Judges of Ancient Israel (May-June 2014)

judges of ancient israel

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Introduction

Explore your faculty of judgment though an intuitive look at five "judges" from ancient Israel. Do you know your inner Deborah? What is she telling you? How about your Gideon nature? Do you fall to destructive behavior from time to time? Who is Jephthah and where is he lurking? Have you lost your Sampson strength? Does the wisdom of Samuel come to you?

Join Rev. Eleanor Fleming Thursdays May 22, 29, June 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for a metaphysical Bible study of the Judges of Ancient Israel.

Lesson 1 given on May 22, 2014:
Lesson 2 given on May 29, 2014:
Lesson 3 given on June 5, 2014:
Lesson 4 given on June 12, 2014:
Lesson 5 given on June 19, 2014:
Lesson 6 given on June 26, 2014:

This class begins with an exploration of our spiritual faculty of judgment. The need for judges arose because conflicts continued in the Promised Land between the Israelites and the Canaanites as well as amongst the 12 tribes. A God-appointed judge would then emerge to restore the peace.

We will study 4 outstanding judges, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson, each of whom represents a different “flavor” of judgment as that faculty pairs up with one of the other faculties. We will conclude with a study of Samuel who is the bridge between two periods of Israelite history -- Judges and Kings. Samuel is a judge, prophet, and kingmaker.

Course Guide

Lesson 1: Judges Of Israel Introduction And Overview

I Prologue

A. Summary of the Conquest (1:1-2:5)

B. The Deuteronomistic Introduction (2:6-3:6)

The pattern:

  • People of Israel worship God and all is well;
  • people worship other gods and there is trouble
  • people cry to God for help and God appoints a judge to lead them out of trouble
  • people defeat their enemy and give thanks to God, restoring the relationship
  • repeat

II Israel’s Deliverance by the Judges (3:7-16:31)

  1. Othniel (3:7-11)
  2. Ehud (3:12=30)
  3. Shamgar (3:21-
  4. Deborah (4:1-5:31)
  5. Gideon (6:1-8:35)
  6. Abimelech (9:1-57)
  7. Tola (10: 1-2)
  8. Jair (10:3-5)
  9. Jephthah (10:6-12:7)
  10. Ibzan (12:8-10)
  11. Elon (12:11-12)
  12. Abdon (12:13-15)
  13. Samson (13:1-16:31)

III Samuel: Judge, Prophet, and Kingmaker

MEANINGS OF NAMES AND SYMBOLS:

  • Judges of Israel--the judgment faculty in its various forms of expression
  • Story of Deborah: “Deborah means a bee. Bees are noted for their fine sense of discrimination...The prophetess Deborah represents judgment based upon spiritual discrimination.” (Charles Fillmore) Deborah being a woman represents the intuitive faculty. Therefore, she symbolizes judgment guided and directed by the intuition; or spiritual discrimination.
  • Barak--lightning; thunderbolt; a flaming sword; a gem. “The fiery executiveness of an active will...” (Charles Fillmore)
  • Canaanites--one who exists in and for material things; merchant, pirate, trafficker in materiality; inhabitants of the land of Canaan at the time that the Israelites took possession of it; the elemental life forces of the subconscious mind; sense thought, based on material and transitory things.
  • Palm Tree--Trees symbolize the nervous system; strong states of consciousness, the energy and influence of which flow throughout our entire being; they bear fruit and their fibers used a a basic material of construction for various objects and buildings; a state of strong faith which expresses itself in the physical realm (bears fruit).
  • Sisera--fermenting, boiling, battle array, ready for war, enraged, a pot boiling over. “The great aggressiveness, passion, inner unrest, and lack of poise and dominion that exist in the life forces of man while he is under the dominion of carnal thought...” (Charles Fillmore) The human tendency to be aggressive and domineering.
  • Jael (Anael)--he will arise; he will ascend; an ibex; a chamois; a wild mountain goat; the animal phase of the human soul lifting itself to a higher level by means of its great desire for the real and true things of Spirit. (Charles Fillmore)
  • Head-- “The center from which the mind expresses various thoughts and ideas.” (Charles Fillmore). in some contexts it represents the intellect.
  • Megiddo--place of many organisms; place of troops (i.e. for predatory incursions); crowded place; rendezvous; place of great abundance; most fortunate place; root form of Armegddon; “The gathering together of the hordes of error thoughts in consciousness...to make war against the truer and higher thoughts and ideals of the individual...” (Charles Fillmore; the place of conflict in the mind between higher, spiritually directed thoughts and lower sensually directed thoughts.

