Samson, the third will be Delilah. We are left to wonder what the outcome might have been had Samson been connected to a godly woman like Deborah. Is the midnight hour significant here? Many momentous events happen at midnight in the Bible. Why did he awaken? Why did he rip the gates off? Why carry them so far away? All these bizarre connections cause us to wonder. One suggestion is the foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus Christ who would assail the very gates of hell and free the captives from Abraham’s bosom. Ps 24.7 “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in”. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.

16.4-22 Delilah. History has offered us a few women who are infamous worldwide. Delilah joins the likes of Jezebel and Cleopatra for universal recognition. Her name is synonymous with treachery. We again muse what Samson saw in her. All three women he was connected with were Philistines, and all three showed no love for him. To Delilah, Samson was a cash cow who would fatten her purse by 5,500 pieces of silver. Delilah was a gold digger. It is a mystery to us that Samson could not ever see through his relationships and see the deceit. Was God trying to illustrate to Israel how they were treating Him? Israel, God’s chosen wife, was not promising to be much better than Samson’s choices. Israel was selling God out for grain. Israel also turned to the five lords of the Philistines for rewards, and sold their deliverer out as well by turning to idols. The life portrait here is being painted on a living canvas for Israel to see. Before we indict Delilah, we should always inventory our own heart to insure we are not guilty of the same actions. 

16.23-31 Samson’s death. Samson was now blind. Actually, he had been spiritually blind all along. The deliverer of Israel is out of sight for a while, but when he returns it is with great victory. The victory at Samson’s death is one of the great Old Testament moments. The shadow of this moment reaches all the way to the coming of our deliverer. Jesus is away for a while, but our deliverer will come again and when He does the whole house of the Philistines (the wicked) will fall. Samson, the lone wolf deliverer, brings his greatest victory at his death. Jesus Christ, our great deliverer, brought His greatest victory at His death on Calvary.

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Judges Chapter 15 Saturday, Feb 18 2017 

15.1-5 the foxes. Time had passed and the anger of Samson had waned. To reconcile with his wife he takes a gift and goes to see her. This altercation is to be the launchpad of one of his most heroic feats. His father in law has given his wife to another so Samson seeks revenge. Whether he caught jackals (which run in groups) or foxes (which are solitary), it is an amazing feat. These animals are numerous in Palestine and are mentioned several places in the scriptures. Probably at nightfall Samson sends these animals with fire tied to their tails into the Shefala of Philistia. The Shefala is the plain of Philistia where their corn was grown and was on the border of Dan and Judah. This was a fertile plain where much corn was grown. The fire spread to the vineyards and olive groves. The Philistines were getting some of the same medicine they had doled out to Israel. It is apropos that Samson’s wife revealed the riddle to avoid being burned with fire, and she ultimately ends up suffering that exact judgment at the hands of her countrymen. So often the thing we give up to appease unrighteousness, comes back to be our defeat.

15.6-20 This event gave birth to an even greater heroic event. The angry Philistines seek to kill Samson and he has a running battle with them and defeats them. Samson is unique as a judge in that he is never a general or leads an army. The other judges mostly led armies. He could not lead men any more than he could control his own desires. Samson flees to a fortified place called the rock of Etam. It is here in the place of the falcon or hawk (etam), that Samson’s most famous victory occurs. Judah sends 3,000 men to seek the cause of the problem and they leave Samson to fight alone. Judah sells him out to save themselves. Judah binds him and delivers Samson to the Philistines. It is of note that Samson was not recognized by his own brethren as a deliverer. The refrain of Samson in verse 16 concerning heap upon heaps indicates a running battle of sorts. It appears the Philistines began to flee and Samson pursued and left more than one heap of dead enemies. It has been debated if it was a literal 1000 men or if this number represents a great multitude. The word is used over 500 times and almost universally means a literal number. The law of Hermeneutics would dictate if it can be literal, it is literal. This jawbone today would be enshrined in a museum somewhere, but Samson casts it away. The power was not in the bone but rather in the benevolence of the Lord. He names the place Enhakhore the fountain of one calling. He is still listed as judging Israel 20 years and is listed in Hebrews 11 as a hero of faith, even though he was a lone wolf judge.

