Judges 11:4
And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) In process of time.—Marg., after days, implying the time between Jephthah’s expulsion in early youth and his mature manhood.

The children of Ammon made war.—The fact that this is introduced as a new circumstance, though it has been fully related in Judges 10:8-9; Judges 10:17-18, probably arises from the use of some new, and probably Gileadite, document in these two chapters.

Jdg 11:4-5. The children of Ammon made war against Israel — The Ammonites had oppressed them eighteen years, and now, when the Israelites begin to make opposition, they commence a war against them. The elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah — By direction from God, who both qualified him for, and called him to the office of a judge, otherwise they would not have been at liberty to choose a base-born person.11:1-11 Men ought not to be blamed for their parentage, so long as they by their personal merits roll away any reproach. God had forgiven Israel, therefore Jephthah will forgive. He speaks not with confidence of his success, knowing how justly God might suffer the Ammonites to prevail for the further punishment of Israel. Nor does he speak with any confidence at all in himself. If he succeed, it is the Lord delivers them into his hand; he thereby reminds his countrymen to look up to God as the Giver of victory. The same question as here, in fact, is put to those who desire salvation by Christ. If he save you, will ye be willing that he shall rule you? On no other terms will he save you. If he make you happy, shall he make you holy? If he be your helper, shall he be your Head? Jephthah, to obtain a little worldly honour, was willing to expose his life: shall we be discouraged in our Christian warfare by the difficulties we may meet with, when Christ has promised a crown of life to him that overcometh?The land of Tob - To the north of Gilead, toward Damascus. The readiness with which Jephthah took to the freebooter's life gives us a lively picture of the unsettled times in which he lived. Jud 11:4-11. The Gileadites Covenant with Jephthah.

4. in process of time—on the return of the season.

the children of Ammon made war against Israel—Having prepared the way by the introduction of Jephthah, the sacred historian here resumes the thread of his narrative from Jud 10:17. The Ammonites seem to have invaded the country, and active hostilities were inevitable.

In process of time, Heb. after some days; or, after a year; days being oft put for a year, as hath been showed, after that year mentioned Judges 10:8. The Ammonites had vexed and oppressed them eighteen years, and now that the Israelites begin to make opposition, they commence a war against them. Or, some time after Jephthah had been banished, and after he had taken up arms, and given them some disturbance. Or, after the Israelites assembled together, as is said, Judges 10:18. And it came to pass in process of time,.... Some time after Jephthah had been expelled from his father's house, and he was become famous for his martial genius, and military exploits; or at the close of the eighteen years' oppression of the children of Israel by the Ammonites, or some few days after the children of Israel were gathered together at Mizpeh, that the people and princes of Gilead were preparing for war with Ammon, and were thinking of a proper person to be their general:

that the children of Ammon made war against Israel; not only passed over Jordan again, and encamped in Gilead, but began to attack them in some place or another, at least threatened them with it, and made motions towards it.

And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. after a while] An indefinite mark of time as in Jdg 14:8, Jdg 15:1. The wording implies that the Ammonites have not been mentioned before; this is another reason for believing that the introductory notice Jdg 10:6-18 was composed later than the present passage.Verse 4. - This verse brings us back to Judges 10:17, and reunites the two streams of narrative. Therefore the Lord would not save them any more. They might get help from the gods whom they had chosen for themselves. The Israelites should now experience what Moses had foretold in his song (Deuteronomy 32:37-38). This divine threat had its proper effect. The Israelites confessed their sins, submitted thoroughly to the chastisement of God, and simply prayed for salvation; nor did they content themselves with merely promising, they put away the strange gods and served Jehovah, i.e., they devoted themselves again with sincerity to His service, and so were seriously converted to the living God. "Then was His (Jehovah's) soul impatient (תּקצר, as in Numbers 21:4) because of the troubles of Israel;" i.e., Jehovah could no longer look down upon the misery of Israel; He was obliged to help. The change in the purpose of God does not imply any changeableness in the divine nature; it simply concerns the attitude of God towards His people, or the manifestation of the divine love to man. In order to bend the sinner at all, the love of God must withdraw its helping hand and make men feel the consequences of their sin and rebelliousness, that they may forsake their evil ways and turn to the Lord their God. When this end has been attained, the same divine love manifests itself as pitying and helping grace. Punishments and benefits flow from the love of God, and have for their object the happiness and well-being of men.
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