Judges 1:27
At that time Manasseh failed to drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, and Megiddo, or any of their villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in this land.
A Good Work ForsakenR. Rogers.Judges 1:27-28
Attitude of the World Towards the ChurchL. H. Wiseman, M. A.Judges 1:27-28
Forsaking the Lord's WorkF. G. Marchant.Judges 1:27-28

Into the motives that actuated him we need not pry. Chief of all was the great one of self-preservation. Was it honourable? Was it right for the soldiers of God to make use of such an instrument? There may have been other considerations that had weight with him. It might have been virtuous to resist the offer: was it necessarily vicious to yield to it?

I. THERE ARE MANY WHO HELP THE TRUTH FROM LOWER MOTIVES WHO MIGHT DO SO FROM HIGHER. Expediency; public benefits of religion; ties of relationship; reputation. How great the blessing to Christ's cause if the same things were done from higher motives!

II. THEY ARE BLESSED, BUT NOT AS THEY MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN. A better service would have secured a higher reward.

III. THEY CANNOT BE RELIED UPON, AND THEREFORE MAY NOT BECOME PART OF GOD'S PEOPLE. The conquering host could not trust the traitor whose help had won them the city. He must go forth with his reproach. Many churches contain the elements of weakness and ruin because they have failed to exercise a wise censorship over those admitted to their communion. The true Church is composed of those who serve God from the purest motives. - M.

Neither did Manasseh drive out.
Manasseh and Ephraim, and the rest of these tribes, did not fail in completing their warfare because they had begun imprudently, but because they did not continue believingly. The tower of conquest was unfinished, not because they had not counted the cost at the beginning, but because they forgot their infinite resources in the help of Jehovah.

I. MEN FORSAKING A WORK WHICH HAD BEEN BEGUN AFTER LONG PREPARATION. The plagues of Egypt, the miracles of the wilderness, the gifts of the manna and other supplies, and the long period of discipline in the desert, were all designed to lead up to the full inheritance of the land.

II. MEN FORSAKING A WORK WHICH HAD ALREADY SEEN PROSECUTED WITH GREAT ENERGY AND AT GREAT COST. The Church has thrown away not a little energy for want of just a little more.

III. MEN FORSAKING A WORK ABOUT WHICH THEY HAD CHERISHED ARDENT HOPES. The whole way up from Egypt had been a long path of expectation. We see here brilliant hopes blasted for ever for want of a little more faith and a little more service. How many of our once cherished visions have fled for the same reason!

IV. MEN FORSAKING A WORK IN WHICH THEY HAD ALREADY WON SPLENDID TRIUMPHS. The path of their past prowess was almost vocal against this sinful inaction and unbelief.

V. MEN FORSAKING A WORK TO WHICH GOD HAD COMMANDED THEM, IN WHICH GOD HAD MARVELLOUSLY HELPED THE, AND IN WHICH HE NO LESS WAITED TO HELP THEM STILL. They did not "remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." "They forgat His works." No less did they forget His absolute commands, and His unbroken promises.

(F. G. Marchant.)

We here learn how ready men are to leave and forsake a good course, although they have hardly, and with much ado, been brought to embrace and fasten upon it; which much concerneth us to mark. For we are easily deceived about this, and think both of ourselves and others, that if we begin to dislike and turn away from some gross and common faults that we were wont to commit, then the worst is past with us, and that we ought justly to be reckoned among the godly; whereas it is nothing so, but we be yet, for all that, far off. For a far greater matter is required to the endeavour effectual calling to repentance may be approved of God, and be sound indeed, how we ought to try and search into ourselves, and cannot now stand about it. But although we were truly turned to God, and had, as these, obeyed God for a time with a good heart, yet ought we to fear danger, in respect of our own frailty, and according to the present occasion, when we see to what point these tribes came, for all they had followed the Lord commendably for a time, in beginning to cast out the nations as they were commanded. And the reason of this, to wit, that we should thus carefully look to ourselves, is this, that we are reformed but in part, and that in small part; in which respect yet, because we have received some grace, we are able thereby to desire and go about to do God some service, and specially at some time, namely, while we be watchful to hold under our rebellious passions, assisted by grace; but what then? For we having a sea of corruption ever flowing in us, and our own concupiscence beside outward objects enticing us a contrary way; it must be drained and purged out daily, by little and little, and not be let alone in us, lest it should choke and drown the grace that we have received; which if it be, we become impotent by and by, so that we do not only cease to obey, but we are carried rather as with a stream to any evil that we be tempted to; and namely, to this one here mentioned that overtook these tribes; that is, to be weary of well doing; and so much the rather, seeing there are so many allurements and occasions in every place to provoke us and set us forward. And although we are not without hope, nor naked in the midst of all these storms, yet if we know not these things, yea, and if also we do not resist carefully such evil as I have mentioned, neither strive to nourish such sparkles of grace as are kindled in us, our hearts being set wholly hereupon, as the weightiest thing that we have to deal in; what marvel is it, though we fall from the goodness that was wrought and begun in us, and so become others than we were before?

(R. Rogers.)

"The Canaanites would dwell in that land," says the historian, repeating the words used in reference to the same tribe and the same places elsewhere (Joshua 17:12). The Hebrew word rendered "would dwell," intimates that the Canaanites wished to arrange the matter agreeably; that they made friendly overtures to the men of Manasseh to be permitted to remain — a permission which was granted them on condition of their paying tribute. Such is the attitude which, in these latter days, the world frequently assumes towards the Church of Christ in Christian countries. It is willing enough to pay tribute, both in gold and outward forms of deference, if only the Church will allow it a peaceable lodging and refrain from using against it the sword of the Spirit. Too often has the Church, like the men of Manasseh, consented to accept tribute money, whether of the State or of private individuals, as the price of permitting the world to remain unmolested within its borders; and how often has she found, in her bitter experience, the degrading and enslaving effect of such compromises — verifying to the letter the prediction of Joshua in regard to such unhallowed connections (Joshua 23. 13).

(L. H. Wiseman, M. A.)

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