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Judges Chapter 14 Friday, Feb 17 2017 

14.1-10 Samson’s bride. The ways of God sometimes befuddle us. The achieving of His purpose, and the means in which he does it, at times baffles us. One thing is for sure, God does nothing by reaction. He knows where every situation is headed. Howbeit, there are times he uses people’s choices to achieve an end he desires. Samson’s life is a lesson in how self will is a tragic way of life. God does not allow Samson’s defects and failures to abort His divine purpose. Timnath lay just across the frontier border, and the moment of Samson’s marriage is a lesson in not marrying someone who is a Philistine. This marriage was trouble from the start. An unholy marriage pulls you down to levels you would not go otherwise. This is illustrated in Samson violating two of his three Nazarite vows. He touched a dead animal and attended a drinking feast. The New Testament is clear in teaching marriage should only be in the Lord. 

14.11-20 the riddle. The riddles of life are always born of our failures. The why’s of our life never center on when we obeyed. It is the dark moments and our weak moments that cause us riddles. This riddle was drawn from Samson breaking his vow. His vow hid the riddle from the 30 men who were trying to figure it out. He did not touch dead things, so they never mentally went there. This principal is the fountain of guilt and shame on all men. The secret failures that no one observes provide the riddles of life we cannot solve.

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Judges Chapter 13 Thursday, Feb 16 2017 

13.1 Samson. Few Characters in or out of the Holy Scriptures are as polarizing as Samson. From the amazing events surrounding his birth, to his Nazarite vow, to his ill fated marriage, to his incredible superhuman feats, and finally to his death, he captures our imagination. We are as fascinated with him as the Philistines were. His deeds of incredible strength and his bouts of weakness mesmerize us. There is no one like him anywhere in the Bible. The secular world has heard of him and is one of the very few universal known personalities outside the Bible. His larger than life persona also carries those associated with him along with him. Who would have ever heard of Delilah? She would be just another unknown loose floosie except she met Samson. At the end Samson does not die quietly in old age as many famous people of the Bible. His death is like his life, explosive to the very last moment. Yet, he is enshrined in the hall of faith of Hebrews chapter 11. Samson is a quirk of great spiritual moments and the lowest lows a man can go. No life in the Bible better portrays the nation of Israel more aptly. Samson reflects his times. Incredible victories then paralyzing failures. He is the last judge presented. Possibly this is because he is the summation of this era more than any other individual. He was a product of this time when every man did that which was right in his own eyes. His life is laid bare for us to see the result of this 450 year period where God showed man that man cannot rule himself. The greatest revelation of life is we all have a little of Samson in us.

13.2- (the western region). This section deals with the last region mentioned. The north, central, and east areas have all been documented and now we learn of the western region. The judge raised up for this is Samson. As with the other regions, the judge himself is detailed in their life qualities. This information is about the region as well as the person. The gentle faith and overall spiritual tone of the north is embodied in Deborah. The timid, fearful faith of the central is reflected in Gideon. The reckless brash faith of the east is seen clearly in Jephthah and his vow. And now the insipid faith of the west will be made clear by this unique judge.

13.3-5 the parents of Samson. This woman is barren. Just like the western region is barren. She needs a divine miracle as does this region. A special vow is needed to jump start this area of banal faith. So God provides. Samson is an announced son. The answer to her barrenness is to live a dedicated separated life and to guide her child in the same direction. This is also what this region needed. This region had succumbed to the deities of the Philistines. This region needed inner consecration and it needed to pass that on to the next generation.

13.6-11 Manoah. This is an example that there were people all around that had held on to their faith. Another example was Boaz. Manoah seems to be a Godly man who is ready to follow a spiritual leader, even his own son. These two people present the value of godly parents and how their children can affect nations for God.

13.12-20 the angel. This sequence of events is captivating. Manoah having conversation with an angel, and not knowing it was an angel. The angel patiently waiting for them. The refused food, then the ascension in the flame. This would nail down any future doubts about Samson when his life became erratic. God was giving this couple the absolute assurance Samson was a called deliverer for all the coming moments when his actions might cause them to wonder.