“When the inner intuitive judgment (Deborah) and the directive power in understanding (Barak) are rightly joined, victories over the enemies of the Children of Israel follows. The Children of Israel represent the real, enduring spiritual thoughts, and the enemies are the material, transitory thoughts. Barak (the executiveness of the will, the general of the armies of Israel should not go into action without good judgment. (Deborah) The only way to overcome the opposition of the adverse thought realm is to understand the law and keep constantly unified with judgment based upon inner discrimination. This is represented by Deborah accompanying Barak to battle. The victory belongs to intuitive judgment, and not to the will.” MBD, p.168

Lesson 2: Gideon Judges 6:11-8:33

  1. Gideon means cutter-off; mutilator; destroyer; tree feller; impetuous warrior; denial, our God-given ability to deny the power of negative thoughts and conditions over us.
  2. Midianites: descendants of Midian, the 4th son of Abraham whose name means rule government; judgment; subjugation; striving; contending; pleading; inner strife and contention.
  3. Oak Trees: represent something very strong and protective; “...those who trust God as their defense, as their refuge, their fortress,...shall not only be kept from all evil and its results, but shall continue to grow and unfold in understanding, in spirituality, and in every good.” (Charles Fillmore) A state of mind in which we recognize God as our refuge and our strength; in some contexts, “the Secret Place of the Most High.”
  4. Angel: “A messenger of God; the projection into consciousness of a spiritual idea direct from the Fountainhead, Jehovah...The word of Truth, in which is centered the power of God to overcome all limited beliefs and conditions. (Charles Fillmore). Spiritually inspired thoughts and words; direct inspiration from God.
  5. Casting of Fleece: a product of sheep’s wool; sheep represent spiritually centered thoughts; casting the fleece means preparing the way by letting your spiritually center thoughts go before you in all that you do, i.e. continually asking for guidance (surrendering your will to God’s will) and positive visualizaion.
  6. 300: In the context of human action, the number 3 refers to the 3 basic aspects of man’s being--body, soul, and spirit. Zeros added to any number add wholeness and completion to its use, emphasizing its symbolic power.
  7. Lapping the water: Water represents the cleansing power of spirit; lapping the water means becoming one with that power.
  8. Barley loaf: Bread represents spiritual substance; barley loaf refers to Gideon’s use of spiritual substance since he was most likely a farmer of barley.

“The enemy against whom Gideon waged war was Midian, which means strife or contention. To many people there is no other enemy that is so difficult to kill. Petty quarrels, jealousies, uncharitable thoughts--how they come back again and again! They can never be overcome except by positive denial made in the realization that no error has any power or reality of itself. This form of denial with an assurance of the power and love of God, will overcome all strife. The Midianites must be exterminated before we can possess the Promised Land in its entirety. We must ‘smite the Midianites as one man,’ as impersonal evil, and consider even that as a claim that never was and never shall be.” MBD 234

Lesson 3: Jephthah

  • Jephthah: whom Jehovah sets free; he will open; he will loosen; he will unbind; the open way to freedom; spiritual judgment used with persistence which opens the way to spiritual freedom even in the face of overwhelming odds; persistent spiritual judgment.
  • Amonites: descendants of Ben-ami, son of Lot, and enemies of the Israelites; Ammon means a great people, a fellow countryman. “Popular opinion; also the wild, uncultivated states of consciousness such as thoughts of sensuality, sin, and ignorance have formed in the outer world. Careless disorderly thinking.
  • Jephthah’s only daughter: all that he is in relation to the world; love in its natural expression.
  • Ephraimites: descendants of Joseph’s second son, Ephraim, whose name means doubly fruitful, very productive; will of man in its expression in the world for the things of our world reflect our personal choices along the way; Ephraimites represent thought belonging to personal will.
  • Gilead: Mound of witness; enduring rock, rock of time; great endurance; a high place in consciousness where one stands strong in the expression of spiritual discernment; steadfast faith.

