Judges 11:25
(25) Art thou anything better than Balak?--Literally, Are you the good, good in comparison with? It is one of the Hebrew ways of expressing the superlative. Jephthah here argues from prescriptive right, which even the contemporary king Balak had not ventured to challenge, showing, therefore, that he admitted the claim of Israel, deadly as was his hatred against them.

Did he ever fight against them?--This may seem at first sight to contradict Joshua 24:9. There "Balak the son of Zippor arose and warred against Israel"; and we might infer that it was in some Moabite battle that Baalam had been slain (Numbers 31:8; Joshua 13:22). But this would not affect Jephthah's argument. Balak had fought against Israel out of pure hatred, not from any pretensions to claim their conquests from them.

Verse 25. - Art thou anything better, etc. Jephthah now advances another argument to prove the justice of his cause and the unreasonableness of the Ammonite claim. If the territory in question was Moabite property, bow came it that Balak laid no claim to it? He was an enemy of the Israelites, and yet when Israel took possession of the land, and dwelt in Heshbon, its capital, and the daughter cities or villages thereof, and in Aroer and her daughter cities or villages, and in all the cities on the banks of the Amen, Balak never strove about them with Israel, or went to war to recover them - a plain proof that he did not look upon them as his property. If they were his, that was the time to claim and recover them, but he had not done so.

11:12-28 One instance of the honour and respect we owe to God, as our God, is, rightly to employ what he gives us to possess. Receive it from him, use it for him, and part with it when he calls for it. The whole of this message shows that Jephthah was well acquainted with the books of Moses. His argument was clear, and his demand reasonable. Those who possess the most courageous faith, will be the most disposed for peace, and the readiest to make advances to obtain; but rapacity and ambition often cloak their designs under a plea of equity, and render peaceful endeavours of no avail.And now art thou anything better than Balak the son of Zippor king of Moab?.... This argument seems to strengthen the conjecture, that this king was king of Moab at this time, and so Balak was one of his predecessors. Now he is asked, whether he thought he was a wiser and more knowing prince than he, as to what was his right and due; or whether he had a better claim, or any additional one to the land in dispute the other had not; or whether he judged he was more able to regain what belonged to him:

did he ever strive against Israel? for the land they took away from Sihon formerly in the possession of the Moabites? did he ever lay any claim to it, or enter into any dispute, or litigate with Israel about it? not at all:

or did he ever fight against Israel? that is, on that account; no, he sent for Balaam to curse Israel, and sought to defend and secure his own country he was in possession of, which he thought was in danger by the Israelites being so near him; but he never made war with them under any such pretence, that they had done him any injury by inheriting the land they had taken from Sihon and Og, kings of the Amorites.

Judges 11:24
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