13.21-25 Samson grows. The economy of words in the Bible frustrates us at times. We would love to be privy to some of the things Samson was doing in those early years when the spirit of the Lord moved upon him. We are left to wonder at the marvel of the moment when his parents first saw this phenomenon. The exchanged glances between them, the arched eyebrows. They at times must have stood slack jawed at what they saw. It is very possible this is why they did not object more strenuously when he asked for a Philistine bride. We are reminded, the angel of the Lord did no more appear to them. Every life reaction on their part had to be based on that initial angelic visit. We are left to wonder how many times did they wish for one more visit. 

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Judges Chapter 12 Wednesday, Feb 15 2017 

12.1-7 Jephthah and Ephraim. As is so often, the question arises, why? Why is this interlude placed in the scriptures? We know all scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable. What is the lesson here for the next 35 centuries? First there is the attitude of Ephraim that surfaces more than once in their history. They seemed to be easily offended and always seeking issue if they were not promoted. This proclivity is not indigent to Ephraim. It is common among many people. It is born of a deep insecurity. It fosters jealousy and strife. In this case, it ultimately cost Ephraim 42,000 men. Jephthah tried to appease with words as he had with the King of Ammon. These same Ephraimites had also fussed with Gideon in the same manner. Ephraim wanted preeminence without sacrifice. This is the second lesson from this interlude. If you want the glory then do not sit and wait for the battle to come to you. Leadership is won, not inherited.

12.8-15 Ibizan, Elon, and Abdon. These judges are similar to Tola and Jair. There are no deeds mentioned. It appears from the arrangement of the text, these were the successors of Jephthah. This would mean their leadership was in the east as was Jephthah’s. These judges ruled for about 25 years. There appears to be no notable events in this period of time, or none that the Holy Spirit feels provides a life lesson for the following generations.

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The Story Behind The Expository Series Tuesday, Feb 14 2017 

The Story Behind the Expository Series

This is a story about a man, his morals, and his ethics. The man’s name was Millard Deramus. He was my paternal grandfather. 

Millard lived at the end of a dirt and gravel road in Western Central Arkansas. When the road, as it was, reached his homestead, it turned and headed out of the woods. He was born a quarter of a mile from where he lived his entire life. I am not sure if he ever ventured out of the state of Arkansas. Possibly he got as far as a neighboring state once.

Many years ago he had a neighbor he simply referred to as Mr. Poole. One day Mr. Poole left. When it came time to pay the yearly taxes on their property, Mr. Poole had not returned. Millard was a good neighbor, so he did what he felt good neighbors do, he decided Mr. Poole’s taxes should be paid so when Mr. Poole returned, he would not be in arrears with the state of Arkansas. 

Millard hitched his mules and went on to Mr. Poole’s land and cut a load of pulp wood and took it to the mill and sold it. He then went to the county seat and paid Mr. Poole’s taxes. The next year Mr. Poole had still not returned, so Millard again cut pulp wood off Mr. Poole’s land, sold it, and paid the taxes on Mr. Poole’s land. This continued for many, many years. Mr. Poole never returned and each year my grandfather would cut timber off of Mr. Poole’s land and sell it and pay the taxes on Mr. Poole’s land.

I was there the day the attorney came to see Millard. We were on the back porch that had been screened in, and we were drinking coffee. I still have the two coffee cups we used that day. I heard the conversation from three feet away. The attorney had a briefcase full of papers he wanted Millard to sign. 

The attorney informed Millard that according to the state of Arkansas, Millard was the owner of the 280 acres next door by the default of paying the taxes for the last 20 years. The name Millard Deramus was on every yearly receipt for over 20 years. The amount of money being discussed was substantial. I watched my grandfather closely. There was no reaction at all. No smile, not even a raised eyebrow.

Millard patiently waited for the attorney to finish. The attorney requested my grandfather to sign the documents accepting ownership of 280 acres that joined his 70 acres. The value of the land at that time, including the timber, was well over a quarter of a million dollars. When the attorney finished and asked my grandfather to sign to documents he quietly and firmly said no, I will not sign. He informed the attorney that was not his land and he had never taken anything that did not belong to him in his life.

The amount of money was staggering to me. I was watching a man who had lived a simple rustic life for all of his eighty plus years. He wore bib overalls and drove old pick up trucks. When younger he worked as a blacksmith out under the oak tree in his yard. I still have items he forged under that old oak tree. I watched that day as the attorney attempted to stoke the fire of avarice in Millard Deramus.  