“A very influential thought in the judgment faculty in man. Though cast out as evil by the more formal, established religious thoughts (his brethren), and denied inheritance with them, this Jephthah thought persists in holding to the good, to perfection....Through Jehovah, the I AM...the Jephthah thought becomes first a deliverer and then a judge of Israel (the true religious and spiritual thoughts of the consciousness). It even takes precedence over its brothers... So Jephthah, this ruling thought, having been given authority, leads the Israelites (true thoughts) to victory over the Ammonites (impure, ignorant, and disorderly thoughts), the soul is established in purity and Truth, and the land (body) has peace. “ (MBD, 337)

Lesson 4: Samson

  • Samson: sunlike; little sun; “physical strength under spiritual discipline or consciousness of spiritual strength.” (Charles Fillmore) Strength in executing spiritual judgment.
  • Manoah: resting quieting; restoring; giving leaving; forsaking; renewal of strength through waiting on the Lord.
  • Philistines: rolling about; transitory; migrating; emigrating; moving to and fro; wandering; deviating from a true course; rejected. Strangers, foreigners; opposition to all true spiritual discipline. Forces foreign to Spirit. (Charles Fillmore)
  • Marriage: union of two states of consciousness
  • Lion: Strong; violent, animalistic forces within the soul
  • Foxes: Cleverness of the mind based on worldly thinking which can eat away at spiritual fruits.
  • Delilah: poured out; exhausted; weak; pining with desire; languishing; longing; sensuality.
  • Hair: Vitality; vitality of a mind centered on spiritual strength. Blindness: The lack of spiritual insight and a clear perspective on life.
  • House: State of consciousness; when inhabited by Philistines, a state of consciousness ruled by transitory, deviated thinking; controlled by forces foreign to Spirit and lacking in spiritual discipline.

“The life of Samson, as given in Judges, represents the different movements of strength in human consciousness and its betrayal and end. Samson did all kinds of athletic stunts, but was finally robbed of his strength by Delilah, a Philistine woman, who had his head shaved while he slept on her knees. Hair represents vitality. When the vital principle is taken away the strength goes with it. This weakens the body and it finally perishes....

“The destruction of Samson and his enemies pictures the activity of strength independent of divine law. Ideas of strength must be established in substance and expressed in judgment before they will act constructively in the organism and preserve the body.” (MBD, 570)

Lesson 5: Samuel

  • Samuel--sublimity of God; heard of God; instructed of God; God hath heard; “Spiritual discernment; that in man which has conscious contact with God and learns of God.” (Charles Fillmore)
  • Hannah (earlier version of Anna)--favor; compassion; defense; grace; the soul established in divine grace and favor; “It receives that which it desires, the ability to hear the inner voice of Spirit, to perceive Truth.” (Charles Fillmore)
  • Eli--ascent; summit; apex; exaltation; supreme; Most High; my God; the intellect under spiritual discipline (Charles Fillmore) spiritual awareness.
  • Shiloh: whole; safe; integral; rest in peace; quiet; security health; wealth; abundance; place of rest; harmonizer; tranquilizer; Prince of Peace. “Peace of mind, wholeness, security, abundant good.” (Charles Fillmore) and “Becoming conscious of the Christ presence.” (Charles Fillmore)
  • Mizpah--looking about, scanning the horizon; watchtower; lofty place; giving increased vision, seen from afar; speculation; observation; inquiry; “spiritual watching--being on guard against the encroachment of error.” (Charles Fillmore)
  • Saul: asked for; desired; demanded; wished; “The action of will in attaining that which it desires;” Personal will.
  • A King: The ruling aspect of man’s nature; the power of will within man.
  • Amalakites: warlike; dweller in the vale; valley dweller; that licks up; the intense negative and adverse thoughts and emotions which are born of physical consciousness.

“And the child Samuel ministered unto Jehovah before Eli. And the word of Jehovah was precious in those days; there was no frequent vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place...and the lamp of God was not yet gone out, and Samuel was laid down to sleep, in the temple of Jehovah where the Ark of God was; that Jehovah called Samuel; and he said “Here am I.’” I Sam 3:1-4.

“The original spark of divinity in man’s being. It is a covenant, or agreement, of the Father with the son that he shall inherit all that the Father has...

“The original spark is a very sacred, holy thing, because upon its development depends man’s immortality. It is represented as occupying the most holy place in the temple and as being protected and cared for with great devotion. All that man is has been brought forth from this central spark, yet the sense- consciousness man often neglects it and ignores its very existence.” (MBD 64)

“If ye do return unto Jehovah with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashteroth from among you, and direct your hearts unto Jehovah, and serve him only; and he will deliver you out of the hands of the Philistines.” I Sam 7:3

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