CHAPTER 6: ARAB
INVASIONS DURING THE TIME OF THE JUDGES
The Judges As Saviours
The book of Judges describes
a consistent sequence of Israel turning away from God,
being punished by neighbouring Arab enemies, and then being sent a 'saviour'
- a 'Jesus'. This points forward to how Israel
will be brought to her knees by the future Arab oppression, resulting in the
coming of the true Saviour (cp. Matt. 1:21). It is significant that
almost all the judges were initially rejected by Israel,
and had various features which meant that they did not have charismatic appeal
to the people. Those facts make them all types of our Lord (1).
The pattern of 'serving' their
Arab conquerors and then 'crying unto the Lord' (e.g. Jud. 3:8,9,14,15) recalls
their servitude to the Egyptians, resulting in Israel 'crying to the Lord' (Ex.
2:23), and being answered by the Passover deliverance - which we have seen represented
the second coming. Their deliverances by the judges therefore also
typify this. " Saviours (judges) shall come up upon mount Zion to judge
the mount of Esau (so that) the Kingdom shall be the Lord's" (Obad.21).
" Saviours / judges" may be an intensive plural referring to the one
true saviour / judge, Jesus.
It is difficult to make the
many Arab invasions of Israel in the
past all have specific future applications. All we can do is become
familiar with their main features and watch current events for possible fulfilments.
Yet it is certain that the final Arab persecutions of Israel
will be a summation of all that has been done previously, and therefore certain
elements of those previous events will be seen in the last days.
It would also appear as reasonably certain that there will be two separate judgments
on these peoples, as there were on Egypt
through the plagues and then the Red Sea. This will be due
to there being two distinct periods of Arab persecution of Israel: firstly
a protracted period of domination of Israel (cp. the Egyptians using them as
slaves), followed by a short, intense persecution with the intention of their
total annihilation (cp. Pharaoh's pursuit of Israel to the Red Sea), which will
be after God's public 'coming down' to deliver His people.
The Arab dominations
during the times of the judges being for several years at a time, would suggest
that they may largely belong to the first stage outlined above.
It should be noted that we speak of two stages of persecution rather than two
invasions. The impression is given by many prophecies that Israel
will become almost a wasteland, ravaged by a series of separate judgments.
Thus there could well be a series of Arab raids on Israel
during the first stage of persecution.
It should be noted that the
Arab invasions of the Judges' period (and on many other occasions) were not
designed to subdue Israel in terms
of installing an army of occupation and bringing them to be part of their empire.
Instead they were motivated by desire for personal gain, revenge or pure bloodlust
against their traditional enemies. Israel were forced to 'serve'
them as the Egyptians made them 'serve', i.e. through forced labour to meet
inhuman production quotas (cp. Ex. 5:13). This effective death
sentence was that favoured by the Nazis, and could well be that used in the
holocaust to come.
(1) For more detail
on this see Jesus of Nazareth pp.80,81 (London: Pioneer, 1991).