The attorney told Millard all he could do with several hundred thousand dollars. He floated the idea of a new home, a new truck, retirement, travel. Millard just stared at the attorney. No comment. None. The attorney tried again. Will you just sign Millard? For your children? No comment. None. Finally the attorney asked is there anything I can do to get you to sign these papers? My grandfather simply shook his head no. He said one sentence. He said “it ain’t my land”. 

My grandfather died and was buried a short distance from where he lived his entire life. My grandmother (Dolly), lived a few more years. The children convinced her to sign the papers to claim ownership of the land because it would simply go back to the state otherwise. She signed, the land was sold and my father was one of eight children who inherited. 

When my father died I received my inheritance, part of which was the money from the sale of Mr. Poole’s land. For a long time I pondered what to do. I did not feel like I could accept money I had witnessed my grandfather refuse on the afternoon on the back porch so many years before. So I waited. I did nothing. I never spent one dime of that money.

In 2016 an idea came to me that seemed an appropriate way to use that money. It is the money being used to produce the Expository Series. I did not know of any Apostolic writings that were doing an Expository Series. So I took that money and began to print books for Apostolic people to read.

The books of the Expository Series are printed without charge to the authors. The proceeds and profit of the books sold online go back into a non profit fund to print more Apostolic books. None of the online profit is going to any personal use for anyone. If an author buys his book direct from wholesale after it is published and sells it, then he is welcomed to keep any profit from those sales.

I would like to thank all the men who have contributed their work to this endeavor. Scott Hall, Bart Adkins, Vaughn Reece, Kevin Archer, Ben Weeks, and Edward Seabrooks have all contributed. We have now published 15 volumes and have 3 more to be published in the next 60 days. Others have shown interest in publishing their works also. Our goal is to have 20 volumes published by the end of 2017.

The publisher we are using has informed me we are their best seller they have ever published. We have now sold several thousand dollars of books since September 1, 2016. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has purchased our product.

Now you know the story behind the Expository Series. A simple Christian man with ethics and morals, opened his heart, and showed me his faith, on a warm spring day, in a simple homestead, many years ago. Today I say thank you to my grandfather, Millard Deramus. Thank you for your ethics. Thank you for your morals. Thank you for your Christian faith.  

May your memory be blessed and revered. You never travelled 100 miles from where you were born, but your legacy has spanned America.

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Judges Chapter 11 Monday, Feb 13 2017 

11.1-3 Jephthah (the eastern region). Jephthah is the ninth judge of Israel and delivered God’s people from 18 years of oppression by Ammon. Jephthah was an illegitimate child cast out from the family because they did not want to share the inheritance. Jephthah fled to Tob and joined himself to some worthless men. The inhabitants of Gilead summon him back to deliver them from Ammon. He is successful and makes his famous vow concerning his daughter. He later killed 42,000 of the tribe of Ephraim. He is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as a hero of faith.

11.4-10 Gilead. This region is very luxuriant and well watered. The contrast the western part of the country is stark. Ammon claims Israel took this region from them after the exodus from Egypt, which Jephthah ignores. The story of this man draws an early parallel to Jesus. Jesus was also rejected by his brethren, then becomes the captain of our salvation. As with Jesus, Jephthah did not allow his parents to deter his mission. Jephthah realizes they turn to him in desperation, not because of love or respect.

11.11-24 Once Jephthah is made captain he dialogs with Ammon. The discussion rehashes old accusations. Included in the argument, Jephthah challenges them to allow their God to prove himself. This may be the catalyst that causes the writer of Hebrews to include Jephthah in the heroes of faith. Jephthah tried to negotiate without war, but was unsuccessful. Jephthah’s final answer was we will see whose God is more powerful. 

11.25-28 Jephthah bolsters his argument by submitting the witness of Balak, and by extension Balaam. The King of Ammon is unconvinced so they go to war. 

