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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Judges 18

 

 

Verses 1-31

Judges 18:12 And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjathjearim.

Judges 18:12Word Study on "Mahanehdan" - PTW says the name "Mahanehdan" means, "tents of judgment."

Judges 18:30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Prayer of Manasseh , he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.

Judges 18:30 — "and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh" - Word Study on "Manasseh" - The Hebrew word found in Judges 18:30 reads "Manasseh" ( מְ נַ שֶּׁה) (H 4519), while the original Hebrew text reads "Moses" ( מֹשֶׁה) (H 4872). 32] Because the ancient Jews did not want to associate the shameful acts of Jonathan with the almost sacred name of Moses, they began to pronounce the name "Manasseh" instead of "Moses" in the synagogue readings of this text. 33] At some point in time, in order not to forget this alteration, they inserted the letter "n" ( נַ) between the M and the S as a superscript letter above the line.

32] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 118-9.

33] Christian Ginsburg writes, "The fact, however, that the grandson of the great lawgiver should be the first priest of idolatry was considered both degrading to the memory of Moses and humiliating to the national susceptibilities. Hence in accordance with one of their canons to avoid all cacophony the redactors of the text suspended the letter Nun ( נ) over the name Moses ( משה), thus making it Manasseh." See Christian D. Ginsburg, Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible (London: The Trinitarian Bible Society, 1897), 335-6.

When the later Massorites came to affix the vowel points to the Old Testament Scriptures, they left the text as it was. Therefore, they added the vowels that matched the name of Prayer of Manasseh , rather than Moses for easier pronunciation. Thus, this letter has stayed within the text until today. However, the correct and original reading is "Moses", as some modern translations reveal.

Darby, "And the children of Dan set up the graven image; and Jehonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses; he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land."

Rotherham, "And the sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image, and, Jonathan, son of Gershom, son of Moses, he and his sons, became priests to the tribe of the Danites, until the day of the captivity of the land."

NAB, "The Danites set up the carved idol for themselves, and Jonathan, son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his descendants were priests for the tribe of the Danites until the time of the captivity of the land."

NIV, "There the Danites set up for themselves the idols, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land."

RSV, "And the Danites set up the graven image for themselves; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land."

WEB, "The children of Dan set up for themselves the engraved image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land."

Comments- The Scriptures tell us that Gershom was the son of Moses and not Manasseh ( Exodus 18:2-4, 1 Chronicles 23:15).

Exodus 18:2-4, "Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back, And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land: And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said Hebrews , was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:"

1 Chronicles 23:15, "The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer."

This is corrected in many modern translations. There is no other Scripture saying that Jonathan was the son of Gershom.

Judges 18:30 — "until the day of the captivity of the land" - Comments- The phrase "until the day of the captivity of the land" either makes a reference to the Assyrian captivity of Israel in 722 B.C. ( 2 Kings 17:5-6) or perhaps the campaign of Tiglath-Pileser III in 734-732 B.C. ( 2 Kings 15:29). Therefore, the book of Judges was edited much later than it was initially written, or it was written in its entirety after 722 B.C, which is less likely.

2 Kings 15:29, "In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria."

2 Kings 17:5-6, "Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes."

 


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These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Judges 18:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/judges-18.html. 2013.

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