SOAP Journal – 20 July 2017 (Judges 3:9-10)

When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

Judges 3:9-10

The first judge recorded in this book is Othniel, the son of Kenaz. I am looking for parallels between Christ and the judges and Othniel has a couple of interesting parallels.

Othniel means “lion of God,” so there is already something of a parallel in the form of one of the names of Christ: the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The book has already had something to say about Othniel. Judges records that Othniel captured a city — Kiriath-sepher; the “city of the book” — in pursuit of the woman who became his wife — Achsah, the daughter of Caleb. The “lion of God” conquers a single city; just one thing the first time we see him and it is in pursuit of his bride. The second time we see the “lion of God,” he is waging war on the enemies of God’s people. War and judgment are confined to the second coming of the “lion of God.” Likewise Christ came the first time to get his bride — the Church — and will come a second time to judge and to make war.

Achsah, Othniel’s bride, is the daughter of Caleb. Caleb means “dog.” It is interesting that the Jews of Jesus’ time regarded non-Jewish people as dogs and it is from these “dogs” that Jesus draws His Church; His Bride. And the gentile-to-dog comparison is not some bit of historical conjecture, but something recorded in the pages of scripture. Jesus speaks to a gentile woman and tells her that it is not good to throw the children’s food to the dogs when she asks for a healing and she replies that even the dogs can eat the scraps that fall from the table (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30). The comparison of gentiles to dogs was well-known at the time.

As Othniel conquered a city for Achsah, Jesus conquered sin and death for me and all believers. As Othniel’s first appearance was to claim his bride and his second appearance to judge and make war, so, too, Jesus came the first time to claim His Bride and will return to judge and to make war.

Thank You, God, that Your first appearance was to make me Your own — to conquer sin and death that any who believes might be Your Bride. Thank You that the judgment is not withheld, but just waiting on the right moment. Please make me faithful to You, that I might bless Your heart.

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