11.29-40 the vow. Few subjects in holy scripture have been scrutinized as much as this. The answer is still inconclusive. The evidence is difficult because he says whatever comes out of his house. This limits the vow greatly. Some believe he offered his daughter as a burnt offering in the custom of the nations around him at that time (Mic 6.6-8). They argue God did not condone this, but he did not intervene. Later the prophets would rebuke this practice. It was based on giving to God your most prized possession and mirrored Abraham and Issac. Added to this is her surrender to the vow, this is mirrored in Mary (Luke 1.38). This deep love for God would overshadow any human love by both Jephthah and his daughter. This would be cause for him to be included in the great chapter of faith in Hebrews 11. It is easy to lose sight of the world at that time because we see it 3,500 years later. Should it be the case that he offered her on a burnt offering, is this less to be pitied than the parent who lays their child on the altar of worldliness? Many parents lay their children on altars of sin, ungodliness, and unrighteousness. Do we grieve as acutely for these children as we do for this damsel offered in deep love and consecration to God? The tribute to this girl by the daughters of Israel lend further support to the finality of Jephthah’s actions. She was praised each year for 4 days by the young maidens. Jephthah won the greatest of victories and paid the highest of prices. Such is life, great victory always comes at the highest price.

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Judges Chapter 10 Saturday, Feb 11 2017 

10.1-5 Tolo and Jair. These two judges are classified as “minor” judges along with Shamgar, Izban, Elon and Abdon. They are considered thus because they have no record of military deliverance from oppressors. Their mention is brief. If the regional concept of the Book of Judges holds true, these enter the pages of Holy Record because of the region they occupy. They are from the eastern part of the nation. They are the defendants of Manasseh and the area of their rule is the inheritance of the tribe of Manasseh. 

10.6-18 There is ample evidence here of the lasting influence of the former inhabitants of the land, the Ammonites. The weakness of Israel again takes them down the path of Idolatry. God also allows the Philistines to literally break Israel in pieces. What a sad epitaph that it takes this to bring Israel back to her God. The predators strike defenseless Israel. God is finally ready to give up. He states He will deliver them no more (13). Go serve the Gods you have chosen. Israel recants and again puts away the gods from among them. This period, the third overall stage of the Judges, extends from Jair to the rise of Samuel. This is a period of great humiliation for the nation. God gave them into the hands of not one, but two hostile nations. The Ammonites invade from the east and the Philistines from the west. The coming Judges face this crisis. Jephthah will war the Ammonites and Samson will war the Philistines. The unfinished business will eventually be left for Samuel to mop up. Seven nations had been defeated, seven foreign Gods deposed. God had delivered His people seven times, and His delivering grace was waning.
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Judges Chapter 9 Friday, Feb 10 2017 

9.1-5 Abimelech. Abimelech was the King of Shechem during the time of the judges. He was Gideon’s son by a concubine. He reigned 3 years in Shechem. He killed the 70 sons of Gideon in hopes of being the ruler of Israel also. The youngest son, Jotham was not killed.

9.6-21 Abimelech is made king of Shechem. He is called out by Gideon’s youngest son Jotham. The parable Jotham puts forth is about trees. Jotham likens Abimelech to a bramble, inferring he is not even a tree. He is not a legitimate tree. Jotham then runs for his life fearing the retribution of Abimelech. Jotham declares they have brought on their own destruction.

9.22-57 the fall of Abimelech. After 3 years God sends an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. Abimelech shows us the difference between a king and a despot. Abimelech was reaping the consequences of his cruelty to the 70 sons of Gideon. Ps 7.15-17, Abimelech dug a pit and fell in it, his violent dealing came down on him. Finally Abimelech is killed in a battle where he goes too close to a wall and a woman drops a stone on his head. Jotham’s fable comes to pass. Gaal, the son of Ebed seems to be a mercenary that the men of Shechem collude with. During the feast of the wine harvest, Gaal calls for a revolt against Abimelech. This anger against Abimelech may go back to his being the son of Gideon who destroyed the altar of Baal. War ensues between Gaal and Abimelech, and Gaal is defeated and humiliated. Abimelech continues his cruel ways by burning down the tower of Shechem with the men inside. Finally Abimelech is killed and God renders Abimelech’s wickedness back on him. The question we face is why such detail about this man and few details about others? What is the criteria to cause a story like this to be detailed? The affairs of men do not seem to be something God necessarily documents for the Holy Record. The bigger picture here is the demise of Baal worship under Gideon and then the reinstatement of Baal worship under Abimelech. This theme does indeed merit attention to detail and for this reason we have the abundance of minutiae. This worship of Baal would continue to plague the nation of Israel for the next thousand years, and would only be cured by the Babylonian captivity.

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