Judges 3:8
(8) Into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim.--If the reading of all the MSS. be correct, this must be a term of hatred rather than a name, for it means "Cushan of the double wickedness." Some MSS. of the LXX. have Chousarsathaim. Josephus (Antt. v. 3, ? 3) shortens it into Chousarthes; and St. Clemens of Alexandria (Strom. i. 21) into Chousachar. Syncellus (Chronogr. i. 58) says that Paphos was founded by those who fled from this Mesopotamian conqueror (Ewald). Cushan only occurs elsewhere in Habakkuk 3:7, "I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction." Cush was a son of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8), and our translators, in the margin of Habakkuk 3:11, render Cushan by Ethiopia. It is quite possible that Rishathaim may be the distorted form of the name of some town. It is always the tendency of a people to re-stamp a word which they receive into their current phraseology, because no nations like to use a term which they do not understand. Thus in our London streets, "Hangman's Gains" is a corruption of Hammes et Guynes, and Blind Chapel Court, of Blanch Appleton.

The Jews were not only accustomed thus to re-stamp (sur-frapper) the names of foreign kings, peoples, and idols, but they especially rejoiced in using terms of hatred. Thus the Romans in the Talmud are called Idumeans; Beelzebul was changed into Beelzebub; Bethel into Bethaven; Ptolemy into Talmai; Ir-Cheres into Ir-Heres (see Note on Judges 1:33), &c. In an ancient Rabbinic commentary the "two wickednesses" are supposed to be those of Balaam and Cushan, or that of Laban repeating itself in his descendants. The Targum and Syriac render it "the criminal Cushan."

King of Mesopotamia.--In the original Aram-naharian, "the highland of the two rivers" (Euphratesand Tigris), or, as the LXX. render it, "Syria of the rivers." His invasion, like that of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Amraphel, king of Shinar, was from the south. Hence it is repelled by Othniel, whose inheritance was in the tribe of Judah. We find no other invaders from the far east till the close of the monarchy.

Verse 8.- Chushan-rishathaim, i.e., as usually explained, Chushan the victorious, or the wicked. His name, Chushan, or Cushan, points to Cush, the father of Nimrod (3:8-11 The first judge was Othniel: even in Joshua's time Othniel began to be famous. Soon after Israel's settlement in Canaan their purity began to be corrupted, and their peace disturbed. But affliction makes those cry to God who before would scarcely speak to him. God returned in mercy to them for their deliverance. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel. The Spirit of wisdom and courage to qualify him for the service, and the Spirit of power to excite him to it. He first judged Israel, reproved and reformed them, and then went to war. Let sin at home be conquered, that worst of enemies, then enemies abroad will be more easily dealt with. Thus let Christ be our Judge and Lawgiver, then he will save us.Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel,.... Because of their idolatry; see Judges 2:14,

and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim, king of Mesopotamia; or Aramnaharaim; that is, Syria, between the two rivers, which were Tigris and Euphrates; hence the Greek name of this place is as here called Mesopotamia. Josephus (l) calls him king of Assyria, and gives him the name of Chusarthus; and indeed Chushanrishathaim seems to be his whole name, though the Targum makes Rishathaim to be an epithet, and calls him Cushan, the wicked king of Syria; the word is of the dual number, and signifies two wickednesses; which, according to the mystical exposition of the Jews (m), refers to two wicked things Syria did to Israel, one by Balaam the Syrian, and the other by this Cushan. Mr. Bedford (n) thinks it may be rendered,"Cushan, king of the two wicked kingdoms;''the Assyrian monarchy being at this time like two kingdoms, Babylon being the metropolis of the one, and Nineveh of the other; but it is question whether the monarchy was as yet in being. Hillerus (o) makes Cushan to be an Arab Scenite, from Habakkuk 3:7; and Rishathaim to denote disquietudes; and it represents him as a man very turbulent, never quiet and easy, and so it seems he was; for not content with his kingdom on the other side Euphrates, he passed over that, and came into Canaan, to subject that to him, and add it to his dominions. Kimchi says that Rishathaim may be the name of a place, and some conjecture it to be the same with the Rhisina of Ptolemy (p); but it seems rather a part of this king's name, who came and fought against Israel, and the Lord delivered them into his hands:

and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years; became tributaries to him during that space of time, but when that began is not easy to say. Bishop Usher (q) places it in A. M. 2591, and before Christ 1413.

(l) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 3. sect. 2.((m) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 105. I.((n) Scripture Chronology, p. 507. (o) Onomastic. p. 154, 155. (p) Geograph. l. 5. c. 18. (q) Annal. Vet. Test. p. 42.

Judges 3:7
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