Failure of Zebulun: Part 2 of 2 (series: Lessons on Judges)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

i (Mik 5.2; NKJV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

ii (Ge 15.16) “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

iii (2 Pet. 3.9) “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The reason God has delayed Christ’s return is His patience and concern for men that they might be saved.

iv (Rom. 1.18) “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” God’s attitude toward the sin of mankind is not one of tolerance. He does not simply hold man accountable for what may be reasonably expected of him in view of man’s nature as a sinner. If God did, His holiness and purity would be soiled by complicity with our guilt. God hates man’s sin. His wrath is a holy aversion to all that is evil. Wrath is as essential to divine righteousness as love and mercy are. God could not be free from wrath unless He was also free from all concern about His moral universe.

v (Jos. 2.8-13) “And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 9And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. 10For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon, and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. 12Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: 13And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”

vi(Jos. 6.22-25) “But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. 23And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. 24And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. 25And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”

FORTIFIED CITIES - cities strengthened by walls, towers, gates and bars (Deut. 3:5).

When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they found many fortified cities belonging to the Canaanites and Amorites (Josh. 14:12). The strength of these fortifications is proven by the fact that the Canaanites resisted the Israelite invaders for a long time. Judges 1:27-36 describes the incomplete conquest. Jerusalem, for instance, was still held by the Jebusites until the time of David (1 Chr. 11:5).

After the Israelites occupied the land of Canaan, they rebuilt and improved the destroyed defenses. King Solomon built "the Millo”, the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer" (1 Kin. 9:15). Rehoboam fortified 15 cities in Judah (2 Chr. 11:5-12). Asa fortified Geba and Mizpah (1 Kin. 15:22).

No city could hold out long against a siege without an adequate water supply. A city, therefore, was generally built near a river or a spring. Long tunnels were dug to supply water, as in the case of Hezekiah’s tunnel, also called the Siloam tunnel (2 Kin. 20:20; 2 Chr. 32:30), cut through solid rock from the spring of Gihon to the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem-a distance of about 533 meters (1,749 feet).

Israelite power was restricted primarily to the hill country and smaller towns. The larger walled cities of the Philistines and Canaanites were too strong to be taken by the Hebrews. Thus the Septuagint indicates that Judah did not take Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron, cities of the coastal Plane of Palestine. Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries.

Article 1.7: ZEBULUN, TRIBE OF
ZEBULUN, TRIBE OF — the tribe that sprang from Zebulun, son of Jacob (Num. 1:9; Deut. 27:13; Josh. 19:10, 16; Judg. 1:30). The tribe was divided into three great families headed by Zebulun’s three sons (Num. 26:26–27). At the first census taken in the wilderness, the tribe numbered 57,400 fighting men (Num. 1:30–31). The second census included 60,500 members of the tribe of Zebulun (Num. 26:27).

Zebulun played an important role in Israel’s history during the period of the JUDGES. Its fighting men were an important part of Barak’s force against Sisera (Judg. 4:6–10; 5:14, 18) and of Gideon’s army against the Midianites (Judg. 6:35). ELON the Zebulunite judged Israel for ten years (Judg. 12:12). At Hebron, 50,000 Zebulunites joined the other tribes in proclaiming David king (1 Chr. 12:33, 40).

Although Zebulun suffered during the Assyrian wars, when Tiglath-Pileser carried away captives to Assyria (2 Kin. 15:29), Isaiah prophesied that in the future Zebulun would be greatly blessed: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali . . . in Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” (Is. 9:1–2). According to the Gospel of Matthew, this prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus began His Galilean ministry (Matt. 4:12–17). Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, and Cana, where He performed His first miracle, both lay in the territory of Zebulun.

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